Ben Zobrist

Benjamin Thomas Zobrist (/ˈzoʊbrɪst/; born May 26, 1981), nicknamed Zorilla, is an American professional baseball second baseman and outfielder for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball (MLB) and part time contributor to Tim Dillard's postseason pregame show. He previously played for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays/Rays, his first MLB club and where he spent the majority of his career, and briefly for the Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals. Zobrist has played in three World Series, winning the last two becoming a two-time World Series champion in consecutive seasons of 2015 with the Royals and 2016 with the Cubs. Zobrist was the 2016 World Series Most Valuable Player. He is one of seven players in MLB history to have won back-to back World Series championships on different teams, the other five being Jake Peavy, Jack Morris, Bill Skowron, Clem Labine, Don Gullett, and Ryan Theriot.

A versatile defender and a switch-hitter with a high walk rate,[1] he has played roughly half his innings at second base, and has also spent significant time at shortstop and various outfield positions.[2] Thus, he has often been referred to as a "super utility player".[3][4]

Ben Zobrist
Ben Zobrist on September 9, 2015
Zobrist at a press conference after signing with the Chicago Cubs in December 2015
Chicago Cubs – No. 18
Utility player
Born: May 26, 1981 (age 37)
Eureka, Illinois
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
MLB debut
August 1, 2006, for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
MLB statistics
(through 2018 season)
Batting average.266
Home runs166
Runs batted in751
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Early life

Zobrist was born and raised in Eureka, Illinois, by his parents Cynthia "Cindi" (née Cali) and Tom Zobrist, senior pastor of Liberty Bible Church in Eureka.[5]

Zobrist played baseball starting when he was eight years old; he and his friends built their own wiffle ball field behind his house. Zobrist attended Eureka High School, graduating in 2001. After no professional scouts or college recruiters considered him by the time he graduated, Zobrist thought baseball was over for him. "Baseball was not even a thought in my mind", Zobrist said, "When I was done with my last high school game, I was driving around town just thinking I'm done with baseball the rest of my life." Zobrist planned to attend Calvary Bible College in Kansas City, Missouri, but his high school coach encouraged him to spend $50 to participate in an annual summer event that showcased seniors in Peoria, Illinois.[6] He played in the showcase, and was given an offer to play college baseball at Olivet Nazarene University, which he accepted. In his time at Olivet, he pitched and also played at shortstop and second base. In 2002 he was named to both the all-CCAC and all-Region VII First Teams, and received NAIA Honorable Mention All-America status.[7] He was named the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year, first team All-Region VII, and first team NAIA All-America in 2003.[8] He transferred to Dallas Baptist University for his senior year, where he played shortstop and batted .378 with a .590 slugging percentage.[9][10]

Baseball career

Zobrist played in Wausau, Wisconsin, for the Wisconsin Woodchucks of the Summer Collegiate Northwoods League in 2003. He was voted team MVP and led his team to the League Championship.[11]

Tampa Bay Devil Rays/Rays

Zobrist was drafted by the Houston Astros as a shortstop in the sixth round of the 2004 Major League Baseball draft. With right-handed pitcher Mitch Talbot, Zobrist was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for first baseman/designated hitter Aubrey Huff and cash on July 12, 2006.[12]

Zobrist made his major league debut with Tampa Bay on August 1, 2006.[13] He exclusively played shortstop in his first two seasons with Tampa Bay.

Zobrist struggled through parts of the 2006 and 2007 seasons with the Rays. One day, he met a "swing mechanic" (batting coach) looking for students. The swing coach was able to help Zobrist, and it was evident to the Rays during the 2008 season. "He added the power component", Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said, "He became a lot more physical."[9]

2008 season

For the most part, Zobrist was used as a right fielder and a back-up shortstop during the 2008 season. In certain situations where a fifth infielder was needed, he or Melvin Upton Jr. (a former infielder himself) would be moved in from the outfield during the season. Zobrist went to his first World Series as a player with the Rays in 2008. His versatility was showcased during Game 3 of the 2008 World Series against the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies when he came in as part of a double switch to play right field. However, Zobrist initially played unusually shallow, in essence becoming a fifth infielder.

