Thursday, July 31, 2014

July 31, 1972: Dick Allen Rocks Two Inside The Park Shots In Minnesota

     On July 31, 1972, Chicago White Sox first baseman Dick Allen became the first player since 1932 to hit two inside-the-park home runs in same game, as he led the way to an 8-1 victory over the Twins in Minnesota.

     Allen's history making performance began in the first inning when future Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven walked Pat Kelly to lead things off, then gave up a single to Luis Alvarado, which set the table for Allen who rapped a line drive to center that got past Bobby Darwin and went all the way to the track, as Allen wheel around the basepaths. The three run homer set the tone for the day, and the Wampum Walloper was not done just yet, as he struck again in the fifth with a two run inside-the-parker.

     The second blast was a towering drive that Darwin tried to catch at his shoestrings, only to have it get past him. As the ball got past Darwin, Allen rounded the bases once again, and he ran his way into the history books the moment he touched the dish. While Allen's five RBI performance led the way for the White Sox in the offensive department, his starting pitcher Stan Bahnsen locked down his 13th win of the year with a complete game six hit performance.

     New York's Ben Chapman was the last man to achieve the feat. He had accomplished it in July of '32. 40 years later Dick joined the club. Allen was the sixteenth man to do it since 1900, and it has only been accomplished one time since, with that coming in October of 1986 Minnesota's Greg Gagne belted two inside-the-parkers in a game against Allen's former White Sox.

     On a personal note, I think that Dick Allen is a player from baseball's past that is a bit overshadowed. I know that he had his bumps in the road throughout his career, but that guy was one of the greatest players of his time, and his career was a very storied one. The story about the two inside-the-park shots is just one of many great stories from the life and career of Dick Allen.

Check out the box score here:

Here is a list inside-the-park home run records:


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 30, 1874: Baseball Reaches New Lands

     On July 30, 1874, the Boston Red Stockings and Philadelphia Athletics played the first professional baseball game on foreign soil at the Edge Hill Cricket Grounds in Liverpool, England. The Athletics beat the Red Stockings by the score of 14-11 in the contest that was the just the beginning of a three week tour. Some 400 people showed up to watch the game that is played on a diamond, and they cheered the teams throughout the contest.

     The idea to travel abroad was the brainchild of the Red Stockings manager Harry Wright who sent his star pitcher A.G. Spalding to England to arrange a tour of the British Isles. The two clubs that were involved were the cream of the crop on American soil, as the Athletics were the 1871 champions, while the Red Stockings were two-time defending champs, and they were headed toward another title as well. The two clubs took an unprecedented break from the National Association's schedule to take baseball to places it had never been seen before.

     In a diary written by Boston's Andy Leonard it was said that the fans said things like "ah, it's the old game of rounders", while others proclaimed they believed that Americans could beat their beloved cricket squads at their own game, and they were right. It was also said that the fans would cheer for long foul balls because they did not have an understanding of the game.

     The two clubs played in Manchester, London, Richmond, Sheffield, and Dublin over the next few weeks, and they not only played the game of baseball, they also fielded cricket teams against the locals, and did not lose a match. After the three week stretch was over the teams boarded a ship and headed back to American soil where they would each finish out the season. The Red Stockings won 22 of their last 37, as they stormed toward their third consecutive title. It was said the game of baseball was not well received which made the trip an unprofitable one. With that said those two teams still had done something that had never been done before. It was a truly historic trip as the game that would become America's National Pastime was shared abroad. It also led to another world tour in 1888 and 1889, as well as the famed tour of 1914 that was featured on this blog earlier this year.

     To date, I believe this to be the oldest fact that I have ever used. Simply finding the article that appeared in a newspaper from the following day was a true thrill for me. It is something to think of those men who were true pioneers of the game. They were taking a game that they had learned to love, and shared it with others. Today I tip my cap to them. 140 years later, I too love that game.

