Old News in Baseball, No. 12
That was some All-Star Game and Home Run Derby, huh? Cincinnati proved to be the perfect host city. MLB’s design department outdid itself, at the park and all around town. The Franchise Four announcements were greeted by thunderous ovations for the hometown stars, who took to the field. And even the eyes of a crusty old veteran like me welled up at the sight of the four whom the fans voted “greatest living players”: Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Willie Mays, and Sandy Koufax. And now for the crusty part: my whiskers twitched at the signage that celebrated “Cincinnati Red Stockings, Est. 1869.” Undefeated in that year, this was the team that made Cincinnati–and baseball itself–famous from coast to coast. But they were established in 1866, as you will read below.
1903: Lefthander Dan McClellan of the Cuban X-Giants spins the first perfect game in black baseball history‚ blanking the Penn Park Athletic Club of York‚ 5-0. Rube Foster had whitewashed the Penn Park AC the day before.
1941: Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak is ended at 56 games. Indian pitchers Al Smith and Jim Bagby‚ plus sensational plays by third baseman Ken Keltner‚ stop the Yankee Clipper. Joe tells Phil Rizzuto after the game that his failure to hit cost him $10,000, as Heinz Ketchup (“57 Varieties”) was prepared to sign an endorsement deal with him. For more, see: http://goo.gl/Vw75ot.
1974: In Los Angeles‚ during a 5-4 loss to the Expos‚ Dodger pitcher Tommy John blows his elbow out. Dodger doctor Frank Jobe will suggest a replacement for the torn ulnar collateral ligament‚ a first for a professional athlete. Given one chance in a hundred of ever pitching again‚ John will return to record 164 wins after the surgery‚ pitching until age 46.
1925: Playing for Salt Lake City, Lefty O’Doul sets a Pacific Coast League record for hits in a three game series (16-for-17) and for a four-game series (19-for-21). O’Dould had come to the majors as a pitcher, but at the end of the 1924 season, in which he gave up 13 runs in one inning pitching for the Red Sox, he was released to the PCL. In 1925, in addition to the aforementioned hitting exploit, he batted .375 with 309 hits and 24 home runs. Earning a recall to the bigs in 1928, Lefty led the National League in hitting twice and finished with a career batting average of .349.
1987: Don Mattingly hits a home run in his eighth consecutive game‚ tying the record set by Dale Long in 1956 and later equaled by Ken Griffey, Jr.
1999: Don Larsen, who hurled a perfect game for the New Yorkers in the 1956 WS‚ throws out the first pitch prior to New York’s game against the Expos. David Cone then throws a perfecto of his own, defeating the Expos‚ 6-0 while fanning ten.
1884: Boston’s Fred “Dupee” Shaw holds St. Louis, the top club in the Union Association, to one hit while fanning 18 batters‚ but loses the game 1-0. In his outings of July 16th‚ 19th‚ and 21st‚ Shaw will amass 48 strikeouts‚ a big-league record for three consecutive games. Possibly the inventor of the windup, Shaw’s motions in the pitching box [the slab did not come in until 1893] were thus described by Al Spink: “After considerable swinging and scratching around with his feet, during which he would deliver a lengthy speech to the batter, to the effect that he was the best pitcher on earth and the batter a dub, he would stretch both arms at full length over his head. Then after gazing fixedly at the first baseman for a moment, he would wheel half around and both arms would fly apart like magic… [H]e would wind his left arm around again and let the ball fly, running at the same time all the way from the box to the home plate.”
1909: Cleveland SS Neal Ball pulls off an unassisted triple play in the top of the second inning against the Red Sox. With Heinie Wagner on second base and Jake Stahl on first‚ Amby McConnell hits a line drive to Ball‚ who steps on second and tags Stahl. Earlier triple plays in professional baseball were achieved by first baseman Harry O’Hagan, with Rochester in 1902, and Paul Hines, with Providence in 1878. For more, see: http://goo.gl/3S3Tsj.
1960: In a spectacular debut‚ Giant Juan Marichal pitches no-hit ball until Clay Dalrymple of the Phillies pinch-hits a single with two out in the seventh. Marichal fans 12 in his one-hit win, the first by a National League pitcher in the century. (Before 1900, two men had thrown no-hitters in their first starts: Ted Breitenstein in 1891 and Bumpus Jones in 1892.)
