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

Fascinating baseball firsts and notable statistics can easily be missed in the playing of more than 2,000 big-league games each year. Here are the most intriguing developments that possibly escaped your notice.

12. Landmark error

On Sept. 24, Jose Reyes of the Marlins committed the 500,000th error in major league history.

Backstory: Well, somebody had to commit this milestone error, so maybe it was better that Jose Reyes, a shortstop known for his hitting and base-stealing more than his fielding, go down in history for botching a play. Of course, Miami was hoping that after paying Reyes $106 million to sign a six-year deal as a free agent that he’d garner attention for more than an E-6 (error, shortstop).

Actually, he cleanly fielded a two-hop grounder Sept. 15 off the bat of Cincinnati’s Drew Stubbs, but he bobbled the ball while trying to hurry his throw. In doing so, he committed his 16th error of the season and beat Giants shortstop Joaquin Arias by just 44 seconds in recording the 500,000th baseball error in 136 years.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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