Baseball 2012: The game's best off-beat, under-the-radar statistics and trivia

While it’s easy for Major League Baseball fans to focus on the traditional statistics – batting averages, home runs, earned-run averages, etc. – every season produces a host of lesser-noticed statistical feats, numerical oddities, and firsts of various kinds. These can easily get lost in a mountain of numbers and box scores. So here, in case you missed them, are a dozen of the year’s most fascinating stats and trivia tidbits, with the stories behind them.

1. Birthday boys

Jeff Roberson/AP
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in St. Louis.

In May, Ryan Dempster of the Chicago Cubs and Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds became the first starting pitchers in major-league history to oppose each other on their birthdays

Backstory: Frankly, it’s amazing that baseball’s statmeisters would know this is a first over the entire sweep of big-league history. Bailey, the younger player by nine years, was unaware of the coincidence until a Baseball Hall of Fame rep approached him in the trainer’s room afterward.

Bailey and Dempster were asked to sign several balls to record the event. It was not really a happy occasion for Dempster, who had pitched eight scoreless innings and left the game with a 3-0 lead, only to see the Reds come from behind to win in the 10th inning. 

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