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 1980, Dan Quisenberry pitched for the Royals and was caught by Jamie Quirk. It was the first time in baseball history that a battery included a pitcher and a catcher with a last name beginning with the letter Q.
“You have a lot of time on your hands, don’t you?” Quisenberry, always amusing, asked me. “But I like it.”
And I like it that Quisenberry’s nickname was Quiz.
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In 1989, he and catcher Todd Zeile made the first Q-Z battery. In 2013, Guillermo Quiroz caught the Giants’ Barry Zito for the first Z-Q battery. And in 2018, we had the first all-hyphenated battery when Isiah Kiner-Falefa caught Austin Bibens-Dirkx for the Rangers.
Every day, I check the batteries. When I was a teenager, I kept waiting for Barry Foote to catch either Bill Hands or Rich Hand, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. I am still sad that pitcher Kris Benson didn’t hang around longer and or catcher Austin Hedges didn’t get here sooner or we might have had the Benson and Hedges battery. But in the 1980s, for the Tigers, Marty Castillo caught Glenn Abbott: Abbott and Castillo. Several times for the Giants in the 1990s, Bud Black pitched and Steve Decker caught for the Black and Decker battery.
“On those days,” Sports Illustrated’s Steve Rushin wrote, “Decker wore the power tools of ignorance.”
Other baseball notes from April 13
In 2004, Barry Bonds passed his godfather, Willie Mays, on the all-time home run list with No. 661. “The day before,” Giants catcher A.J. Pierzynski said, “Barry tells us, ‘OK, Willie is going to be here [at the stadium] today. I am going to hit a homer today because I don’t want to make him wait.’ So he hits No. 660. The next day, Barry tells us, ‘Willie is going to be here again today. I want to pass him while he’s here. I don’t want to make him wait.’ So he hits 661. I’ve never seen anything like it. The rest of us are just trying to get hits. He hit homers on command.”
In 1926, Walter Johnson beat Eddie Rommel 1-0 in 15 innings. Both pitchers went the distance. Johnson would throw a record 38 1-0 shutouts in his career. Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling combined for 37 shutouts by any score.
In 1963, Pete Rose recorded his first major league hit, a double off Bob Friend. On the same day 21 years later, Rose got hit No. 4,000. If you just counted the hits he got as a left-handed hitter (3,095), he would have the 23rd-most hits in major league history.
In 1954, Hank Aaron made his major league debut. If you took away his 755 homers, he would still have 3,000 hits.
In 1966, Wes Chamberlain was born. He once showed up late to the park on Opening Day. He thought it was a night game.
In 1986, Lorenzo Cain was born. He didn’t play baseball until high school. His baseball coach, realizing Cain’s great athletic ability, gave Cain a glove. It was a glove for a left-handed thrower. Cain used it briefly, then told his coach, “I think I throw with my other arm.” In 2019, Cain won a Gold Glove for the Brewers.