Tuesday, September 9, 2014

#277 Mark Whiten

About the Front: Mark Whiten is winding up for a toss in Cleveland's Municipal Stadium outfield, in front of a graphic on the outfield wall honoring shortstop Felix Fermin, who strangely had his number 16 retired while still active with the team.

Just kidding. It's Bob Feller's number 19.

About the Back: Hey, Whiten had his first two-homer game on my ninth birthday! Both home runs were solo shots off of Kevin Brown, coming in the second and third innings; the Indians romped to a 9-0 win.

Triple Play:

1. Mark had several career highs with the Cardinals in 1993, including games (152), runs (81), home runs (25), and RBI (99). On August 11, he became the first visiting player to reach the right-field upper deck overhang in Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium, blasting a 464-foot longball off of Blas Minor.

2. On July 31, 1998, in the midst of his last season as a semi-regular, Whiten took to the mound with his Indians trailing the Athletics 11-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning. He walked two batters, plunked another, gave up one hit, and allowed a run, but he did strike out the side, including future league MVP Miguel Tejada.

3. He played his last big league game in 2000, but extended his career into 2003 by playing in Mexico, the independent Atlantic League, and AAA. He also spent a few years coaching in the Indians and Rangers organizations.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I remember what a big deal it was when Whiten hit four home runs and drove in 12 in a game on September 7, 1993. He punished the Reds for a two-run homer, a pair of three-run shots, and a grand slam in the nightcap of a doubleheader, after earning an RBI on a bases-load walk in the first game. He was only the 12th player ever to homer four times in a major league game (four others have done it since), and joined Hall of Famer "Sunny Jim" Bottomley as the only players to ever notch a dozen ribbies in a single game. He also tied Nate Colbert's record of 13 RBI in a doubleheader.

Bill James Said: "Whiten and Zeile established that if your 1-2-3 hitters (Gilkey, Smith and Jefferies) are outstanding, the four and five hitters can drive in 100 runs even if they're not that good."

On This Date in 1993: September 9. The Palestine Liberation Organization officially recognizes Israel as a legitimate state. And they lived happily ever after...

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