Esoteric Boxscore of the Day

October 12, 2005

Cubs Keep Getting Even, Astros Keep Getting Mad

Watching 14 pitchers take the rubber on Sunday in Houston made me wonder if that was historically significant. Not really, as it turns out. Five times, 18 pitchers have taken the mound in a single game (since 1969, but since this is a modern phenomenon, I would bet this is the all-time record). This game is the shortest one of the bunch, and, as an added bonus, it has some really cool extra stuff!

September 28, 1995
Chicago 12, Houston 11, 11 innings
HOU   1  0  1    0  3  1    1  2  0    1  1  -  11 17  0
CHI 0 2 3 0 0 1 1 2 0 1 2 - 12 19 0
Today's Boxscore

Talk about a cat and mouse game. Houston had a lead six different times in this game...and lost! How amazing is it for Chicago pitching to give up late leads five times--in the sixth, seventh, eighth, tenth, and eleventh--only to be picked up every single time! And so precisely--by the exact number of runs they surrendered...until Cubs hitters finally managed to one-up the Astros' ante in the eleventh!

During that unbelievable six inning stretch, Chicago and Houston used seven pitchers each. For those of you counting, that's more than a pitcher per half-inning! Interestingly, all got at least one batter out, but 10 recorded fewer than three outs. Nine allowed a run. There were eight mid-inning pitching changes. Unsurprisingly, the game took nearly five hours! It is the longest 11-inning game on record.

Unfortunately, there's no play-by-play data for this game, but I was able to sleuth out the following tidbits:

  • In a mere 2 1/3 innings, Cubs batters hit for the cycle against Houston starter Donne Wall.
  • Craig Biggio scored a career-high five runs on four hits and a walk, but, oddly, failed to drive in a run. Yeah, well, it's not really so odd when the three batters in front of you (in the 8-9-1 holes) go 1-for-16 with a walk. In a semi-related story, Biggio also played two games in which he drove in four runs but failed to score a run.
  • Houston stole seven bases without getting caught, including a career high four by Brian L. Hunter (17% of his total for the year). Believe it or not, 41 other teams have gone 7-for-7 or better in a game since 1969, led by a 12-for-12 effort by those hyper-aggressive '76 A's.
  • The hot corner was anything but in this game. Ex-Mets Howard Johnson (Cubs 3B) and Dave Magadan (Astros 3B) did not touch the ball all game! That's right--no assists or putouts! (Note: Magadan was taken out after the seventh and replaced by yet another ex-Met Craig Shipley, who moved over from shortstop. He did have have 2 putouts and 2 assists in the game, but it's unclear where he performed them.)
  • These players were extremely selfless. The game featured four sacrifice bunts and four sacrifice flies. Only seven other games (since 1969) have had four or more of each.
  • This one of only eight games in which the home team let in runs in the tenth and eleventh innings and still won the game!
  • Both teams' catchers commited a passed ball.
  • Speaking of catchers, here's a not quite relevant, but interesting fact: Exactly three months before this game, these two teams swapped light-hitting catchers--Wilkins for Servais. Oh, and Houston also threw in...Luis Gonzalez! (Actually, Houston got Gonzalez back and let him go again two years later.) All three played in this game.
  • And most esoterically of all, Houston used players with last names composed of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 ,9, 10, and 11 letters:
    1. May
    2. Wall
    3. Veres
    4. Biggio
    5. Bagwell
    6. Martinez
    7. Dougherty
    8. Hartgraves
    9. Stankiewicz
As always there was much below the surface here. Slowly, but surely, these boxscores reveal their secrets, don't they?


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