The 2015 season will most likely be remembered for its World Series, with the Kansas City Royals winning their first title in 30 years, and the New York Mets securing their first pennant since 2000. But before we turn the calendar, let's take a few minutes for some of the other memorable "feats" of 2015.
The Year of the Triple
The 2015 campaign featured 939 three-baggers, the most since 2009. Eddie Rosario of the Twins led the majors with 15 despite not having enough plate appearances (474) to qualify for the batting title. Rosario was the first player since Hall-of-Famer Earle Combs of the 1933 Yankees to record that many triples in as few chances.
The Elias Sports Bureau noted that Paulo Orlando made triples history in April, becoming the first player since 1900 to record three-baggers for each of his first three major-league hits. He went on to have five in his first seven games for yet another record. However, we went until August without a walk-off triple, and even then it wasn't until the 15th inning. Pedro Florimon's hit was, by inning, the latest walk-off triple since Rob Natal of the newly-created Florida Marlins had one in 1993.
All's Well That Ends Well
Speaking of walk-offs, there were 207 of them this year; if you were in Chicago you got to see plenty. The Cubs (13) and White Sox (12) led the majors, and for the North Siders, it was their most since their pennant-winning 1932 season. The Sox, meanwhile, got four walk-offs from Avisail Garcia (tied for the major-league lead); not only did he receive the season's only "plunk-off" (game-ending hit-by-pitch), but was also issued ball four with the bases loaded to end a game. He is the first player to do both in the same season since Rodney Scott of the Expos in 1979.
But as for wacky ways to end a game, why not have a baserunner get hit by a batted ball? Taylor Featherston had that happen to him on May 2... and just a few hours later, so did Jordan Pacheco! While some occurrences have probably been lost to history, it's the first time in the known collection of play-by-play accounts that two games have ended like that on the same day. For more fun, Andrelton Simmons was also hit by a batted ball on May 2, the first time three runners have been pegged in one day since Sept. 9, 2011.
Those were only three of the 19 runners this year to get hit with a batted ball and called out, the most in a season since it happened 20 times in 2000. Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox took home this year's award (Matt Holliday won it last year) for being the only player to both hit a teammate and get hit by a teammate.
They Come In Bunches
A lot was made of the Blue Jays' run differential of plus-221, the highest since the 116-win Mariners finished 2001 at plus-300. The Blue Jays ended up with 28 five-run innings, plus one in the ALCS. That's the most five-run frames in a season since the 2008 Rangers also had 29 (yet still finished four games under .500). The Athletics had 21 five-run innings this year, and the Royals ended up with 19, including three of the five during the postseason. The last team with three such innings in one postseason also took home the World Series trophy-- it was the 2007 Red Sox.
As for high-scoring games, four teams cracked the 20-run barrier this year, as many as the previous three seasons combined. The Yankees did it twice, both times on the road, something no AL team had done since... the world champion Yankees of 1939.
One of those games ended with a 21-5 score, a count that was exactly matched on the season's final weekend. It's the first time in major-league history that there have been two 21-5 scores in the same season.
Pitchers Who Rake
Although his two grand slams in 2014 were memorable enough, Madison Bumgarner cranked five more round-trippers this season, the most by any pitcher since Carlos Zambrano in 2006, and the most by a Giants hurler since Hal Schumaker (six) in 1934. Bumgarner had the Giants' first five pitcher home runs of the season, he got some help in September when four other pitchers each hit one. The Giants thus tied the major-league record with five different pitchers going yard (last done by the 2002 Dodgers).
One of those others was Mike Leake, who also hit the Reds' only pitcher home run of the season before being traded. He became the first pitcher to homer for two different NL clubs in the same season since Jason Schmidt in 2001. Though Leake didn't hit a triple, three other Reds pitchers (Michael Lorenzen, Raisel Iglesias, Josh Smith) did-- the first time Cincinnati's done that since 1970.
So if they're going to rake, why not move them up in the order? Sparked by Joe Maddon's leap to the National League, 13 teams had a starting pitcher bat in the eight-hole at least once this season. Maddon did it for 140 of the Cubs' 162 games, the second-most ever (behind Tony La Russa's 2008 Cardinals). Those 13 teams also included three from the American League; Jered Weaver and Trevor May became, respectively, the first starting pitchers in Angels or Twins history to bat eighth. The Minnesota franchise hadn't had anyone do it since Gene Bearden of the Senators in 1950.
Thanks to all this lineup-shuffling, there were also 14 games this year in which both starting pitchers hit eighth, more than doubling the number of previous such games in major-league history.
More Oddities We Follow
Ian Desmond: Second player in live-ball era to have six games with four strikeouts, joining Richie Allen of the Phillies in 1968.
A.J. Pollock, Carlos Correa, Yoenis Cespedes: Tied for major-league lead with five "near-cycles" (three of the four hit values) each; 66 players went single-double-triple but didn't homer, the most in a season since 1938.
Jacoby Ellsbury: Twice awarded first base via catcher's interference as the Yankees' first batter of the game; first player to do that twice in a season since Pete Rose in 1969.