2009 season

001H0388 Ben Zobrist
Zobrist batting for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009

Zobrist was placed in right field for the beginning of the 2009 season, and was made the starting second baseman after teammate Akinori Iwamura was injured. Zobrist hit three grand slams in 2009, leading the Rays, and was among the league leaders in slugging percentage. He earned a trip to his first All Star Game in St. Louis in 2009. The Tampa Bay Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America named him MVP of the Rays for 2009.[14]

Zobrist led all hitters in the majors in 2009 for wins above replacement with 8.6, ahead of Albert Pujols' 8.4 WAR.[15]

2010 season

On April 23, 2010, Zobrist and the Rays agreed to a three-year contract extension through the 2013 season, with a team option for 2014 and 2015, a deal potentially worth $30 million.[16] In 2010, Zobrist batted .238, with a .353 slugging percentage.[17]

2011 season

BZobrist
Zobrist during his tenure with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011

On April 28, 2011, Zobrist collected a Tampa Bay Rays record eight RBIs in a 15–3 rout of the Minnesota Twins.[18] Another game was held during the day to make up for a previously rained out game and Zobrist drove in another two runs, making a total 10 RBIs for the day.

Zobrist led the American League in WAR with 8.8, ahead of MVP Justin Verlander and MVP runner up Jacoby Ellsbury[19]

2012 season

During the 2012 season, Zobrist's skills were used at multiple positions. He played 47 games at shortstop, the most since his rookie season. He was also used as an outfielder and second baseman.[20]

Zobrist finished the year with 20 home runs, accomplishing the feat for the second time in a row.[21]

2013 season

On April 8, 2013, Zobrist became the strikeout victim on the disputed call that led to Joe Nathan's 300th career save. Zobrist was named an All Star for the second time of his career.[22] He finished the 2013 season with a .275 batting average, his highest since 2009.[21]

2014 season

On September 10, Zobrist recorded his 1,000th career hit against the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium.[23]

Oakland Athletics

On January 10, 2015, Zobrist was traded to the Oakland Athletics with teammate Yunel Escobar in exchange for John Jaso, Daniel Robertson, and Boog Powell.[24] On opening day with the Athletics, Zobrist hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat. On April 25, 2015, it was revealed that Zobrist had a torn medial meniscus in his left knee, putting him on the 15-day disabled list.[25] The knee required surgery, keeping Zobrist out of action for 4–6 weeks.[26]

Kansas City Royals

On July 28, 2015, Zobrist was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Sean Manaea and Aaron Brooks.[27] He played 59 games in the regular season for Kansas City and finished with a batting average of .284, with 7 home runs, 37 runs scored, and 23 RBIs.[28]

The Royals won the AL Central Division and played the Houston Astros for the ALDS with Zobrist starting in all five games. The Royals advanced to the World Series after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays in six games to become the American League Champions. The Royals won the 2015 World Series after defeating the New York Mets in four of the five games played. Zobrist played second base and batted second in every game of the 2015 Royals postseason. He hit .303 in the 2015 postseason with 66 at bats, 15 runs scored, 20 hits, 2 home runs, and 6 RBIs.[29]

Chicago Cubs

Ben Zobrist with 2016 World Series MVP trophy
Zobrist with the World Series MVP Award in 2016

On December 8, 2015, Zobrist agreed to a four-year, $56 million contract with the Chicago Cubs. The signing reunited him with Joe Maddon, his manager when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.[30] In 2016, he batted .272/.386/.446 and led the major leagues in walks-per-strikeout at 1.17.[31]

In Game 4 of the 2016 National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants with the Cubs having a 2-1 series lead, Zobrist drove in Kris Bryant to score the first run in the top of the ninth and later scored the tying run on a two-run single by Willson Contreras. The Cubs scored another run later that inning, sending them to the National League Championship Series.[32] Following the Cubs' Game 7 victory in the 2016 World Series, after driving in the first of two go-ahead runs in the top of the 10th inning, he was named the World Series Most Valuable Player.[33]

In 2017, Zobrist played in 159 games, batting .232/.318/.375. Playing five different positions, he committed only three errors and had a fielding percentage of .991. He was a finalist for the Gold Glove Award at second base, along with Dee Gordon and winner DJ LeMahieu.

