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Trivia time

Posted by Andy on April 28, 2011

Here's a great trivia question from reader eorns.

Q: What do the following pitchers have in common?
Graeme Lloyd, Ramiro Mendoza, Bret Prinz, Felix Rodriguez, Mike Myers, David Robertson, and Phil Coke

If you said that they all played for the Yankees, think harder before clicking through.

A: They are the only pitchers to relieve Mariano Rivera mid-inning! (in his closer role since 1997)

To find this, first I figured this would probably never happen on the road. So I looked at all of his home appearances and looked at games he didn't finish by sorting the "App,Dec" column (there's no "Didn't Finish Game" criterion, which I guess, would only be useful in limited circumstances. It would be nice, though, to be able to "Not" any criterion). I found 6 games this way. I then did the same for away games and actually found one. Here's the list:

4/5/98 vs OAK. Replaced by Graeme Lloyd. Away! Got two outs in the 8th and two in the ninth. Not sure why he’d be taken out with two outs in the ninth. Lloyd gave up a walk and a homer ( Giambi) to tie it!

7/20/02 vs BOS. Replaced by Ramiro Mendoza. Pitched only to 2 batters in the 8th.

9/4/04 vs BAL. Replaced by Bret Prinz.

4/6/05 vs BOS. Replaced by Felix Rodriguez.

4/27/07 vs BOS. Replaced by Mike Myers.

5/7/09 vs TB. Replaced by David Robertson.

6/6/09 vs TB. Replaced by Phil Coke. Twice in a month by TB!

Bonus tidbit: As the closer he's only had one outing without getting anybody out: 8/10/08, when Chone Figgins hit Rivera's only pitch for a game-winning single.

34 Responses to “Trivia time”

  1. Joe Conlon Says:

    Who are the only two players caught at home plate on the the same play?

  2. aweb Says:

    I know that happened more than once...Buck Martinez managed it against Milwaukee when he broke his leg, against Milwaukee - I admit I have to look up the actual names (I won't post them if anyone wants to guess)

    But it happened more recently with the Dodgers and Mets. I can't remember who was involved, although I think it was the playoffs.

  3. Dave V. Says:

    @1 Joe Conlon - Aweb is right in that it has happened more than once.

    But with that said, is the one you're thinking about the play vs. the White Sox, where Bobby Meacham and Dale Berra of the Yanks were tagged out on the same horrific play? I remember that from watching live as a kid and that play has always been burned into my head...

  4. Dave V. Says:

    "4/5/98 vs OAK. Replaced by Graeme Lloyd. Away! Got two outs in the 8th and two in the ninth. Not sure why he’d be taken out with two outs in the ninth. Lloyd gave up a walk and a homer ( Giambi) to tie it!"

    Andy - the only thing I can think of is that two straight lefties were up and Torre put Lloyd in since he's a lefty. Giambi is a lefty himself, so I'm gonna go check the boxscore to see if the guy he gave up the BB to was a lefty as well...yeah, it was Matt Stairs, who also is a lefty. So I guess that's "why" Torre made the move. Looking closer, I see Rivera blew the save in the 8th inning, as he came on with runners on 1st/2nd, got one out and then gave up a single to pinch-hitter Dave Magadan (who's a lefty). I guess Torre was thinking that Rivera had already given up one big hit to a lefty and with two lefties coming up, he'd get Rivera out of there.

    With all that said, I still don't think it made sense. Rivera had thrown 17 pitches (13 for strikes) and got the first two guys out in the 9th inning. So the Yanks had a 2-run lead with 2 outs in the 9th. Bringing in Lloyd in for that first lefty seems a bit silly...especially since Graham Lloyd wasn't that good.

    (luckily for the Yanks, they won in the 10th)

  5. Dave V. Says:

    And I just realized I spelled Lloyd's first name wrong...oops!

  6. Greg G. Says:

    Wasn't 4/5/98 the game that he had to leave because of a pulled groin? If you look at his game log, he didn't pitch again until April 24th.

  7. Dave V. Says:

    @6 Greg G - good call on checking the game logs after that game, as injury would make more sense than him getting yanked for two lefties with 2 outs and nobody on base.

  8. Dave V. Says:

    Can anyone sort to see how many times this has happened for Trevor Hoffman (relieved mid-inning in his closer role)? I guess last year would be a little tricky, because he was replaced as the closer during the season.

  9. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #3/Dave V. Says: "@1... ...But with that said, is the one you're thinking about the play vs. the White Sox, where Bobby Meacham and Dale Berra of the Yanks were tagged out on the same horrific play? I remember that from watching live as a kid and that play has always been burned into my head..."

