There needs to be a word for what Johan Santana did to the Reds tonight. Considering all the frivolities we keep track of in baseball, there should be an isolated stat for pitchers who throw complete game shutouts in which they also hit a home run. Shut ’em out, hit one out.
I know Jason Jennings did it against the Mets in his Major League debut because I was there. (Incidentally, there was a rain delay in the game and we moved down to the first row behind home plate and wound up taking advantage of an unbelievable opportunity to heckle Steve Phillips point blank.)
According to the Mets’ game notes, the only other Met to accomplish the feat was Pete Falcone in 1981. (For what it’s worth, that game featured both Mark Davis and Sparky Lyle pitching for the Phillies. Davis started the game, but the duo represent 22% of pitchers who have won the Cy Young Award as relievers.)
I assume Babe Ruth did it at least once.
Anyway, what’s important is that we come up with some formal way of documenting whenever a pitcher single-handedly dominates his opponent like Santana did tonight. What could that be called? A pwn? A Little League Shutout, since the feat happens all the time at that level?
Or what about “a Newk,” in honor of Dodgers great Don Newcombe, one of the best power-hitting pitchers of all time? By my count Newcombe only did it once himself, but he was a pioneer, plus he has spent his retirement working with ballplayers with substance-abuse issues. Seems like a good enough dude to commemorate.
Plus the name works perfectly as a noun or a verb. Johan Santana hopes to compile more Newks in his career. Johan Santana Newked the Reds tonight.
Hmm… on second thought, maybe “Newking the Reds” sounds a little too Cold War-oriented for a baseball frivolity. I’m open to suggestions.