Thursday, October 30, 2014

Taking Brevity to a New Level

As anyone who watched the Giants-Royals seventh game is well aware, Tim Hudson, the Giant starter didn't make it through the second inning, the shortest stint by a starting pitcher in a seventh game of the World Series since 1960.  Hearing that reminded me of something I wanted to mention in the post about Buck Weaver and the 5th game of the 1917 World Series, but inadvertently left out.  Without doing any real research that the game may have marked the two briefest appearances for starting players in any World Series game.  Part of this was mentioned in the earlier post in the description of the Giants hot start in the top of the first when they knocked out White Sox starter, Reb Russell after he faced only three batters without recording an out.  The part I left out, however, was that the Giants actually used a pinch hitter in the first inning.

Jim Thorpe

Since Russell was a left-hander, John McGraw replaced Dave Robertson his regular right field with the famous Olympian, Jim Thorpe.  Thorpe had an unusual season that year as the Giants sold him to the Reds in April, but for some reason he was returned to the Giants in August.  All told Thorpe only hit .237, but apparently Robertson, not a lot better at .259, was considered unable to hit left handed  pitching thus the change.  However, Russell's early exit brought right-hander, Eddie Cicotte into the game thus obviating the need for the lefty-righty switch and as soon as Thorpe was due up, the Giant manager quickly replaced him with Robertson.  That move paid off as Robertson singled in the Giants second run of the inning getting the Giants off to the early lead they couldn't hold.  So the net result was that Russell lasted three batters while Thorpe was in the game until the sixth batter (himself) came up or as one writer commented Russell wasn't in the game as long as Thorpe, but saw more action.   Come to think of it, it's hard to imagine any baseball game in history where a starting pitcher and a started player both exited in the top of the first inning.

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