Chris Kamka

Who Knew? Baseball oddities from Daniel Palka, Anthony Rizzo and more in Chicago baseball


Who Knew? Baseball oddities from Daniel Palka, Anthony Rizzo and more in Chicago baseball

After a two-week hiatus, “Who Knew?” is Back!  Time for our (usually) weekly journey through the improbable, inane & obscure of Chicago Baseball.

All notes are through Sunday’s games.

Extra Innings… Extra Runs

Last Monday the Cubs beat the Brewers 7-2… in 11 innings.

They have three wins this season in extra innings.  By 4, 5 and 6 runs!  Their four extra-inning losses this season are by 1, 1, 1 and 2 runs.

No other team has won an extra-inning game by at least 5 runs this season.  The Cubs have done it twice.

Inning Checklist

Anthony Rizzo homered in the 11th inning in that Monday Cubs win.  He has now homered in every inning from 1 to 13 in his career, joining Ron Santo & Sammy Sosa as the only players in Cubs history who can make that distinction.

One-Two Punch

Tuesday night, Yoán Moncada & Yolmer Sánchez led off the game with back-to-back home runs.

It was the fourth time in franchise history the Sox led a game off with consecutive homers.

Sánchez hit the second home run each of the last two times they did it (also September 2, 2017 after Alen Hanson)

It was the FIRST time in Major League history two players whose first name begins with the letter Y had hit consecutive home runs to begin a game.

What’s the Catch?

439 players have had at least 30 at-bats this season.

The best batting average of those players belongs to Kevan Smith (.441 but in only 34 at-bats)

In the Park

The most batters faced without allowing a home run this season is 149, by Dylan Covey. He allowed 20 Home Runs in 70.0 Innings in 2017.

Through the Draft

Friday night:

Javier Báez Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2011 (9th overall)  reached base 3 times (including two walks!)
Albert Almora Jr. Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2012 (6th overall)  reached base 3 times
Kris Bryant Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2013 (2nd overall) homered
Kyle Schwarber Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2014 (4th overall)    homered
Ian Happ Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2015 (9th overall)   homered

Double Time

José Abreu has 21 doubles since May 8th.

You could chop off Abreu’s first 31 games this season and those 21 doubles alone would be enough to tie Ozzie Albies & Nick Markakis for the FULL season National League lead this season

Palka Party

Daniel Palka’s 7 batted balls of at least 115 mph is the 4th highest total in MLB (according to the available data at

But look at how many more plate appearances this season the other guys have had!

  Batted balls of 115+mph  PA
Giancarlo Stanton    10 294
Joey Gallo   9 286
Aaron Judge     8 300
Daniel Palka     7 154


By the way, the rest of the White Sox team has a combined 3 batted balls of 115+ MPH this season.  Palka is clearly a special talent.

When They Were Prospects: Magglio Ordoñez

When They Were Prospects: Magglio Ordoñez

Ohhh-Eeee-Ohhh…. Maaaaagglio.

Once you hear it, you never forget it. But what you may have forgotten was exactly how GOOD Magglio Ordoñez was.

He was originally signed for $3,500 in 1991, and worked his way through the White Sox minor league system over the next half dozen years. 

He won the American Association batting title (.329) for the Nashville Sounds (AAA) in 1997 and was the 56th ranked prospect (by Baseball America) entering 1998.

Phil Rogers (then of the Chicago Tribune) said in mid-1997:

“Ordoñez is a deceiving package. He stands 5 feet 11 inches and is listed at 170 pounds. But an appetite for the weight room has given him an upper body that is much closer to Julio Franco than Julio Iglesias.”

Ordoñez was an All-Star in 1999, his age 25-season. It was the first of four consecutive seasons with 30 home runs and a .300 batting average. In White Sox history, the only other player who has done that is Frank Thomas (five straight, from 1993-97). 

As of this writing, Ordoñez is one of four players to hit 100-plus home runs with a .300 career batting average in a White Sox uniform.

Minnie Miñoso                 .304        135

Frank Thomas                    .307        448

Magglio Ordoñez             .307        187

José Abreu                         .300        134

Magglio’s stay in Chicago didn’t end the way everyone would have hoped. A knee injury ended his 2004 campaign prematurely, and when the White Sox won the Fall Classic in 2005 their rightfielder was the World Series MVP. But it wasn’t Magglio Ordoñez, who signed with the Tigers. It was Jermaine Dye, who ironically was born the very same day (January 28, 1974) as the man he replaced.