    Dave V. - Yes, I also remember seeing that play live on TV, and I'm sure a lot of other people saw it too, because it was a Saturday afternoon "Game Of the Week" on NBC in 1985 (?). Carlton Fisk was the White Sox catcher, it was quite a sight...

    It would be interesting to re-trace the "strategic" decisions of the baserunners which led both of them to try to score on the same play.

  10. Andy Says:

    If I recall correctly, This Week in Baseball used footage of that Fisk play in its opening credits, so I saw it weekly during my younger days. One runner went to the left and one to the right so Fisk had to jump in each direction. It was very cool and weird to see.

    Having trouble finding it on Youtube...can anybody else find a video?

  11. Andy Says:

    Here's a description of the play:

  12. Spartan Bill Says:

    The Mets Dodgers game mentioned above was the NLDS game 1 on 10-4-2006

    Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca tagged out Jeff Kent and JD Drew on a single by Russell Martin. 9-4-2

    Curiously all 3 Mets involved int he play were ex-Dodgers and all 3 Dodgers involved in the play had last names that were common first names.

  13. Spartan Bill Says:

    oops forgot the link again

  14. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    Yes, I was traumatized by that Fisk DP, as well.

    I remember being offended that such a majestic blast by Rickey went to waste. I was struck by what a bad-ass Fisk was, too.

    Mostly I was mad at Meachem for not barreling into Fisk. I know that Meach was a 170 pound SS, but come on! He knew Berra was right behind him. And Berra didnt look so great, either. Looked like a beer-league softball player trying to avoid the tag.

    Oh, and we lost, 6-5, in 11 innings.
    Won 97 games that year.
    Toronto won 98.

    Mattingly hit two homers in that game.
    Winfield hit one (and probably threw his bat into that stands a couple of times).
    And Dave Righetti pitched three innings of closer-relief.

    Anybody know why Rickey only got a single on that play?

  15. Brett Says:

    I was just reading the NY Times article about the 4/6/98 game above and it sounds like a strange one. Mike Fetters came out of the game because of a calf straing after pushing Tino Martinez to a full count. Mike Mohler throws one pitch to walk Martinez. Chad Curtis is up next. He goes to a full count, and then Torre replaces Martinez on first with Homer Bush in case Curtis hits one into the gap. Curtis homers instead. Then in the bottom of the inning Rivera has a 1-2 count with two out on Stairs when he injures his hamstring.

  16. Artie Z Says:

    @8 - I checked for Hoffman from 1994-1997 and found 3 times when he was relieved mid-inning, all in 1995.

    July 8th, 1995 against the Astros, extra inning game, he had pitched 3.1 innings and was relieved by Brian Williams

    July 19th, 1995 against the Reds, Hoffman gave up 4 singles in the 9th and was again relieved by Williams

    August 24th, 1995 against the Mets, Hoffman gave up 3 singles and an intentional walk and was relieved by Doug Bochtler

    There are still plenty of other years to check.

  17. John Autin Says:

    Speaking of two plays at the plate on a single batted ball ...
    I once saw a young Kirk Gibson hit a drive into deep CF at Tiger Stadium with a runner on first and less than 2 out. The runner had to make sure the ball landed, and of course Gibson in his youth could absolutely fly; so by the time the runner rounded 3B, Gibson was just a step behind him. The ball was relayed to the plate. The first runner slid -- out! Gibson slid the other way -- safe!

    I wish I'd thought to remember the official scoring, or at least the date of the game. I assume it would have to be scored a triple plus ___; the question is, plus what? Fielder's choice? Advancing on throw? Neither sounds right. And it can't be a HR, because then you have to explain why the lead runner was out.

  18. Dangerz Says:

    "first I figured this would probably never happen on the road."

    What's the rationale there?

  19. Andy Says:

    JA, I can't find the Gibson event you described.

    He had only two career triples in which he scored on the play. One was in this game in Milwaukee:

    and other other was in this game at Tiger Stadium:

    Both came with no runners on base...

  20. Andy Says:

    I found it.

    It was credited as a double in this game:

    It says he advanced on an E2 although the nature of that error is not clear.

  21. DD Says:

    Dangerz - If he was on the road, then the opposing team would likely be batting in the bottom of the ninth, so if he blows the lead the game is over. Although it's not fullproof, it's not a bad idea.

    Interesting that 4 of the 7 mentioned occurred around the first month of the season. Isn't he known for starting slow, relatively speaking of course?