In 2018 he batted .305 (a career high)/.378/.440.

Player profile

Zobrist is an above-average hitter with a career slash line of .264/.354/.429 and a wRC+ of 118. He accomplishes this with a patient, contact-based approach; his swing rate is one of the lowest in the league, leading to a walk rate of 12.5% and a contact rate of 85.3%. He is also an above-average baserunner, who has 102 stolen bases at a success rate of 74%.[1][34]

Zobrist is noted for his defensive versatility.[3][4] He has played over 4,200 defensive innings at second base, over 2,200 in right field, over 1,700 at shortstop, and over 500 innings at other outfield positions. Zobrist has been rated by UZR as a significantly above-average defender at second and in right, and a marginally below-average defender at shortstop.[2]

His nickname, "Zorilla," was given to him by his manager Joe Maddon while playing for the Rays in 2009.[12][35] Zobrist chose "Zorilla" as his nickname for the Players Weekend during the 2017 season.[36]

Personal life

2015 -WinterMeetings- The Zobrist family (23271867979) (cropped)
Zobrist and his family in 2015

Zobrist lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with his wife, singer Julianna Zobrist, and their three children, one of whom was born five days after Zobrist's Royals won the 2015 World Series.[37] Julianna gave birth to Blaise Royal the day after the Royals World Series parade.[38][39]

Zobrist is a former counselor for Camp of Champions USA, a Christian summer day camp in central Illinois. He speaks at church events about his early life and success, which he credits all to God.[40] Zobrist often talks about his Christian faith, saying God helped him realize that he was supposed to play baseball. "I just felt like everything fell into place so much, that this is what I was supposed to do. This is what I was made to do."[41] He and former teammate Gabe Gross have talked about how they organize Bible studies with their teammates.[42] St. Pete Times writer Mark Topkin wrote Zobrist "doesn't judge or proselytize, refraining from forcing his beliefs on anyone, though willing to get involved if asked."[43]

In the 2013 film Ring The Bell, released by Provident Films, Zobrist plays himself in a cameo role alongside Rick Sutcliffe, John Kruk, Mark Hall (also playing themselves), Ryan Scharoun, Ashley Anderson McCarthy, and Casey Bond.[44]

