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    MLB Leap Day birthdays, stats, and stories

    by Bill Chuck on February 29, 2016

    There have been a dozen players born on Leap Day (February 29), who have appeared in major league baseball. With such a small sample it is pretty remarkable that a number of them have such an amazing history.

    Batters

    Name Born Yrs From To ASG G AB R H HR RBI SB BB BA OPS
    Terrence Long 1976 8 1999 2006 0 890 3068 428 824 69 376 27 227 .269 .722 NYM,OAK,SDP,KCR,NYY
    Jerry Fry 1956 1 1978 1978 0 4 9 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .100 WSN
    Al Rosen 1924 10 1947 1956 4 1044 3725 603 1063 192 717 39 587 .285 .879 CLE
    Pepper Martin 1904 13 1928 1944 4 1189 4117 756 1227 59 501 146 369 .298 .801 STL
    Ralph Miller 1896 3 1920 1924 0 163 557 48 138 3 54 6 18 .248 .584 PHI,MIN
    Sadie Houck 1856 8 1879 1887 0 641 2659 406 666 4 234 31 48 .250 .608 ATL,PRO,DTN,PHA,BLO,WNL,NYP
    Dickey Pearce 1836 7 1871 1877 0 291 1328 217 333 2 134 13 33 .251 .546 NNA,BRA,SNA,SBS
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 2/16/2016.

    February 29 batters trivia

    • Terence Long began and ended his career playing in New York. He began with the Mets and ended with the Yankees. (Do you know which HOF-er ended with the Mets and began with the Yankees?) Speaking of Terrence, he was the batter who hit the shot down the right field line that resulted in Derek Jeter‘s famous “flip-play” (Who was the Yankee pitcher on the play that saw Jeremy Giambi thrown out at the plate?)
    • Speaking of “Flip,” that was All-Star and 1953 AL MVP’s (won unanimously) Al Rosen‘s nickname while playing for the Indians. In 1953, Rosen had a 10.1 WAR after leading the league in HR (43), and RBI (145). Rosen hit .336 and lost the batting crown by one point (who was the winner?) when in his last at bat of the season he missed touching first base on an infield grounder and consequently was called out. (When “The Hebrew Hammer” took over at third base for the Tribe in 1950, he took the position from a player who played a significant role in Yankee and baseball history, who was he?). In 1978, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner named Rosen president and chief operating officer of the team. After that tumult, he had success in the Astros and the Giants front offices.
    • Johnny Leonard Roosevelt (Pepper) Martin was a four-time All-Star for the Cardinals for whom he played his entire career.Martin had a .298 lifetime batting average, scoring more than 120 runs three times and leading the league in stolen bases three times. Amongst batters with at least 60 World Series PA, Martin’s .418 is tied for the highest BA (Which HOF-er is he tied with?) Martin had 12 hits in the 1931 Series and 11 hits in the 1934 Series, bothe seven-game wins for the Cardinals.
    • Ralph Miller played in four games in the 1924 World Series for the Washington Senators, the only time the Senators captured a World Championship.
    • Sadie Houck was banned from baseball in 1882. In September, 1881, the Detroit Free Press reported:  “Houck is one of the best short stops in the country and a thorough ball player. Were his habits good, he could command $250 or $300 per month during the season, but he is addicted to drink, and is not, therefore, entirely trustworthy. He was warned of his fate two months ago.”
    • The Ken Rosenthal-like Dickey Pearce (5-feet-3½, 161 pounds) introduced to baseball, the “tricky hit” to baseball, known today as the bunt.

    Pitchers

    Name Born Yrs From To ASG W L ERA WHIP G GS SV IP H HR BB SO
    Bill Long 1960 6 1985 1991 0 27 27 4.37 1.365 159 52 9 518.2 568 63 140 247 CHW,CHC,WSN
    Al Autry 1952 1 1976 1976 0 1 0 5.40 1.400 1 1 0 5.0 4 2 3 3 ATL
    Steve Mingori 1944 10 1970 1979 0 18 33 3.03 1.315 385 2 42 584.2 544 45 225 329 CLE,KCR
    Roy Parker 1896 1 1919 1919 0 0 0 31.50 3.500 2 0 0 2.0 6 0 1 0 STL
    Ed Appleton 1892 2 1915 1916 0 5 12 3.25 1.435 48 13 1 185.1 182 4 84 64 LAD
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 2/16/2016.

    February 29 pitchers trivia

    • Bill Long is one of 179 players who pitched for both the White Sox and the Cubs.
    • There have been 111 pitchers whose entire big league career consists of one appearance/one start. Alphabetically, that list ends with Charlie Zink and begins with Al Autry.
    • After starting his career in the Reds organization and then playing four years, for the Indians, Steve Mingori pitched seven years for the Royals in Kansas City where he was born and raised.
    • After serving in France during WW I, Ed Appleton never pitched in the majors again. He did continue to pitch in the minors for a number of seasons until finally retiring in 1926.

    60 years ago today

    On February 29, 1956, the Cleveland Indians were sold to a group that included their GM and Hall of Famer, Hank Greenberg.

    Interesting? Sure.

    But not as fascinating as the cost for the Tribe: $4,000,000.

    44 Years ago today

    One of baseball’s iconic numbers is “44” worn both by Mobile, Alabama’s Willie McCovey and Hank Aaron. This note is about Hank, who is having a special about him airing tonight.

    On February 29, 1972, Hank became the first player to be paid $200,000 dollars per season when he signed a three-year deal with the Braves for $600,000.

    The first $100,000 a season player was signed by the Pirates in 1947, and nicely closing our circle, his name was Hank Greenberg mentioned in the note above.

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