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"You can't steal first'

Every sport has its rules, and this is one of baseball's. In one sense, the expression means you have to earn your way to first base, either by a walk or a hit. But it has its roots in an actual play. Herman "Germany" Schaefer, an infielder who played for the Cubs, Tigers and other teams from 1901-18, stole second on one occasion and, in an attempt to rattle the pitcher, went back and stole first. Baseball then added a rule that says if a runner has reached a base safely and then "runs the bases in reverse order for the purpose of confusing the defense or making a travesty of the game," the umpire will call him out. In 1963, Jimmy Piersall, a colorful outfielder with the New York Mets, said that when he hit the 100th home run of his career, he would celebrate by running around the bases backward (which some people thought meant he would go from home to third to second and so on). On June 23, 1963, he hit No.

100 and did, indeed, run the bases backward _ from home to first to second and so on, but facing the wrong way.

Ballpark frank

A hot dog (frankfurter) sold at the stadium. Some places have nicknames for them, like Dodger Dogs in Los Angeles and Fenway Franks in Boston. But they're still plain ol' hot dogs at Tropicana Field. Do they taste better than the ones at home?

Earned-run average

The statistic representing the number of runs a pitcher allows over nine innings (27 outs). You figure it by dividing earned runs by innings pitched, then multiplying that number by nine. Example: A pitcher has worked 105 innings and has allowed 48 earned runs. So 48 divided by 105 times 9 equals 4.11 ERA.

_ BRUCE LOWITT

Source: The Dickson Baseball Dictionary.

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