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7 Lights-Out Facts About Baseball's First Perfect Game

On this day in 1880, Lee Richmond of the Worcester Ruby Legs twirled baseball's first-ever perfect game—allowing no hits, walks or hit batsmen to give the Ruby Legs a 1-0 win over the Cleveland Blues. Let's look back at some of this now-legendary game.

1. The Worcester Evening Gazette described the game as "a wonderful shut out" and "the best baseball game on record" but the first use of the term "perfect game" didn't appear until a 1909 Washington Post article.

2. Richmond was a star baseball and football player at Brown University. In fact, he started his pro career while still captaining Brown's team. In his first ever pro start—an exhibition game for which he was paid $10 on June 2, 1879—Richmond threw a no-hitter. He would throw a second no-hitter that same season for Worcester, all while still competing on the collegiate level.

3. The perfect game came in the midst of a 42-inning scoreless streak pitched by Richmond. That's almost 5 complete games.

4. The circumstances surrounding the historic June 12 game were not exactly conducive to proper preparation. The sequence went a little something like this: Two days before the Saturday game, Richmond pitched a shutout in Worcester. From there, he traveled back to Brown where his senior year was winding to a close. Because of the absurdity that generally surrounds that time in one's life, the Brown baseball team played a game at 4:50 am Saturday morning after staying up all night. Following what must have been a speedy contest, Richmond went to sleep at 6:30 but awoke in time for his 11:30 train back to Worcester. The train ended up getting delayed, forcing Richmond to head right to the park from the station, bypassing dinner. And then, without food in his system and having been awake for nearly 24 hours, he proceeded to pitch baseball's first perfect game.

5. Just four days later, on June 16, Richmond graduated from Brown University. His Ruby Legs manager, Frank Bancroft, was so desperate to get his star hurler back that very same day that he hired a special train to rush Richmond from Providence to Worcester.

6. Five days after Richmond made baseball history, John Ward tossed the second perfect game ever. But this hardly became the trend. Although the first two came within a week of one another, the third perfect game in the National League—then the sole Major League—wouldn't occur for another 84 years.

7. In the midst of his outstanding but ultimately short-lived baseball career, the Brown graduate headed back to school, attending medical school at what is now Columbia University, and began practicing medicine. Following his early retirement from baseball, Richmond moved to Toledo, Ohio for another career change. There, Dr. Richmond became one of the first science teachers at Scott High School before going on to teach at the University of Toledo.

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The Simpsons's Classic Baseball Episode Gets the Mockumentary Treatment
Fox Sports, YouTube
Fox Sports, YouTube

Opinions vary widely about the continued existence of The Simpsons, which just began its 29th season. Some believe the show ran out of steam decades ago, while others see no reason why the satirical animated comedy can’t run forever.

Both sides will no doubt have something to say about the episode airing Sunday, October 22, which reframes the premise of the show’s classic “Homer at the Bat” installment from 1992 as a Ken Burns-style mockumentary titled Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson.

As Mashable reports, “Homer at the Bat” saw Montgomery Burns launch his own baseball team and populate it with real major league players like Wade Boggs, Steve Sax, and Jose Canseco to dominate the competition. In the one-hour special, the players will discuss their (fictional) participation, along with interviews featuring Homer and other members of the animated cast.

It’s not clear how much of the special will break the fourth wall and go into the actual making of the episode, a backstory that involves guest star Ken Griffey Jr. getting increasingly frustrated recording his lines and Canseco’s wife objecting to a scene in which her husband's animated counterpart wakes up in bed with lecherous schoolteacher Edna Krabappel.

Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me) directed the special, which is slated to air on Fox at either 3 p.m. EST or 4:30 p.m. EST depending on NFL schedules in local markets. There will also be a new episode of The Simpsons—an annual Halloween-themed "Treehouse of Horror" installment—airing in its regular 8 p.m. time slot.

[h/t Mashable]

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Seattle Mariners Fans Are Going Crazy for These Crunchy Grasshopper Snacks
Great Big Story, Youtube
Great Big Story, Youtube

Seattle Mariners fans have more than warmed up to the newest, offbeat addition to the Safeco Field concessions menu: toasted grasshoppers covered in chili-lime salt.

The crunchy snack, which sells for $4 and comes packed in a small container, has only been available for less than a season but has already sold 300,000-plus orders to date. That's about 1000 pounds of grasshoppers. 

Frequenters of Seattle's popular Mexican restaurant Poquitos will know that this delicacy—which first started as a novelty item on its menu—has actually been available to the public for six years. But it wasn't until local chef Ethan Stowell was hired to give the Safeco Field menu a hip retooling that the salty bugs found new, fervent popularity at the ballpark. (Also on the Safeco menu: fried oysters drizzled in hot sauce.)

Great Big Story met up with Manny Arce, the executive chef of Poquitos and visionary behind this culinary home run, to discuss the popularity of these crunchy critters. You can watch the video interview below:

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