On Your Marc: 11/8

Minuita wins the Series

By Marc Katz


Baseball’s off-season runs on minutia, and I’m going to get right to one of the best pieces of minutia I’ve ever seen.

It’s not the 108-year gap between the Chicago Cubs’ World Series championships, or the 68-year-and-continuing winless run of the Cleveland Indians.

You didn’t have to be a baseball fan to know of those hapless franchises.

That’s information, not minutia.

It’s the spin rate of star Chicago reliever Aroldis Chapman’s fastball.

It’s just that if you watched television or hooked up to the internet, you know—or at least heard or read—more.

That’s why this year’s games lasted on average about 3:40, to stuff in more minutia.

And I say Mike Petriello’s Statcast of the Day on MLB.com was the best.

He said while Rajai Davis hit a ball traveling 98.2 mph for a game-tying two-run homer off Chapman in Game 7, it was partially because Chapman’s rpm (this spin rate) on the pitch was just 2,397, or down from the 2,546 rpm he normally throws.

And here I thought Chapman failed because he was used too much in Game 6 (accounting for the spin rate drop, no doubt).

From the start, I thought it was going to be a terrific World Series because at the end of it, someone holding a $2,000 standing-room-only ticket was going to be happy about burying a long empty streak and someone standing heel-to-toe with the same priced ticket was going to wonder if there was enough gas in the car to get home.

Then, Yogi Berra’s picture popped up on the screen.

Berra died a year ago at 90 and played his last of 14 World Series in 1964. Then, Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez hit two home runs in Game 1 and Berra was noted as the first catcher to do that in a World Series, in 1956. (For the minutia record, three other catchers have done it, including the Reds’ Johnny Bench versus the A’s in 1972.)

There’s more to the Perez part. He was the first ninth-place hitter to hit two homers in a Series game and the first Puerto Rican.

I wasn’t going to mention this, but the first of Perez’s homers had a Series best 113 mph exit velocity.

All the kids at school are talking about it.

At least Perez has that to tell an arbitration guy when his .183 season batting average is broached.

Another guy who used to be a catcher, Middletown’s Kyle Schwarber, also made news with a hit, the first non-pitcher whose first hit of the season came in the World Series.

Schwarber, converted to an outfielder, tore up his left knee in the third game of the season and didn’t play again until he was added to the Cubs’ roster for the World Series.

In the second game, he was one of six regulars in the Chicago lineup at 25 or younger, a post-season record.

I can’t help myself with details like that.

Then, there was pitcher Corey Kluber, the first pitcher to strike out eight in the first three innings of a WS game, a more meaningful stat if games were that short.

By the way, an informational stat, and not minutia, was the Cubs winning Game 2, their first World Series victory since 1945.

The minutia kept coming.

*Game 3’s 1-0 Indians victory came with no extra base hits, a Series first with that score.

*Jason Kipnis’s home run in the fourth game was the first by a visiting player in a World Series at Wrigley Field since Babe Ruth did it in 1932.

*As Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor was told he was the second youngest player to have two multi-hit Series games since Mickey Mantle in 1952, the look on Lindor’s face indicated he might not have recognized Mantle’s name.

*The seventh game was a minutia treasure trove, starting with the Cubs’ Dexter Fowler leadoff homer, the first in a seventh game.

*Chicago’s David Ross, 39 and retiring, was the oldest player to hit a home run in a seventh game.

*Rajai Davis’ two-run homer in the eighth was the first to tie a Series seventh game in the eighth inning or later.

Just for information’s sake, and not minutia’s, the Indians and Cubs weren’t always this lame before championship storms. Shortly after their 1948 championship, the Indians won the 1954 American League pennant and from 1951-56 finished second four other times to the Yankees.

From 1904-10, the Cubs won four National League titles and two World Series, in 1907 and ’08.

The 1910 team moved columnist Franklin P. Adams to become poetic about the Cubs’ infield:

These are the saddest of possible words,

Tinker to Evers to Chance.

Trio of Bear Cubs and fleeter than birds,

Tinker to Evers to Chance.

Flawlessly picking our gonfalon bubble,

Making a Giant hit into a double.

Words that are weighty with nothing but trouble,

Tinker to Evers to Chance.

The obvious minutia questions: What did Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance hit that season, or how many double plays did they complete (not many)?

Less obvious, but in the minutia Hall of Fame: Who played third base on that team?

It was Harry Steinfeldt.

The views and opinions expressed in On Your Marc are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes.

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Columbus-born Marc Katz had a 44-year newspaper career, 41 of those years covering sports, 40 of them at the Dayton Daily News. He now blogs at KatzCopsNSports.com. Reach Dayton City Paper sports writer Marc Katz at MarcKatz@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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