Major League Baseball has been around for 130 years now, but how much about this highly engrossing sports league do you know about?
This article digs deep into some interesting and untold stories about MLB and baseball, you will uncover some fascinating facts that will help you earn more bragging rights about your knowledge of the MLB and baseball. Do you know that all baseballs must be rubbed with mud within 3 hours before the start of a game?
It is definitely worth your read as there are a lot of records and dramas to unpack right here!
1. The MLB All-Star game has been canceled twice: in 1945 due to travel restrictions during World War II and in 2020 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
2. All the baseballs used by MLB are made of the same exact materials. What is more impressive about the components of the baseball is that it is required to have exactly 108 stitches, hand sewn with red cotton thread.
3. According to MLB Rule 4.01(c), before every MLB game begins, all baseballs must be rubbed with mud within 3 hours before the start of a game, to make it easier for pitchers to grip. The balls are mudded in a defined pattern that lasts for only 30 seconds per ball.
4. The first father and son duo to play in Major League Baseball are Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. They played as teammates for the Seattle Mariners in 1990. Since then, the league has seen over 250 father-and-son pairs play in the game.
5. The Philadelphia Phillies is the only MLB team with the longest continuous use of name and location. They changed their name in 1890 from the Philadelphia Quakers to the “Phillies”. This distinction that they hold doesn’t only apply to baseball but to all American sports.
6. Edwin Jackson is the first and the only player in the MLB who has played for the most teams in the league. During his 17-year career (2003-2019), he played with 14 teams. The other two players that come after him, Roosevelt Davus and Octavio Dotel, have both played for 13 teams each.
7. The first female coach in MLB history and the first female to coach an on-field MLB game is Alyssa Nakken. From working as an intern with the San Francisco Giants in 2014, Alyssa was promoted to the rank of Assistant Coach in January 2020, and in July of that same year, she led her team to victory against the Oakland Athletics.
8. Barry Bonds holds the overall single-season home run record when he hit 73 home runs in 2001. It’s been almost 22 years now and no one has broken the record yet. The last record was 70 home runs, which was set by Mark McGuire in 1998.
9. A player who has played in the most consecutive games in the MLB is one who has appeared in every single game played by his team. Thus, the title of the player who has played in the most consecutive games goes to Cal Ripken Jr. who has played in 2,632 games, a record he has held for over 16 years and counting.
10. Nolan Ryan has the most career strikeouts in the history of Major League Baseball. He has pitched 5,714 strikeouts in his 27-year career. Randy Johnson comes in second with 4,875 strikeouts.
11. Nolan Ryan also comes in as one of the two players in the league who have played for 27 seasons, more than any other player. The other person that holds this record alongside Nolan Ryan is Cap Anson. Although they played in 2 different centuries, their records remain unbroken.
12. The real name of legendary baseball player Babe Ruth was George Herman Ruth, Jr. He was nicknamed “Babe” when a player saw Baltimore Orioles manager Jack Dunn with Ruth and said, “There goes Dunnie with his new babe”. Since then, the name “Babe” stuck and eventually became a trademark.
13. MLB’s first World Series game was played on October 1, 1903, between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Pilgrims, and the Pilgrims defeated the Pirates 7:3. What most people don’t know is that the first time the term “World Series” was used in 1902, it was in reference to professional football and not baseball.
14. In the history of the MLB, only 3 players have been able to hit more than 700 home runs. Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, and of course, the great Babe Ruth. The first person to do this was Babe Ruth with 714 home runs, a record that stood for 40 years before Hank Aaron broke it and was eventually surpassed by Barry Bonds.
15. African-American players were prohibited from playing in both Major League and Minor League baseball for the first half of the 20th century until 1947. This segregation led to the formation of “Negro Leagues”, professional baseball teams formed by black people who would not be accepted in the major leagues.
16. At the age of 28, on April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first Black person to play for a Major League Baseball (MLB) team after the Negro Leagues were formed. He broke the color barrier in the game when he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers that year. He stayed with the Dodgers until his retirement in 1956.
