If you glance at the boxscore, the Mets’ 5-3 loss to the Nats in D.C. last night might seem pretty forgettable, just another desultory loss for the Amazins. Close game until the seventh, bullpen comes unhinged, waste a good starting effort, fail to do much offensively, game over.
Well, not so fast. This was actually one of those games that we love at Off the Foul Pole. That’s because it featured one of those bizarre, statistical anomalies that occur about once every 55 years or so.
In the fourth inning, Mets CF Angel Pagan hits an inside-the-park-homer. The first ever at National Ballpark. In the fifth, Pagan makes a shoestring grab off the bat of Christian Guzman with men on first and second and no outs. He throws to ball to the infield and it rolls all the way to catcher Henry Blanco, who then throws to shortstop Jose Reyes at second to double off the lead runner. Reyes fires to first to nab the trail runner. Triple play.
Which of course leads me to ponder: has anyone ever hit an inside the park homer and started a triple play in the same game.? Can’t be. Impossible! I’m no excited now I could care less how the game ends.
Well, not quite, but extremely rare. According to the good folks at the Elias Sports Bureau, who always uncover these arcane facts seemingly within minutes, the Phillies Ted Kazanski (not be mistaken with Ted Kluszewski, the Reds slugger, or Ted Kaczyinski, the Unabomber) performed the same amazing double trick on September 25, 1955.
But I’m not done yet. I need to know more (anything!) about Ted Kazanski. Perhaps there is some uncanny parallel between he and Pagan. A quick glance at his Wikipedia entry (which amazingly has already been updated to reference Pagan’s feat) reveals that he still kicking at the age of 76. Michigan native. Career .217 hitter. Listed at 6′ 1″ and 175.
No apparent cosmic karma with Pagan. Regardless, people will always think of Kazanski when Angel Pagan hits one in the gap. It must be nice to have your legacy restored — by an Angel, at that.