Hall Monitor: Pitchers, Interleague and openings

By Trevor Hayes

It’s a little late, but it is time for another installment of Hall Monitor, bringing you a sliver of stats and news with a Hall of Fame twist. Here’s a look at last week.

Pitchers can hit too: On Thursday, Carlos Zambrano beat the Mets and as is his prerogative, he did it at the plate too. Big Z’s 3-for-3 game with a W was the eighth of his career, which is the highest total since Bob Gibson. He also has the most three-hit wins in Cubs history – two more than Hall of Famers Grover Alexander or Mordecai Brown. How does he compare with the greatest hitter to ever toe the rubber? Babe Ruth collected five three-hit wins.

It always comes back to Ruth: Also from the Elias Sports Bureau comes a tidbit about Ruth’s connection to Wilson Valdez – the Phillies utility infielder who gained a W when he took the mound in the 19th inning. On Wednesday – though technically Thursday – Valdez matched Ruth, the last player to earn a win after having started the game in a position other than pitcher. Valdez started the game at second base and 6 hours, 11 minutes later, he was the winner.

On Oct. 1, 1921 Ruth started game two of a double-dip in left, but pitched the final four innings to gain the win. He was however much less impressive, giving up four runs while Valdez struck out the reigning N.L. MVP, the Reds’ Joey Votto. Valdez’s hat is already in Cooperstown, arriving Friday afternoon.

Big Hitters: Carl Crawford may have broken out of his extended slump with back-to-back four hit games including a pair of triples on Thursday. He joins teammate Dustin Pedroia and Hall of Famers Jim Rice and Wade Boggs – who did it three times – as the only Sox to collect back-to-back four-hit games since 1969.

Likewise, Baltimore’s Noland Reimold collected four hits on Thursday. He teed off the Royals for a pair of homers as well, becoming the fourth O’s player in the history of Camden Yards to produce a 4-for-4 day with two homers. The others: Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Belle and 2011 Hall of Fame Electee Roberto Alomar.

Mo gets 1,000: Mariano Rivera pitched his 1,000th game Wednesday. Among players to pitch for just one team, he’s been the leader for a while. Hall of Famer Walter Johnson is in second with 802, all with the Senators.

The multi-hit, five-RBI club: Last Sunday, the Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera became the fourth player to go 5-for-5 or better with two or more home runs and at least five RBIs in an interleague game. The other three are Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Josh Hamilton and Dustin Pedroia.

Meanwhile on the same day, Alexei Ramirez went 4-for-5 with a homer and five batted in as the White Sox topped the Dodgers. Ramirez’s name is now among legends as the fifth Sox shortstop in history to collect four while driving in five runs in a game. The others to do so were Hall of Famer Luke Appling, Chico Carrasquel, Craig Wilson and Jose Valentin.

The Cincy-N.Y. Exhibition: Baseball history is on display everywhere.

In Cincinnati, they are celebrating the Reds’ 1961 N.L. Championship season and their matchup in the World Series against the Yankees. They’ll have more pomp and circumstance later this summer when the Bronx Bombers visit, but open right now in the Reds Museum is an exhibit dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the “Ragamuffin Reds,” led by ’61 N.L. MVP and future Hall of Famer Frank Robinson.

Back in the Bronx, New York just opened a new tribute to former Yankee owner and Hall of Fame Board member George Steinbrenner. The exhibit looks back at the great teams the Boss helped construct in and includes all seven of his World Series rings.

Trevor Hayes is the editorial production manager at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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