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 1995, pitcher Ian Hamilton was born.
In 2018, Hamilton pitched for the White Sox in the same bullpen as Ryan Burr … Hamilton-Burr. Many years earlier, the Blue Jays’ David Bush pitched in the same pen as Brandon League … Bush-League. Baseball so readily supplies these connective names with pitchers, batter-pitcher matchups, batteries, double-play combinations and starting outfields.
The full “On this date …” archive
Starting pitching matchups are the best. The 1980s gave us several starts of Mike Mason vs. Ken Dixon: Mason-Dixon. More recently, we have had Minor-Leake, Diamond-Sale, Cole-Hahn, Lee-Strasburg, Nova-Cain (we regret, however, that Chad Moeller didn’t catch in that game), Gray-Nola, Nola-Gray, Cole-Minor, Cole-Hamels and Ray-Romano. When Brian Bannister started against Gavin Floyd, we had the Floyd-Bannister; Floyd Bannister, a former pitcher, is Brian’s father.
And, on July 4, 2012, a Kennedy, a Jackson, a Johnson, an Adams and Madison Bumgarner all started a major league game on the mound.
In 2011, the Rockies brought Matt Lindstrom out of the bullpen and followed him with Matt Reynolds and Matt Belisle: three Matts. In 2013, the Cardinals got a home run from three players named Matt in the same game; Carpenter, Holliday, Adams. The 2011 Astros became the first team since 1900 to use three pitchers with the same surname in the same game: Wandy, Fernando and Aneury Rodriguez.
The 2017 White Sox became the first team to start three outfielders with the same surname: Avisail, Leury and Willy Garcia. In 2019, Giants closer Will Smith faced Dodgers catcher Will Smith, and the Rangers’ Elvis Andrus faced Toronto’s Elvis Luciano for the first Elvis vs. Elvis at-bat in major league history, which appropriately ended in a single because the Elvis had 117 of them.
The 1990s Giants started a battery of Bud Black and Steve Decker: Black and Decker. The 1980s Tigers started a battery of Glenn Abbott and Marty Castillo: Abbott and Castillo. The 1960s Phillies double-play combo was shortstop Bobby Wine and second baseman Cookie Rojas; those were known as the Days of Wine and Rojas. In 2018-19, the Pirates had Kevin Newman at shortstop and Kevin Kramer at second: Newman and Kramer.
Barry Bonds homered off a Woody, a Cliff and a Fraser, which was the, uh, Norm. Bonds homered off Abbott and Castillo, Dustin and Hoffman, Murphy and Brown, Ebert and Roper, Clay and Fraser, Green and Bere, Charles and Darwin, Franklin and Marshall, Price and Wright, Reed and Wright, Frey and Cook, Long and Foster. He homered off Sun-Woo Kim, Steve Rain and David Weathers. He homered off a Gardner, a Painter, a Carpenter, a Brewer, a Weaver, a Cook, a Hunter, a Priest and a Doc. He homered off a King, a Duke and Jason Marquis. He hit a shot off Winchester, and a drive off Mulholland.
And yet, we will never understand how in 2013, with all these name connections in baseball history, Cubs manager Dale Sveum could have given second baseman Darwin Barney the day off against the Dodgers’ Stephen Fife, preventing the first Barney-Fife at-bat in major league history. I waited for years for that and missed by one game.
Other baseball notes for June 16
In 1986, the Orioles traded pitcher Dennis Martinez to the Expos. I was covering the Orioles at the time. “You can’t trade him, he has the best arm on the team! He’s going to win a hundred games for someone else!” manager Earl Weaver told general manager Hank Peters. Peters said, “But he’s never going to pitch well again here.” They were both right. Martinez was booed regularly in Baltimore; he needed a change. And he won exactly 100 games for the Expos.
In 1978, Tom Seaver, after a number of near no-hitters, threw a no-hitter.
In 1996, Mel Allen died. My favorite show as a teenager was “This Week In Baseball,” hosted by Mel Allen. How ’bout that?
In 2019, the Rockies and Padres set a major league record for the most runs scored (92) in a four-game series. Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon went 15-for-24 in that series.
In 2014, Tony Gwynn died. What a terrible loss. He was the coach at San Diego State at the end, when he was in his early 50s. His team was going through a terrible hitting slump. “So Tony got in the cage,” one former player said. “He was sick and overweight. But he said, ‘Damn it, let me show you how you do this.’ He hadn’t swung a bat in a while. He hit line drive after line drive all over the field. It was unbelievable.”