Praying for a No-Hitter
Houston All-Star pitcher Pete Harnisch has faced some tough lineups in his time, but none tougher than when he played for Fordham in New York City. For spending money he and his friends would sometimes go to the local precinct house and stand in police lineups. One night while Harnisch was there, organized crime members tried to kill someone outside the station. "I stood in lineups about half a dozen times," says Harnisch. "We got about $20 each time, you know, beer money in college. But the near-hit night, we got $40."
Adding Injury to Insult
After doubling against the Braves on Aug. 2 for his first extra-base hit in two years, Padres reserve catcher Dann Bilardello forgot how many outs there were. The next batter reached on an infield single, and Tony Gwynn then hit a two-out line drive to left. Instead of running at the crack of the bat, Bilardello held up and was thrown out at third. The force play deprived Gwynn of a hit. It also sparked a number of letters from fans, including one with a David Letterman-like list of 10 reasons why Bilardello didn't run to third. Reason No. 6: "Was too tired to think after leaving Madonna's apartment at 3 a.m." In the unkindest cut of all, the letter, which ran in the San Diego County edition of the Los Angeles Times last week, was cowritten by Bilardello's wife, Tish, and his brother-in-law, Wayne Fravel.
A Candidate for the Trainers' Hall of Fame
Last Saturday's game between the Astros and the Braves had to be held up for five minutes while Houston trainer Dave Labossiere tried to extract a moth that had flown into the right ear of Astro outfielder Mike Simms. Labossiere finally got hold of one of the insect's legs with tweezers, dislodged the moth and set it free. Said one clubhouse passerby, "That's what separates the good trainers from the great ones. The greats save the patient and the bug."
On Aug. 8, Tiger outfielder Rob Deer had his second six-at-bats game this year without putting the ball in play. He struck out four times and walked twice in Detroit's 4-0 win over Toronto. Deer was batting .180 with 22 homers through Sunday. No player has ever hit 25 homers and batted under .200 in a season. Deer and Dave Kingman are the only players to hit 25 home runs and bat under .210. Deer did it last year for the Brewers, Kingman in 1982 for the Mets. That year Kingman led the league in homers with 37, but had a lower batting average (.204) than the National League Cy Young Award winner, Steve Carlton, who hit .218.
They'll Never Forget Their First Time
Pirate reliever Bill Landrum has faced over 1,200 major league hitters in his six-year career, but he has never hit anyone with a pitch. "I don't know if that's good or bad," he says, conceding that the occasional hit batsman might keep some batters from digging in against him. We're waiting for the day Landrum hits the Phillies' John Kruk with a pitch. Kruk has made more than 2,000 plate appearances without getting hit.
By the Numbers
?The National League record for most strikeouts in a game by a winning team was set on Aug. 8,1972, by the Reds, who whiffed 22 times in a 19-inning 2-1 victory over the Dodgers. Sparky Anderson was Cincinnati's manager that day. Nineteen years later to the day, Anderson's Tigers went down swinging 21 times in a 14-inning 4-0 win over Toronto. That's the American League record.