A curious reader might ask, “Hey, Answerman, do you have answers to my baseball-related questions?”
To which the Answerman might reply, “No. Why do you ask?”
Q: Tom Glavine’s wife, Christine, recently Tweeted a photo of her husband on the phone just as he was receiving news of his Hall of Fame election. Most players would be ecstatic, but Glavine looked stoic. Tell me, have any other players looked so unemotional upon receiving news of their HOF elections?
A: Actually, there have been several. Christy Mathewson was probably the first. Upon receiving news of his election with the inaugural HOF class of 1936, he had been dead for nearly 11 years.
Q: With all the talk of Hall candidates, I’m reminded that Mike Piazza wasn’t selected until the 62nd round of the draft. Are there other scouts who’ve so badly missed the obvious?
A: Yes. General George Custer’s.
Q: The HOF is such a popularity contest. I mean, you know?
A: Totally. Here’s an interesting stat: Regardless of how you view the statistical merit and real importance of RBI totals, the forgotten Albert Belle compiled five more 100-RBI seasons than did the immortal Mickey Mantle. Of course, Belle didn’t have Mantle’s all-around game, but still, he fell off the ballot faster than a toddler falls of the bed, while Mantle came to define enshrinement. Why? Well, I’m no historian, but I’m pretty sure it was because Belle was all like, “Woo, look at my biceps!” Gah, he’s so stuck up.
Q: I read that during a Cubs game several years back, first baseman Mark Grace noticed that Greg Maddux was in a, um, state of arousal on the pitcher’s mound. I’m curious: Has this happened to any other big-league pitcher while on the mound?
A: It has. During a Red Sox game in 2007, Josh Beckett sported an unfortunate erection throughout the entirety of his start. As you might have guessed, he had to seek immediate medical attention in the top of the fifth due to the standard four-hour rule.
Q: According to a recent report, the Dodgers are making upgrades to Dodger Stadium. Do you think that’s a good idea?
A: Yes. People would get upset if the Dodgers made changes to Coors Field.
Q: I heard Justin Verlander had surgery after tearing a muscle while conditioning. Has this happened to any other player?
A: No, but Jeff Samardzija did sprain a thumb during a vigorous shampoo.
Q: This is interesting: During John Axford’s stint with St. Louis last season, Cardinals coaches told the reliever that for the past few seasons he had been tipping his pitches. Do you know of any other player with a problematic history of tipping?
A: Yes. You might think I’m going to get cute here by referencing Melky Cabrera’s $10 tip on a $76.95 tab last year at the Chili’s in Port St. Lucie, but I’m too professional to traffic in that sort of flippancy. Instead I can tell you that back in the late 1960s, Nolan Ryan confessed to Mets coaches that he had been tipping his cows.
John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.