Beyond the Box Score

Beyond the Box Score

Howard "Howdy" Groskloss, a little-known infielder, joined an elite group of ex-Major Leaguers when he turned 100 on Monday. Groskloss is only the 12th one-time big-leaguer to reach centenarian status. The oldest ex-Major Leaguer ever was former New York Yankee pitcher Chet "Red" Hoff who lived to 107. Groskloss played second base and shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1930 to 1932 finishing with a .261 career batting average in 72 games. He became the oldest living former big-leaguer after the death of 100-year-old Ray Cunningham last summer. After hanging up his spikes, Groskloss became an obstetrician-gynecologist. He now lives in Florida with his 80-year-old wife, Mary. According to Bill Carle of the Society for American Baseball Research, the 12 oldest ex-Major Leaguers are (* - through Friday):
PlayerBirth YearDebutPosOldest Age
Chet "Red" Hoff18911911P107 years, 4 months, 9 days
Bob Wright18911915P101 years, 7 months, 17 days
Karl Swanson19001928P101 years, 3 months, 16 days
John Daley18871912IF101 years, 3 months, 6 days
Paul "Bill" Otis18891912OF100 years, 11 months, 21 days
Ray Cunningham19051931IF100 years, 6 months, 13 days
Charlie Emig18751896P100 years, 5 months, 27 days
Milt Gaston18961924P100 years, 2 months, 30 days
Ed Gill18951919P100 years, 2 months, 3 days
Ralph Miller18731898IF100 years, 1 month, 23 days
Howard "Howdy" Groskloss*19061929IF100 years, 0 months, 4 days
Ralph Erickson19021929P100 years, 0 months, 2 days

Baseball is both a full-time job and a hobby for some people. Debbie Gallas works in the Oakland A's public relations department and is also one of several San Francisco Bay Area artists showing baseball-themed work at the George Krevisky Gallery in San Francisco. The gallery is hosting its ninth annual Art of Baseball show. Gallas's piece is a large quilt depicting a baseball crying towel adorned with some typical diamond plaints such as "I was safe by a mile but the ump was blind." The work is titled "Baseball Cliché." This is the third year Gallas, the only fabric artist in the show, has contributed a piece. Her previous offerings were "Twice Home," a quilt shaped like home plate but twice the size, and "In the Beginning," a quilt depicting Egyptians playing baseball. The exhibition runs through the end of April.

It seems fitting that Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants shares the Major League lead for most home runs hit on the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Next Tuesday marks the 100th anniversary of the estimated 7.8-magnitude temblor that hit at 5:12 a.m. on April 18 and led to widespread destruction in the "City by the Bay." Bonds and Mike Schmidt, two pretty big shakers in their own rights, share the lead for most homers (7) on that date.

Kansas City Royals media relations director Aaron Babcock came up with this Opening Day factoid: the Royals are fielding a first and second base duo with the longest combined surnames in major-league history. The pair is first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz and second baseman Mark Grudzielanek. With 24 letters between them, they easily surpassed the previous record-holders first baseman Joe Cunningham and second baseman Red Schoendienst of the 1954 St. Louis Cardinals who mustered a paltry 22 letters.

Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox has perfected the art of being ejected from a game. Cox was given the heave-ho for the 117th time in his Major League career on April 7 during the seventh inning of a game in San Francisco. First base umpire Greg Gibson tossed the skipper when Cox came out of the visitor's dugout to argue a checked-swing strike call on outfielder Andruw Jones. The ejection seemed to fire up the Braves as they went on to score eight runs in the inning. Cox is just eight ejections away from passing Leo "The Lip" Durocher for second place on the all-time list. John McGraw is the leader with 131. The 10 big-league managers with the most career ejections are (* - active):

Manager, Total Ejections
John McGraw, 131
Leo "The Lip" Durocher, 124
Bobby Cox*, 117
Earl Weaver, 98
Frankie Frisch, 86
Paul Richards, 80
Tony La Russa*, 73
Lou Piniella, 71
Clark Griffith, 67
"Bad Bill" Dahlen, 65

Pedro Feliz honored three former Major Leaguers (including his own manager, Felipe Alou) when he drove in Barry Bonds, Moises Alou and Lance Niekro with a bases clearing double during the Giants' home opener on April 6. According to Dave Vincent of the Society for American Baseball Research and Dave Smith of Retrosheet, Feliz became the first Major Leaguer in the last 49 years to drive in three sons of ex-Major Leaguers on the same play. Further research reveals that it was only the 11th time since 1957 that three sons of big-leaguers were on base at the same time.

Playing in Cincinnati for the first time on the opposing team caused some confusion for ex-Reds star Sean Casey and his family. On April 6, the first baseman, now with the Pittsburgh Pirates, arrived at The Great American Ballpark and parked his car as usual in the players' garage. Casey strolled into the stadium then realized he had no idea where the visitor's clubhouse was located. He managed to find the home clubhouse, though, and had an assistant clubhouse manager guide him to the visitor's facility. Then after the game, Casey's father stood outside the Reds clubhouse for a half hour until an attendant recognized him and directed him to the waiting area for the opposing team.

Toronto Blue Jay pitcher Gustavo Chacin knows the smells of baseball and now one of them is his own creation. Chacin spent part of the offseason in a lab helping technicians at Canadian perfumer, Leslie Cosmetics, come up with just the right mix of fragrant oils for a new cologne. Samples of the new scent, not surprisingly called "Chacin," will be handed out for free to the first 10,000 fans attending the Jays' interleague game against the Washington Nationals on June 27.

Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard missed Tuesday's Yankee home opener due to a hip injury; Sheppard hadn't missed an opener since he began his announcing gig in 1951, a period of 55 years. ... Japanese outfielder Tomoaki Kanemoto set a new world record for playing every inning in the most consecutive games, 904, breaking Cal Ripken's record of 903. ... On Tuesday, Bronson Arroyo of the Reds became just the sixth pitcher since the beginning of the DH era in 1973 to hit two home runs off the same pitcher in the same season; Arroyo's designated victim was Glendon Rusch of the Cubs. ... The Devil Rays have been given permission by Major League Baseball to change their team colors and name but must decide on the changes by May 31. ... Manager Terry Francona needs just one victory to become the 17th Red Sox skipper to win 200 games; he'll reach the milestone more quickly than all other Sox managers with the exception of Joe McCarthy. ... Dontrelle Willis is the first pitcher since 1960 to be undefeated in April for his career after making at least 12 starts; through Wednesday, Willis was 8-0 with a 1.82 ERA in the month. ... On April 7, the Mets played their 7,000th regular-season game running their franchise record to 3,314-3,678 with eight ties. ... Starter Sean Marshall became the 1,800th Cubs player when he made his debut on April 9. ... The first regular-season game at Busch Stadium III in St. Louis came on the 53rd anniversary of the first game at Busch Stadium I, which had been called Sportsman's Park until August "Gussie" Busch bought it from St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck for $800,000 in 1953. ... Reed Johnson joined Damion Easley as the only players since 1957 to be hit by a pitch three times in a game twice in their careers. ... Brave batterymates Brian McCann (C) and Jorge Sosa (P) became only the 11th such duo to hit back-to-back homers in the Majors when they went yard consecutively on April 6 against the Giants. ... On April 9, Cory Sullivan of the Rockies became the first NL player since Curt Walker in 1926 to hit two triples in an inning. ... The Devil Rays honored manager Joe Maddon on Tuesday night by giving away 15,000 pairs of glasses modeled after his distinctive black-rimmed specs.

Bill Arnold is a contributor to Other writers and sources contribute to Beyond the Box Score. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.