Old News in Baseball, No. 1

Newsboy logoTrying something new, and old, beginning this week: a review of baseball events from the past. This week’s offerings, like the others to come, will run from Friday through the following Thursday (in the present instance, May 1 through May 7). I’ll relate what happened, why I think it’s interesting, and where you might find out a bit more if you’re so inclined. Sometimes I’ll link to a story from the burgeoning Our Game archive, other times I’ll link to a SABR biographical profile or a Baseball Prospectus story. And as always there will be pictures, lots of pictures. I am indebted, of course, to the efforts of SABR researchers and that splendid reference source, Jim Charlton’s Baseball Chronology.

MAY 1

1883: New York wins the first MLB game played in Manhattan, defeating Philadelphia‚ 7-5‚ at the original Polo Grounds, located at 110th street between 5th and 6th Avenues. The grounds were leased from James Gordon Bennett, publisher of the New York Herald; the field had actually been used by the Westchester Polo Association, and thus the name, even as the site and the ball club moved uptown. The National League entry of 1876 had played its home games in Brooklyn, at that time a separate city (which in part accounts for the fierce rivalry between the two over the ensuing decades). Among those in attendance for the opener: former President U.S. Grant. For more, see: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2014/02/26/our-baseball-presidents/.

Polo Grounds, Opening Day 1886,  N-YHS.

Polo Grounds, Opening Day 1886, N-YHS.

1920: In Boston‚ Brooklyn’s Leon Cadore and the Braves’ Joe Oeschger duel 26 innings to a 1-1 tie in the longest game ever played in MLB. Oeschger shuts out the Dodgers for the last 21 innings‚ topping Art Nehf’s 20 scoreless frames in a row on August 1‚ 1918. He gives up 9 hits‚ and Cadore allows 12‚ in the 3-hour‚ 50-minute battle. The Dodgers lose to the Phils at home in 13 innings the next day‚ then return to Boston for a Monday game where they lose again in 19.

1991: 44-year-old Rangers pitcher Nolan Ryan hurls the record seventh no-hitter of his amazing career‚ defeating the Toronto Blue Jays in Arlington by a score of 3-0. Ryan strikes out 16 batters in the process‚ marking the 209th time he has fanned 10 or more in a game. Today we are amazed that Bartolo Colon, at age 41, takes a regular turn in the rotation, let alone pitches well.

MAY 2

1876: Chicago’s Ross Barnes hits the first NL HR‚ an inside-the-park drive off Cherokee Fisher against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati. Barnes would win the first batting championship too, with a mark of .404—but in this year walks count as outs, so if we computed his batting average by the modern standard, it would be .429.

1939: After carrying out the scorecard to the umpires‚ Lou Gehrig voluntarily benches himself “for the good of the team.” He is batting .143 with one RBI. His consecutive-game string stops at 2‚130. For more, see: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2014/07/02/lou-gehrig-75-years-after-the-speech/.

Lou Gehrig, May 2, 1939.

Lou Gehrig, May 2, 1939.

1995: Hideo Nomo hurls 5 innings for the Dodgers in a 13-inning‚ 4-3 loss to the Giants‚ becoming the first Japanese player to appear in the major leagues since Masanori Murakami in 1964.

MAY 3

1927: In the first matchup of pitching brothers in ML history‚ Brooklyn’s Jess Barnes defeats his brother Virgil‚ 7-6. Great trivia question for many years was: Name the pitching-brother tandem with the most victories. Today one might leap to the Niekros or the Perrys, but the answer used to be the Mathewsons (Christy with 373, his brother Henry with none).

1995: David Bell makes his big-league debut at 3B in the Indians 14-7 win over the Tigers. His appearance makes the Bells–with his father Buddy and his grandfather Gus–the second three-generation family in ML history (The Boones are the first). But the Hairstons are the largest three-generation baseball family. Sam, who played in the Negro Leagues as well as MLB, is the father of MLB players Jerry Hairston, Sr. and Johnny Hairston, and the grandfather of Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Scott Hairston. A son, Sammy Hairston Jr., and three grandsons, Johnny Hairston Jr., Jeff Hairston, and Jason Hairston played in the minor leagues.

