It is 100 here again today. It is hot and humid and sticky. It is miserable.
If it is not 100 degrees where you are, I am both happy for you and a little annoyed that you deserve better weather than me.
There is baseball this afternoon in Richmond – minor league ball – and in younger times we would go.
But, not today. Not when it’s 100. Because these are not younger times and age slows you down. Age tires you out. And, age protects you from doing stupid things like going to a baseball game when it is 100 degrees outside.
Because 100 is a lot of anything.
Dennis Eckersley threw 100 complete games in his career. Which is strange because I’m of the generation that remembers him mainly as a shaggy-headed closer.Embed from Getty Images
Randy Johnson, also shaggy-headed, threw 100 complete games in his career, too.Embed from Getty Images
(Similarly shaggy Mike Flanagan of the Baltimore Orioles threw 101 which doesn’t quite fit the roundness of this post, but I’m mentioning him anyway because Flanny was amazing. And, an Oriole.)Embed from Getty Images
It took Eck 15 seasons as a starter to get to 100. It took Johnson 22, because pitchers just don’t do that sort of thing anymore.
There was a time in baseball when 100 complete games was no big thing. More than 400 pitchers have done it, including Babe Ruth (107).
Elton “Ice Box” Chamberlain threw 264 complete games back in the 19th century. (I just wanted to write “Ice Box.”)
Cy Young threw 749.
(I have anticipated your next question: My Metropolitan Dumpling Bartolo Colon of the Mets at 36 and the similarly dumplingesque C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees at 38 have the most career complete games among current pitchers.)
No Orioles starter has pitched a complete game since 2014. (The San Francisco Giants have thrown nine this season.)
Today, a “quality start” from a pitcher requires just six innings giving up no more than three runs.
That level of quality for a starter was a faux statistic invented in the mid-1980s by John Lowe, a Philadelphia sportswriter.
Now, it’s how we measure pitchers.
But, enough about pitchers.
Let’s talk about how hot it is.
It’s hard to know for sure, but it’s thought that the hottest baseball game on record took place on August 26, 1988, a Friday night in Arlington, Texas.
It was 109 degrees.
(Game Attendance: 13,642 incredibly hardy, sweaty, possibly drunk fans.)
(No complete game by either starter, but if you check out the box score you’ll find that three of the four pitchers that night also played at some point for the Orioles.)
Back in the 1920s, before a game in Washington, DC on a sweltering day, President Calvin Coolidge came by to meet the visiting Yankees. Babe Ruth shook his hand, wiped the sweat from his brow, and said, “Hot as hell, ain’t it Prez?”
They say it’ll hit 100 degrees in Virginia again today. It’s already thick outside. It even smells hot. Hot as hell, ain’t it?