Old News in Baseball, No. 15

Newsboy logoAs we enter the dog days of August, when batters beef up their averages and pitchers swoon, we look back upon some remarkable pitching feats—Greg Maddux topping Cy Young, Lee Richmond precipitating the left-right platoon, Red Barrett’s stinginess, and Harry Hedgpeth’s twin-bill one-hitter … combined! (Who was Harry Hedgpeth? A one-inning major leaguer.) And we offer the usual sprinkling of Hall of Fame heroes, from Tris Speaker—today nearly forgotten but perhaps the greatest center fielder the game has produced—to Joe DiMaggio and Walter Johnson. Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs share a single entry, and Mets fans, now feeling pretty good about their chances, may recall Art Shamsky and Benny Agbayani.

August 7

Johnson in Weiser, Idaho 1907

Johnson in Weiser, Idaho 1907

1894: Chicago shortstop Bill Dahlen goes 0-for-6 to break his 42-game hitting streak. During the streak Dahlen was 74-for-186 (.398) and drove in 44 runs;  tomorrow‚ he will start a 28-game hit streak. His 42-game mark was topped by Willie Keeler in 1897, Joe DiMaggio in 1941, and Pete Rose in 1978. For more, see: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/feats/feats-streak.shtml

1907: Washington’s Walter Johnson wins the first of his 417 victories‚ 7-2 over Cleveland. The 19-year-old had been signed off the roster of the Weiser club in the semipro Idaho State League. For more, see: http://cwcfamily.org/wj/ww0.htm

1999: Just one day after Tony Gwynn reached the milestone‚ Wade Boggs also gets the 3000th hit of his career in Tampa Bay’s 15-10 loss to Cleveland. Boggs goes 3-for-4 in the contest‚ reaching the 3000 mark with a sixth inning HR off Chris Haney.

August 8

1877: After St. Louis catcher John Clapp has his cheek smashed by a foul tip‚ replacement Mike Dorgan goes behind the plate wearing a mask. Though the mask made an earlier appearance this year in the rival International Association, this is the first use of a catcher’s mask in MLB.

1914: At Boston‚ center fielder Tris Speaker pulls off his second unassisted double play this year‚ this one coming against Detroit. Tiger runner Harry Heilmann is doubled off second base in the fourth inning on a line drive to Speaker. Although the line later became attached to Willie Mays, Speaker’s glove was the first to be termed “the place where triples go to die.”

1952: Bob Neighbors‚ a shortstop who played briefly with the 1939 St. Louis Browns‚ is declared missing in action in the Korean War. He will be the only ex-major leaguer killed in action in Korea and the sixth and last to die in wartime action this century. For more, see: http://www.baseballsgreatestsacrifice.com/korean_war.html

Hal Chase with Reds

Hal Chase with Reds

August 9

1905: Mistaking her husband for a burglar‚ Ty Cobb’s mother shoots and kills him. The Georgia Peach will make his big-league debut with the Tigers later this month.

1906: The Cubs’ Jack Taylor beats Brooklyn 5-3 and posts his 187th consecutive complete game‚ a major league record. The streak will end in four days when he is knocked out by Brooklyn in the third inning. Taylor’s record run had begun on June 20‚ 1901.

1918: With Sherry Magee at first base for Cincinnati in place of the regular first sacker, Hal Chase, the Pirates defeat the Reds‚ 4-3. Reds manager Christy Mathewson has suspected Chase of taking bribes to fix games‚ and suspends him “for indifferent play.” Formally charged after the season by owner Garry Herrmann‚ Chase will be acquitted by NL President John Heydler. Prince Hal will be reinstated and play for John McGraw and the Giants in 1919.

August 10

1887: Tip O’Neill gets his tenth consecutive hit (including one walk, as per the scoring rule for this year) before being retired by Cleveland Infants pitcher John Kirby. Against this one club‚ Tip will finish the season with an astounding .652 average (60-for-92) including 10 walks‚ or .610 without walks. For more, see: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2015/05/04/why-is-the-national-association-not-a-major-league-and-other-records-issues/

1944: Red Barrett of the Boston Braves throws only 58 pitches and shuts out the Cincinnati Reds 2-0. This is the major league record for fewest pitches in a nine-inning game. The game is played one hour, 15 minutes.

