5 Little Known Facts About Baseball

Fact 1:
Ever gone to a sporting event and wondered how the team could survive with so little fans in the stands? Even when this thought crosses your mind, there are usually at least a couple thousand people there. Imagine going to a game and seeing only a few hundred!

How could this happen? In 2011, The Florida Marlins played the Cincinnati Reds and broke the record for the least amount of people at an MLB game. The previous record had been set in 1979 at an Oakland Athletics game with only 653 people. The reason only 347 people turned out was because of Hurricane Irene.

Many of those who had purchased tickets decided to flee the area and save their belongings from the potential damage than attend a sporting event. Justin Cohen, a fan at the game, counted five sections with only three or four people in them and three that were completely empty!

Fact 2:
Deion Sanders is a beastly athlete. After having a successful career in Florida State, he also started a career both in Major League Baseball and the National Football League. He was very successful in both. In the 1989 season, he hit a home run and score a touch down in the same week, becoming the only player to ever do that. He is also the only man to ever play in the Super Bowl and the MLBs World series. While he won two Super Bowls, he never won a World Series, though.

Sanders was a perennial All-Pro and was named the 34th best Football player of all time in the NFL.  Since his retirement, he's been inducted to both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame and went on to become a media analyst. 

Fact 3:
It’s called Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing mud, and is used to allow pitchers to have a better grip over the balls. Before this mud came along, baseballs were rubbed in water and dirt, but this usually gave the ball a brown appearance. 

Sometimes tobacco juice, shoe polish, and dirt were also used. When Lena Blackburne was a third base coach for the Philadelphia Athletics, he decided to set off on a search for something better to use, all the way back in 1938. 

He found the perfect mixture of mud within 10 years, said to be somewhere near Palmyra, New Jersey, and then founded the company to sell it. By the 1950’s, it was so popular that every major league team was using it.

Today, only the company’s owner, Jim Bintliff, knows the location. The mud is cleaned and screened, and a secret ingredient is added before sale (so don’t get your hopes up about finding some laying on the ground). Bintliff takes 1,000 pounds of mud once a year, every year, and sells it the next season. It’s today considered the perfect rubbing mud. 

Fact 4:
Moises Alou and Jorge Posada have something in common. Despite the fact that most other players wear gloves to play baseball, they do not. This might be disadvantage, because it reduces the amount of grip that they can put on a bat or ball. 

The way they manage to NOT wear gloves is very simple: they pee on their hands to improve their grips. While it might seem strange, it's hard to argue against Moises Alou, he's hit over 300 home runs and has been selected an All-Star six times in his 17 year career. However, Slate researched the issue and found that if anything, peeing on your hands might actually soften your hands. Who's right? Would you pee on yourself to improve performance? 

Fact 5:
Gaylord Jackson Perry is a former MLB right-hand pitcher. Like most pithers, he was famous for his inability to hit a homerun, which caused his manager Alvin Dark to say “They’ll put man on the moon before he hits a home run.” 

There are other variations of this story, but that doesn’t change the fact that just as Apollo 11 dropped Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon, Perry hit the first home run of his baseball career. 

He has pitched for 8 different teams from 1962-1983. During his 22 year long careers, he’s earned 314 wins, 3534 strikeouts, a 3.11 run average, and a nomination for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991. And yet that homerun is what he will be remembered fondly for. July 20 1969 represents a small step for more than one man. 

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