References

  1. ^ a b "Ben Zobrist". Fangraphs.com. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Ben Zobrist; Fielding". Fangraphs.com. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Ben Zobrist super-utility player". usatoday.com. March 23, 2010. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Ben Zobrist is 'Father of Utility'". mlb.com. March 11, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  5. ^ "Tampa Bay Rays' Ben Zobrist has taken a surprising path to today's All-Star Game". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  6. ^ "The Kansas City Star". kansascity. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  7. ^ Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Athletics - Former ONU Tiger Ben Zobrist Named to AL All-Star Team
  8. ^ Six Honored at 2014 Rawlings-NAIA Hall of Fame and Awards Luncheon - NAIA - National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
  9. ^ a b "Topkin, Mark. "Tampa Bay Rays' Ben Zobrist has taken a surprising path to today's All-Star Game"". Tampabay.com. July 14, 2009. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  10. ^ Ben Zobrist, Who Reversed The Chicago Cubs' Billy Goat Curse With 10th-Inning Hit to Win Game 7, Is a Dallas Baptist-Ex | Dallas Observer
  11. ^ Conley, Chris (November 3, 2016). "Zobrist, former Woodchuck, is MVP". WSAU. WSAU FM. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  12. ^ a b Schwarz, Alan (July 19, 2009). "For Rays' Zobrist, versatility meets opportunity". The New York Times. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  13. ^ "'05 Legends Pence, Zobrist face off in NLDS - Lexington Legends News". Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  14. ^ "Ben Zobrist named Rays MVP; Niemann the Rookie of the Year". Blogs.tampabay.com. October 3, 2009. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  15. ^ "Major League Leaderboard". Fangraphs.com. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  16. ^ Chastain, Bill (April 23, 2010). "Zobrist, Rays, reach long-term extension". MLB.com. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
  17. ^ "Ben Zobrist Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  18. ^ "Tampa Bay at Minnesota – 2011-04-28 – Major League Baseball". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  19. ^ "2011 American League Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  20. ^ "Now playing shortstop: Ben Zobrist". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  21. ^ a b "Ben Zobrist Batting Stats". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  22. ^ "Rays' Zobrist named AL All-Star". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  23. ^ "Rays leadoff man Ben Zobrist gets career hit No. 1,000 against Yankees". Journal Star. September 10, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  24. ^ "Ben Zobrist, Yunel Escobar traded to Oakland Athletics from Tampa Bay Rays". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  25. ^ Kruth, Cash. "Zobrist placed on 15-day DL with knee injury". MLB.com. MLB.com. Retrieved April 25, 2015.
  26. ^ Snyder, Matt. "Zobrist to undergo knee surgery". CBS Sports. Retrieved April 25, 2015.
  27. ^ Berry, Adam (July 28, 2015). "Royals get Zobrist in trade with A's". MLB.com. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  28. ^ "Ben Zobrist Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  29. ^ "Ben Zobrist Stats, Fantasy & News". Kansas City Royals. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  30. ^ "Ben Zobrist agrees to four-year, $56M deal with Cubs". Yahoo Sports. December 9, 2015. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  31. ^ Major League Leaderboards » 2016 » Batters » Advanced Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball
  32. ^ Chris Haft and Carrie Muskat (October 11, 2016). "Cubs deliver Giant stunner, advance to NLCS". MLB. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  33. ^ Matt Snyder (November 3, 2016). "Why World Series MVP Ben Zobrist had one of the biggest hits in baseball history". cbssports.com. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  34. ^ "Ben Zobrist; Standard". Fangraphs.com. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  35. ^ "Crasnick: Starting 9 -- Best nicknames currently in baseball". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  36. ^ MLB Players Weekend to showcase unique nicknames, colorful uniforms | Chicago Sun-Times
  37. ^ "Royal birth: Zobrist names baby girl Blaise Royal". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  38. ^ "Whoa, baby! Zobrist's pregnant wife tells him to play ball". NY Daily News. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  39. ^ "Ben and Julianna Zobrist name new baby girl Blaise Royal". kansascity. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  40. ^ "Piniat, Elaine. "Former AIA Player Makes it to the 'Big Leagues'", Athletes in Action, Thursday, June 25, 2009". Athletesinaction.org. June 25, 2009. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  41. ^ "Tampa Bay Rays' Ben Zobrist has taken a surprising path to today's All-Star Game". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  42. ^ Dymond, Richard (February 23, 2013). "Rays' Zobrist shares his faith in Lakewood Ranch". Bradenton Herald. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  43. ^ "Tampa Bay Rays' Ben Zobrist has taken a surprising path to today's All-Star Game". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  44. ^ Weber, Thomas (2013-04-09), Ring the Bell, retrieved 2016-11-03

External links

2015 American League Championship Series

The 2015 American League Championship Series (ALCS) was a best-of-seven playoff contested between the Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals for the American League (AL) pennant and the right to play in the 2015 World Series. The series is the 46th in league history. The series was broadcast by Fox and Fox Sports 1 in the United States, with Fox airing Game 1 and Fox Sports 1 airing Games 2–6. Sportsnet, a property of Blue Jays owner Rogers Communications, simulcast Fox and Fox Sports 1's coverage in Canada. Game 1 took place on October 16, and the series ended with the Royals winning Game 6 on October 23.This was the second ALCS matchup between Kansas City and Toronto; the Royals previously rallied from a 3–1 deficit to defeat the Blue Jays in seven games in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals would go on to defeat the New York Mets in the World Series in five games, winning their first World Series championship in 30 years.

