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MLB.com Columnist

Marty Noble

Twelves reign supreme on calendar, diamond

Twelves reign supreme on calendar, diamond

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Twelves reign supreme on calendar, diamond

MLB.com Columnist

Marty Noble

Can't let this day -- er date -- pass without submitting something for your approval and, I hope, your entertainment. Come midnight or so, this by-the-dozen date will be the permanent property of those who performed and those who paid to witness the performances of Sir Paul, Mick and Keith, The Boss et al at the Garden tonight. They will make the place shake as it hasn't shaken since Willis hit his first shot in Game 7 in May, 1970. Not even Robbie Alomar -- No. 12 in all but the last of his eight big-league stops and being married today -- can lay claim to 12-12-12 once those acts have finished the final encore this evening.

Just the same, this is last time for a long time that a date with three matching numbers will show like a slot machine winner. So we can't let this date pass with at least a dozen baseball references, random as they may be.

1. Bobby Richardson drove in 12 runs in the 1960 World Series. Somehow the Yankees lost to the Pirates in seven games -- the score of one of the Yankees' victories was 12-0 -- despite outscoring their opponents 55-27. Richardson became -- and remains -- the only World Series MVP to play for the losing team.

2. The first African American to play for the Red Sox was Pumpsie Green. He made his big-league debut in July, 1959, 12 years after Jackie Robinson made his (The Red Sox seldom have been known for their speed.). Green wore No. 12.

3. Twenty-two of the 28 big-league teams played merely 144 games -- 12 X 12 -- in 1995 the year the start of the season was pushed back because of a work stoppage. The average number of games played per team was 144.07.

4. Mark Fydrich surrendered merely 12 home runs in 250 1/3 innings in 1976.

5. Game 7 of the 1960 World Series was the final game of the wonderful though often overlooked career of Gil McDougald, the Yankees' No. 12. Casey loved McDougald and tried to turn Tony Kubek into a clone, playing him in even more positions than McDougald had played. Who can think of McDougald and not see him in one of his many bizarre stances. Most memorable was the one when he appeared to be seated on an invisible chair.

6. Dusty Baker has worn (out) No. 12 everywhere, even as a young player. He appeared in 53 games over the course of four seasons with the Braves before he became a regular, all as No. 12. His signature number became a Baker's dozen, of course.

7. The first player to appear as a designated hitter was Ron Blomberg, No. 12 with the Yankees in 1973. He walked with the bases loaded against Louie Tiant in the first inning at Fenway Park on April 6. The Yankees led 3-0 after a half-inning and lost 15-5.

8. Frank "Home Run" Baker hit 12 home runs with the Philadelphia A's in 1913. He led the American League. Twelve was a career high for the man with that nickname.

9. Alomar's 12 with the Blue Jays and the 12 Wade Boggs wore with the Rays when they were the Devil Rays and when he produced his 3,000th hit are the only No. 12's retired. Neither Alomar nor Boggs played the majority of his career with the club that retired his number.

10. In a 12-season sequence, 1949-1960, with the Senators and Tigers, the late Eddie Yost averaged 117 walks per season and hit more than 14 home runs once.

11. Reds players have won the National League MVP Award 12 times -- Ernie Lombardi (1938), Bucky Walters (1939), Frank McCormick (1940), Frank Robinson (1961), Johnny Bench (1970 and 1972, Pete Rose (1973), Joe Morgan (1975 and 1976), George Foster(1977), Barry Larkin (1995) and Joey Votto (2010).

12. Babe Ruth led the American League in home runs 12 times.

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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