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Around The Bases

Posted: June 12, 2012 - 12:04am

Did You Know???

“Battery” refers to the pitcher and catcher collectively. An explanation from 1896 explained that the term’s origin comes from telegraphy, where the pitcher is is the transmiter and the catcher the receiver. An explanation from 1897 implied a military source that the pitcher and catcher are the main attacking force of the little army of nine players in the field of contest. Historians in 1940 wrote, “It may possibly have arisen as follows: General Abner Doublday, the founder of baseball, being a military man, may have originated the phrase. As the word “fire” is a military command, and as the pitcher literally “fires” the ball to the plate much in the same manner as a field artillery battery fires a cannon, this may have prompted the name of a military unnit to be applied to the pitcher and catcher.

“Get Dirty” means to slide (bite the dust)or dive back to base or to stretch out and dive for a hit ball, or just generally not be afraid to get one’s uniform dirty.

“Tools of ignorance” refers to the catcher’s equipment: shin guards, chest protector, helmet, mask, and mitt. That outdated term was first used in 1937 and based on the notion that catching is a grueling, painful job that a smart player would try to avoid. Bill Dickey, a long-ago Yankee catcher, coined a phrase that was greeted with whoops of joy and at once included in the language. Brooding over the fate that made him a catcher on a blazing July day, Dickey spoke of the catcher’s armor as the “tools of ignorance.”

“Ace” is a team’s best pitcher.

“Fireman” is a team’s closer or late-ionning relief pitcher.

“Bang-bang play” is a play in which the baserunner hits the bag a split-second before the ball arrives or vice versa.

“Yogism” Is one of a series of aphorisms and comments issued by Hall Of Fame catcher and manager Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra, some of which have woven themselves into folklore status.

Yogi Berra says:

“It gets late early out here.”

This Date In Baseball, June 12:

1922 — Hub Pruett struck out Babe Ruth three consecutive times as the St. Louis Browns beat the New York Yankees 7-1.

1928 — Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees had two triples and two homers in a 15-7 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

1939 — The Baseball Hall of Fame was officially dedicated at Cooperstown, N.Y.

1954 — Milwaukee’s Jim Wilson pitched the year’s only no-hitter, blanking the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0.

1959 — The San Francisco Giant’s Mike McCormick tossed a 3-0, five-inning no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies. Richie Ashburn singled in the top of the sixth for the Phillies, but the hit didn’t count because the game was stopped by rain.

1970 — Dock Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates hurled a 2-0 no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader against the San Diego Padres. Ellis walked eight and hit a batter, and Willie Stargell hit two homers.

1981 — Thirteen games were canceled due to the players’ strike.

1997 — After 126 years, baseball broke its tradition and played interleague games.

1999 — Cal Ripken went 6-for-6, homering twice and driving in six runs as the Baltimore Orioles scored the most runs in franchise history with a 22-1 rout of the Atlanta Braves.

2005 — Hee-Seop Choi hit three homers in his first three at-bats, including a go-ahead solo shot in the sixth, to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers past Minnesota 4-3.

2006 — Jason Grimsley was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball, less than a week after federal agents raided his home during an investigation into performance-enhancing drugs.

2006 — Chicago’s Jose Contreras won his 15th straight start and struck out a career-high 11 batters to help the White Sox defeat Texas 8-3.

2007 — Justin Verlander, mixing 99 mph heat with crazy curveballs, pitched a no-hitter to lead the Detroit Tigers over the Milwaukee Brewers 4-0. Verlander struck out a career-high 12, walked four and benefited from several stellar defensive plays.

2009 — Chicago right fielder Milton Bradley had a bad day at Wrigley Field. Bradley lost Jason Kubel’s pop-up in the sun for a single, couldn’t catch Michael Cuddyer’s RBI bloop double, made a baserunning blunder and, most egregiously, flipped the ball into the stands after catching Mauer’s one-out sac fly. With Nick Punto on third, Brendan Harris on first, Bradley caught Mauer’s fly, posed for several seconds and threw the baseball into the seats. As Punto scored easily to make it 6-3, Harris was awarded third base on Bradley’s error as boos rained down from every section of the ballpark.

2009 — New York Mets second baseman Luis Castillo dropped Alex Rodriguez’s lazy popup with two outs in the ninth inning as two runs scored, helping the Yankees escape with a wild 9-8 victory over the Mets.

2010 — Daniel Nava hit the first pitch he saw as a big leaguer for a grand slam — only the second player to do it — leading the Boston Red Sox to a 10-2 rout of the Philadelphia Phillies. Nava connected on a fastball from Joe Blanton in the second inning. Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a slam on the first pitch he saw Sept. 2, 2006, for Cleveland against Texas.

Today’s birthdays: Kyle McClellan 28; Roger Bernadina 28; Hideki Matsui 38.

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