I am going to include several references today. A great deal of information about the trip came from the book: The Irish In Baseball: An Early History by Dave Fleitz. It looked like a very interesting book, that detailed much more than this trip.  This website also provided insight into the trip as well as the game of baseball before the century turned the corner:  If you happen to be interested in the 1914 tour you can read about it here:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 29, 1989: Henderson Steals Five Without Even Getting A Hit

     On July 29, 1989, Rickey Henderson stole five bases for the A's in Oakland without the benefit of a hit. Randy Johnson and the Seattle Mariners issued the speedster four free passes, and the speedster made the most of them. Unfortunately for Henderson and his teammates the Mariners received 13 free passes of their own, and won the game 14-6. Henderson started stealing bases in 1979. He broke Lou Brock's modern day single season record of 118 in 1982 when he stole 130, and he ran past Lou Brock's all time record of 938 in 1991, and he kept on running until 2003. He finished his career with 1,406 stolen bases, and to this day he remains the king of thieves.

Check out the box score here:

Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28, 1994: 27 Up 27 Down; Kenny Rogers Achieves Perfection In Arlington

     On July 28, 1994, in front of a home crowd of more than 46,000 in Arlington, Texas Rangers hurler Kenny Rogers became just the 12th man in the history of Major League Baseball to achieve perfection during a 4-0 win over the California Angels. The perfect game also made Rogers the first left handed pitcher in the history of the American League to achieve the feat. The Rangers had jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on a solo shot by Jose Canseco, and an RBI off the bat of  Dean Palmer. The Rangers tacked on their other two runs in the fourth with back-to-back home runs by Canseco and Pudge Rodriguez. At that point Rogers looked to be in cruise control, and he would continue to cruise until Rex Hudler stepped to the plate to lead off the ninth. While Hudler was getting ready to face Rogers he was telling the fans in the front row that he was going to break it up, and he damn near did when he gave a fastball a long ride into right that looked like it was a sure hit, before rookie Rusty Greer made an absolutely spectacular diving play in right center that preserved the perfecto. The near hit by Hudler was the only true threat by the California squad. Rogers finished things off by getting catcher Chris Turner to ground out, and moments later shortstop gary Discarnia shot a routine fly ball to center. The moment Greer recorded that 27th out, a celebration ensued. Perfection had been achieved. Watch the final inning here:

Check out the box score here:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 27, 1918: Heitmann Joins The E.R.A. Infinity Club

     On July 27, 1918, Henry Heitmann of the Brooklyn Robins played out one of the shortest careers in the history of Major League Baseball, when he started the second game of a doubleheader versus the St. Louis Cardinals in Brooklyn. Heitmann faced just four batters, and they each picked up a hit off of him before he was pulled from the contest. On top of it each of those came around and scored. Heitmann never played in another major league contest again, which led to a lifetime E.R.A. of infinity, and put him in a club that no major league would want to join.

     The Robins had taken the first game of the doubleheader by the score of 2-0, but their luck would be much different in the second tilt as the Cardinals knocked them off by rapping out 26 hits, and scoring 22 runs en route to a 22-7 blowout. The 21-year-old kid who had just been called up from the minors and was a solid pitcher at the lower levels. It might be too bad that he never got a chance to redeem himself at the major league level, but if he had we might not know his name today. Heitmann joined the Navy immediately after the contest, although, he was back in Rochester within the year. According to his stats that will be provided below, he played minor league ball until 1928, and carried a 3.27 earned run average throughout his minor league career. He also won 17 games twice. Not too shabby.

