The unwelcome records of the 2022 Nationals

Let us count the ways the Nationals of 2022 smashed a number of long-standing franchise and season records for futility. A 55-107 fifth-place finish, worst since Washington regained a team in 2005, can do that. Dave Martinez The Nationals finished 46 games behind the Braves and Mets, who tied with 101 wins, and 14 games … Continue reading The unwelcome records of the 2022 Nationals

Who, if anyone, was the model for ‘Joe Hardy’?

Joe Hardy was the fictional baseball star created by J. Douglass Wallop in his 1954 novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant, adapted soon after for Broadway and film as Damn Yankees. Middle-aged Washington Senators fan Joe Boyd makes a deal with the devil to become a great player (Joe Hardy) and, he hopes, … Continue reading Who, if anyone, was the model for ‘Joe Hardy’?

Paolo Espino’s near-record innings pitched without a win

When Paolo Espino took the mound to start the Nationals’ penultimate game of 2022, he was on the verge of becoming the pitcher who threw the most innings in a season without winning a game. In 18 previous starts, although his record was 0-8, he always had lasted at least four innings. Espino Facing the … Continue reading Paolo Espino’s near-record innings pitched without a win

All-Star Games in D.C.: 1937, 1956, 1962, 1969 and 2018

During the depth of the Great Depression, with a quarter of the American workforce unemployed, baseball attendance had fallen by 40 percent. A World’s Fair was scheduled in Chicago in the summer of 1933, and the city’s mayor wanted a major sports event to accompany it. He asked the publisher of the Chicago Tribune for … Continue reading All-Star Games in D.C.: 1937, 1956, 1962, 1969 and 2018

2022: A record 43 games without a starter winning

Washington’s Tanner Rainey saved a 3-2 victory for Josiah Gray over the Phillies on July 6, 2022, in Philadelphia. As poorly as the Nats were playing, nobody could imagine then that it would be seven weeks – 43 games – before another Nationals’ starting pitcher would win a game. Victories by starters clearly are far … Continue reading 2022: A record 43 games without a starter winning

Ty Cobb’s last hit came at Griffith Stadium

Connie Mack’s Athletics were battling the Yankees for the 1928 pennant when Philadelphia came into Washington for a double-header on September 3, 1928. Down 6-0 with two outs left in the first game, Mack sent up 41-year-old Ty Cobb as a pinch-hitter against Bump Hadley of the Senators. Cobb, in his second year playing for … Continue reading Ty Cobb’s last hit came at Griffith Stadium

Walter Johnson, George Washington and the Rappahannock

Next to the apocryphal story about George Washington and the cherry tree, the most familiar tale told about the Father of Our Country involves what he threw across the Rappahannock River. It was even mentioned on the iconic Beach Boys’ album, All Summer Long, in 1964.* Unlike the essential details of young George chopping down … Continue reading Walter Johnson, George Washington and the Rappahannock

July 6, 1920: Nats yield a record 14 runs in an inning

The New York Yankees reclaimed first place in American League with a 17-0 pounding of Washington on Tuesday, July 6, 1920, at the ballpark that would become known as Griffith Stadium. What made the game more memorable, however, was what happened in the fifth inning. That's when the Yankees scored what at that time was … Continue reading July 6, 1920: Nats yield a record 14 runs in an inning

The Cracker Jack Classics and other RFK exhibitions

For six years, starting in 1982, Robert F. Kennedy Stadium played host to a star-studded old-timers game that was originally called the Cracker Jack Old Timers Baseball Classic. On July 19, 1982, a crowd of 29,196 attended the first of these five-inning games with the proceeds benefiting players who retired before the pension system in … Continue reading The Cracker Jack Classics and other RFK exhibitions

Team with the fewest stolen bases in a season? The 1957 Senators

For a variety of reasons, stolen-base attempts ticked up in 2022 after several years of decline. Bigger bases and restrictions on the positioning of infielders take effect in 2023, with the intent of producing more base hits and probably increasing successful stolen-base attempts. So it’s not likely steals will ever again drop to the level … Continue reading Team with the fewest stolen bases in a season? The 1957 Senators