by John Burgeson

Puzzle #9 read

J Rumbleton Bagpipe and Derfloss Spode are two rookies in the lineup of their first game. In the game, Bagpipe never appears at the plate yet his MLB record shows one at bat, no hits. Spode, in his only chance at the plate, hits a legal pitch fair and winds up on first base. Yet his MLB record shows 0 at bats.

Explanation: Bagpipe was slotted as the #2 batter and Spode #3. After the first batter, Bagpipe fell asleep on the bench; Spode went up and singled. The umpires called Bagpipe out. They also erased Spode's single, not charging him with a plate appearance. Bagpipe and Spode were immediately sent back to the minors, never to reappear. The #4 batter was the next hitter. This actually took place (with different players, of course) in an Astros game.

Let's talk about Hank Aaron. Few people know that Hank set a major league record in his very first game! I'll tell you about it later. But first, fast forward to Sunday, August 19, 1951 (by coincidence, my 20th birthday). Bob Cain was on the mound for the Tigers that day, and he never expected what St. Louis owner Bill Veeck was planning.

Bill had signed circus midget, Eddie Gaedel, 3-foot-7 inches tall. Gaedel's strike zone was about two inches, and Veeck told him that if he swang at a pitch a sniper was ready to shoot him from the stands.

Frank Saucier was the leadoff man in that game, but manager Zack Taylor sent Gaedel to pinch hit. Pitcher Cain, shaken with laughter, walked Gaedel on four pitches. A pinch-runner was selected and Gaedel's baseball career was over.

Oh yes -- Aaron's record. On that day of beginnings of a glorious career, Aaron became #1 on the roster of all major league baseball players.

That's the end of the series. Hope you enjoyed it.

John Burgeson (aka Spode)

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