3/29/2013 2:46 P.M. ET
Numerical tribute: A salute to the No. 13
By Marty Noble / MLB.com
Superstition is as much a part of the game as double plays and high-and-tight fastballs. And the No. 13 is as much a part of superstition outside the game as any black cat. We have 13s all around us this year. But no special allowances will be made for them. Instead, we offer a salute to the number Dave Concepcion, Edgardo Alfonzo and Clint Hurdle favor.
We usually wait until after the season to share our numerical tribute. We did note 12-12-12, you may recall. But the number of months in a year limits what we can do until 3001. So with an apology to all true triskaidekaphobics, we hail the Baker's Dozen. Here, on the eve of the 2013 big league season, we salute the double-integer number that troubles folks who take special care of mirrors, avoid ladders and never open umbrellas indoors.
We begin with a favorite:
The out at the plate in the top of the second inning of Game 2 of the 2012 World Series -- the play that cut down Tigers baserunner Prince Fielder -- was achieved via a Giants relay from left fielder Gregor Blanco to second baseman Marco Scutaro to catcher Buster Posey. Score it 7-4-2, the first such out in World Series history. Now, add the numbers. They equal 13.
13 -- Gold Gloves won by Ozzie Smith and Ivan Rodriguez.
13 -- RBIs in a doubleheader, a big league record shared by Mark Whiten and Nate Colbert.
13 -- Seasons after Derek Jeter established a career high in hits, 219 in 1999, that he produced his second-highest total, 216 in 2012.
13 -- Seasons, beginning in 1947 and culminating in '63, in which Warren Spahn won at least 20 games.
13 -- Victories by the 1962 Mets in their first 50 games. Their winning percentage in 110 subsequent games was lower.
13 -- Triples produced by Tim McCarver with the Phillies in 1966, when he became the first player whose primary position was catcher to lead a league in triples.
13 -- Number of times Yogi Berra was ejected, both as a player and as a manager.
13 -- Number of games behind the first-place Dodgers the second-place Giants were after games of Aug. 11, 1951. The Giants won their next 16 contests, and 39 of their final 47 (three in a playoff) to win the pennant, win the pennant, win the penn ...
13 -- Numbers of times Babe Ruth led the American League in slugging percentage.
13 -- Seasons in which Bobby Cox led his league in ejections.
13 -- Consecutive losses in the postseason by the Red Sox (Game 6 of 1986 World Series through Game 3 of 1995 AL Division Series), the most ever. The Twins have lost their last 12.
13 -- Hits by Claudell Washington in 90 career at-bats against Nolan Ryan. He also struck out 39 times (3 x 13, the most by any batter against The Express).
13 -- Runs scored by the Indians after two outs in the sixth inning against the Red Sox at Dunn Field (Cleveland) on July 7, 1923. The Indians won, 27-3. The 13 runs stand as the most scored in an inning after two outs.
13 -- Consecutive seasons with 100 or more strikeouts, a Major League record established by Reggie Jackson from 1968-80.
13 -- Pitchers who hit Mickey Mantle, none more than once.
13 -- Dean Chance, the 1964 AL Cy Young Award winner (with the Angels) and a career .066 hitter, struck out in 13 successive plate appearances with the Twins in '68, a Major League record. He was Dean "No-Chance."
13 -- Consecutive seasons in which Greg Maddux won a Gold Glove (1990-2002) before Mike Hampton interrupted the run. Maddux won Gold Gloves from 2004-08, as well.
13 -- Years after umpire Ted Barrett worked the plate in David Cone's perfect game, he worked the plate in Matt Cain's perfect game. Barrett is the only umpire to work more than one perfect game, calling balls and strikes.
13 -- Shutouts by Bob Gibson in his 1.12 ERA season in 1968, still the most since 1916.
13 -- Home runs leading off the first inning by Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs in 2003, a big league record.
13 -- Games behind in the AL West the A's stood on June 30 last year before launching their remarkable division-winning run.
13 -- Days needed to complete the rain-delayed 1962 World Series.
13 -- Games won before a loss by the division-winning 1982 Braves.
13 -- Consecutive seasons with 100 or more RBIs, a big league record shared by Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx and Alex Rodriguez.
13 -- Career triples by the less-than-fleet John Olerud, who claims his childhood nickname was "Cheetah."
13 -- Seasons between George Brett's first and third batting titles (1976, '90).
13 -- Clubs that have employed Octavio Dotel.
13 -- Games Ron Guidry won before he lost for the first time in his AL Cy Young Award season, 1978.
13 -- Years after Tony Gwynn won his first batting title (1984), he won his eighth and final.
13 -- Bases on balls allowed by Bret Saberhagen in 177 1/3 innings with the Mets in 1994. He walked fewer batters than he won games.
13 -- Years to the day after Charlie Hough singled as a member of the Dodgers (June 4, 1980), he produced his next hit, also a single, as a member of the expansion Marlins. He played with Rangers and White Sox in the interim.
