As the world continues to bunker down for the extended period of no live baseball, many reach for the memories, facts and topics that speak about the game. The good news is, the game has plenty of history – both recent and distant – to help fill that desire.
One of the great things about watching baseball is, despite the rich history of the sport, there’s always an opportunity to see something that has never happened before. Sometimes when that happens, it is immediately noticeable. Other times it becomes common knowledge after the fact.
Our look into those strange statistical happenings leads us to a story that became common knowledge afterwards, but was likely not noticed as it happened by many.
It was April 17, 2019 when the Cincinnati Reds traveled west to face the Los Angeles Dodgers. Late in the game, the Dodgers were leading the Reds by a score of 3-1 and had turned the game over to their bullpen. The Reds had managed to get a baserunner off Dodgers’ reliever Pedro Baez after Kyle Farmer was hit by a pitch. Farmer was still on first with two outs when Votto strode to the plate to make history.
Votto hit the 3-1 pitch from Baez into foul territory near first base where Cody Bellinger was able to make the catch to end the inning.
A foul out to the first baseman doesn’t sound like much history when it comes to baseball. That has surely happened thousands of times over the years.
But not for Votto. He had come to the plate 6,829 times in his career. This would mark the first time in that 13-year career that Votto would be retired on a pop fly to first base.
Indeed, the potential to see something that has never happened before is always present in baseball.
Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball
He has written for Yahoo Sports, Bleacher Report, Baseball Digest and many other baseball outlets.