2016 Chicago Cubs season

The 2016 Chicago Cubs season was the 145th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 141st in the National League and the Cubs' 101st season at Wrigley Field. To celebrate their 100 years at Wrigley, the Cubs wore a patch on their home uniforms and wore 1916 throwback uniforms on July 6.They began the season on April 4, 2016 at the Los Angeles Angels and finished the regular season on October 2, 2016 at the Cincinnati Reds. The Cubs finished with the best record in Major League Baseball and won their first National League Central title since the 2008 season, winning by 17½ games. The team also reached the 100-win mark for the first time since 1935 and won 103 total games, the most wins for the franchise since 1910.

The Cubs defeated the San Francisco Giants in the National League Division Series and returned to the National League Championship Series for the second year in a row, where they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.

The Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in seven games in the 2016 World Series, their first appearance since the 1945 World Series and first win since the 1908 World Series. In the World Series, the Cubs came back from a three-games-to-one deficit, winning the final three games. The last time a team came back from a three-games-to-one deficit to win the World Series was the Kansas City Royals in 1985. The Cubs were also the first team to win Games 6 and 7 on the road in a World Series since the Pittsburgh Pirates had done so against the Baltimore Orioles in 1979. The World Series victory put an end to the so-called Curse of the Billy Goat and the longest World Series championship drought in history.

2016 World Series

The 2016 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2016 season. The 112th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff between the National League (NL) champion Chicago Cubs and the American League (AL) champion Cleveland Indians, the first meeting of those franchises in postseason history. The series was played between October 25 and November 3. The Indians had home-field advantage because the AL had won the 2016 All-Star Game. It was also the last World Series to have home-field advantage determined by the All-Star Game results; since 2017, home-field advantage has been awarded to the team with the better record.

The Cubs defeated the Indians when they won 4 games to 3 to win their first World Series since 1908. Game 7, an 8–7 victory in extra innings, marked the fifth time that a Game 7 had gone past nine innings and the first since 1997 (which, coincidentally, also featured the Indians). It was also the first to have a rain delay which occurred as the tenth inning was about to start. The Cubs became the sixth team to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven World Series, following the 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates, the 1958 New York Yankees, the 1968 Detroit Tigers, the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates, and the 1985 Kansas City Royals.

The Cubs, playing in their eleventh World Series and their first since 1945, won their third championship and first since 1908, ending the longest world championship drought in North American professional sports history. It was the Indians' sixth appearance in the World Series and their first since 1997, with their last Series win having come in 1948. The two teams entered their matchup as the two franchises with the longest World Series title droughts, a combined 176 years without a championship. Cleveland manager Terry Francona, who had previously won World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007, fell short in his bid to become the third manager, and the first non-Yankees manager, to win his first three trips to the Fall Classic, after Casey Stengel and Joe Torre.

2017 Chicago Cubs season

The 2017 Chicago Cubs season was the 146th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 142nd in the National League and the Cubs' 102nd season at Wrigley Field. The Cubs were the defending World Series champions, having defeated the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series. The Cubs were managed by Joe Maddon, in his third year as Cubs manager, and played their home games at Wrigley Field as members of the National League Central Division.

The Cubs began the season on April 2, 2017 at the St. Louis Cardinals and finished the regular season October 1 at home against the Cincinnati Reds. The Cubs finished the season 92–70 in first place in the Central Division. With a win over the Cardinals on September 27, the Cubs won the division title for the second consecutive year.The Cubs defeated the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series three games to two to advance to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the League Championship Series in a rematch of the previous year's series. In the best of seven NLCS, the Cubs lost to the Dodgers four games to one.

2018 Chicago Cubs season

The 2018 Chicago Cubs season was the 147th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 143rd in the National League and the Cubs' 103rd season at Wrigley Field. The Cubs were managed by Joe Maddon, in his fourth year as Cubs manager, and played their home games at Wrigley Field as members of Major League Baseball's National League Central Division.

The Cubs began the season March 29 at the Miami Marlins and finished the season on September 30 against the St. Louis Cardinals. On September 26, the Cubs clinched a trip to the postseason for the fourth year in a row, marking the longest streak in franchise history. The Cubs finished the 162-game schedule 95–67, earning a tie with the Milwaukee Brewers for the division. They lost to the Brewers in a 163rd game to determine the Central Division champions, failing in their quest to win the division for a third consecutive year. Instead, they hosted the Wild Card Game against the Colorado Rockies, but the Cubs lost 2–1 in 13 innings.

