Beyond the Boxscore

By Bill Arnold/@sfgwire


One of the many problems that mathematicians have thought about for some time now is the relatively simple question – can the number 33 be expressed as the sum of three cubed numbers? Recently, Dr. Andrew Booker, a professor of mathematics at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, published a paper solving the decade’s old question. Dr. Booker solved the problem by using three 16-digit numbers. The formula he used was: (8,866,128,975,287,528)³ + (–8,778,405,442,862,239)³ + (–2,736,111,468,807,040)³ = 33. In baseball 617 players have worn the number 33 at some point in their careers, but just six of those players made the Hall of Fame. The last player to enter the Hall, who wore 33 at some point during in his career, was Harold Baines, who will be inducted into Cooperstown this July. The outfielder and designated hitter wore the number for just one season while playing for the Cleveland Indians in 1999. Eddie Murray is the only player to wear the number for his entire career. The six players below all wore the number 33 during their career at some point.

Player HOF Induction Year(s) worn
Harold Baines 2019 1999
Mike Piazza 2016 2006
Eddie Murray 2003 1977-1997
Frank Robinson 1982 1974
Roy Campanella 1969 1948
Enos Slaughter 1985 1955-56


Third baseman Dylan Moore had a less than auspicious major-league debut with the Seattle Mariners on March 30 when he made three consecutive errors (two throws and a fielding error) in the ninth inning as the Boston Red Sox were attempting to make a dramatic comeback. The rookie also struck out three times and hit into a double play. But the worst debut by a Mariner (and perhaps anyone in major-league history) was third baseman Ron Wright, who on April 14, 2002, against the Texas Rangers, in his only game in majors hit into a triple play, bounced into a double play and struck out in his only three big league plate appearances. Wright’s performance was so bad that it earned him the dubious honor of becoming a one-game wonder as the Mariners sent him back to the minors after the game. Wright became one of the many one-game wonders that have graced the roster of players to play in the majors.


… Nine Jewish players made Opening Day rosters this season; also, there are two Jewish managers in the bigs – the A’s Bob Melvin and the Angels’ Brad Ausmus.

… The Triple-A level Mexican League’s Monterrey Sultans offer a very unique hot dog at their ballpark, Estadio Mobil Super Ballpark, the 15-inch sausage is offered with the following ingredients: an oversized bun, white cheese, yellow cheese, crema, cabbage, jicama, cucumber, chili peppers, salami, bits of other sausages, sweetmeats, butter, peanuts and is topped with a splash of clamato juice.

… Other than drawing 25,423 fans on Opening Day, the Marlins haven’t had a crowd over 8,000; in the five games since the opener, the team has drawn just 34,127 fans.

… According to the good folks at Elias Sports Bureau, starter Merrill Kelly and reliever Jon Duplantier of the Diamondbacks became the first two pitchers in major-league history earn a win and a save in their MLB debut game on April 1 in San Diego. Duplantier notched a rare three-inning save for Arizona in the 10-3 win.

… Through Thursday, the Rays were the only remaining team that haven’t made an error yet this season.

… Longtime umpire Bob Davidson who had retired in 2016 after umpiring in 3,911 games appears to be coming out of retirement and returning to the big leagues; he previously called balls and strikes from 1982-1999, returned from 2005-16; his first game back, if everything goes right, should be Padres-Reds game in Cincinnati on April 18.

… Farhan Zaidi, the Giants President of Baseball Operations, seems to love adding and subtracting players from Giants’ 25- and 40-man rosters or just picking up a spare player or two; since March 1, he’s made 55 player moves – by far the most any other team in the majors has made.

… Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt notes that Commissioner Rob Manfred’s plan to bring the designated hitter rule to N.L. would have deprived fans from seeing pitchers Jacob deGrom, Zack Greinke, Madison Bumgarner, Luke Weaver and Jhoulys Chacin hit home runs this season.

… The Red Sox will play the latest home opener in the bigs this season when they take on the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on April 9; the Sox opened the season with an 11-day, 11-game road trip; the only other team during the last 100 years to open a season with 11 or more road games were the 1980 Twins, who played 12.

… Up and coming A’s star center fielder Ramon Laureano has earned 12 outfield assists in his first 58 career games.

… Stat maven Doug Kern notes that Matt Kemp became the earliest Reds player to be ejected from a game when he got tossed on April 1 (in his second game for the Reds) since Luis Pineda was ejected in his second game as a Cincinnati player 2002.

… April 1 wasn’t a good day for Chicago sports teams, the Cubs, the White Sox, the Bulls and the Blackhawks all lost and as Chicago-based statistician, Christopher Kamka notes the last time those four teams all won on the same day was April 21, 2012.

… Reliever Adam Ottavino is the first Yankee player to wear the number zero.

… Giants’ right fielder Geraldo Parra recorded a rare 9-3 putout when he caught Padres pitcher Chris Paddack slowly running to first base after hitting what appeared to be a bases-loaded single to right field; for Parra, it was the second time in his career he’s accomplished the trick – having caught Cardinals pitcher Dan Haren in a similar situation in 2004.

Lucas Giolito almost joined Sam Jones, Bill Monbouquette, Juan Marichal, “Catfish” Hunter, Dick Bosman, Kevin Brown and Jordan Zimmermann as the latest pitcher wearing the number 27 to throw a no-hitter; the White Sox pitcher dominated the Royals before Alex Gordon broke up the bid with a single with one out in the sixth on March 31.

… Blue Jays rookie manager Charlie Montoyo earned a beer shower from his players after he notched his first win as major-leaguer; Montoyo had managed for 18 years in the minors before getting the job with the Jays.

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle notes Warren Spahn (363 wins – 382 complete games), Robin Roberts (286-305), Hal Newhouser (207-212), Juan Marichal (243-244). Bob Gibson (251-255) and Bob Feller (266-279) are the only pitchers since 1936 to have won at least 200 games while having thrown more complete games than wins; by the way, all six are in the Hall of Fame.

… On Opening Day, March 28, the San Francisco Bay Area had the two oldest teams by average age in the majors; the Giants were first with an average age of 30.63 years while the A’s were second with an average age of 30.10.

Josh Hader became the 88th major league pitcher to throw an immaculate inning (three strikeouts on nine pitches); the Brewers closer got the rarity on March 30 to earn his second save of the season. Cardinals’ batters Tyler O’Neill, Dexter Fowler and Yairo Munoz came up empty on Hader’s nine-straight fastballs.

Other writers and sources contribute to Beyond the Box Score

Edited by Rick Wacha

Copyright 2019, Sports Features Group