Old News in Baseball, No. 22
September is for me baseball’s best month, even better than October, because it is so filled with possibility. Who will win the division title? The wild-card spots? The batting and pitching crowns? The World Series is for October, and the timing of the MVP and Cy Young awards, and Hall of Fame announcements, is designed to keep the hot stove league burning. But if in spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of Opening Day (oh yeah, and love, too), in these first days of fall, for veteran fans the topic is baseball, baseball, baseball.
With the approach of the regular season’s end, this will be the last Old News column for 2015.
1920: Behind Joe Jackson’s homer and two doubles, and the pitching of Lefty Williams‚ the White Sox beat host Cleveland 5-1‚ to shave the Indians’ lead to a half game. Jackson is hitting .387 and will finish with a mark of .382, the highest ever for a player in his final full season. Jackson, of course, like Williams and five others (Chick Gandil retired after the 1919 campaign), does not yet know that these will be his last days in Organized Baseball. For more, see: http://goo.gl/Vtd3SM
1929: Three days after turning the team over to coach Art Fletcher‚ Yankee manager Miller Huggins dies from blood poisoning at New York’s St. Vincent Hospital at age 49. After the Yankees learn of their skipper’s death, during the fifth inning at Fenway Park, both teams line up at home plate for a minute of silent prayer.
1956: At Ebbets Field‚ Sal Maglie of the Dodgers no-hits the Phils 5-0, keeping Brooklyn a half game behind the Braves, who beat Cincinnati 7-1. As David Nemec observed, “After seemingly having a fork stuck in him upon being released by the Indians in 1956, Sal Maglie was signed by the Dodgers and did not make his first start with them until June 4 at Milwaukee when he beat Burdette 3-0. Following that, he joined the Brooklyn rotation and was so instrumental in the Dodgers’ pennant win that he finished a relatively close second to teammate Don Newcombe in the MVP balloting.” Fans of Yoenis Cespedes, take note.
1961: In New York’s 159th game‚ Roger Maris rips a Jack Fisher fastball into the right-field seats at Yankee Stadium for his 60th home run, tying Babe Ruth’s mark set in 1927. Fewer than 8‚000 fans are on hand.
1964: Behind rookie Mel Stottlemyre’s two-hitter‚ the Yankees roll over the Senators‚ 7-0‚ for their eleventh win in a row on their way to another pennant (but their last one until 1976). Stottlemyre adds a record-tying five hits‚ the last MLB pitcher to collect that many.
1993: The Rockies set a season attendance record‚ reaching 4‚483‚350 as they defeat the Reds‚ 12-7. Don’t reach for that calculator: in 81 home dates, the Rockies averaged 55,350 fans per game.
1917: The Red Sox play a benefit game against an American League all-star team featuring Ty Cobb‚ Tris Speaker‚ and Joe Jackson. More than $14‚000 is raised for the family of sportswriter Tim Murnane‚ who died February 13. Babe Ruth (along with teammate Rube Foster) pitches for the Sox, Fanny Brice helps sell programs, and John L. Sullivan coaches at third base. For more, see: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2013/05/08/tim-murnane-heart-of-the-game/
1924: Rookie Pedro Dibut (3-0) hurls the Reds to a 10-1 win over the Cardinals. Except for a brief relief appearance next year‚ that’s it in the majors for the chunky Cuban‚ who played in the Negro Leagues for the Cuban Stars (West), before the Reds. Gary Ashwill observes: “There were three players, all Cubans, who appeared in the organized Negro leagues 1920-1946 and also in the major leagues, all in the 1920s: Pedro Dibut; Ramón ‘Paito’ or ‘Mike’ Herrera; and Oscar Estrada…. If you want to go pre-1920, it depends on how you define ‘Negro league.’ Both Armando Marsans and Rafael Almeida played for All-Cubans/Cuban Stars teams on the blackball circuit in the 1900s … [and both] appeared in a predecessor league, the 1906 International League of Independent Professional Base Ball Clubs, which strictly speaking wasn’t a ‘Negro league,’ as it included a couple of white teams…. Bill Cadreau, a Native American who pitched one game for the Chicago White Sox in 1910 under the name ‘Chief Chouneau,’ also played for the Chicago Union Giants, a black professional team, in both 1911 and 1917…. In the 19th century Weldy Walker played for both the 1884 Toledo AA team and the 1887 Pittsburgh Keystones of the National Colored League (both very briefly).” For more, see: http://agatetype.typepad.com/agate_type/2014/06/bill-cadreau-1911-union-giants.html
1951: With the score tied at 3-3 in the eighth inning‚ umpire Frank Dascoli clears the entire Brooklyn bench after his call at home plate produces a violent protest. Future Hall of Fame NBA basketball player Bill Sharman‚ up from St. Paul (AA) at the end of the season‚ is one of the players thrown out. Sharman, who never gets into a game for the Dodgers, thus becomes the only man to be thrown out of a big-league game without ever having played in one.
1865: Four thousand spectators gather at Hoboken to watch the Mutuals lose to the Eckford Club 23-11. The Mutual Club meets after the game and charges catcher William Wansley with “willful and designed inattention” with the view of causing Eckford to defeat Mutual. A committee formed to investigate the matter later reports that gambler Kane McLoughlin paid $100 collectively to the three players to heave, in the favored term of the period, the game to the Eckfords. Wansley made so little attempt to hide his skullduggery (six passed balls, no hits in five at bats) that rumblings about something being rotten in Hoboken were aired in the press immediately. Confronted by the Mutual club’s president, Wansley confessed and implicated his partners in slime, Tom Devyr and Ed Duffy; all three were banned from play. Young Devyr, after a heartfelt confession, will be restored to good graces in 1867‚ Duffy in 1869‚ and Wansley in 1870.
