March 5, 1989

A night game at my AZ3 apartment in Tempe saw the Blue Jays erase a two-run deficit against the A’s with a four-run sixth—courtesy of Roy Howell’s second career grand slam—and hold on for a 6-5 win at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. Jays designated hitter Willie Horton also homered in the game, his second HR of the season, a two-run shot off Steve Renko which tied the score at 2-2. Tom Murphy (1-1), the second of five Toronto pitchers used in the contest, earned the win, with Victor Cruz picking up the save by working the ninth. Mario Guerrero had two doubles and three RBI to lead the A’s.  (Game #382,  5/10/78)

Major League Baseball


SP78 - Ejection-Suspension photo
I just now finished up my two-week project (which took thirteen days longer than I’d expected) of creating pages for ejections and suspensions for the SP78 season, if anyone would like to take a look. Both links can be found in the ‘Statistics’ dropdown list on the main page.

Part of the reason for this prolonged period of stat work were the numerous fixes I had to make to April and May stats, where I had to go back and credit a dozen or so players with pinch-hitting appearances, when batters would get ejected in the middle of an at-bat. This is of course was a stat I failed to recognize during my early, innocent years of Statis Pro, so both scoresheets and blog pages had to be updated and synchronized.

Mostly, though, it was just the sheer number of ejections I had to deal with that turned this into another gargantuan SP78 task. I couldn’t believe how many players had been thrown out of games so far this season, and I think you’ll be surprised by the current count as well. My question is, what’s everybody got to be so angry about, and why is everyone trying to cheat?

And yes, I’m looking at you, Bob Boone and Gene Tenace.

Sexton Stripped of Award: “I Wasn’t the First”

HOU - Jimmy SextonAstros utility infielder Jimmy Sexton, who earlier this year was presented the April Hothead of the Month award in the NL for being the first SP78 player to get ejected from a game, was stripped of his title after statisticians at Northwestern University in Evanston discovered that Sexton was not the first player tossed this season, but was actually the third, behind pitchers Tommy John of the Dodgers and Steve Rogers of the Expos.

“Truthfully, it’s not an award I’m sorry to lose,” said Sexton. “The ejection is not something I’m proud of, and accepting the trophy was not something I was trying to ‘get away with’. I’d assumed it was mine, and I honored that title. But I wasn’t the first.”

The award will now be presented to John, LA - Tommy Johnwho was ejected from the third SP78 game of the season—an opening day contest between the Dodgers and Braves at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium—after he was accused of doctoring the ball by home plate umpire Billy Williams.

“Sure, I’ll take it,” said John from Candlestick Park, where the Dodgers were prepping for the third game of their series against the Giants. “I like awards.”

TWISP Notes #62

December 31, 2014

• With Game #1427 between the Twins and Angels in the books, site AZ14 in Gilbert, Arizona passed site RAM in Ramona, California for 9th on the all-time games hosted list, moving up 75 spots in just five months. AZ14 has now hosted 44 games in that five-month span, dating back to August 1st, 2014.

• In the sixth exhibition game of the SP78 season, the Charleston Charlies of the American Association defeated their parent club, the Houston Astros, by a 3-1 count. Charlies third baseman Rob Sperring was the star of the game, collecting three hits in three at-bats; two of the hits were good for a triple and a home run. Reliever Gene Pentz went two innings for the win, with Oscar Zamora working the final frame for the save. The next SP78 exhibition contest is scheduled for August 7th, the annual Hall of Fame Game at Cooperstown, with the Mets squaring off against the Tigers.

• The Dodgers lost two outfielders to injuries on August 3rd when Dusty Baker and Billy North collided in the eighth inning of Game 2 of a twinbill against the Giants. Baker was placed on the 15-day disabled list, while North’s injuries required a 30-day stay. Albuquerque Dukes outfielders Rudy Law and Joe Simpson were called up to replace them on the LA roster.

• The Baker-North collision occurred with Giants pinch-hitter Willie McCovey at the plate, resulting in the second inside-the-park home run of McCovey’s career; he belted his first off Steve Blass of the Pirates in 1967. The HR was also the 498th for McCovey, two shy of his landmark 500th.

• Cubs utility infielder Mick Kelleher returned from the 30-day disabled list on August 1st, after 12 long years out of action. On the same day, Chicago placed starting pitcher Dennis Lamp on the 15-day DL, retroactive to July 31st. Lamp was hurt July 30th against the Giants, after slipping on the mound during a pitch and injuring his left knee.

• Seattle Mariners speed demon Julio Cruz has 81 steals through August 4th, and with 51 games left on the M’s schedule, he needs 38 more steals to break Lou Brock’s major league record of 118, set in 1974, and just 16 more to break Ty Cobb’s AL mark of 96, established in 1915.

• Montreal’s 8-game winning streak was snapped August 2nd with a 2-0 loss to the Pirates at Olympic Stadium.

• Kansas City’s Dennis Leonard became the second pitcher this season—joining Yankees ace Ron Guidry—to face the minimum 27 batters in a game; after allowing three baserunners via two base hits and a walk, all three were cut down trying to steal by backup catcher Art Kusnyer. It was the second time this season Kusyner has been credited with three runners caught stealing in a game, tying his own SP78 AL record.

• Check out the SP78 Museum, where four historical game tickets and a ticket order form have been added—along with their histories—to the Tickets page.

Astros’ Cruz Out After Exhibition Injury

HOU - Jose Cruz pose squareHouston Astros outfielder Jose Cruz will likely miss 5-7 days after suffering an injury during an exhibition game between the Astros and their AAA affiliate, the Charleston Charlies, in Charleston, West Virginia on August 3rd. Cruz, playing right field at Watt Powell Park, was hurt while diving for a fly ball off the bat of Charlies third baseman Rob Sperring in the eighth inning; the ball bounded past Cruz—after he appeared to stumble and fall on the natural grass surface—and rolled to the wall for a triple. Cruz then limped off the field after time was called. The Charlies went on to win the game 3-1.

Immediate medical reports indicate a ligament strain in the right ankle area, but a tear has not been ruled out, and Cruz will fly back to Houston ahead of the team for more tests. It will be the third time this season Cruz has been out of action due to injury; fellow outfielders Terry Puhl and Denny Walling recently went on the disabled list, and it remains to be seen whether Cruz will join them. Second baseman Art Howe, another Astros starter on the DL, is eligible to return to the team on August 6th.

“I hate these (expletive) exhibitions!” said irate manager Bill Virdon after the game. “It’s August, we’re in a (expletive) division race, I’m already down two starting outfielders, and now I’ve lost a third, all because of a (expletive) seven-inning carnival show!”

Cruz was replaced in right field in the exhibition contest by rookie Jeff Leonard, a recent call-up by the Astros from the Charlies, who went 1-for-2 with no errors in his first game with the parent club this season. He’ll join Cesar Cedeno and Jesus Alou in Houston’s all-substitute outfield when the squad travels from West Virginia to Texas, where they’ll begin a short five-game homestand at the Astrodome with a weekend series against the Braves.

My Card, Sir

On this date in 1992, on my last day of taking a semester-long film course at UCLA, I stopped by the student union and had a few dozen of these business cards printed up at a do-it-yourself vending machine. Someday, I hope, I’ll be able to don my favorite tuxedo and attend the Governors Ball, and while enjoying a glass of Romanée-Conti Grand Cru and a plate of imported Cheez-Its, have the opportunity to say to someone, “My card, sir.”

SP78 - business card crop