1858: The first game played in an enclosed grounds, the first to feature a paid admission, and the first All-Star Game. In many ways, today’s game at the Fashion Race Course, pitting the best of Brooklyn against the cream of New York—when these were separate cities—may be said to be the most important in baseball history. John Holder of the Brooklyn Excelsiors hits the first home run ever recorded in a box score‚ but New York wins the game 22-18. Brooklyn will take the rematch on August 19‚ and on September 19‚ New York wins the rubber game and the series. For more, see: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2013/07/08/the-all-star-game-you-dont-know/
1898: Joe Corbett‚ the Baltimore hurler who has been holding out all season for a higher salary‚ spars with brother Jim‚ heavyweight champion of the world‚ to prepare him for his fight with Kid McCoy. Joe Corbett‚ who won 24 games in 1897‚ will not pitch in the majors again until 1904.
1969: San Francisco’s Gaylord Perry connects for his first hit of the year‚ and his first major league homer, to beat the Dodgers‚ 7-3. Last year‚ Alvin Dark had remarked to sportswriter Harry Jupiter about Perry’s hitting‚ “They’ll put a man on the moon before he hits a home run.” Perry’s homer comes about 20 minutes after the clubhouse receives word that Neil Armstrong has set foot on the moon.
1892: Tim Keefe of the Phillies outpitches Pud Galvin of St. Louis 2-0. It is Keefe’s 326th win against 211 losses. Galvin’s career mark is 360-306. It is the fourth and last match-up, all in the past three years, between these two 300-game winners. The next match-up of 300-game winners will be between Don Sutton and Phil Niekro on June 6‚ 1986; the one after that will not come until Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens face each other on April 29‚ 2005.
1969: At an All-Star Game banquet in Washington, DC, the Baseball Writers’ Association announces an all-time team and an all-time living team. Babe Ruth is selected Greatest All-Time Player‚ and Joe DiMaggio‚ Greatest Living Player.
1970: Clay Kirby has a no-hitter going for eight innings‚ but with two outs in the 8th and trailing 1-0‚ Padres manager Preston Gomez lifts him for a pinch hitter Cito Gaston. Gaston fails to get a hit off Mets’ starter Jim McAndrew‚ and reliever Jack Baldschun gives up two runs in the ninth. Gomez will repeat the stratagem with Don Wilson and the Padres on September 4‚ 1974.
1886: It is reported that Chicago owner Albert Goodwill Spalding has hired Pinkerton detectives to shadow the White Stocking players and report on their drinking habits. Seven players are fined $25 each. One of these is King Kelly, who accepts the fine but indignantly corrects Spalding, “It was straight whiskey; I never drank a lemonade at that hour in me life.”
1963: Diomedes Olivo‚ who will split his time between St. Louis in the NL (0-5 in 1963) and Atlanta in the IL (3-1) pitches a 1-0 no-hitter for Atlanta over Toronto. At 44 or so, Olivo is likely the oldest pitcher in Organized Baseball to toss a no-hitter.
1997: Greg Maddux throws just 78 pitches as the Atlanta Braves defeat the Chicago Cubs 4-1. It is the lowest pitch total for a nine-inning complete game since Bob Tewksbury threw 76 for the Cardinals against the Reds on August 29‚ 1990. But neither pitch count approaches the record of Red Barrett, who needed only 58 pitches to throw a complete-game shutout of Cincinnati on August 10, 1944 in which he did not walk or strike out anyone.
1866: The Cincinnati Base Ball Club is organized. Harry Wright had left New York for the Queen City of the West in March 1865 to serve as the professional instructor and bowler of its Union Cricket Club. On this date in 1866, the Cincinnati Base Ball Club is formed, and Harry Wright is enticed into being its pitcher. To devote his full attention to the new national game for 1867, the baseball club’s directors, many of them holding office in common with the cricket club, will offer him the same salary he is already receiving to switch sports. The club will fare well against regional opponents but they see the need to recruit from the east for 1868 and then what will be the unequaled campaign of 1869. For more, see: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2014/12/01/baseballs-wright-brothers-and-the-cincinnati-red-stockings/
1870: Five thousand spectators jam Dexter Park in Chicago to see the White Stockings play the visiting Mutuals of New York. Mutuals pitcher Rynie Wolters holds the White Stockings to three singles, winning 9-0 for the first shutout game in big-time baseball history. Until this game, in the West a blank score had been termed a “whitewashing,” and in the East a “blinder.” In New York it had been called a “skunk.” After this 1870 landmark game, the New York Herald will use “Chicagoed” from now on to signify a shutout; the term will survive into the 1890s.
1924: The Yankees and Lou Gehrig hits the first of his longtime-record 23 grand slams in a game against Firpo Marberry and the Senators. Gehrig’s slam is an opposite-field fly ball in the seventh that left fielder Goose Goslin thinks will drift foul‚ but it drops fair and bounds into the seats, scoring Aaron Ward‚ Bob Meusel‚ and Babe Ruth. The bounce homer will not become a ground-rule double until the next decade.