Archive for True Facts

Players Who Definitely Resembled Stalin: King Kelly

King Stalin

It’s perhaps fair, insofar as he died of pneumonia years before self-appointed “Gardener of Human Happiness” Joseph Stalin began his reign of terror over the USSR, it’s perhaps fair to say that it was Stalin who resembled very popular and successful ballplayer King Kelly. Even more appropriate is to use the remainder of this entirely brief post to make note of some compelling other truths about Kelly as stolen from his SABR biography.

Truths such as:

  • Referring to his father’s death, Kelly wrote that he (i.e. his father) “passed over to the great silent majority,” i.e. a conspicuously praiseworthy euphemism.
  • A teenaged and orphaned Kelly found employment at a real 19th century coal factory, where his job literally was to “carry a bucket of coal.”
  • Upon being dropped to the floor from a stretcher during the illness that would kill him days later, Kelly apparently announced, “This is my last slide.”

Kelly image from August 11, 1907, edition of the San Francisco Call.

Five Shocking and Forgotten Baseball Pranks to Shock You

You crazy for this one, Kenny.

San Diego minor-leaguer Cody Decker and his teammates on Padres’ Triple-A affiliate El Paso have received (deserved) attention of late for an elaborate practical joke performed over the course of an entire month and at the expense of veteran major-leaguer Jeff Francoeur.

Writing for Sports on Earth, champion of the people Matthew Kory has utilized Decker’s prank as an entrée into further consideration of baseball’s most notable pranks. A creditable piece, Kory’s, and one which has served as the impetus for what follows — namely, a record of five practical jokes from baseball history which have, for one reason or another, been lost to time. Until this very second, one notes.


1906: Famously eccentric and perhaps also mentally disabled left-hander Rube Waddell, attempting an early and particularly zealous form of what later became known as Hot Foot, straps teammate Socks Seybold to the latter’s bed, sets it aflame, and then exits the premises. Thanks only to the heroism of local fire authorities, Seybold is rescued, but is no longer capable of smell.

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Phillies-Braves Game Report by the Author of Ecclesiastes


It is not generally the case that NotGraphs is in the business of publishing unsolicited contributions. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, however, Koheleth — known most commonly as the son of David, king of Jerusalem, and also the world-weary author of Ecclesiastes from the Old Testament — requested to write a game recap of Monday night’s Phillies-Braves game.

What follows is the entirety of his submission.


1 All human endeavor is futile. Likewise, Monday night’s game between Atlanta and Philadelphia was futile.

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While Communist Europe Sleeps, Dean Anna Homers

Dean Anna 2

While Communist Europe sleeps, Dean Anna homers into the lean American night.

While Communist Europe stamps its feet impatiently, Dean Anna eats contentedly beside the fire a stew made from stinging nettle and bonedust.

While Communist Europe wails like a child, Dean Anna fashions a crude but effective tourniquet from the uniform sleeve of the just-dead.

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Brief Excerpts from Werner Herzog’s Guide to Baseball


It’s not probable, but certainly possible, that German filmmaker and ubermensch among just regular menschen Werner Herzog has written a guide to baseball.

It’s possible, if not necessarily probable, that what follows constitutes brief excerpts from that selfsame text.

It’s not unusual for men, the majority of whom proceed through life under the influence of meticulously cultivated delusions, to find themselves consumed by sick horror when compelled finally to confront the reality of the human predicament. The batter’s experience of a well-thrown changeup is a microcosm of this nauseous epiphany.

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The Cruelest Cuts of All: A Carson Cistulli Story

This is fun: Last Monday, in the seventh inning of a Spring Training game against the Reds, Indians manager Terry Francona used a conventional method – i.e., emitting words from his mouth hole – at an unconventional time – i.e., during a pitching change on the mound – to inform right-hander Blake Wood that he (Wood, not Francona) had made the Cleveland rotation.

Less fun, at least for NotGraphs President and CEO Carson Cistulli, is this true fact: While Wood celebrated his achievement and Francona told the tale, the aforementioned mogul was forced to relive the many and various ways by which he, as a young and dream-filled ballplayer, learned that he had not made the team.

What follows is a truncated list:

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A.J. Pierzynski Beholds the Nothing That Is Not There

AJP Swings

The graph presented above — which depicts all the pitches at which A.J. Pierzynski offered during yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) game at Baltimore — is unexceptional insofar as swinging at baseball pitches is, like, one of A.J. Pierzynski’s main responsibilities as a sporting professional. “The undersigned,” one imagines Pierzynski’s contract reading, “agrees, in exchange for $8.25 million, predominantly to swing at and also to catch baseball pitches.”

What is exceptional, however, is the graph above considered in context of the graph below — which graph depicts all of the pitches at which Pierzynski didn’t offer on Wednesday.

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Comparing Mariners to Game of Thrones Characters

Baseball is Coming

Did you know the best show on television, Game of Thrones, returns to our humble screens this Sunday? Did you also know that baseball premiered on our televisions in earnest last Sunday? It’s impossible that these events are a mere coincidence, so I’ve done the lord’s work by taking the next step and comparing members of the Seattle Mariners to our fictional friends in Westeros.

Jack Z is King Joffrey
The man in charge, whom most would like to see dethroned.

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Derek Norris Comes Out as Baseball’s First Openly Feral Player

DN 1

OAKLAND — When Derek Norris took his place behind home plate on Wednesday, he did so not merely as a member of the Oakland A’s, but also as a representative of a different group — namely, the United States’ small but real population of feral adult humans. While certain ballplayers have acknowledged their true identities following retirement, Norris is the first to have revealed his secret while still active.

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Five Things I Don’t Believe About the 2014 Season

Terry Francona probably won’t murder anyone this year.

Yesterday, in the electronic pages of FanGraphs, managing editor Dave Cameron published a post entitled Five Things I Believe About the 2014 Season, in which piece he shares five ideas concerning the recently started campaign.

What follows is a similar piece by the present author, except without all the carefully considered arguments and relevant evidence.

1. I don’t believe that the Miami Marlins are actually a team of secret operatives posing as a major-league baseball club, but actually attempting to infiltrate the largest drug cartel on the Eastern seaboard.

I don’t believe it. That said, it has certain merits as a working theory for that club’s difficulties.

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