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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Guzzardi:  Double the fun: Doubleheaders Were Yogi Berra’s Thing; He Caught Both Ends 117 Times

On May 15, 1948, the Philadelphia Athletics took on the New York Yankees in a doubleheader. What’s significant is not that the A’s, who finished a surprising fourth in the American League, swept the Yankees in New York, 3-1 and 8-6. After all, the Yankees were in a down year and finished in third place.

On that Saturday afternoon before 69, 416 fans, Yogi Berra caught both ends of the double dip for the first of what would eventually be 117 times. Berra had an atypical offensive day. He went hitless in 9 trips.

Since doubleheaders are now rarely played and today’s conventional wisdom would keep the first game’s catcher out of the second game, Berra’s record will stand forever.

In a 1956 interview with Sports Illustrated, Berra explained how he gets tapped for so much double duty. Said Berra: “I don’t know how to say ‘no’”

Is there an active catcher in the Majors today who’s done this even once?

ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 24, 2011 at 04:33 PM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: general

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   1. cardsfanboy Posted: July 24, 2011 at 06:22 PM (#3884310)
That is probably 115 more double headers than the average player will see in a career nowadays.
   2. carpenoctem Posted: July 24, 2011 at 06:30 PM (#3884317)
Berra was asking for it anyway. If he didn't want it to happen, he shouldn't have been such a tease, wearing that catching gear.
   3. TerpNats Posted: July 24, 2011 at 06:56 PM (#3884338)
Just as a frame of reference, are there numbers of doubleheaders caught available for other top catchers (e.g., Cochrane, Hartnett, Dickey, Lopez, Lombardi, Campanella, Bench, Fisk)?
   4. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 24, 2011 at 07:03 PM (#3884345)
My best guess is that either Asmus or Kendall might have done it.
   5. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 24, 2011 at 07:13 PM (#3884351)
Yup. Kendall did it June 4, 2003 against the Red Sox. Craig Wilson was the backup that season meaning the Pirates didn't really have a second option at catcher. Wilson could hit but in the few games I saw him he was horrible behind the plate.
   6. cardsfanboy Posted: July 24, 2011 at 07:13 PM (#3884352)
Reading the article, there is a funny comment.
In his Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James ranks Berra first and Campanella second with Johnny Bench sandwiched between them.

why would you say it that way, instead of saying Campanella third?
   7. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 24, 2011 at 07:14 PM (#3884354)
Yorvit Torrealba caught 22 innings in a single day. Does that count?
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 24, 2011 at 07:25 PM (#3884373)
2003 was an interesting season in Pittsburgh. They had two guys on the bench who slugged over .500 but couldn't get on the field for various reasons. Aramis got traded because management decided he was jaking it on the field. Brian Giles got trade because. Jason Bay made his debut.

I think that was the also the year Randall Simon whacked one of the Milwaukee Sausage characters with a bat.
   9. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 24, 2011 at 09:51 PM (#3884459)
1989 was the year David Cone also beat the meat, but no foodstuffs were injured.
   10. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: July 24, 2011 at 10:12 PM (#3884471)
I think that was the also the year Randall Simon whacked one of the Milwaukee Sausage characters with a bat.

Prompting the observation that Randall Simon really would swing at anything.
   11. AndrewJ Posted: July 24, 2011 at 10:28 PM (#3884475)
Reading the article, there is a funny comment.

In his Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James ranks Berra first and Campanella second with Johnny Bench sandwiched between them.

why would you say it that way, instead of saying Campanella third?


Because when Bill came to a fork in the road of his conclusion, he took it.
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: July 24, 2011 at 11:00 PM (#3884483)
Because when Bill came to a fork in the road of his conclusion, he took it.


It wasn't Bill that said that, it was the writer of this article. He was going to do a comparison between Campanella and Berra and made that comment which was just a weird turn of a phrase to my ear.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: July 25, 2011 at 03:58 AM (#3884547)
Are we sure none of these were Berra at C in one game and LF in the other? Just as a check.

On that Saturday afternoon before 69, 416 fans

Did old Yankee Stadium actually hold 70,000 or was this a split doubleheader.

