In the event that you haven’t heard, forgive me for bearing this bad news: Canadian-born funnyman Leslie Nielsen, known for his roles in Airplane! and The Naked Gun, passed away Sunday at age 84.
As a nod to Nielsen and his legacy, today’s edition’s of True Facts is inspired by the baseball-blooper scene from the aforementioned Naked Gun. In that scene, viewers are treated to some lesser-known baseball bloopers from history. Below are five other, totally real mishaps which, for one reason or another, have failed to take hold of the public imagination.
1876: Chicago White Stocking Ross Barnes accidentally “discovers” the home run on May 2, becoming the first player to hit one in a big-league baseball game. For his feat, Barnes is known forever after as “The Alexander Fleming of Baseball” — a strange truth made stranger when you consider that Fleming was only five years old at the time.
1897: In the midst of a particularly long inning during a 22-1 rout of St. Louis, Baltimore’s Willie Keeler pees his pants. It’s for this reason — and not his diminutive stature — that he became known as “Wee” Willie. True fact!
1981: Frustrated by the unnecessarily formal machinations of the intentional walk, famously ornery Baltimore manager Earl Weaver orders reliever Dave Ford to throw four baseballs all at once, sending crowd into hysterical laughter.
2014: After retiring from baseball, middle infielder and scrapaholic David Eckstein goes on to successful career as newest character in American comedian Jeff Dunham’s ventriloquist act.
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