Could Happen

It is hard to argue that the longer baseball games are played, the more oddities occur. A couple of minor league twists during the past few days mark the characteristics that keep us watching our beloved game. The first was a win by a team that did not have a single hit, but still won, and the second had two players on the same team to hit for the cycle.

We knew it was going to happen, didn’t we? On Monday, August 6, 2018, the Clearwater Threshers (Florida State High Class-A), a farm club of the Philadelphia Phillies, had no walks and no hits. And won.[1]

Through seven innings, Tampa Tarpons pitcher Deivi Garcia struck out 12 Clearwater batters, and giving up no hits. Since the game was the second of the night (minor league double headers are seven innings), the eighth inning became an extra inning since the score was tied, 0-0.

The new 2018 rule in place for minor league teams, calling for a runner to be placed at second base automatically to begin extra innings, allowed for an eventful throwing error and fielder’s choice that gave the Threshers a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth, a lead they held to win. On no hits.

Last night in Indianapolis, second baseman Kevin Newman and catcher Jacob Stallings each had a single, double, triple, and home run in the Indians win over the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. According to sports writer Ryan Young, the feat has been duplicated before in the minor leagues, but never in the majors.[2]

Could an earlier prediction have been made for such as these?

Peculiar as those are, Nashville Banner sportswriter poised an interesting question in his book, I’ll Go Quietly (Nashville: McQuiddy Press, 1944). Under the title “Could Happen”, he wondered if in a team could make six hits in one inning, including three triples, and not score.

“Yes, it could happen, like this:” he writes.

“The first man up triples and is thrown out at the plate trying to stretch it into a homer. The second batsman does the same thing. The third hitter triples. That’s three triples, with two men out.

“The next batter singles to the third baseman; next man also singles to the third baseman, who on both plays, after making magnificent stops on balls labeled hits, decides to hold runner on third rather than make a play for the hitter. The next batter then singles and the ball hits a base runner, retiring the side.

“This could happen, but I doubt if it ever will, because base runners are taught to run on anything with two outs, and infielders are taught to play for the hitter when there are two out.”[3]

Mr. Russell, I’m not so sure your play has not happened at least once since 1944, but we know that just about anything else can. We keep going back to the ballpark to see just one more.

© 2018 by Skip Nipper. All Rights Reserved.

Sources

Baseball-reference.com

Newspapers.com

Notes

[1] Matt Monagan, “This Minor League team got no-hit and still won the game,” Cut4 by MLB.com, https://www.mlb.com/cut4/minor-league-team-gets-no-hit-and-still-wins-game/c-289197828, retrieved August 7, 2018.

[2] Ryan Young, “Two minor league teammates hit for the cycle in the same game,” Yahoo Sports, https://sports.yahoo.com/two-minor-league-players-hit-cycle-game-044657876.html, retrieved August 8, 2018.

[3] Fred Russell, I’ll Go Quietly, (Nashville: McQuiddy Press, 1944), 43.

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