17. The New York Yankees have won the World Series Championships more than any other team in the league. They have won the championship 27 times. Their closest rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, have only won the trophy 11 times. In fact, the New York Yankees are recorded as one of the most valuable sports teams in the world.
18. The only player in the history of Major League Baseball to win the MVP award for both the American League and the National League is Frank Robinson. He won the NL MVP with the Cincinnati Reds in 1961 and the AL MVP with the Baltimore Orioles in 1966.
19. The number 42 which belonged to Jackie Robinson was the first number in baseball history to be retired in all of Major League Baseball. Today, you cannot see anyone wear the number 42 in the baseball league. Jackie is also the first professional athlete in any sport to be given this honor.
20. Former New York Yankee Yogi Berra made 14 appearances in the World Series, the most by any player so far. Out of his 14 appearances, he has won the Series 10 times, which equally bags him the title of the player with the most world series rings. Yogi Berra would often brag about how he had a championship ring for every one of his fingers.
21. Connie Mack is the all-time leader of MLB managers with the most career wins and the most career losses as well. He managed the Philadelphia Athletics for 50 years, between 1901-1950. This is a record that may never be broken, at least not anytime soon.
22. St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field has the smallest seating capacity of any stadium used by an MLB team, with 25,000 seats. The Dodger Stadium which is also the home field of the Los Angeles Dodgers is the largest stadium in the MLB with a seating capacity of 56,000.
23. Coors Field, the home field of the Colorado Rockies is articulated to be the most hitter-friendly ballpark to hit a home run in, due to its high altitude and semi-arid climate on batted balls. On the other hand, Arizona’s Chase Field stadium is rated as the toughest stadium to hit a home run in.
24. The shortest MLB game on record lasted for only 51 minutes, whereas an average game in the MLB would last for 3 hours and 3 minutes. This very short game was played between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Giants, and the Giants won 6:1.
25. A regular MLB game is scheduled for 9 innings. So when you hear that the longest MLB game by innings had 26 innings, then you know it was tough! This particular game ended in a tie between the Brooklyn Robins and the Boston Braves in May 1920, and if not for the night’s darkness that day, the game would have lasted longer.
26. The shortest player ever in the MLB was Eddie Gaedel, who was only 3ft 7″ tall. He had a one-day career in which he played with the St. Louis Browns in 1951. Fortunately, that one single day that he spent as a baseball player went down in history. His jersey number was 1/8 and it is on display today at the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum.
27. The longest MLB game, calculated by time, lasted for 8 hours and 6 minutes. It was played between the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers. The game was played in two days and ended in a 3-3 score tie, with a total of 25 innings.
28. Pete Rose holds the record for the most games played by any MLB player, with 3,562 games. The first player to hit this record was Ty Cobbs who played in 3,035 games, a record that he held for 46 seasons before Hank Aaron broke the record.
29. The most famous trading in Baseball history was the trading of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1920. The Yankees paid $125,000 to the Boston Red Sox for Babe. According to the Red Sox, Babe Ruth had temper issues that they just couldn’t deal with. But selling him off turned out to be the worst mistake they ever made.
30. After the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees, the team spent 86 years of drought without winning a single World Series Championship, the longest any team has ever had in MLB history. Now you see why it was their worst mistake ever, a mistake that changed the sport forever.
31. The MLB is divided into 2: the National League and the American League, which consists of 30 teams in total. All MLB teams are based in America except for the Toronto Blue Jays which is based in Canada.
32. Baseball is the third wealthiest sport in the world. In 2022 alone, MLB being the sport’s highest tournament, generated $8,957 million in revenue, with each team earning an average of $298.6 dollars. Generally, baseball as a sport is currently valued at about $40 billion.
33. The Cincinnati Red Stockings are the oldest and the very first MLB team. When it was founded in 1866, it was officially known as the Cincinnati Baseball Club and it was the first professional team MLB ever had.