Another reason to hate the DH -- I can't use "DH" as an abbreviation for doubleheader.
   14. Srul Itza At Home Posted: July 25, 2011 at 05:01 AM (#3884569)
Did old Yankee Stadium actually hold 70,000


Yes.
   15. SandyRiver Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:28 PM (#3884697)
For most of Yogi's playing days, Sunday was twinbill day, usually with 8 (or 10, following intial expansion) afternoon doubleheaders scheduled. This was especially true before jet travel became common, as trains meant Monday was a travel day. All those Sunday dbls were single-admission events; the twi-nighters at YS we used to attend in the mid-60s were 2-for-1 also. Does anyone have single-admission doubleheaders now? (And does a day-night dbl count the same for "catching both ends" as would the old-style ones with just 20 minutes between games?)
   16. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 25, 2011 at 03:05 PM (#3884733)
Did old Yankee Stadium actually hold 70,000


Yes.

The announced attendance for a 1938 Memorial Day doubleheader against the Red Sox was 83,533 (81,891 paid). Needless to say, they weren't enforcing the fire codes that day. The total receipts were $91,610.75, which at the time was also a record.
   17. OsunaSakata Posted: July 25, 2011 at 03:22 PM (#3884739)
The announced attendance for a 1938 Memorial Day doubleheader against the Red Sox was 83,533 (81,891 paid). Needless to say, they weren't enforcing the fire codes that day. The total receipts were $91,610.75, which at the time was also a record.


Which is still less than what Alex Rodriguez gets paid on a per game basis.
   18. TerpNats Posted: July 25, 2011 at 04:02 PM (#3884763)
For most of Yogi's playing days, Sunday was twinbill day, usually with 8 (or 10, following intial expansion) afternoon doubleheaders scheduled. This was especially true before jet travel became common, as trains meant Monday was a travel day. All those Sunday dbls were single-admission events; the twi-nighters at YS we used to attend in the mid-60s were 2-for-1 also. Does anyone have single-admission doubleheaders now?
Oakland had one last Saturday vs. the Angels, the first regularly-scheduled doubleheader in a number of years.

Of course, keep in mind that in Berra's era, the time between half-innings was briefer; there were also fewer in-game pitching changes. Consequently, games were shorter.
   19. Gary Truth Serum Posted: July 25, 2011 at 04:37 PM (#3884787)
The only time I ever recall seeing this was when Jim Sundberg caught both ends of a doubleheader for the Cubs in 1988. I took this as a tell that the Cubs were going to release him after the second game. Which they did.
   20. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 25, 2011 at 05:35 PM (#3884792)
Of course, keep in mind that in Berra's era, the time between half-innings was briefer; there were also fewer in-game pitching changes. Consequently, games were shorter.

That 1938 doubleheader (8 years before Berra's ML debut) had scores of 10-0 and 5-4, and the game times were 2:15 and 1:45.
   21. A triple short of the cycle Posted: July 25, 2011 at 07:44 PM (#3884893)
Oakland had one last Saturday vs. the Angels, the first regularly-scheduled doubleheader in a number of years.

This was two tickets for the price of one, so a pretty good deal. First game started at 1:05, and there was a 35-minute intermission between games, btw. And then the second game went 10 innings. Thankfully the weather was cool. I don't think I could have lasted the 7 hours if it was broiling out.
   22. bads85 Posted: July 25, 2011 at 08:00 PM (#3884918)
I bet Berra wanted to kick Ernie Bank's ass.
   23. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 25, 2011 at 08:10 PM (#3884936)
Oakland had one last Saturday vs. the Angels, the first regularly-scheduled doubleheader in a number of years.


This was two tickets for the price of one, so a pretty good deal. First game started at 1:05, and there was a 35-minute intermission between games, btw. And then the second game went 10 innings. Thankfully the weather was cool. I don't think I could have lasted the 7 hours if it was broiling out.

Interesting about the 35 minutes. BITD the standard intermission time was 20 minutes, just long enough for the second game pitchers to warm up, the infield to be raked and watered, and the chalk lines to be re-set.
   24. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 25, 2011 at 08:16 PM (#3884942)
Supposedly back when Berra was a young catcher he begged out of catching the second game of a doubleheader because it was hot. The Yankees put in Charlie Silvera and wound up losing the game with Silvera leaving a number of runners on base. After the game, the Yankee veterans (DiMaggio, Henrich, etc.) jumped all over Berra for asking out, and Berra (supposedly) not only never asked out again but even demanded to catch when he was given the opportunity to opt out.

It's a good story, but I can't find a game that actually matches it.

-- MWE
   25. phredbird Posted: July 25, 2011 at 08:45 PM (#3884989)
Supposedly back when Berra was a young catcher he begged out of catching the second game of a doubleheader


i've also heard dimaggio ripped berra a new one when he (berra) didn't run out a popup. now i need to know which is true or if both or neither.

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