Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Going Deep With Project ShaqBox: Dick Allen, Royals Hurlers and Luis Garcia

Illustration for article titled Going Deep With Project ShaqBox: Dick Allen, Royals Hurlers and Luis Garcia
Image: Jesse Spector

The actual Shaq box, the one at the heart of Project ShaqBox, came one step closer to its demise this week. Well, really more than one step because in the photo showing what happened, there quite clearly are two cat paws in the box, atop baseball cards, before Bella hopped on to whatever her next cat activity was.

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Some of the holding together one of the side panels came loose, which made things pretty precarious for a little while, but repairs were able to be made, appropriately tucking one cardboard flap under two others, although that bit with the glue is pretty concerning because there are other shoeboxes used in the Project ShaqBox house to store baseball cards, and they don’t tend to seem to have any glue involved with them at all, let alone glue that eventually comes loose.

But Project ShaqBox isn’t about the Shaq box itself. It’s about connecting the present to the past through baseball cards, and it’s about giving cards away and helping good causes as we go.

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So, your reminder: you can get 10 free baseball cards just by sharing your address. If you want 10 cards from a specific team, just make a donation to a charity and upload a photo of your receipt. It’s that easy.

Now, let’s see what happened around baseball this week…

1974 Topps Dick Allen, 1996 Ultra Billy Ashley
1974 Topps Dick Allen, 1996 Ultra Billy Ashley
Image: Jesse Spector

SOX IT TO ‘EM

The White Sox pulled off a decreasingly rare feat on Monday, hitting six home runs against the Tigers, in a game where Chicago scored a total of seven runs.

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It’s the 18th time in major league history that a team has had six dingers in a game and scored seven or fewer runs, and 11 of those games have come since 2000. Only two of those games have featured a team hitting six solo homers for all of their runs — the A’s on August 3, 1991, and the Blue Jays on May 21, 2010. Both lost.

For the White Sox, this was their second six-homer, seven-run game all-time, with the other having come on June 18, 1974 at Cleveland Stadium.

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In that game, Dick Allen and Jorge Orta hit two homers apiece, with Carlos May and Ken Henderson also going deep. On Monday, it was Tim Anderson and Luis Robert each with a pair of dingers, joined by Yoan Moncada and Danny Mendick. In each game, the White Sox hit five solo homers and a two-run shot — Allen and Robert with those in their respective games.

But the White Sox weren’t done slugging after their homer parade on Monday. They hit six more dingers on Friday at Wrigley Field, with those half-dozen homers responsible for all of their runs in a 10-1 rout of the Cubs.

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Jose Abreu belted a pair of balls over the ivy, joined by Mendick, Robert, Yasmani Grandal, and Eloy Jimenez as the White Sox notched six-homer games twice in a season for the third time in team history.

The single-season record for six-homer games by a team is five, set by the Astros in 2000 and tied by the Twins last year. Those 2000 Astros are one of only six teams to have less time between six-homer games than these White Sox, as Houston did it on August 13 and 16 of that season.

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Another of the six? The fellas from The Six, although the Blue Jays back in the heady days of last week, on August 12 and 14, did all that homer-hitting in home games in Buffalo, and managed to lose one of those games to the Marlins.

The team that set the record for closest-together six-homer games also lost one of them, as the Dodgers went deep six times at Coors Field on June 29 and 30, 1996. Mike Piazza hit three homers in the first game, a 13-10 Dodgers win, and another the next day, a 16-15 Dodgers loss. Eric Karros also homered in both of those games, with two in the defeat. Greg Gagne and Billy Ashley also homered on June 29, while Raul Mondesi hit two homers and Todd Hollandsworth also went deep in the June 30 contest.

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The Dodgers’ record has been tied twice: by the Angels on June 3 and 4, 2003, against the Montreal Expos in Puerto Rico (back-to-back two-homer games by Jeff DaVanon), and by the Nationals on September 4 and 5, 2012 at home against the Cubs.

2008 Upper Deck First Edition Zack Greinke, 1986 Topps Bret Saberhagen, 1987 Topps Charlie Leibrandt
2008 Upper Deck First Edition Zack Greinke, 1986 Topps Bret Saberhagen, 1987 Topps Charlie Leibrandt
Image: Jesse Spector
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ROYALS’ ZERO HERO

In the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader in Kansas City, Brad Keller pitched 6.2 innings of three-hit ball, recording his third straight win with his third straight scoreless outing to open the season.

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That ties the Royals’ team record for consecutive scoreless outings by a starter to open a season, as Zack Greinke opened 2009 by throwing six-plus shutout innings against the White Sox, then held Cleveland to zeroes for five innings before blanking the Rangers on seven hits. Greinke actually kept his ERA at 0.00 through four starts, as he threw a complete game three-hitter against the Tigers on April 24, 2009, but a throwing error by shortstop Mike Aviles allowed Gerald Laird to score from second base on a lineup to center field.

Keller needs two more starts without allowing a run to match Greinke’s overall team record, as Greinke had put up zeroes in his final two starts of 2008, and he currently stands with some pretty heady company in the second-place tie: the other Royals starters to go three straight starts without allowing a run are Kevin Appier, David Cone, Greinke in a 2007 streak, Mark Gubicza, and Bret Saberhagen.

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It’s a sign of the times that Keller is there with 17.2 innings pitched this season. Charlie Leibrandt isn’t on that list above, but he pitched 18 shutout innings in back-to-back 1987 starts, a two-hitter in Baltimore and a six-hit whitewashing of the Red Sox.

Leibrandt threw eight complete games in 1987. The Royals, as a team, have had seven complete games since the start of the 2016 season.

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2016 Topps MLB Debuts Starlin Castro, 1994 Collector’s Choice Armando Reynoso, 1988 Fleer Storm Davis
2016 Topps MLB Debuts Starlin Castro, 1994 Collector’s Choice Armando Reynoso, 1988 Fleer Storm Davis
Image: Jesse Spector

 RESPECT YOUR ELDERS?

Luis Garcia of the Nationals homered on Monday to become the first player born in the 2000s to go deep. In so doing, as noted by minutiae master Christopher Kamka of NBC Sports Chicago, Garcia joined quite the list of first dinger smashers born in various decades, along with Starlin Castro (1990s), Albert Pujols (1980s), and Ivan Rodriguez (1970s).

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How about the pitchers they took deep? Garcia victimized Touki Touissant of Atlanta, who is three years and 11 months older than he is. But Castro’s age difference with his first-homer pitcher, Homer Bailey, is even smaller, three years, 10 and a half months. Pujols is 13 years and eight months younger than the first pitcher he homered off, Armando Reynoso, while Rodriguez’s maiden homer came off Storm Davis, a pitcher nine years and 11 months his senior.

Interestingly, of the last four first-born-in-a-decade homers, only Rodriguez’s was a solo shot. Pujols hit a three-run homer, while Castro and Garcia hit two-run blasts.

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1996 Stadium Club Todd Zeile, 1995 Pinnacle Jose Rijo
1996 Stadium Club Todd Zeile, 1995 Pinnacle Jose Rijo
Image: Jesse Spector

PROJECT SHAQBOX CARDS OF THE WEEK

Mobile phones have changed quite a bit in the last 25 years. Water guns are… mostly the same?

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Do you want to get 10 random baseball cards in the mail? All you need to do is share your address, and you can be part of Project ShaqBox.

Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.

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