34. There are 3 active teams in MLB who have never won an MVP award: The Arizona Diamondbacks, the New York Mets, and the Tampa Bay Rays. Of course, the New York Yankees have taken home this award 23 times, more than any other team.
35. Ray Chapman is the only major league player in the history of MLB that was killed by a pitched ball. While playing for the Cleveland Indians on the 16th of August 1920, Ray received a hit to his head from Yankee pitcher Carl Mays. He died 12 hours after the incident.
36. Before he went pro, John William Lindsey is credited as the only MLB player who played for the longest time in the minor leagues before going to the majors. He spent 16 years in the minors before his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010. Usually, the average time period for a player to stay in the minors is 4-7 years.
37. There are no left-handed catchers in MLB. The last left-handed catcher to play in the Major League was Benny Distefano who caught 3 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1989. Since then, no other left-handed player had featured in major league baseball.
38. Joel Youngblood is the only player to play for two different teams in two different cities on the same day. On August 4, 1982, he played with the Mets that morning in Chicago against the Cubs and later was traded to the Expos after the game that afternoon. The Expos played that same night against the Phillies in Philadelphia.
39. Each MLB game requires at least 8-10 dozen baseballs. The average lifespan of a baseball is 7 pitches, which explains why the balls have to be replaced often.
40. The MLB team with the most Hall of Famers is the New York Yankees, with 27 inductees. This would not come as a surprise seeing that the Yankees have achieved such a great feat in the history of the sport.
41. It is not just any kind of mud that is used to rub MLB baseballs. The mud that is used for MLB balls is a special substance supplied by a man named Bintliff, and it is gotten from a secret location along the Delaware River that no one really knows including the MLB, even though they have patronized his business for decades.
42. Major and Minor Baseball Leagues use wooden baseball bats, while metal bats are used by college baseball teams. Maple wood bats are the most popular among players in the league, as 70% of players use maple wooden bats.
43. In MLB, it’s easy to tell the home team apart from the visiting team. The rule is simple: the home team wears white, while the visiting team wears grey. Legend has it that visiting teams developed the habit of wearing grey uniforms due to their lack of access to laundry services. So they wear grey to hide the dirt.
44. Satchel Paige is the oldest player in the history of MLB. He was 59 years old when he played in his last major league game, a record that stands to this day. When he made his debut for the Cleveland Indians at the age of 42, he became the oldest debutant in both NL and AL history.
45. The youngest person to ever play in Major League Baseball was Joe Nuxhall, who was just 15 years old when he pitched for the Cincinnati Reds in 1994. After that game, Joe did not appear in any other Major League games until later in 1952, when he was 23 years old.
46. Two teams hold the record for the most wins in an MLB season: the Chicago Cubs and the Seattle Mariners, who have 116 wins each. The Cubs won the NLCS title in 1906 while the Mariners lost the 2001 American League Championship Series despite winning all the regular games of that season.
47. Baseballs are never reused in MLB. In fact, any baseball that touches dirt will immediately be discarded and replaced. The discarded balls will either be sent to the minor leagues or used for batting practice.
48. The Dodgers have won the most Rookie of the Year Awards, with 18 trophies to their credit. They won Rookie of the Year consecutively from 1992-1996. The next team in line is the New York Yankees with 9 awards and the Oakland Athletics with 8.
49. In 1971, the Pittsburgh Pirates became the first MLB team to field an all-minority lineup; and in 2017, they became the first team to field an African-born player by the name of Gift Ngoepe. Again in 2008, they were also the first team to sign Indian players.
50. The Seattle Mariners is the only MLB team that has not appeared in the World Series for 18 years now. They have the longest postseason drought in the league, as well as the longest pennant drought, as they have never won a pennant since the team was established.
51. Major League Baseball honors April 15 as “Jackie Robinson Day”. On that day, all members of the league including players, umpires, coaches, and managers are expected to wear Jackie Robinson’s number 42 on their jersey. This celebration is in honor of the day Jackie made his MLB debut on April 15, 1947.
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