  22. Joe Conlon Says:

    I hate throwing this out there without knowing all the facts...but I remember reading an article about Dixie Walker and Lou Gehrig being thrown out at home plate on the same throw from the outfield during the 1930's...Walker came up to the Yankees about 1932 and went on to be known as the Peoples Cherce in Bklyn.I'm not sure the plays mentioned are in the same catergory.

  23. Chuck Says:

    "Who are the only two players caught at home plate on the the same play?"

    I saw it happen in an AFL game last year.

    Lead runner gets the go sign at third, gets halfway home, sees where the ball is, and tries to go back to third.

    Problem being, the trailing runner blows through the stop sign and is about to run right up is ass.

    So, he has no choice but to continue home, where he was tagged out by ten feet.

    The trailing runner, who happened to be Bryce Harper, was out by twenty feet.

  24. John Autin Says:

    @20, Andy -- Thanks for the sleuthing. The date seems about right, but I still wonder. Perhaps my memory of the event is faulty. Why would the scorer have given Gibson only a double on the play, unless he felt that Gibby took third on the play at home on Whitaker? If that's the case, then that play didn't go down as I described it. And if Gibson was not right on Sweet Lou's heels, then the Gedman error that allowed Gibby to score must have been a throwing error, no?

    BTW, this is the first time I've checked out the playback feature. I don't know exactly what it's based on, but it does not at all account for the details of this play -- it doesn't even explicitly recognize that Whitaker was out on the play.

  25. Dave V. Says:

    @9 Lawrence Azrin, @10 Andy, @14 Voomo Zanzibar -- I too looked to find the play somewhere on the Net and can only find descriptions, no video. I did see the play again a few years ago though, on some sports channel (or possibly even a MLB stadium outside of NY). In any case, the play was every bit as painful to watch as I remembered it as a kid.

    Also, while its not video, I did find this:

    I love that the Meacham/Berra DP is actually mentioned in Webster's online dictionary...

  26. Dave V. Says:

    @16 Artie Z - thanks for the check done on Hoffman so far. Its interesting that he did it 3 times alone in 1995.

  27. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    Phil Rizzuto talked about it for weeks afterwards.
    It really was great to have a grandfatherly homer calling the games as a kid.
    The best was when he would react to a shot off the bat as maybe being outta here... and it would be a popup to the shortstop.

  28. Brett Says:

    Here's a description of the Lou Whitaker-Kirk Gibson play above:
    "In the sixth inning, [Kirk Gibson] hit a tremendous drive to deep center field with Lou Whitaker on first. The Boston center fielder Tony Armas fielded Gibson's drive 440 feet away and threw to the shortstop Glenn Hoffman as Whitaker and Gibson dashed for home. Gibson nearly caught up to Whitaker as the two circled the bases. When Hoffman's relay got to the Boston catcher Rich Gedman, he tagged Whitaker out, then had the ball knocked from his hand as Gibson ran into the plate umpire Larry Barnett, driving him into the catcher. At first, the ruling credited Gibson with an inside-the-park homer, but it was later changed to a double and a error by Gedman"

    That's a rough error!

  29. Andy Says:

    I'd have to think that the wisdom was that Gibson only took 3rd because there was a runner ahead of him, and that Gibson's advance to 3rd (and even home) was just like any advance by a hitter-runner on a throw destined for a base other than the one they are trying to reach. Seems like it might have been more appropriate to award Gibson a triple, though.

  30. Hunter Says:

    Not positive, but I think the Fisk play is at 2:42 of this video (I linked it to start at 2:38). That's the video that the White Sox put on before the beginning of games. The video quality is miserable and you get like a second of the play, but there it is.

  31. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I don't think Gibson could be credited with a triple if the runner one base ahead of him didn't score. By rule, it has to be a double. I looked this up once because a similar thing happened to me in a softball game when I was behind an exceedingly slow runner. Too lazy to find the actual rule again though.

  32. SocraticGadfly Says:

    @ Dave V. 3 and others .... this all made me think of the 1982 WS, the only time I (and a good Cards fan) have seen two people score on the same sac fly. Remember holding my breath to see if Ozzie, as well as Willie McGee, would score.

  33. Richard Chester Says:


    This to confirm the content of post 22. On April 29, 1933 Gehrig and Walker were tagged out on the same play by C Luke Sewell. Tony Lazzeri hit a double but Gehrig held up at second to see if the ball would be caught. Obviously Walker did not hold up. I read this on under its "This Day in Baseball" column.

  34. Trivia Time! « into BOLIVIAN Says:

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