Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pitching Nightmares

Talk about a bad day at the office...

Browns' hurler Sam Gray, a right-hander who won at least 15 games 3 times during the 1920's, once gave up consecutive homers to Bob Meusel, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig of the Yankees on consecutive pitches. As Gehrig was rounding the bases, Gray requested a ball from umpire Billy Evans that was "Not of the home run variety." Evans accomodated him only slightly. On the next pitch, outfielder Ben Paschal followed with a double that missed clearing the wall by a matter of inches.

By no means was this the ugliest performance by a man named Gray.

In August of 1909, 30 year-old Senators' rookie Dolly Gray (no relation to Sam) issued 8 walks to the White Sox in one inning, resulting in 6 runs. The situation became so comical for the Sox that manager Billy Sullivan jokingly ordered left fielder Patsy Donovan to go to the plate without a bat. The fact that Senators' manager Joe Cantillon left Gray in the game (even in an era when pitchers were expected to finish what they started) is mystifying. Equally mystifying is the following factoid: Gray ended up with a 1-hitter that day.

Other horrific pitching performances to chew on...

In 2007, four Red Sox hitters homered consecutively off of Chase Wright of the Yankees. In 2010, Adam Laroche, Miguel Montero, Mark Reynolds and Stephen Drew of the Diamondbacks all went deep off of Brewers' hurler Dave Bush in succession. This has happened seven times in major league history, though Bush, Wright and Paul Foytack of the Angels are the only pitchers to remain on the mound throughout. Foytack coughed up 4 straight long balls to the Indians in July of 1963. An interesting connection--One of those shots came off the bat of Tito Francona. Francona's son, Terry, was managing Boston in 2007 when the Red Sox victimized Chase Wright.

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