As of 2010 there are 14 men who own an infinity lifetime E.R.A., here is that list:

You can view Heitmann's minor league numbers here:


Saturday, July 26, 2014

July 26, 1987: Molitor Steals For The Cycle In Milwaukee

     On July 26, 1987, Brewers legend Paul Molitor completed the stolen base cycle during a 7-4 win over the Oakland Athletics at County Stadium in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee DH led the first inning off with a single off of Dennis Lamp, then swiped second in the blink of an eye, and took third when Ernest Riles grounded out. The feat was completed after Robin Yount walked, before a double steal was executed as first baseman Greg Brock stood at the dish ready to take a swing. The A's catcher Terry Steinbach called for a pitch out in anticipation of the thievery, but I don't think he anticipated Molitor's dash for the plate, as he fired to second trying to gun down Yount. The A's shortstop saw Molitor make his break, and cut the ball off and fired it home. The ball went to the first base side of the plate as Molitor came in with a head first slide. The run was just the beginning of a great day for those in the stands in Milwaukee as they watched their club build a seven run lead after six. The A's rallied in the eighth with four runs, before Dan Plesac came in and earned a four out save.

     To date, only 40 men have completed the stolen base cycle in one inning. Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner each achieved the feat four times, while Max Carey and Jackie Tavener did it twice. Molitor was the first man to achieve the feat in a Brewers uniform, and it has not been matched by a member of the Milwaukee squad since. The last person to achieve the feat was Dee Gordon of the Los Angeles Dodgers who did it in July of 2011. Thanks to Baseball Almanac for the comprehensive list that can be viewed here:

Check out the box score here:

Friday, July 25, 2014

July 25, 1956: Roberto Clemente Belts An Inside The Park Grand Slam In Walk Off Fashion

     On July 25, 1956, Roberto Clemente belted a walk off inside-the-park grand slam at Forbes Field which propelled his Pittsburgh Pirates to a stunning 9-8 win over the visiting Chicago Cubs. The Cubs had broke out big in the eighth with seven runs that gave them a 7-4 lead, the Bucs came back in the bottom of that inning with a run, but watched the Cubs take it right back with a run in the top of the ninth. Up 8-5 the Cubs skipper Stan Hack called on Turk Lown to shut the door, but the reliever got himself in trouble by loading the bases, with two walks and a single. Realizing that Lown was quickly melting down, Hack called on Jim Brosnan to go after the 21-year-old Clemente who took the first pitch he saw and drove it all the way to the left field wall. It looked to be a game tying triple until Clemente blew through a stop sign,as the ball got away from the outfielder, the ball was relayed into Ernie Banks, and Clemente hauled ass to the plate. As the throw by Banks was reaching the dish Clemente slid past, but reached back just before a tag could be applied. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette put it "the crowd of 12,431 went goofy with excitement" while Clemente and his teammates celebrated the spectacular finish.

     Clemente hit 240 home runs during his Hall of Fame career. 10 of those were of the inside-the-park variety. Only one of those 10 was a walk off shot, which just so happened to be one of seven career grand slams. As far as the big fly goes Clemente enjoyed Cubs pitching more than any other, as he took them deep 41 times. The Cincinnati Reds were second on the list, as they surrendered 40 bombs to the Pirates legend.

Check out the box score here: 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 24, 1970: Agee Steals Home

     On July 24, 1970, with more than 53,000 in the stands at Shea Stadium in New York, Mets center fielder Tommie Agee stole home in the bottom of the 10th inning to give his club a dramatic 2-1 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers.

     The Dodgers had taken a 1-0 lead in the fourth with an RBI off the bat of Ted Sizemore, then watched the Mets knot things up in the sixth when Cleon Jones knocked in Ken Singleton. Both starters went nine innings in what was a great pitching duel, as Bill Singer scattered five hits and struck out seven for the Dodgers, while Jerry Koosman gave up six hits and struck out six.

