Last week I wrote a post about Rick Stelmaszek's short-lived move from Chicago to California. Today, I will be highlighting a record setting performance by Stelmaszek.
Stelmaszek was traded by the California Angels to the Chicago Cubs on July 28, 1974. On July 31, 1974, in Stelmaszek's second game with the Chicago Cubs, he put his name in baseball's record books. He also enabled Cubs pitcher Bill Bonham to join him.
Only 14 pitchers have had 4 strike outs in one inning and only 14 catchers have caught 4 strike outs in one inning. Chicago Cubs teammates Bonham and Stelmaszek were the last to accomplish this feat.
The Cubs were hosting the Montreal Expos. In the top of the second inning, trailing 2-0, Bonham struck out Expos pitcher Mike Torrez. However, Stelmaszek allowed a passed ball and Torrez reached first base (and actually stole 2nd base, rubbing salt in the wound). Bonham then struck out the next 3 Expos ( Ron Hunt, Tim Foli and Willie Davis).
Bonham finished the game with 6 K's and the loss. For the year, he went 11-22, but was a much better pitcher than that would indicate. In 10 seasons, Bonham went 75-83. A sore arm hindered his career.
Still, Bonham holds a record that might never be broken. And he owes it all to Rick Stelmaszek.