It was the second of the last for team broadcasts on long time FTA broadcaster WGN-TV, the 2018-19 offseason was when it was announced that effective Opening Day 2020, the Cubs will be moving to a brand new regional cable TV channel, making them the 4th team overall to have their own cable station, offically ending a 7-decade long presence there. WLS-TV, the team's secondary over the air broadcaster, will soon take over the free to air broadcasts of Cubs games from that year on.

Bill Skowron

William Joseph Skowron (December 18, 1930 – April 27, 2012), nicknamed "Moose", was an American professional baseball first baseman. He played thirteen seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1954 to 1967 for the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox, and California Angels. He had been a community relations representative for the Chicago White Sox for several years when he died in 2012. He is one of six players in MLB history to have won back-to back World Series championships on different teams, the other five being Ben Zobrist, Jake Peavy, Jack Morris, Clem Labine, and Don Gullett.

Clem Labine

Clement Walter Labine (August 6, 1926 – March 2, 2007) was an American right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball best known for his years with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1950 to 1960. As a key member of the Dodgers in the early 1950s, he helped the team to its first World Series title in 1955 with a win and a save in four games. He is one of six players in MLB history to have won back-to back World Series championships on different teams, the other five being Ben Zobrist, Jake Peavy, Jack Morris, Bill Skowron, and Don Gullett.

He held the National League record for career saves from 1958 until 1962; his 96 career saves ranked fourth in Major League history when he retired. He also set a Dodgers franchise record of 425 career games pitched.

Dallas Braden's perfect game

On May 9, 2010, Major League Baseball pitcher Dallas Braden pitched a perfect game. Braden, a member of the Oakland Athletics, pitched the game against the Tampa Bay Rays and retired all 27 batters. The game took place on Mother's Day in the United States and Braden's grandmother, Peggy Lindsey — who raised him after his mother died of cancer when he was in high school — was in attendance. Braden's battery mate during the game was Landon Powell, who was called up from the minor leagues 18 days before. It was the nineteenth perfect game in baseball history. Braden, who was 26 at the time, was the youngest pitcher to throw a perfect game since Mike Witt in 1984. The game was the Athletics' first no-hitter since 1990 when Dave Stewart did so on June 29, 1990, against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Eureka High School (Illinois)

Eureka High School (commonly called Eureka High or EHS) is a public secondary school in Eureka, Illinois, United States. The school is part of Eureka Community Unit District 140, with admission based primarily on the locations of students' homes. Communities supported include Eureka, Goodfield, Secor, and Congerville. Serving students in grades ninth grade–twelfth grade, it is a small high school with a student base of 504 students. The school is a member of the Heart of Illinois Conference and competes under the name Hornets.

Félix Hernández's perfect game

On August 15, 2012, Seattle Mariners pitcher Félix Hernández pitched the 23rd and most recent perfect game in Major League Baseball history and the first in Mariners' franchise history. Pitching against the Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington, Hernández retired all 27 batters that he faced and tallied 12 strikeouts in a 1–0 victory.This was the third perfect game of the 2012 Major League Baseball season, following perfect games thrown by Philip Humber and Matt Cain, marking the first time that three perfect games were thrown in one MLB season. Also, as the Mariners were the losing team in Humber's perfect game, this was the first time that a team was on the losing and winning end of a perfect game in the same season. As Philip Humber's perfect game took place when the White Sox were visiting Safeco Field, this marked the first time two perfect games were thrown in the same park in the same season. It was also the second time in 2012 that the Mariners had pitched a no-hitter at Safeco Field; they pitched a combined no-hitter on June 8, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers, also 1–0, making it the first time that a team pitched a combined no-hitter and complete game no-hitter in the same season. It also marked the third time the Tampa Bay Rays had been on the receiving end of a perfect game in four seasons, having previously failed to reach first base against Dallas Braden in 2010 and Mark Buehrle in 2009. Evan Longoria, Carlos Peña, Melvin Upton, Jr. and Ben Zobrist all played for the Rays in all three games, tying Alfredo Griffin's dubious mark for most losing perfect games played in.