     Tug McGraw took over on the bump for the Mets in the tenth, and picked up three quick outs, before singling off of the new Dodgers hurler Jim Brewer to lead off the bottom of the inning. Agee followed the McGraw with a sacrifice bunt, only to end up reaching after Billy Grabarkewitz misplayed the ball. Al Weis came into pinch run for the pitcher, only to get picked off. Moments later Agee stole second, reached third on a wild pitch, before watching Bud Harrelson strike out. Brewer followed the K with back-to back walks to load the bases, but with two outs all he needed to do was retire Cleon Jones to send it to the 11th. While Brewer locked in on the assignment at the plate, Agee realized that he was not paying attention to him at third, and took a healthy lead of the bag. As soon as he seen the hurler in his windup he took off for the dish, and bowled over catcher Bill Haller and the home plate umpire as well.

     The exciting ending to the hard fought contest is just one of the many memories that Agee provided for Mets fans, as he spent five seasons with the club, and was a part of the Amazin Mets of 1969 who won the World Series, with Agee making spectacular plays in center, as they took the title in five games. In his five years with the Mets, Agee carried a .262 average, hit 82 homers, knocked in 265 runs, and stole 92 bases. When it comes to those 92 stolen bases, I believe one of those stands above the rest, and it came on this day in 1970.

Check out the box score here:

If you would like to know more about the life and career of Tommie Agee give this a look:

Check out Agee's career numbers here:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July 23, 1964: Campy Breaks In With a Bang

     On July 23, 1964, Bert Campaneris became just the second player in the history of Major League Baseball to hit two home runs during his big league debut, as he led the way to a 4-3 victory over the Twins at Metropolitan Stadium in Minnesota. The 22-year-old had been rushed to the big league club after Wayne Causey suffered an injury, and was quite impressive as he accomplished the feat that had only been done by Bob Nieman of the St. Louis Browns in 1951. It would take 35 years before the feat was accomplished again, as Mark Quinn of the Kansas City Royals joined the exclusive club in 1999. J.P. Arencibia of the Toronto Blue Jays joined the club in 2010, and Yasmani Grandal of the San Diego Padres joined in 2012.

     The21-year-old kid came from Cuba became known as "Campy." He was a part of the powerhouse Oakland  A's teams of the 1970s that won three consecutive titles beginning in 1972. He spent 19 years on a big league diamond with 13 of those seasons coming with an A's uniform on his back. He also was a member of the Rangers, Angels, and Yankees. The six time All Star carried a lifetime .259 average, with 79 home runs. Despite the extraordinary major league debut he would only have two more two home runs games during his career. With that said, his glove and his legs made him a very valuable member of those great Oakland A's teams. He led the AL six times in stolen bases between '65 and '72, and led the league in putouts three times. His 649 stolen bases currently rank 14th on the all time list, and he played in more than 2000 games before he hung them up in 1983, nearly three decades after he stepped in the box and started his own chapter in the history books.

Check out the box score here:

Campy's stats:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 22, 1905: Henley Tosses The First No Hitter In A's History

      On July 22, 1905, Philadelphia A's hurler Weldon Henry tossed a no-hit gem at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, as he led the way to a 6-0 victory in the first game of a doubleheader. The no-hitter was the first ever thrown by a member of the Athletics, and it was easily the highlight of the season for the hurler who posted a 4-11 record during the pennant winning campaign. The Browns took the second game 3-2, despite the fact that a future Hall of Famer Rube Waddell was on the bump for the A's. With Henley's great feat included the A's recorded five no-hitters when they called the City of Brotherly Love their own. The club called Kansas City home from 1954 to 1967, and during that time not one no-no was recorded by them. The team has since recorded five more no-hitters as a resident of Oakland, California, with one of those five being a combined no-hitter. The last no-no to be recorded by a member of the A's came in 2011, when Dallas Braden matched Henry's great feat against the Tampa Bay Rays.

     Henley had a short four year career in the big leagues. He posted a 32-43 record during that time with his only winning record coming during his rookie season in 1903 when he went 12-10. The most wins he ever recorded in a season came in 1904 when he won 15 games, but lost 17. After the 4-11 campaign in 1905, he returned in 1906 and went 1-5 before his playing days as a Major League came to an end in late June of that year. The information about Henley is scarce, but from what I could find he continued to play ball at the minor league level until 1909. He lived a long life, he passed away at the age of 80 in 1960. While his days in Major League Baseball that might not have been as storied as some of his peers, he always had the tale to tell from his 24th year on earth when he traveled to St. Louis had pitched the game of a lifetime.

