Questions about random baseball records

Yes, I could look them up, but these are also the sort of useless trivia questions others might enjoy knowing the answers to, so I pose them here.

**1. What’s the largest margin of victory in a single baseball game?

  1. What’s the earliest date a team has clinched their division? And similarly, when’s the earliest a team has been mathematically eliminated?

  2. Along the lines of #2, what is the largest margin of wins between a first and second place team at the end of the season?

  3. How many times total has home base been stolen in recorded history? And if there are any standouts, who has the most?

  4. Has any batter been so slow or stumbled so badly out of the box that they’ve been thrown out at first base by an outfielder?

  5. What’s the most number of pitches thrown by a single pitcher in a game since pitch count has been kept?**

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. Please feel free to add your own questions, as well as any answers you know of. Thanks!

I’m pretty sure the answer to # 1 was the 27-run victory margin of the Texas Rangers over the Baltimore Orioles on August 22 of last year.

I had a feeling that was the case…I just wasn’t sure it was the record.

This has definitely happened. Wikipedia says it once took place during a perfect game. The general pattern is ‘Batter hits a one-hop line drive right at the right fielder, who’s playing shallow, and gets thrown out at first.’ I doubt it’s even happened with a centerfielder or left fielder, but I don’t know.

  1. Has any batter been so slow or stumbled so badly out of the box that they’ve been thrown out at first base by an outfielder?

Ty Cobb used to be able to throw runners out at first. It can be done with a hard hit line drive that bounces in front of the right fielder, even if the runner doesn’t stumble – though it is rare these days.


Consider it confirmed. I just did a search on for any game in which one team scored at least 27 runs, there were only four others, and in none of them was the margin of victory that wide.

  1. Along the lines of #2, what is the largest margin of wins between a first and second place team at the end of the season?

Not sure, but the largest I could find was 22 games by the Yankees over the Red Sox in 1998.

Wow…for some reason, I would have imagined it was a much older record.

Oh, and I forgot to ask for the highest and lowest win totals by a team over an entire season.

Not surprisingly, Ty Cobb stole home the most times- he had 54 career steals of home.

Most of the leaders in this category are from way back, since hardly anybody even TRIES to steal home any more.

Among relatively modern players, Paul Molitor did it 10 times, Rod Carew did it 17 times, and Jackie Robinson did it 19 times.

And wouldja believe Babe Ruth stole home 10 times? And Lou Gehrig did it 15 times!
I’ve never seen anyone steal home, or even try. It’s hard to believe stealing home is ever the smartest move. Even if the man on 3rd is fast, I’d think there’d be a much better chance of driving him in.

The 1995 Cleveland Indians, despite playing a strike-shortened season, won their division by 30 games and clinched on September 8. I’m pretty sure both are records.

(Of course, it was easier to win by a big margin after the splits into four and then six divisions.)

Regarding margin of victory, note that baseball records are often restricted to the post-1900 era. If we ignore that restriction, the Chicago Colts beat the Louisville Colonels by 29 runs (36-7) on June 29, 1897.

Regarding outfielders throwing out the batter at first, this will sometimes happen with a pitcher at bat in the National League, since (a) many pitchers are slow and (b) surprised when they actually hit the ball; and © the outfielders can play shallow.

In olden times pitchers would pitch from a full windup with men on third, and a fast runner could sometimes steal with a higher success rate than the batter could bat.

Nowadays most steals of home occur on delayed double steals, plus a small number that occur when the pitcher pitches wildly on a suicide squeeze and scoring rules give the runner a steal of home.

The 1906 Cubs and the 2001 Seattle Mariners both won 116 games. The 1899 Cleveland Spiders went 20- 134. Post 1900, Detroit went 43-119 in 2003.

I seem to recall Dave Winfield doing this. Is my memory right?

I don’t know about Winfield, but Andre Dawson did it for the Cubs. And Rusty Staub was thrown out at 2nd on a line drive to left which the LF neatly nabbed on one hop and threw a strike to 2nd. Staub in his later years was the slowest major-league player, by quite a margin.

In 1982 St Louis Cardinals 3rd string catcher Glenn Brummer stole home. IIRC, it was in the bottom of the 9th inning to win the game. A walk off theft of home.

Blast, I overlooked the fact that’s search function only starts with 1901.

Yes, but the record for post-1900 is 40-120 by the 1962 Mets (who ended up 60 games out of first place). Mets fans were rooting for the Tigers not to break the record.

No, it’s more likely now. Consider the 1995 Indians. They won their division by 30 games, but they were only about 14 games better than the second best team in the league, which played in another division. A good team in a weak division can run further away than when there are eight teams playing against each other and no one else. Mash all the teams in a league into one division and things tighten up.

Even better, it was the bottom of the 12th. . . with two outs. . . and two strikes on the batter.