13) Pitching has certainly changed a lot; from 1952-55, Robin Roberts started 154 games; he finished 118 of them, going 97-52 in those four seasons. 154 starts in four years is 38.5/year; most anyone would start now is probably 32 or so.
12) In his Hall of Fame career, Tony Gwynn was intentionally walked 203 times; he hit only 135 home runs.
11) Pretty sure I underestimated how productive Frank Thomas was in his career; seven years in a row, he walked 100+ times, scored 100+ runs, knocked in 100+ runs, hit .300+.
10) Mike Mussina took five no-hitters into the 8th inning, but never threw a no-hitter. Too bad he wasn’t around for the 7-inning games in doubleheaders couple years ago.
9) Ichiro Suzuki is the only player ever with 200+ singles in a season; he did it twice. Ichiro led the American League in singles ten years in a row.
8) There are seven father/son combinations in MLB history, where both father/son made an All-Star team and father/son played the same position.
7) Hall of Famer Larry Walker was a hockey goalie growing up in Canada; one of his teammates was NHL great Cam Neely. Walker has three brothers: Barry, Carey, Gary. His parents must have a good sense of humor.
6) Tris Speaker was a centerfielder who, in his career, pulled off six unassisted double plays. Not sure how an outfielder did that, but he did.
5) In 1947, Johnny Mize hit 51 homers, struck out only 42 times; I’m guessing he never heard of the term “launch angle”.
4) Of all the players since 1961 who had 3,000+ plate appearances, these players had the best batting averages:
.338 Tony Gwynn
.331 Roberto Clemente
.328 Wade Boggs
3) In 2015, Max Scherzer came pretty close to Johnny Vander Meer territory; he threw a 1-hit shutout, giving up a 7th inning single. His next start, he threw a no-hitter, the only baserunner a hit batsman with two out in the 9th inning.
2) Remember Phil Niekro, the great knuckleball pitcher? Turns out one of his childhood friends was NBA great John Havlicek, who apparently wasn’t very good at catching knuckleballs.
1) Three guys who today might have been passed over in the amateur draft:
1,390th pick— Mike Piazza
574th pick— John Smoltz
511th pick— Ryne Sandberg
Going forward, amateur draft will only be 20 rounds; scouting becomes even more important now, to find the kids who fall through the cracks.