13 -- Home runs by Willie Mays in 227 career at-bats against Hall of Famer Don Drysdale.
13 -- Home runs by Mantle in 161 career at-bats against Hall of Famer Early Wynn.
13 -- Times Ryan struck out Pete Rose, Thurman Munson, Tony Armas Sr., Sal Bando, Bill Freehan, George Foster, Dan Pasqua, Sam Ewing and Atlee Hammaker.
13 -- Games won by Ralph Branca in 1951, his year.
13 -- Million dollars, the average annual value of the seven-year contract Mike Piazza signed with the Mets after the 1998 season.
13 -- Home runs hit by Willie McCovey in each of his first two seasons when he played primarily against right-handed pitchers. None of his 13 home runs in 1960 came against left-handed pitching.
13 -- Complete games pitched by Hoyt Wilhelm in 1959, the only season in which he made more than 11 starts. His no-hitter against the Yankees came the previous September.
13 -- Strikeouts by Randy Johnson in the perfect game he pitched for the D-backs against the Braves on May 18, 2004.
13 -- Times Barry Bonds was intentionally walked in his final 11 games in 2004.
Rodriguez has hit 647 career home runs, 13 fewer than Mays. ... Don Larsen remained on the Hall of Fame ballot for a full 15-year eligibility, but never received as much as 13 percent of the vote. ... Bob Feller led the AL in 13 categories in 1940 -- victories (27), ERA (2.61), games (43), starts (37), complete games (31), shutouts (four), innings (320 1/3), batters faced (1,304), strikeouts (261), hits per nine innings (6.9), home runs per nine innings (0.4), strikeouts per nine innings (7.3) and strikeouts per walk (2.21).
Dodgers reliever and kinesiologist Mike Marshall appeared in 13 consecutive games (25 2/3 innings) in the early summer of 1974, the year he appeared in 106 games (208 1/3 innings), produced a 15-12 record and 2.42 ERA and won the NL Cy Young Award. ... The Twins were the 13th franchise to join the AL (1961), the Cleveland Blues were the 13th to join the NL (1879). ... Bobby Abreu and Mays appeared in at least 150 games in 13 consecutive seasons. No one, not even Cal Ripken, did.
Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera executed the 13th unassisted triple play against the Blue Jays on May 12, 2008. ... Think Henry Aaron enjoyed playing against the Dodgers? He had 13 hits and a .520 career average in 25 career at-bats against Larry Sherry, and 13 hits and a .722 career average in 18 career at-bats against Ron Perranoski. ... What Triple Crown? Miguel Cabrera has hit one triple since 2008 and has merely 13 in his career. ... No. 13 has been retired once -- for Reds shortstop Concepcion in 2007. ... At age 40, Ted Williams placed 13th in the balloting for the AL Most Valuable Player Award. ... Walt Dropo, Joe Cronin and Tim Salmon share the AL record for most hits in three successive games, 13.
Stan Musial placed among the top 10 in the NL MVP Award voting 13 times in a 15-year sequence (1943-57), missing in 1947, when he placed 20th, and in 1945, when he was in the military. ... The New York Highlanders became the New York Yankees in 1913. ... Reds pitcher Bud Podbielan surrendered a run in the first inning of his start against the Brooklyn Dodgers on May 18, 1953, at Crosley Field. He emerged as the winning pitcher in a 10-inning, 2-1 victory despite walking 13 batters. ... Cone was assigned No. 13 during his first tenure with the Royals because, he said, "They thought I was bad luck."
13 other famous 13s
Wilt Chamberlain; PBS in New York market; Dan Marino; Apollo 13; Steve Nash; the age of Jerry Lee Lewis' first wife, his cousin; Kurt Warner; the 13th Floor Elevators (psychedelic group from the late '60s); Don Maynard; Agatha Christie's novel, "Thirteen at Dinner"; Dave Twardzik; Air Jordan 13s; Kerry Collins.
The all-13 lineup
LF -- Carl Crawford, Devil Rays; 2B -- Alfonzo, Mets; 3B -- Rodriguez, Yankees; 1B -- Tony Clark, D-backs; RF -- Hurdle, Royals; SS -- Concepcion, Reds; C -- Lance Parrish, Tigers; CF -- Bill Tuttle, Tigers; Rotation -- Steve Barber (Orioles), Branca (Dodgers), Cone (Royals as a rookie), Mort Cooper (Cardinals), Roger Craig (Mets).
Bullpen -- Mark Davis (Padres), Roger McDowell (Phillies), Blue Moon Odom (Athletics), Turk Wendell (Cubs), Billy Wagner (Astros).
Bench -- Willie Harris (White Sox), Lee Mazzilli (Mets), Mike Pagliarulo (Yankees), John Roseboro (Twins), John Valentin (Red Sox), Omar Vizquel (Indians), No-Neck Williams (Yankees).
Manager -- Ozzie Guillen, White Sox.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.