Unless your name is Joe Buck, longtime baseball announcers are generally widely beloved figures in the sport.
They provide a soundtrack for the spring, summer and, if your team is lucky, the fall. Longtime announcers like Vin Scully, Bob Murphy, Phil Rizzuto or Ernie Harwell just about become family, sticking with a franchise for decades and calling games for an entire generation or two of fans.
When someone on that level retires, it leaves a void that simply cannot be filled. Jaime Jarrin began his career as the Dodgers Spanish-language announcer in 1959 and incredibly, he remains in that capacity to this day. As the 2021 season came to a close, the 86-year-old Jarrin announced that he would call one more season of Dodgers baseball before calling it a career. When Jarrin began his broadcasting career, Dwight Eisenhower was president, a gallon of gas was .30 cents and Ty Cobb was still alive. He called games in 1959 in which Enos Slaughter played and in 2021 with Luis Garcia playing. Slaughter was born in 1916 and would be 105 years older than Garcia if he was still around.
The Stud 400 honors Jarrin this week as well as great moments from the man they call Shrek, The Captain and a fellow not many people heard of until he tossed an improbable no-hitter last season.
Before we move on to this week’s edition of The Stud 400, here’s look at the last five entries as we count down the 400 greatest moments in Major League Baseball history:
385. Gaylord Perry (finally) ejected for spitball (1982)
384. Brock Holt hits first postseason cycle (2018)
383. Dusty Baker first to take five teams to postseason as manager (2020)
382. Ron LeFlore signed out of prison (1973)
381. Steve Yeager suffers near-fatal injury in the on-deck circle (1976)
And now, here’s Episode Five of The Stud 400, featuring artwork by Will O’Toole.
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Tyler Gilbert tosses no-hitter in first Big League start (2021)
2021 was the year of the no-hitter and the most unlikely pitcher to accomplish the feat was the Diamondbacks’ Tyler Gilbert. He made three previous relief appearances and was given a starting assignment against the Padres. Expected to only go a few innings, the former minor league relief pitcher breezed through the Padres order, and it became apparent that this could be a special night. Staked to a 5-0 first-inning lead, Gilbert cruised into the ninth looking to make history. After striking out the first two batters, Gilbert got Tommy Pham to line out to center to clinch his place in history. Gilbert struck out five batters, walked three and threw 64 of 102 pitches for strikes. Gilbert became the fourth pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his first major league start, and the first since Bobo Holloman in 1953.
Derek Jeter’s flip play (2001)
Jeter has a number of signature moments in his Hall of Fame career, but the one that’s probably replayed the most is his “Flip Play” in the 2001 ALDS against the Oakland A’s. The play was so typically Jeter in so many ways. On contact, Jeter broke to second on Terrence Long’s double into the corner in case there was going to be a play at second. When that was out of the question, an alert Jeter recognized he was the third cutoff, an emergency in the case that Shane Spencer airmailed a throw over both Tino Martinez and Alfonso Soriano, which of course he did. When Spencer unleashed his throw, Jeter was still standing behind the pitcher’s mound. He broke towards the flight path of the throw, casually caught and flipped it to Jorge Posada and ended up well into foul territory as Jorge Posada (allegedly) tagged Jeremy Giambi out. In typical Jeter fashion, he downplayed the seemingly impossible play, chalking it up to simply something they practiced. When A’s third basemen Eric Chavez signed with the Yankees in 2012, to his amazement, he was able to confirm that they do practice it.
Kevin Mench is the first to homer in three straight innings (2005)
Sometimes baseball history is made right in front of the fans eyes and they don’t even realize it. Sometimes, the player who is making that history doesn’t realize it either. On June 30, 2005, the Rangers drubbed the Angels by a score of 18-5 and Mench had himself a day. The power-hitting righty led off the fifth inning with a home run off Joel Peralta and then took Jake Woods deep in the sixth and seventh innings. While there had been many three-homer games before, it was the first time in Major League history that a player had homered in three straight innings, even if nobody acknowledged it at the time. Mench himself said he didn’t realize he was the first to do it until years later when a reporter asked him about it in an interview.
Jaime Jarrin announces retirement (2021)
When Jarrin began his career as the Dodgers Spanish language broadcaster, the team was only one season removed from playing in Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale were leading the Dodgers against young superstars like Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. In September of 2021, Jarrin announced that 2022 will be his final season as a broadcaster as the 85-year-old will be retiring from the booth. In his 64 years behind the mic, Jarrin has called 22 no-hitters, three perfect games, 30 All-Star Games and 30 World Series. He was inducted into Hall of Fame as the Ford C. Frick Award winner in 1998.
Major League Baseball begins playing the Little League Classic (2017)
Major League Baseball has done a lot wrong in recent years, but one thing everyone seems to agree on are the neutral site games connected to the fibers of the game in one way or another. The first Little League Classic was played in 2017 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Little League World Series. In pairing up Major League games with the Little League World Series, it has created an opportunity for broadcasts and media to highlight the youthful wonder of baseball. Major League players are seen interacting with fans at the Little League games and share their stories of playing ball as Little Leaguers themselves. It’s a feel-good event and has continued every year, with the exception of 2020 when it fell victim to a Covid cancellation.
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Stay tuned for next week’s edition of The Stud 400 when we have our first appearance by Mr. Cub, examine a controversial finish to a batting title race between two Hall of Fame immortals and, quite literally, get struck by lightning.