Jack Morris

John Scott Morris (born May 16, 1955) is an American former professional baseball starting pitcher. He is currently a color commentator for the Detroit Tigers on Fox Sports Detroit. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) between 1977 and 1994, mainly for the Detroit Tigers. Morris won 254 games throughout his career.

Armed with a fastball, a slider, and a forkball, Morris was a five-time All-Star (1981, 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1991), and played on four World Series Championship teams (1984 Tigers, 1991 Minnesota Twins, and 1992–1993 Toronto Blue Jays). He went 3–0 in the 1984 postseason with two complete game victories in the 1984 World Series, and 4–0 in the 1991 postseason with a ten-inning complete game victory in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Morris won the Babe Ruth Award in both 1984 and 1991, and was named World Series MVP in 1991. While he gave up the most hits, most earned runs, and most home runs of any pitcher in the 1980s, he also started the most games, pitched the most innings, and had the most wins of any pitcher in that decade. He is one of seven players in MLB history to have won back-to back World Series championships on different teams, the other six being Ben Zobrist, Jake Peavy, Bill Skowron, Clem Labine, Don Gullett, and Ryan Theriot.

Since retiring as a player, Morris has worked as a broadcast color analyst for the Blue Jays, Twins, and Tigers. He has also been an analyst for MLB broadcasts on Fox Sports 1. Morris was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.

Mark Buehrle's perfect game

Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox pitched a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays by retiring all nine batters he faced three times each on Thursday, July 23, 2009. This event took place in U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago in front of 28,036 fans in attendance. This game took 2:03 from 1:07 PM CT to 3:10 PM CT.

It was the eighteenth perfect game and 263rd no-hitter in MLB history, second perfect game and seventeenth no-hitter in White Sox history. The previous perfect game in MLB history was on May 18, 2004 when Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitched a perfect game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. The previous occasion a White Sox pitcher threw a perfect game was on April 30, 1922 when Charlie Robertson pitched a perfecto against the Detroit Tigers at Navin Field (later known as Tiger Stadium); that was the fifth perfect game in MLB history.

Buehrle also logged his second career no-hitter; the first was against the Texas Rangers on April 18, 2007. He became the first pitcher to throw multiple no-hitters since Johnson. Buehrle did this in the midst of setting a Major League record by retiring 45 consecutive batters over three games.The umpire, Eric Cooper, who stood behind the plate for this perfect game was the same home plate umpire when Buehrle threw his first career no-hitter. Ramón Castro was the catcher.

At the time, the Rays were tied for the second-highest on-base percentage (.343) of any team, so they were one of the least likely to allow a perfect game. Buehrle’s perfect game was to become the first of three perfect games and the first of four no-hitters allowed by Rays in less than three years:

the second was delivered by Dallas Braden of the Oakland Athletics on May 9, 2010 (Mother's Day)

the third was pitched by Edwin Jackson of the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 25, 2010

and the fourth, which meant the Rays tied the Dodgers as the only MLB franchise to allow three perfect games, being delivered by Félix Hernández on August 15, 2012.

Marty Foster

Martin Robert Foster (born November 25, 1963) is an umpire in Major League Baseball. After first working in the American League in 1996, he joined the league staff in 1999 and has worked throughout both major leagues since 2000. Foster has umpired in two All-Star Games and three League Division Series.

Michael Nastav

Michael Gerard Nastav, nicknamed Naz, is a former NAIA shortstop standout from Olivet Nazarene University. Nastav currently is the all time assist leader with 166 assists in 2005 surpassing current MLB standout Ben Zobrist who held the same record in 2002.

Sports in New York's Capital District

Sports in New York's Capital District are very popular, and there is a rich history of professional teams and college athletics.