1869  Cincinnati Reds Disc

1869 Cincinnati Reds Disc

MAY 4

1869: The Cincinnati Red Stockings‚ baseball’s first admittedly all-professional team‚ play their first game of the year‚ defeating the Great Westerns 45-9. For more, see: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2014/12/01/baseballs-wright-brothers-and-the-cincinnati-red-stockings/

1966: Willie Mays hits a National League record 512th home run, topping another Giant‚ Mel Ott as the Giants beat the Dodgers 6-1. At the time Mays retires, his 660 homers are third all-time to Babe Ruth’s 714 and Hank Aaron’s 713.

MAY 5

1904: Boston’s Cy Young pitches a 3-0 perfect game against the Philadelphia Athletics and Rube Waddell. Young stretches his hitless inning skein to 18; it will extend to 25-1/3 innings over three games, running from April 25 through May 11. For more, see: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2012/11/28/cy-young-remembers-his-greatest-day/

Cy Young, four years after his perfect game.

Cy Young, four years after his perfect game.

1925: Ty Cobb is 6-for-6‚ including 3 HRs‚ in Detroit’s 14-8 win over the Browns. Before game, he had told writers that there was nothing much to hitting home runs like Babe Ruth if one swung for the fences. On the following day, he hit two more homers‚ giving him five round trippers in 2 games‚ tying Cap Anson’s 1884 feat, later matched by Stan Musial in a doubleheader.

MAY 6

1915: Red Sox pitcher Babe Ruth clouts his first big-league homer, off Jack Warhop of the Yanks in the third inning at the Polo Grounds. Ruth loses the game in the 13th‚ 4-3‚ as Cy Pieh is the winner. For more, see: http://research.sabr.org/journals/ruth-makes-warhop

Jack Warhop.

Jack Warhop.

1962: Mickey Mantle hits homers right- and left-handed for the ninth time‚ in the second game of a doubleheader‚ as the Yankees win 8-0 over the Washington Senators at Yankee Stadium. The shutout is Jim Bouton’s first win the majors.

1998: In one of the finest pitching efforts ever‚ Chicago Cub rookie righthander Kerry Wood fans 20 Houston Astros in a 2-0‚ one-hit victory to tie Roger Clemens’ mark for strikeouts in a nine-inning game. Wood does not walk a batter ‚ allowing only an infield single. For more, see: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=23059

MAY 7

1891: King Kelly’s drive over the fence in Boston gives Cincinnati (AA) a 10-9 win in the 14th inning. Since Kelly’s blast came in the bottom of the last frame with the score tied and a man on base‚ he is only credited with a triple. For more, see: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2013/04/24/buck-ewing-and-king-kelly/

1929: Yankee southpaw Tom Zachary wins a 6-5 game in relief at St. Louis‚ the first of his 12 wins without a loss for the year‚ a record. Two years earlier, pitching for the Washington Senators, Zachary had taken a hand in another record: Babe Ruth’s 60th home run.

1957: Gil McDougald of the Yankees hits a wicked line drive that strikes Cleveland’s Herb Score in the right eye. Score‚ with a broken nose and lacerations‚ is carried off the field on a stretcher. Bob Lemon relieves and wins the game‚ 2-1. Score will return the following year but his pitching will not be the same.

See you here next Friday, with some old news for May 8-14.

5 Comments

this is fabulous. thanks for posting       

Thanks, Hal. Coming from you, high praise indeed.

Great post and look forward to reading more. However, RE Willie Mays: “… At the time Mays retires, his 660 homers are second all-time to Babe Ruth’s 714.” Mays retired in 1973. Hank Aaron ended 1973 with 713 HR.

Quite right, Ed. Corrected above. Good catch, and thanks!

Looking forward to lots of old news ! Thanks.

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