Ordoñez wasn’t done. He hit a walkoff three-run home run in the ALCS to send the Tigers into the 2006 World Series and won a batting title the following year (.363). He capped a fine career in 2011, finishing with 294 career home runs, a .309 batting average — the 28th highest of anyone with at least 200 career home runs — and a .502 slugging percentage.

But whenever South Side fans hear “Ohhh-Eeee-Ohhh” they still can’t help but to respond:


Who knew? Baseball oddities from Javier Báez, Yolmer Sánchez and more in Chicago baseball


Who knew? Baseball oddities from Javier Báez, Yolmer Sánchez and more in Chicago baseball

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

While you’re gathered with your families for the holiday, what better to entertain a crowd than a long list of baseball statistics! These outstanding feats in Chicago baseball are perfect to rattle off in between trips to the grill (or refrigerator)! So without further ado…

Catch Him if you Can

There have been 14 triples hit by catchers this season (through Sunday). 28.6 percent of them (four) have come off the bat of Willson Contreras.

Contreras is the first Cubs catcher with four triples before the All-Star break since Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett in 1936.

Triple Threat

When Yolmer Sánchez isn’t dousing the field with Gatorade, he’s running wild on the bases. 

Sánchez hit his fifth triple (which is tied for the Major League lead with Javier Báez) on Sunday, and over the last year’s worth of games, he’s at the top of the list.

Most triples, last 365 days (May 28, 2017 – May 27, 2018):

Yolmer Sánchez    11
Nicholas Castellanos 10
Billy Hamilton  10

Double Up

José Abreu enters Monday tied for the MLB lead with 19 doubles this season.  He hit numbers 18 and 19 on Saturday, the team's 49th game this season. 19 doubles through 49 team games in a season is the best by a White Sox player since the legendary Zeke “Banana Nose” Bonura in 1937 (also 19). 


Sánchez (five triples) and Abreu (19 doubles) give the White Sox players tied for the MLB lead in each category.

The last time a team had the Major League leader in doubles and triples (or at least a share for the MLB lead) was 2007, when Curtis Granderson (23 triples) and Magglio Ordoñez (54 doubles) led the Majors in those categories for the Detroit Tigers.

A Contrast in Style

The Cubs mixed it up last Friday against the Giants at Wrigley Field. Consider this:

First batter of game: Gorkys Hernández facing Kyle Hendricks: 86.1 MPH 4-seam Fastball, 86.4 MPH Sinker, 87.1 MPH Sinker (three-pitch strikeout)

Last batter of game: Mac Williamson facing Brandon Morrow: 100.1 MPH Sinker, 99.8 MPH Sinker, 99.7 MPH Sinker (three-pitch strikeout)

The 10/10 club

Entering Monday, there are three players with double-digit totals in both home runs and stolen bases.

Mookie Betts, Mike Trout… and Tim Anderson!

Anderson reached the 10 home run/10 stolen base plateau in team game number 49 this season, the quickest Sox player to do so since Alex Ríos in 2010 (team game 48).

Anderson’s ninth and 10th home runs of the season came Saturday at Detroit. He now has three multi-home run games this season – at three AL Central ballparks (Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City opening day March 29, Guaranteed Rate Field May 5, and Comerica Park in Detroit May 26).

Anderson is one of only two shortstops in White Sox history with multiple multi-home run games in a season. 

Most multi-home run games in a season by a White Sox shortstop:

Tim Anderson 3 2018
José Valentín 3 2003
José Valentín 3 2002
José Valentín 3 2000
12 tied with    1

The 1/1 club

Last Wednesday, José Rondón and Adam Engel both hit a home run and stole a base. It was only the 13th time since 1908 that a pair of White Sox players homered and stole a base in the same game. It was the first time since exactly two years earlier (May 23, 2016) when Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie did it.

The Will to Not Walk

Javier Báez is the first Cubs player to hit five triples and 10 home runs before the All-Star break since Corey Patterson in 2004. 

And through Monday’s game, there are still 43 games to go before we reach the All-Star break.

The last time Báez drew a walk was April 11. 

From April 12 through May 27, 468 players (including Cubs reliever Randy Rosario, who walked in his first Major League plate appearance on Sunday) have drawn at least one walk. But not Báez. 

Mike Trout has drawn 39 walks over that same span.

Báez from April 12 to May 27: .275/.277/.542, no walks, 33 strikeouts

Oh yeah… that walk Báez took on April 11? It was intentional. His last unintentional walk was April 7.

Why walk when you can run, I guess...