You love baseball. Tim Kurkjian loves baseball. So while we await its return, every day we'll provide you with a story or two tied to this date in baseball history.
ON THIS DATE IN 1968, Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell were born.
They are Hall of Fame first basemen, two of the best players of their era, and they were born on the same day. They each won an MVP in 1994. Baseball so readily lends itself to these odd coincidences, ridiculous connections that make you slap your forehead and ask, "How can that be?''
Here are a few.
Pitcher Dennis Eckersley picked off Kenny Williams on June 29, 1987 (it was technically a caught stealing, the putout went 1-3-6). Eckersley didn't have another pickoff until May 22, 1991, when he picked off Kenny Williams again.
Prince Fielder and his dad, Cecil, each hit 319 homers.
Joe Niekro hit one home run in his career in 1,165 plate appearances. It came off his brother, Phil.
Willie Harris and Ian Kinsler share a birthday -- June 22. On June 22, 2008, as opponents, they homered in the same game. "That never could have happened,'' Kinsler said. He is right.
The most home runs hit by a player with a last name starting with H is 382 by two guys with the same last name: Howard -- Frank and Ryan.
The A's Khris Davis and the Orioles' Chris Davis have homered on the same day 34 times. And Khris Davis also hit exactly .247 four years in a row.
On May 11, 1999, Bobby Jones started for the Rockies and Bobby Jones started for the Mets. It was the first time since 1900 that two pitchers with the same name started against each other.
Stan Musial had exactly as many hits at home as on the road: 1,815.
Razor Shines was the Mets' third-base coach from 2009 to '10. One of the primary jobs of a third-base coach is to wave players home. Shines played in 68 major league games and never scored a run.
On May 3, 2012, Ryan Dempster started for the Cubs against Homer Bailey of the Reds. It was their shared birthday. It is the only time in major league history that two pitchers who share a birthday started a game against each other on their birthday. "It is the only memorabilia that I have in the Hall of Fame other than maybe some famous home runs I gave up. Homer and I signed a baseball from that game. It is in Cooperstown now,'' Dempster said. "I didn't even know about it until I looked in the Cubs' [press] notes the day before and thought, 'Hey, Homer is born on my birthday.' But I knew that one of us was going to have a crappy birthday. I was hoping it would be him. I pitched really well that day. Homer and I talked about it briefly the next day. It was all very cool.''
Other baseball notes for May 27
In 2019, Bill Buckner died. He finished his career with more hits than Ted Williams. He never struck out three times in a game. He is remembered for the wrong reason.
In 1939, the Tigers' Charlie Gehringer hit for the cycle in order.
In 1949, Terry Collins was born. He managed the Angels, Astros and Mets. As the manager of the Astros (1994-96), he was asked by team owner Drayton McLane to watch the movie "Twelve O'Clock High" to learn about leadership. Collins watched it. He told McLane, "You know, at the end of the movie, Gregory Peck was so paralyzed by fear, he couldn't get in the plane.''
In 1956, Mark Clear was born. In 1981-82, he pitched in the same bullpen as Chuck Rainey. There it is: Rainey and Clear.
In 1993, Dale Murphy retired. He, Roger Maris and Barry Bonds are the only players to win an MVP in back-to-back seasons, be eligible for the Hall of Fame, but not be in. Murphy might be the nicest man ever to wear a major league uniform. So pure, so wholesome, he never swore. A great father. Braves teammates once spotted him on the team bus reading a Dr. Seuss book.
In 1991, Vancouver (AAA) outfielder Rodney McCray ran through the wooden wall in right-center field trying to make a catch. He got a bloody nose and cuts on his forehead, but finished the inning. "The first thing I thought was, 'Man, I just ran through the wall,''' he told me the next day. "Then I thought about the movie, The Natural. The guy ran through the wall and died. I'm not dead, though. I'm built pretty good. I've got 3 percent body fat and a really hard head. I stayed down for a minute behind the fence, but only because I fell in a mud puddle back there.''