Cooperstown’s Seamhead Notes: Forty, Clutch and No-Nos

By Trevor Hayes

This series has covered a lot of notes about age so far. I can’t help it. Maybe it’s because I’m struggling with the fact that players killing it in the majors that are younger than me. Heck, Bryce Harper has been a sensation for a week at 19-years old – almost 10 years my junior. I realize most folks would say I’m still a young(er) pup, but I’m still coming to grips with the fact that my MLB dreams are over (not entirely, those ended when I quit baseball in seventh grade after two straight seasons ended by broken bones).

Despite it being tough for me to deal with the superstars that graduated high school after me, there have been some great performances by the guys I looked up to when I was younger. Example: Chipper Jones and Jason Giambi hit walk-off homers Wednesday. They are the first duo with over 400 home runs to hit walk-off dingers the same day and the first 40-year-olds. You have to go back to 1986’s Hal McRae and Davey Lopes to find two 40-plusers end a game with a home run in the same season.

That day, the Braves-Phillies game was particularly wild as they combined for 28 runs, nearing the record for most runs scored in a game ended by a walk-off homer. That honor is held by a 39-year-old Ty Cobb, when his Tigers beat the White Sox in a 1925 contest that featured 31 runs.

Mariano Rivera became the all-time saves leader, with 602 saves, on September 19, 2011. (Michael Ponzini/National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

Another 40-plus player suffered a serious knee injury Thursday. At 42-years-old, Mariano Rivera – the only No. 42 still playing (who also owns 42 postseason saves) – tore his ACL in his right knee. Rivera – who has said that he has made his decision about his future after this year and that the decision is irrevocable – is the all-time saves leader, and he also owns more saves since 1995 (the year he got save No. 1) than the Kansas City Royals (587), Arizona Diamondbacks (571) and Tampa Bay Rays (521).

Here’s the rest of the week that was:

Quick Hits: Last Friday, Miguel Cabrera recorded his 1,000th RBI at 29-years old, with just five players reaching that plateau faster: Mel Ott (27), Jimmie Foxx (27), Alex Rodriguez (28), Ken Griffey, Jr. (28) and Lou Gehrig (28)… With his eighth home run of the season Sunday and seventh at Yankee Stadium, Curtis Granderson tied the team record for most homers in the club’s first 10 home games, matching Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle (1956) and Yogi Berra (also in 1956) along with Alex Rodriguez (2007)… Also on Sunday, Jay Bruce became the third Reds player to homer in four straight April games, joining Hall of Famer Tony Pérez and Tony Fernandez… David Ortiz had his 38th career multi-homer game Monday, and 36th with the Sox, passing Hall of Famer Jim Rice (35) and placing himself one game behind the club’s all-time leader, Hall of Famer Ted Williams… By snapping Ivan Nova’s 15-game win streak on Wednesday, the Baltimore Orioles/St. Louis Browns franchise killed a fourth 15-or-more game win streak, lumping Nova in with good company: Hall of Famers Walter Johnson (1912) and Lefty Grove (1931) along with Randy Johnson (1997).

Ervin Santana’s jersey from his 2011 no-hitter that is on display in the ‘Today’s Game’ exhibit.(Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)

Heavenly No-No:The Angels have been blessed with good pitching for years and on Wednesday night against the Twins, Jered Weaver joined the
likes of Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, Mike Witt and current teammate Ervin Santana by throwing a complete game no-hitter under the Halo. Weaver’s already got artifacts in Cooperstown: A ball from the start he made against his brother Jeff and a ball from his combined no-hitter loss with Jose Arredondo in 2008. His next task: To see if he can tie Johnny Vander Meer and throw back-to-back no-nos. He’s already shown he can blank the team he’ll face in his next start, Minnesota.

New Stuff to See: Phil Humber’s gear from his perfect game arrived. The Hall received a cap and a ball from his April 21st perfect game. And the Museum also received a jersey from the White Sox’s Paul Konerko from when Konerko hit his 400th home run on April 25. Check out our YouTube channel to see a video about how artifacts arrive in Cooperstown.

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

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