Meaningless records?
May 26, 2009 12:36 PM   Subscribe

What are some instances of sportsmen skirting or defying convention in pursuit of a meaningless record?

Having stumbled upon the fact that the great Pedro Martinez once started a game at third base, I asked a buddy of mine with superior google-fu for help. He discovered that Thomas Charles Lasorda pinch-hit Dave Hansen in the first inning more than once so that Hansen would have a better chance of breaking the Dodgers' single season pinch-hit record.

I am mindful of a similar previous post, so please keep the discussion in the realm of the bizarre/stupid/pointless/ego-boosting. Two others: Michael Strahan sacks Brett Favre and Ricky Davis' triple-double
posted by beukeboom to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In 1965, Bert Campaneris became the first -- and I think still only -- baseball player to play every fielding position (inlcuding pitching ambidextrously) in a major league game.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:50 PM on May 26, 2009

I feel like there've been a lot of bogus triple doubles in the NBA. Here's one that was so lame it the league took it away. There must be others.

Many basketball scoring records are the result of BS running-up-the-score type antics as well-- Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game is a case in point.

Speaking of Wilt-- his record 20,000 notches in his bedpost is totally bogus, as he repeatedly ran up the score with twins and triplets.

Gordie Howe's record number of decades in which he played a professional hockey game is pretty bogus, as well.
posted by dersins at 12:55 PM on May 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

Campaneris' wikipedia page indicates that two other players also achieved the feat in 2000. I had thought that Jose Oquendo once did it, but apparently not. He played all positions during the course of a season.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 12:55 PM on May 26, 2009

Gordie Howe signed a one-game contract and played one shift in 1997 for the minor league Detroit Vipers to become, to quote his Wikipedia page, "the only player in hockey history to compete in six different decades at the professional level, having played in the NHL, WHA and IHL from the 1940s to 1990s."

Nevermind that Howe was already the only player to play in the NHL for five decades, and that was for real, not some gimmick one-shift stunt. So I think this fits your "bizarre/stupid/pointless/ego-boosting" criteria quite well.
posted by hiteleven at 12:58 PM on May 26, 2009

Sorry, missed dersins post while I was posting...
posted by hiteleven at 12:59 PM on May 26, 2009

Campaneris' wikipedia page indicates that two other players also achieved the feat in 2000.

Good point. I suspect I read about Campaneris in an old reference book.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:07 PM on May 26, 2009

Minnie Miñoso

With brief appearances with the independent Northern League's St. Paul Saints in 1993 and 2003, Miñoso is the only player to have played professionally in 7 different decades. He was also the last Major Leaguer to have played in the 1940s to play a Major League game.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:10 PM on May 26, 2009

Not exactly a meaningless record, but I was pretty astounded at the extent to which "convention was defied" (and the prior recordholder disrespected) with what happened after Nykesha Sales of UConn suffered an injury that ended her collegiate career one point short of being UConn's all-time leading scorer:
In the last regular-season game, against Villanova, she was left unguarded by a pregame agreement and sank a layup at the start of the game to break the record. (citation)
posted by Doofus Magoo at 1:20 PM on May 26, 2009

Bill Veeck (as in wreck) put a midget up to bat in a professional baseball game (small strike zone....). This was more of a publicity stunt than a record-breaking stunt.
posted by cushie at 1:21 PM on May 26, 2009

Thurman Munson deliberately dropped several third strikes in a game so he could throw down to first in order to lead the league in assists by a catcher. He did it specifically to make sure his hated rival Carlton Fisk didn't lead the league.
posted by vito90 at 1:55 PM on May 26, 2009

In 2002, Brett Favre's flop ensured that his pal Michael Strahan would get the NFL single-season sack record.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:45 PM on May 26, 2009

Not quite a record, but a baseball batting title with a twist.
In 1910, Ty Cobb and Napoleon Lajoie, manager and star of the Cleveland Indians, were neck-and-neck for the American League batting title, with Cobb ahead by a slight margin going into the last day of the season. The prize was a Chalmers Automobile. Cobb sat out the game to preserve his average. Lajoie, whose team was playing the St. Louis Browns, notched seven hits in a doubleheader to pass Cobb. Six of those hits were bunt singles that fell in front of the third baseman. It turned out that Browns manager, Jack O' Conner, had ordered third baseman Red Corriden to play deep, on the outfield grass, so as to allow the popular Lajoie to win the title. AL president Ban Johnson declared Cobb the official batting average winner after some wrangling. The Chalmers people, however, decided to award an automobile to both Cobb and Lajoie.
posted by rokusan at 4:19 PM on May 26, 2009

Steve Menzies was often officially named in the forwards, but would play in the backs for his NRL team Manly until he broke the record for number of tries scored by a forward.
posted by trialex at 8:02 PM on May 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Doofus Magoo, that story about UConn reminds me of this story about a college softball player whose knee gave out at first base as she hit the only home run of her career. Crumpled in pain, her team's only choice was to replace her with a pinch-runner at first and have her hit ruled a single instead of a four-bagger. But then players from the opposing team decided to carry her around the basepaths, helping her to touch each base, so that she could record the homer.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:39 PM on May 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Tim Ferris, of 4 Hour Work Week infamy, won a kick boxing tournament in Japan by shoving his opponents out of the ring and getting them disqualified rather than, you know, kick boxing.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 12:12 AM on May 27, 2009

Doug Flutie converted the first drop kick extra point in NFL since 1941, for no reason other than it was the end of his football career and Bill Belichick thought, why not let him do it.
posted by citron at 5:07 PM on May 27, 2009

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