Rizzo collecting milestone HBP baseballs
CINCINNATI -- Most players try to collect a souvenir from milestones like a first or 100th career home run. On the top shelf of Anthony Rizzo's locker Wednesday was a ball that hit him, marking the 30th time he has been plunked by a pitch this season.
On Tuesday night, Rizzo joined an exclusive 30-30 club -- he now has hit 30 home runs and been hit by a pitch 30 times, only the second player in Major League history to do so, joining Don Baylor (1986). Rizzo actually is a 30-30-30 player -- he has 30 doubles this year as well. Baylor totaled 23 in '86.
The ball from Tuesday's game, which was thrown by Reds rookie Josh Smith in the first inning, was authenticated. It will join the others that Rizzo has back at Wrigley Field. He's saved all of the baseballs since he tied the Cubs record when he was hit the 17th time. That mark was shared by Frank Chance (1905) and Marlon Byrd (2010).
It wasn't Rizzo's idea to keep the souvenirs, but it was suggested by clubhouse manager Tom "Otis" Hellmann.
"Otis started saving them," Rizzo said. "It started when I tied the Cubs' record, and then [I got the ball] every time after that. So, in my locker, I have them all lined up."
Each is authenticated.
"I have them all labeled in a case," Rizzo said. "It's funny."
Rizzo does not have every home run ball he's ever hit, although he did collect the 100th career homer, which was No. 29 this season.
"I don't know what I'll do with them," he said of the balls, which have caused more than a few bruises. "Maybe we'll auction them off."
• Dexter Fowler has filled the role of leadoff man for the Cubs this season, and on Tuesday, scored his 100th run of the season. He's the first Cubs leadoff batter to reach 100 runs since Brian McRae scored 111 in 1996.
"If he's getting on base, you're going to have a pretty good night," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Fowler. "The second half, he's been phenomenal. He hasn't been as effective on the bases lately but I think he's a little fatigued. He's really been a big part of our resurgence here."
Fowler did not start Wednesday to get a little breather. After batting .298 in August, he was batting .204 this month. The 100 runs is a career high for Fowler, whose previous best was 84, in 2011 with the Rockies.
• The Cubs were exploring the possibility of a viewing party at Wrigley Field for the Oct. 7 National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser if the contest was being played in Pittsburgh or St. Louis, but a team official announced on Wednesday that will not happen.
"We explored the idea of hosting an NL Wild Card viewing party for fans at Wrigley Field, in the event we play on the road. After much consideration regarding the logistics and time required to successfully execute an exceptional guest experience while actively preparing for potential postseason play at home, we have decided to put this plan on hold. Given the excitement we have seen from Cubs fans this season, we know our fans will find a great place to watch the game and cheer on our team. "