Baseball is one of those sports that you can enjoy both as a player and a spectator. Even if you’ve never picked up a bat in your life, the thrilling moments and legendary plays are great fun to watch. Baseball has been around for centuries, which has naturally given the sport a rich history filled with interesting facts and information.
From iconic players and unforgettable games to intricate rules, there’s a lot to know about baseball. Becoming an expert at the sport, or simply having some fun facts to bring up among friends will help you enjoy baseball games even more. So, without further ado, here are five surprising things about baseball that you’d never expect.
David Winfield’s Bird Incident
In a game against the Toronto Blue Jays back in 1983, Yankees Hall of Famer David Winfield threw a bat during warmup, slaughtering a seagull in the process. Understandably offended, the crowd yelled at Winfield and threw whatever they could at the regretful player.
The Toronto police went as far as arresting Winfield and charging him for animal cruelty. David apologized by donating $60,000 to the Easter Seals campaign. Before switching to the Blue Jays nine years later, crowds at games where Winfield played would flap their arms at him.
Zack Hample’s Baseball Obsession
Zack Hample, who considers himself a Major League baseball collector, claims to have picked up at least 10,000 baseballs from different games. To make things more interesting, Zack took ownership of Mike Trout’s first career home run, as well as the 3000th hit of Alex Rodriguez’s career.
While Zack has faced criticism for his crowd-bumping efforts to collect every baseball in sight, stadium goers these days seem to be more interested in throwing the ball back. Here’s why many crowd members have decided to throw a home run ball back.
Patching and Soaking
Back in the 1800’s, it was perfectly normal for players to send a ball hurling at base runners who were caught between bases. This practice was known as “patching or soaking.”
Being traded down is sure to hurt any player’s ego. But the following two unlucky players must have had their egos absolutely shattered. The first is Jack Fenton of the 1933 Pacific Coast League, who was traded for nothing more than a bag of prunes. Perhaps a little stranger was the Johnny Jones trade. This Chattanooga shortstop was traded in 1931 for a plump, large turkey.
Unlucky Foul Ball
While most crowd members are on the lookout for the lucky opportunity of a ball coming their way, Nancy Roth was unfortunately inattentive at the very moment Richie Ashburn sent his ball flying towards her face. After receiving medical attention and being put on a stretcher, the same Phillies player hit the bad luck-stricken lady for a second time.
These are just some of the countless rules and pieces of trivia surrounding baseball. Be sure to pay attention to the next game, and you may just witness history and become part of the few to witness the next legendary fact come to life.