Tim Kurkjian’s Baseball Fix: On this date in baseball history

  • Senior writer ESPN Magazine/ESPN.com
  • Analyst/reporter ESPN television
  • Has covered baseball since 1981

Every day, until baseball returns, Tim Kurkjian will use the day on the calendar to tell a story (or two … or three) as only he can.

March 26: How do you spell Rob Zastryzny again?

Wait, this guy has a last name with with two “Z’s” and two “Y’s”? Meet lefty Rob Zastryzny.

March 27: Straight from prison, Pete Rose proved he could still hit

His son came and picked him up. They went straight to the batting cage, where the Hit King reminded everyone he still had it.

March 28: Joy Kurkjian’s birthday, and how she almost cost her son a homer

Joy Kurkjian turns 96 years old. She went to every game her sons played. She almost turned one of her kid’s homers into a double.

Kurkjian celebrates his mom’s birthday with a humorous story

With March 28 being the birthday of Tim Kurkjian’s mother, Joy, he recalls the time when she almost cost his brother a home run in a game.

March 29: Of Cy Young, Big Klu and Le Grande Orange

How good was Cy Young? Well, the award is named after him. But maybe you didn’t know that Ted Kluszewski cut off the sleeves of his uniform or Rusty Staub was such a good cook he took pots and pans on road trips.

March 30: That time Dwight Gooden taught Roger Clemens it’s OK to throw hard

Dwight Gooden, when he arrived in the majors, was scary good. So good, in fact, that when Roger Clemens got in the batter’s box against him, Clemens learned something important about pitching.

Anniversary of Gooden’s retirement reminds Kurkjian of funny Clemens story

Dwight Gooden retired on March 30, 2001, and that reminds Tim Kurkjian of a humorous story related to Gooden and Roger Clemens.

March 31: When Michael Jordan went to the minors and cheated at Yahtzee

Michael Jordan tried his hand at baseball. He wasn’t the best player, but he was still the most competitive — going so far as to find creative ways to take manager Terry Francona’s money.

April 1: How Phil Niekro tossed his brother aside in his 300th win

The idea was for Phil Niekro and his brother, Joe, to both pitch on the day Phil was going to win his 300th game. But once Phil had a chance to make history, he scrapped the plan.

April 2: Ichiro’s love of hamburgers, math and his bats

Ichiro Suzuki enjoyed one of America’s staple meals. He could figure out an equation in seconds. And he never, ever threw his bat — ever.

April 3: Muhammad Ali didn’t know Tom Seaver was a pitcher

Tom Seaver was undeniably the best New York Mets player ever. Yet, Muhammad Ali thought he worked for a newspaper when the two met.

April 4: The legend of Tuffy Rhodes

On Opening Day 1994, he hit three homers, prompting a teammate to drive home that night thinking “This guy might be better than Strawberry or Bonds.” It was part of a weird run on Opening Day three-homer games.

On this date: Rhodes belts 3 HRs on Opening Day

Tim Kurkjian recounts Tuffy Rhodes’ three home run day for the Cubs on April 4, 1994.

April 5: The wit and wisdom of the Earl Weaver Way

The Hall of Fame manager never understood why anyone would bunt. He had no use for players on the DL. And he had a suggestion for one of his players who was thinking of becoming a minister.

On this date: Weaver records 1,000th victory

On April 5, 1979, Earl Weaver earned his 1,000th career victory, and that got Tim Kurkjian reflecting on notable stories about the former Orioles manager.

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