1960: At Fenway in the bottom of the eighth inning, in his final big-league plate appearance Ted Williams picks out a 1-1 pitch from Baltimore’s Jack Fisher and drives it 450 feet into the seats behind the Boston bullpen. It is Williams’ 521st home run‚ placing him third on the all-time list. Williams stays in the dugout‚ ignoring the crowd’s cheers‚ but after trotting out to left in the ninth‚ he is replaced immediately by Carroll Hardy. The Splendid Splinter exits as a standing crowd roars.
1988: In his last start of the regular season‚ Orel Hershiser pitches 10 shutout innings to extend his consecutive scoreless inning streak to 59‚ breaking Dodger Don Drysdale’s record. Hershiser ends September with a 5-0 record and an ERA of 0.00. His streak started on August 30 with four shutout innings against Montreal.
1945: The Cubs clinch the NL flag on Hank Borowy’s 4-3 win over Pittsburgh in the first game of a doubleheader. Borowy, an All-Star with the Yankees in 1944, came to the Cubs on July 27, for a payment of $97,000. He had won 10 games for New York and would proceed to win 11 for the Cubs.
1954: In Game 1 of the World Series‚ Willie Mays of the Giants makes one of the greatest catches in history. Racing back to deep center field in the Polo Grounds to make an over-the-head catch of Indian Vic Wertz’s 440-foot drive in the eighth, he preserves the 2-2 score. In the tenth‚ Dusty Rhodes hits a pinch-hit‚ three-run home run to give the Giants the first of their four consecutive victories.
1959: The Milwaukee Braves knock Don Drysdale out of the game and take a 4-2 lead‚ but the Dodgers come back to win their second game of the playoff‚ 6-5‚ and win the NL pennant. The Dodgers, who had lost a three-run lead in the ninth of a playoff game only eight years before, now overcome a 5-2 ninth-inning deficit to tie the game. They win it in the 12th when Gil Hodges scores from second on Felix Mantilla’s throwing error on a Carl Furillo grounder.
1951: Jackie Robinson hits an upper deck HR in the 14th inning off Robin Roberts‚ who came on in the eighth‚ to give the Dodgers a n all-important 9-8 win over the Phils. Robbie saves the game in the 13th by making a great catch of an Eddie Waitkus line drive and throwing to second base for a DP. The Dodgers’ win sets the stage for a playoff with the Giants, who had won earlier today.
1927: With the score tied at 2-2 in the eighth‚ Mark Koenig triples and moments later Babe Ruth launches his historic No. 60 off Washington’s Tom Zachary for a 4-2 win. Ruth has hit 17 homers in September‚ the highest month’s output till Rudy York’s 18 in August 1937. The Babe is the first player to hit 30‚ 40‚ 50‚ and now 60 homers.
1907: An overflow crowd lines the field at Philadelphia’s Columbia Park for the showdown Monday doubleheader between the A’s and Tigers. In the first game‚ the home team gets off to a 7-1 lead against 25-game winner Bill Donovan. But Ty Cobb ties the game at 8-8 with a homer in the ninth. Both teams score once in the 11th. In the 14th an umpire’s ruling costs Philadelphia the game and precipitates a bit of a riot: Harry Davis hits a long fly into the crowd in left CF‚ ordinarily a ground-rule double. As Tiger CF Sam Crawford goes to the crowd’s edge‚ a policeman stands up and moves‚ either to interfere or to get out of the way. Home plate umpire Silk O’Loughlin says there is no interference‚ then reverses his ruling when base umpire Tom Connolly offers a different opinion. When play resumes‚ the Athletics’ Danny Murphy hits a long single that would have scored Davis. The game is called because of darkness in the 17th‚ a 9-9 tie. The second game is never played. The Tigers retain first place. For more, see: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2013/01/02/ty-cobb-remembers/
1866: In Philadelphia‚ the largest crowd in baseball history‚ 30‚000‚ gather to watch the first match in a home-and-home series between the champion Atlantics from Brooklyn and the Athletics of Philadelphia. Batting first‚ the A’s score a pair but the press of the crowd makes play impossible and the game is called. Another attempt to play in Philadelphia is successful on October 22.
1924: Only three years after Commissioner Landis banned the eight Black Sox for life, another bribery scandal clouds the October landscape. Landis bars Giants outfielder Jimmy O’Connell and coach Cozy Dolan from the impending World Series with Washington after they admit an attempt to bribe Phils shortstop Heinie Sand to “go easy” in their season-ending series against the Giants. O’Connell implicates Frank Frisch‚ George Kelly‚ and Ross Youngs‚ who deny everything and are cleared by Landis. O’Connell is out of baseball at 23. AL President Ban Johnson‚ an enemy of the Giants John McGraw‚ proclaims that the World Series should be canceled because of the betting scandal‚ a pronouncement that the owners will ignore.
1967: Boston, a ninth-place club in 1966, clinches the American League pennant with a 5-3 win over Minnesota‚ Jim Lonborg besting Dean Chance. Carl Yastrzemski goes 4-for-4. His 10 hits in his final 13 at bats secure the Triple Crown (.326‚ 44‚ 121). Detroit‚ which could tie for the lead with a sweep on this day‚ beats California in the opener 6-4 but drops the nightcap 8-5.