In an e-mail I’d sent to my friend Steve P a few weeks back, I told him about a recent Statis Pro game I’d played, between the Pirates and Astros, where Bucs slugger Willie Stargell had been hit by a pitch thrown by Houston starter Vern Ruhle, after Stargell had homered two innings earlier. I was ready to have Stargell rush the mound in response, and prepared to eject both batter and pitcher from the game, but then I wondered: had Stargell ever been tossed in his career? I looked it up and found out that no, he hadn’t. So I sent him to first, and I ejected Ruhle instead, and that was that.
I’d also discovered that Robin Yount, another SP78er, had never been ejected, and he ranked #4 on the list—behind Stan Musial, Willie Mays, and Brooks Robinson—of non-expelled players who’d played more than 1,500 games in their careers. Steve responded to my e-mail a short while later, and he included a list that he’d compiled while researching my site, titled Interesting SP78 Ejection Factoids. I thought it would make for a fun and informative post, so here it is (all numbers are current through August 18th). Continue reading
As some of you may have noticed, I changed my SP78 avatar photo about a week ago, replacing a rather smug looking photo of myself with one of actor Robert Redford from the movie The Natural. I decided to make the change a few years back, but wanted to wait until the 5th Anniversary of my movie blog site, Cinema Monolith, before putting it into use.
This change was made because, thanks to WordPress, if I replace one site’s avatar, it replaces the other one as well. Thus, my plan to change my movie site’s avatar to one of Clint Eastwood from Dirty Harry didn’t quite mesh with my baseball site (nor did one I considered from a personal cult movie favorite of mine, Curse of Bigfoot). So, I came up with an idea for an avatar that equally portrayed both site’s themes, which of course was a photo from a baseball movie.
So there you have it: my new avatar, a photo of a happy Roy Hobbs putting on his Knights baseball cap. And in case you’re wondering, no, I never once considered using a screenshot from Here Come the Tigers instead.
With his 41st home run of the season, a two-run shot off Phillies right-hander Jim Lonborg in the third inning of an August 17th game at Veterans Stadium, Dodgers slugger Reggie Smith became the first player in either league to collect one hundred RBI during the SP78 season. It was the second time Smith has achieved that coveted plateau in his career; he last reached the mark in 1974, hitting an even 100 as a member of the Cardinals. He’s also the SP78 single-game record holder for runs batted in, having collected ten in the first game of a doubleheader against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 16th.
No other National League player is even close to one hundred (George Foster of the Reds is in second place with 86), and with a league-leading 41 home runs and a robust .366 average, Smith is a serious contender for the Triple Crown award, with just under a month and a half remaining in the season. It would be the first Triple Crown in the major leagues since Boston outfielder Carl Yastrzemski won the award in 1967, and the first in the National League since Joe Medwick turned the trick for the Cardinals forty years earlier, in 1937.
What makes this particular RBI milestone even more amazing is that Smith has missed three weeks of the season due to injury; if he stays healthy, he’ll still have a whopping 42 games remaining in the LA schedule to add to his total. At his current pace of one RBI per game, he’d finish the 1978 campaign with 142 (and at one HR hit every 2.4 games, he’d break Roger Maris’ home run record of 61 by one). The question now is, will he remain healthy?
Said Smith in the locker room after the game in Philadelphia, “Oh yeah…I’m done with all this injury crap.”