You love baseball. Tim Kurkjian loves baseball. So while we await its return, every day we’ll provide you with a story or two tied to this date in baseball history.
ON THIS DATE IN 2011, Sam Fuld didn’t stop.
Willie Mays never hit for the cycle. Neither did Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds. On this night in 2011, the Rays’ Fuld, a little, usually fourth, outfielder, came to the plate in the ninth inning of a blowout victory over the Red Sox. He already had a double, a triple and a home run. Since 1900, 14,500 times has a hitter finished a triple short of the cycle.
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All Fuld needed was a single. He hit a line drive into the right field corner at Fenway Park. He never stopped running, and raced to second for a double. Some players would have — and have –stopped at first and completed the cycle. Fuld didn’t. I interviewed him directly after the game on Monday Night Baseball. I asked him about not stopping at first.
“I never thought about stopping at first; that’s not the right way to play the game,” he said. “If you can advance to the next base, you advance. That’s the only way to play baseball.”
Fuld, who is from New Hampshire and was playing before many friends and family members, did the right thing. He still had a great night: two doubles, a triple and a home run.
After the game, his teammates applauded him for not stopping at first.
“Everyone in this room respects him even more after that,” then-Rays GM Andrew Friedman said. “That’s why he’s Sam Fuld.”
Other baseball notes from April 11
In 1907, Roger Bresnahan became the first catcher to wear shin guards. He was mocked for doing so.
In 1970, ESPN baseball broadcaster Boog Sciambi was born. He and I once argued whose last name was more difficult to spell and pronounce. He convinced me it was his name.
In 2006, pitcher Bronson Arroyo hit his second home run in six days after hitting none his first six seasons. Pitcher, hitter and an accomplished musician. Near the end of his career, Arroyo said, “I met Ozzie Smith, and I met Eddie Vedder. My life is officially complete.”
In 1951, Sid Monge was born. He gave up the first hit of Tony Gwynn’s career. When Gwynn arrived at second for a double, Pete Rose, the first baseman, who was following the play, told Gwynn, “Hey kid, don’t break my record in one night.”
In 1980, Mark Teixeira was born. He held the regular-season major league record for most home runs (408) without a walk-off homer. His final homer, No. 409, was a walk-off grand slam against the Red Sox. But since the Red Sox had clinched the division title earlier in the evening, they still had a champagne celebration in the clubhouse even though they’d just lost on a walk-off grand slam.
In 1995, Cavan Biggio was born. Twenty-four years later, he would hit for the cycle. He and his dad, Craig — plus Gary and Daryle Ward — are the only father-and-son combinations to hit for the cycle.
In 2013, Zack Greinke hit Carlos Quentin with a pitch, beginning a brawl. Quentin would finish his career with the most homers (154) by someone whose last name begins with a Q.