Daniel Bard was atrocious yesterday! He faced a total of 12 batters and gave up exactly one hit. He had two strikeouts and even induced a double play ball right back to him. Hmmmm, not bad you say. I guess not, unless of course you count the fact that he walked six of those 12 and plunked another two of them. Yikes.
Bard is 5-6 with a 5.24 ERA. He has 37 walks and 34 strikeouts in 55 innings pitched.
A Boston scribe called it one of the worst outings in baseball history and that sent me scrambling.
As bad as Bard was yesterday, I will submit to review some pitching outing which may well have been just a tad worse.
Ever heard of Lefty O’Doul? Pretty good player, hit .349 in 11 big league seasons, not bad. Included in that was a 254 hit season in 1929 with the Phillies.
He hit .398 in 1929 and .383 in 1930.
However before all that, he pitched. First for the NY Yankees and then for the Boston Red Sox and on July 7, 1923, he pitched his way into the Red Sox record book.
O’Doul’s pitching career encompassed 34 games, 1 start and 77 2/3 innings pitched. His record was 1-1.
It was the first game of a doubleheader in Cleveland and the Sox were 26-38, mired in last place 19 games out and on their way to a 91 loss season.
The Red Sox starter was a gentleman by the name of Curt Fullerton.
Fullerton was 2-15 with Boston in 1923.
Curtis didn’t exactly have it working on this particular Saturday afternoon at Dunn Field. In fact in three innings he was tagged for seven hits, eight runs. He walked four Indians and did not have a strike out! The Red Sox scored a couple in the top of the fourth and manager Frank Chance turned the ball over to O’Doul.
Frank Chance (right) he of Tinkers to Evans to Chance fame, managed the Red Sox for one year, 1923.
Lefty surrendered a run in the fourth, two in the fifth and when Cleveland came to bat in the sixth they did so with an 11-2 lead. By the end of the inning, the Indians had added 13 runs to their lead. That’s right 13 runs! Lefty had walked a half a dozen hitters and his defense abandoned him as only three of those 13 runs were earned! None the less, he sits in the Red Sox record book having surrendered the most runs in any one inning in their history. His six walks in one frame is also a Red Sox record. His stats on the day, 16 runs, 11 hits, eight walks and no strikeouts in three innings. Oh, the final score, Cleveland 27 the Red Sox 3! That too is a Red Sox record for most runs allowed in one game.
That winter O’Doul was optioned to the minors and after four years in the Pacific Coast League he made it back to the bigs and was one helluva hitter. Perhaps all owed to a Saturday afternoon shelling in Cleveland!
However, that may not be the worst outing ever by a Red Sox pitcher! What? Really, this guy may have out done old Lefty.
Ehmke won 20 games for a very bad Red Sox team in 1923, going 20-17.
He is Howard Ehmke and on September 28th of that very same 1923 season, he went to the hill in front of 3000 people at Fenway Park to battle the first place Yankees. The Yankees took a 6-3 lead into the top of the sixth inning and when the Red Sox came to bat in their half of the sixth, the score was 17-3 and Howie boy was done for the day. His line, six innings pitched, 17 runs (16 of them earned), 21 hits, four walks and six strikeouts. Oh, and the final score? Yankees 24 Red Sox 4.
Daniel Bard was abysmal yesterday and he is struggling in his attempt to transition from set up man to starter. But his day was a cake walk compared to the afternoons endured by Lefty O’Doul and Howard Ehmke, a cake walk!
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, June 4, 2012, draft day.