Cleveland baseball trivia: The only position player to ever strike out the side
By Darren Klein
Mark Whiten, who spent five seasons with Cleveland, made major-league history in a strange way back in 1998.
Mark Whiten may not be a household name or even a name most fans of baseball today have even heard of. Whiten was a solid professional baseball player with eleven seasons in The Show, more than most players could ever dream about.
In those eleven years he posted 804 career hits, a .259 average, 105 home runs, 423 RBIs and 465 runs scored. Not exactly the eye-popping numbers that would be in a featured story. However, this is not about what Whiten did at the dish during his big-league career; it’s about what he did on the mound.
On July 31st, 1998, Whiten found himself on the road and on the rubber against the Oakland Athletics in a blowout, which the then-Indians ultimately lost 12-2. The first batter he faced walked, followed by a Jason Giambi double into the gap. Immediately after he plunked Scott Spiezio, and just like that the bases were loaded with no one out.
Mike Blowers ran the count full and Whiten struck him out with what I would call a nasty splitter. Next to bat was Oakland’s All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada, who followed Blowers by striking out looking (about four inches outside). Rookie A.J. Hinch was next and walked on almost the identical pitch that Tejada was called out for. At this point, Whiten has two strikeouts, two walks, one HBP and a double, resulting in only one earned run. Mike Neill was the only batter in his way of striking out the side.
Whiten already used a very good split finger to record his first strikeout, and to strike out the side Whiten spun an absolutely beautiful curveball to record his third and final strikeout, making him the only position player to ever strike out the side.
On a separate note, Mark Whiten has a few other oddities associated with his career. In 1993, while a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, Whiten had a four-homer game, the most interesting thing in my opinion other than striking out the side. The1992 Topps set made an error while producing his baseball card as well. His hand that holds the bat is actually over the border that Topps wanted to keep the photos within. Online this card sells for around $100 upgraded. Topps quickly caught this mistake which has only left so many left or currently In circulation.