1971: Sixteen baseball researchers gather in Cooperstown to form the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)‚ with founder L. Robert (Bob) Davids as president. For more, see: http://sabr.org/about/founders

August 11

1868: In Rockford‚ IL‚ the Unions of Morrisania play before 5‚000‚ their biggest crowd on their tour. They win their eleventh straight‚ beating the Forest City Club‚ 23-17. Peripatetic star George Wright—returned to the Unions this year after playing with Washington in 1867—hits a homer off kid pitcher Al Spalding. Both will play for the Boston Red Stockings in the National Association of 1871-75. For more, see: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2012/02/20/george-wright-remembers-a-voice-from-125-years-ago/

1947: Cardinal farmhand Harvey Haddix‚ pitching for Winston-Salem (Carolina), no-hits Danville‚ 8-0‚ in seven innings, fanning 14.

1950: Hitting just .279 and mired in a 4-for-38 slump‚ Yankee great Joe DiMaggio is benched for the first time in his career. His sub‚ Cliff Mapes‚ wearing the number 7 later made famous by DiMaggio’s successor in center field, hits a home run to give the Yankees a 7-6 win over the A’s.

August 12

1887: At the Mets’ grounds on Staten Island‚ Philadelphia Athletics batter Gus Weyhing hits an apparent triple that right fielder Chief Roseman kicks into the stage of the play “The Fall of Babylon.” Since the ground rules at the park call for a double on hits into the theatrical set‚ the umpire orders Weyhing back to second base. After a futile argument‚ the Athletics leave the field and forfeit the game‚ 9-7. During the summer of the previous season, spectators at Mets home games were able to look at New York harbor from the St. George grandstand and see the Statue of Liberty being assembled. A newspaper report of a game here included this other singular feature: “Two trusty warriors stood upon the walls of Babylon and held their polished shields so that the reflection of the sun would strike the Baltimore batters full in the eyes.”

New York Mets played on Staten Island in 1886-87

New York Mets played on Staten Island in 1886-87

1966: At Crosley Field‚ Art Shamsky enters the game in the eighth inning‚ when he hits a two-run homer to put the Reds up over the Pirates, 8-7. His solo homer in the tenth ties the score at 9-9‚ as does his two-run homer in the eleventh. Pittsburgh prevails 13-11‚ scoring three in the thirteenth inning. Shamsky’s pair of extra-inning homers is a first in the NL‚ and just the third time ever in the majors (Vern Stephens‚ 1943, and Willie Kirkland‚ 1963).

2000: The Mets defeat the Giants‚ 3-2‚ despite a mental mistake by outfielder Benny Agbayani. After catching a fly ball for the second out in the fourth inning‚ he hands the ball to a seven-year-old boy in the stands‚ mistakenly thinking the ball was the third out of the inning. Two runners score.

Lee Richmond, 1879

Lee Richmond, 1879

August 13

1880: Switching outfield and pitching positions five times‚ Fred Corey and Lee Richmond combine to hurl Worcester to a 3-1 victory over Cleveland. Worcester manager Frank Bancroft, the father of platooning, had tried this gambit with less success on June 19, when Corey and Richmond exchanged spots twice. Richmond won 32 games as a rookie with Worcester in 1880 and, the Detroit Free Press later reported, “columns of room were given to discussion in the newspapers as to why the delivery of a left-hand pitcher should be harder to bat than that of a right-hand pitcher.” As noted by Peter Morris in A Game of Inches, on June 26, 1880, three left-handed Chicago batters, Abner Dalrymple, George Gore and Larry Corcoran, batted right-handed against Richmond. For more, see: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2015/05/13/j-lee-richmonds-remarkable-1879-season/

1913: Pitcher Harry Hedgpeth of the Petersburg Goobers in the Virginia League blanks Richmond twice‚ by scores of 1-0 and 10-0‚ both games going nine innings. He gives up only one hit in the opener‚ while hurling a no-hitter in the nightcap. The Washington Senators will let Hedgpeth pitch an inning on the next to last day of the 1913 campaign, which will be the entirety of his big-league career.

2006: In pitching eight shutout innings against the Giants, Greg Maddux sets a major-league record, becoming the first pitcher to make at least 25 starts in 20 consecutive seasons. Maddux had shared the record of 25 in 19 straight with Cy Young, Warren Spahn, and Tom Glavine.


What is the record for the fewest pitches by both teams combined in a single Major League game?

PS – That is an awesome illustration of the Staten Islands ballpark!

Dunno. Pitch counts were kept erratically before WWII, when low pitch counts were most likely to have occurred.

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