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Friday, May 4, 2012
Updated: May 5, 10:30 AM ET
Five Astounding Facts of the Week


1. When Jon Rauch, all 6-feet-11 of him, faced Jose Altuve, all 5-feet-5 of him, on Tuesday, it wasn't just the biggest height discrepancy in baseball since Tim Kurkjian interviewed Randy Johnson. It was the biggest ever. All we have to go on is listed heights, which can get a little shaky. But loyal reader/researcher Trent McCotter reports that, if we trust all the reported heights in Lee Sinins' Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, it was the first time any hitter in history (non-Eddie Gaedel division) faced a pitcher who was 18 inches taller than he was.

2. Omar Vizquel managed to get ejected Monday from a game he wasn't even playing in. But we appreciate that because it made him -- at 45 years, 7 days old -- the fourth-oldest player ever to get ejected from any game. The three old codgers who beat him, according to SABR's Grand Keeper of Ejections David Vincent: Julio Franco (47 years, 259 days) on May 9, 2006; Nolan Ryan (45, 187) on Aug. 6, 1992; and Carlton Fisk (45, 133) on May 8, 1993.

Ron Washington
Japanese media surprised Rangers manager Ron Washington with a large cake and traditional red vest and hat for his 60th birthday.

3. As long as we're into noteworthy ejections, Ron Washington just became the first manager in history to get ejected on his 60th birthday. The only two older managers ever to get gonged on their birthdays, according to The Grand Keeper: Felipe Alou on No. 61 (May 12, 1996) and, shockingly, Bobby Cox on No. 62 (May 21, 2003). Washington's ejection came just a couple hours after he'd stuffed down some birthday cake in the dugout -- in what may not have been an unrelated development. "I was over-sugared," he told MLB Network Radio.

4. Box-score line of the week -- A.J. Burnett, Wednesday versus the Cardinals: 2 2/3 IP, 12 H, 12 R, 12 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 72 pitches to get 8 outs. So what's up with that? (A) According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he's the first starting pitcher since the invention of earned runs to give up 12 earned runs in under three innings; (B) he's the first Pirates pitcher to give up 12 earned runs in 70 years (since Glenn Spencer on April 24, 1932; and C) that made Wednesday the first day in the live-ball era in which one pitcher (Jered Weaver) threw a no-hitter while another pitcher gave up 12 runs.

5. Incredibly, it took all the way until Sunday for any Cubs outfielder to hit a home run this season. So after (who else?) Joe Mather finally ended that schneid, Cubs manager Dale Sveum decided: "That's gotta be a record." Well, it's not. But according to the Sultan of Swat Stats David Vincent, it is the most games (22) any team had gone into a season without a homer since Roger Craig's 1992 Giants also took 22 games before Kevin Bass finally ended their outfield's homer-free streak. So what is the record? In the expansion era, it's 31 games, by Tito Landrum's '85 Cardinals.