The "major league" sport of the region is thoroughbred horse racing at the Saratoga Race Course, which has been held annually since 1863 with only a few breaks. The Saratoga Race Course is the oldest racetrack in the US, and possibly the oldest sporting venue of any kind in the country. The Saratoga meet runs for 40 racing days beginning in July and ending on Labor Day, and includes fifteen grade I stakes races. The Travers Stakes, America's "Midsummer Derby" is the highlight of the meet; winners include Man o' War, Whirlaway, Native Dancer, Sword Dancer, Alydar, and Birdstone.

According to legend, the game of baseball was invented by Abner Doubleday of Ballston Spa. The Troy Trojans were a Major League Baseball team in the National League for four seasons from 1879 to 1882. In 1883 the New York Gothams, later the New York and San Francisco Giants, took the Trojans place in the National League. Nearly half of the original Gotham players had been members of the Trojans. Many other Major League ballplayers have had their start at various levels in the Capital District, including former Tri-City ValleyCats' Jose Altuve, Dallas Keuchel, George Springer, Ben Zobrist, and Hunter Pence. Others include Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees who once played for the Albany-Colonie Yankees.NBA head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, Phil Jackson, won his first championship ring when he guided the Albany Patroons to the 1984 CBA championship. Three years later, the Patroons completed a 50–6 regular season, including winning all 28 of their home games; at that time, Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl was the Patroons' head coach. Future NBA stars Mario Elie and Vincent Askew were part of that season's squad. A third NBA head coach has roots in the Capital District as well, Pat Riley, most famous as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, but also of the New York Knicks and Miami Heat. Riley played for Linton High School in Schenectady, where he was also a football star. He also played on the Schenectady Little League Baseball team when in 1954 it won the Little League Baseball World Series.

Mike Tyson received his early training in the Capital District and his first professional fight was in Albany in 1985 and Tyson's first televised fight was in Troy in 1986. He fought professionally four times in Albany and twice each in Troy and Glens Falls between 1985 and 1986.

Since 1973, the AKRFC, has been promoting rugby and now includes a DII men's team, a DI women's team, and youth rugby all across the Capital Region. They play on Dick Green Field at 100 Frisbie Ave, Albany, named after the late Dick Green who suffered a heart attack while practicing at Lincoln Park.

Since 2002, The Tri-City ValleyCats have won three New York-Penn League titles, and have captured seven Stedler Division titles.

Since 1988, the Siena College men's basketball team (the Siena Saints) have appeared in six NCAA Tournaments (1989, 1999, 2002, 2008, 2009, and 2010).

Since 2005, the University at Albany Great Danes men's basketball team has appeared in five NCAA Tournaments (2006, 2007, 2013, 2014, and 2015).

The University at Albany Great Danes women's basketball team has made six consecutive NCAA Tournaments (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017).

Roller derby leagues in the area include Albany's Albany All-Stars Roller Derby, Troy's Hellions of Troy Roller Derby. and Capital District Men's Roller Derby.

Twin City Stars

The Twin City Stars was a Central Illinois Collegiate League baseball team located in the twin cities of Normal, Illinois and Bloomington, Illinois. The Stars' home fields were Duffy Bass Field on the campus of Illinois State University and Horenberger Field on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University. The team was founded in 1982 by Illinois State University Hall of Fame Coach Buford "Duffy" Bass. Former Stars players who reached the major leagues include Ben Zobrist, Paul Wagner, Sal Fasano and Mickey Morandini.

Utility infielder

A utility infielder (UI) is a baseball player, usually one who does not have a regular starting role on the team and who is capable of playing more than one of the four defensive infield positions: second base, third base, shortstop, and less typically first base. Utility infielders are generally considered excellent defensive players who do not hit well enough to remain in the starting lineup, but can fill in at multiple defensive positions to give the various starters a rest, or replace a starter late in a game to provide improved defense when the team is winning.

Examples of current utility infielders include Luis Valbuena, Jed Lowrie, Brock Holt, Ben Zobrist, and Marwin González.

Wisconsin Woodchucks

The Wisconsin Woodchucks are an American baseball team that plays in the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league. They play their home games at Athletic Park in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Zorilla

Zorilla may refer to:

Striped polecat, a species of mustelid

Zorilla, the nickname of Chicago Cubs player Ben Zobrist (born 1981)

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