11 Curious Facts About Baseball That You Didn’t Know

11 Curious Facts About Baseball That You Didn’t Know

Baseball season will not start for a while yet, but fans are already gearing up. Spring training reporting dates for all major-league teams are between February 17 and 21 – not too long now. Fans have their favorite teams and players and follow them religiously all season, from spring training through the final climax of the World Series.

Part of the “draw” of baseball is watching for those unique and/or thrilling moments when an amazing or goofy play is executed and talked about for weeks afterward. Many seem to be almost metaphors for life experiences. Some of these incidents go down in history. Here are 11 curious incidents from the long love affair that America has had with baseball.

1. The Eccentricities of Jimmy Piersall

Piersall played in the 1950s and 60s for five teams. While most people remember him for his mental illness and a complete breakdown that required a lengthy road back to health, he also dabbled in football and wrestling. He has also worked as a broadcaster and a minor-league developer. At 88, he still has a radio show and lives in Arizona.

But Piersall was also known for his stunts during games. At one point, he went up to bat with a Beatles wig on; he also taunted a referee by climbing up on the roof of a grandstand.


His biggest stunt, however, was during his 100th home run. He ran the bases backwards. Mets manager, Casey Stengel, who had obviously had enough, fired him.

2. Prototype for a Hand Grenade

During the late years of World War II (1939-1945), the American Office of Strategic Services, which later became the CIA, crafted an experimental design for a hand grenade. Eastman Kodak was also a part of this endeavor, and the grenade was designed to mimic a baseball in both weight and size. The reason for this was that the makers figured any young man could throw a baseball accurately, and thus would be able to throw the grenade accurately too. It became known as the “Beano” grenade. The weight, however, became an issue and later was increased from 5.5 ounces to 12.

3. “Houston, We Have Touchdown”

Pitchers are not usually known for their ability to hit, although some have certainly surprised their fans over the years. One pitcher who certainly typified the general thinking was Gaylord Perry. His major league debut was with the San Francisco Giants, and his hitting was pretty bad. In 1969, his manager, Alvin Dark, joked with reporters, saying, “They’ll put a man on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits a home run.” That year, on July 20, Neil Armstrong was the first man to put a foot on the moon. 20 minutes later, Perry hit the first homerun of his career.

4. Cruelty to Animals

Hall of Famer David Winfield was playing for the Yankees in 1983 when they played an exhibition game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Toronto. While warming up, he threw a ball that hit and killed a seagull. The crowd was enraged and threw both things and obscenities at him.


After the game, Winfield was arrested by the Toronto police and charged with animal cruelty. He posted bond, and the charges were dropped the next day. The relationship did not end there.

In an attempt to make amends, Winfield then donated two paintings to Toronto’s Easter Seals campaign, which brought in $60,000. That helped.

Every time Winfield appeared in Toronto after the seagull incident, stadium goers would flap their arms at him. That ended in 1992 when he joined the Blue Jays.

5. Fantasy Baseball in The Front Office

The history of sports games goes way back – game boards with dice, actually. From there, fantasy games moved to arcades. Ultimately, sports hit the computer gaming industry, and ultimately, today, online baseball games are amazingly accurate representations of what really occurs on a field.


6. One Inning – Three Home Plate Outs

Jack McCarthy was an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs in 1905. The game was not going well, and he was frustrated that no team member seemed to be able to throw an out at home plate.

From the outfield, McCarthy decided to throw for the home late outs rather than to other bases. He managed to throw three home plate outs in one inning, a feat that has never been duplicated.

7. From Baseball to Espionage

Moe Berg never distinguished himself on the field. Between 1923 and 1939, he played catcher for a number of major-league teams, but primarily as a relief catcher. He couldn’t hit well either. But Berg, who had been educated at Princeton, Columbia and the Sorbonne, spoke 12 languages. He was recruited by the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) as a spy during World War II. In his later years, he became a bit of a nomad and was a frequent guest of people like Joe DiMaggio and Albert Einstein. He is the only baseball player to have a picture on the wall at CIA headquarters.

8. Charlie Sheen Buys a Section

In 1996, Charlie Sheen spent $6,537.50 to buy an entire section of seats at Anaheim Stadium for a Tigers-Angels game. Why? He wanted to catch a home run ball, preferably from Cecil Fielder who was a pretty amazing hitter in those days. He and two friends sat in the empty section through the whole game. Unfortunately, no homerun was hit that day.


9. Losing But Winning

Bobby Richardson played for the Yankees from 1955 – 1966. He was a solid infielder and a bit of a clutch hitter. In the 1960 World Series against the Pirates, New Yorkers were already calling the Yankees the World Champions.  Alas, their predictions proved false. Bill Mazeroski hit a home run for the Pirates. Richardson, however, had an amazing day driving in 12 runs, including hitting a grand slam.

Richardson received the MVP award for the World Series – the only player to win the award being on the losing team. And no one contested it – perhaps because baseball players are willing to recognize one another’s achievements, no matter what team they are on.

10. Biggest Trade Ever

The year was 1957, and it was late in the season. The Dodgers were preparing to move to California, unbeknownst to their fans. The Cubs were staying put, of course. But both teams were looking for new blood on their farm teams. The two teams swapped their entire farm teams, making this the largest trade ever – 25 from each team.

11. There Are 9 Ways to Get to First Base

Yes, that’s right. There are nine ways for a batter to get there. Here they are:

  • Hit a single
  • 4 Balls (Walk)
  • Fielder’s choice
  • Get hit by the pitch
  • Fielding error
  • Catcher drops third strike
  • Fielder interferes or obstructs
  • A ball is batted and hits another runner before touched by a fielder.

There are also some other interesting situations in which managers are allowed to make choices about which runner should be out.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.


3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.


6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.


9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.


Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via

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