Baseball and Wikipedia
Written by Brendan Gawlowski on February 03, 2013 @ 08:31PM      Jump To Comments

Getty Images If you spend a lot of time reading about baseball on the internet, you're bound to wind up on Wikipedia eventually. It's an amazing resource and while the site's proponents are often reminded that it's less than scholarly, even Wikipedia's detractors have to admit that it's a pretty impressive database with a wealth of credible information. For both baseball and everything else, the vast majority of the articles on Wikipedia are thorough and accurate.

However, Wikipedia isn't a completely sterile entity. As is bound to happen when a bunch of people collaborate on a massive project, it isn't quite a uniform and professional product. Odd facts are occasionally emphasized. Certain subjects attract too much attention. Obscure details are placed alongside pertinent information. I'm not trying to make this sound like a bad thing: often, these details are quite entertaining. This is particularly true for baseball pages. I've perused Wikipedia often enough to find a decent number of entertaining baseball entries, and with that in mind, I thought it would be amusing to chronicle some of the odder facts and stories I've encountered on ballplayer's Wikipedia pages.

Jose Rosado:

"Of trivial note, Rosado pitched for the American League in the first two All-Star Games to be telecast by the Fox Television network (1997 and 1999)*."

*- As a bonus, the editor hyperlinked to the 1999 game, but not the 1997 edition.

A human being took time out of his or her day to write the least notable 'trivial note' in baseball history on Jose Rosado's Wikipedia page. I mean, I'll grant that there may be a few people who care when Fox started broadcasting the All-Star Game, but all three of them only give a shit because they're corporate big whigs at Fox, and NBC won't be stealing any of their thunder because THIS TIME IT COUNTS DAMNIT. Even if it didn't count back in 1997 and 1999. More to the point, it's just a stupid coincidence, it's not a historic moment, it's not something celebrated by Rosado, and it's a fact that nobody literally one person cares about.

Also, why is Jose being singled out here? Along with Rosado, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, and David Cone all pitched in both the '97 and '99 ASG and none of them get credit for it on their Wikipedia page. Which, in itself is kind of odd, because if Fox's dutiful historian wanted to impress people with his anecdote, he'd have been better off posting it on a page someone might actually bother to read some day (no offense to Rosado, who had a promising career tragically shortened by Kansas City's arm-shredder).

Chuck James:

Under the trivia heading on Chuck James' page, we learn:

"1. During previous offseasons, he has worked as a home installation technician for Lowe's hardware stores. However, at the end of the 2007 season, James said he would not continue to work in the offseason.

2. Shortly before the 2002 draft, he broke both of his wrists while attempting to dive off of a roof and into a swimming pool.

3. While in college, James was bitten by a copperhead, a venomous snake, and never sought medical treatment.

4. He went to Clay Elementary, Lindley Middle and Pebblebrook schools in Mableton Ga."

I'd like to think that the author intended for fact 4 to explain facts 1-3. Hey, he's a Mableton Jaguar alum and he's tired of those cocky Champion Dolphins* from Clay Elementary getting all the adulation without any of the underbelly. This is just an exercise in 21st century muckraking.

*- Yes, the mascot for Clay Elementary is the Champion Dolphin. Good to see that southern exceptionalism is alive and well from kindergarden through the SEC (although to be fair, most of the SEC schools are just a step or two up from kindergarden anyways).

Sam Fuld:

Fuld's Wikipedia page is less notable for what's written in it than for just how LONG it is. With 167 citations and over 10,000 words, Fuld's page is more of a short biography than an encyclopedia entry. Pasted into Microsoft Word, Fuld's page runs over twenty-one pages (single spaced!) making it the longest baseball entry I've ever come across on Wikipedia (non-Bonds division). On the one hand, the attention almost makes sense: he's a bit of a cult hero as he's smart (a Stanford man), Jewish, diabetic, and he totally Chris Sheltoned April of 2011. On the other, Chris Shelton's Wikipedia page only has six citations. Verdict: Fuld's page is nutty.

While anyone who takes the time to write a small book on Wikipedia is bound to weave a bit of an adulatory tale, I'll concede that Fuld's page is preposterously thorough and pretty well written. Or at least the excerpts I've read have been well written. I won't lie, I didn't read all of it on the account of the length (longer than the entries for several presidents) and the topic (a journeyman fifth outfielder).

Josh Beckett:

"After the Marlins' World Series win he appeared in advertisements for the National Rifle Association."

As if Beckett needed more good publicity...

(G)Ross Grimsley:

“With the Reds, he was called into manager Sparky Anderson’s office and told to stop corresponding with a ‘witch’ who had been sending him good luck charms… He was accused by Yankees manager Billy Martin in 1977 of throwing spitball pitches using Vaseline hidden in his hair, which was usually somewhat greasy in appearance anyway due to Grimsley’s penchant for not showering during winning streaks. In addition to his nickname “Scuz” for his liberal grooming habits, he was also called “Crazy Eyes” and known to wear turquoise contact lenses.”

Grimsley played before my time so I'm not really sure how well known his laissez-faire approach to the shower is among current fans. Still, this is pretty disgusting. I'm pretty sure that if my previous boss cited 'lack of respect for the dress code' as a reason for sending my services elsewhere, I'd try and change my habits a little bit.

Anyways, those are the best I've come across. Got any nominations?