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 1972: The Bart Starr Era Ends In Green Bay

     On July 21, 1972, an era in football came to a close, as Bart Starr the legendary quarterback of the Green Bay Packers announced his retirement. The quarterback who played his college ball at Alabama had forged a Hall of Fame career with the Packers that began in 1956. The road to the Hall of Fame did not come without growing pains, and his record of 11-20-1 over his first five years is a true testament to the fact. A true turning point in Starr's career and the history of the Packers as well came when Vince Lombardi joined the organization. Before Lombardi arrived in 1959, the team shuffled quarterbacks. After he arrived the coach handed the reigns to Starr and as they say the rest is history.

     While wearing a Packers uniform Starr represented the team in the Pro Bowl four times, and guided the team to five championship seasons which included a victories in Super Bowl I and II, taking MVP honors in both.  From 1961 to 1967 the Starr led Packers did not suffer a losing season. However, a hit laid on him during the '66 season would be one that had a long lasting effect on his shoulder. After the '67 season the Packers began to slide, as Starr tried to fight through the injury, but it was something that he could not overcome.

     After playing in just four games during the '71 campaign Starr realized it was time, and the press conference was called to make the announcement that he would not be returning to the field as a player. Starr did join the coaching ranks as a quarterbacks coach, before taking over as head coach with limited success. His finest hour from the world of sports was after his playing career came to a close came in 1977 when he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which insured generations to come would know the name Bart Starr.

Stats of a legend:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 20, 1969: Baseball Celebrates The Moon Landing

     On July 20, 1969, all of America celebrated the moon landing, which included the ranks of Major League Baseball as play was stopped when it was announced the Eagle had landed. The finest display of patriotism came at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia when it was announced during the second game of a doubleheader between the Phillies and the visiting Cubs. The players from each of the respective clubs lined up along the baselines, looked to the sky, and joined the crowd in the singing God Bless America, after a moment of prayer for the brave men who had taken what might be considered the most historic steps of the 20th century. The World of Sports was most definitely a secondary story on that day, as one small step had been taken by a man, while one giant leap had been taken for mankind.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

July 19, 1922: Hornsby Becomes The National League's Home Run King

     On July 19, 1922, Cardinals second baseman Rogers Hornsby broke the modern day National League home run record for a single season with his 25th big blast of the season. It was much more than an average home run, as the Cardinals came into the ninth inning trailing the Boston Braves 6-4, before Hornsby came to the dish with two men on and won the game 7-6 in walk off fashion. The record of 24 had been held by Gavvy Cravath of the Phillies, who had belted out 24 during the 1915 season.

    The all time home run record for a National Leaguer dated back to 1884 when Ned Williamson of the Chicago White Stockings hit 27. Babe Ruth surpassed that single season record in 1919 when he hit 29 for the Boston Red Sox. Ruth would continue to assault the record books for many more years, as he shattered the record the following season with 54 big flies, and another 59 in 1920. Hornsby finished that '22 season with 42 bombs. The  National League mark was reestablished in 1929 when Chuck Klein hit 43. Ruth set the benchmark of 60 in 1927 which stood until 1961 when Roger Maris hit 61.

Check out the box score here:

Friday, July 18, 2014

July 18, 1927: 4,000 Hits For The Georgia Peach

     On July 18, 1927, with a first inning double in a game against his former club, Ty Cobb picked up the 4,000th hit of his career, as he helped lead the Philadelphia A's to a 5-3 victory over the Tigers in Detroit.

     The historic knock off of hurler Sam Gibson came with little fanfare. It was quite the surprise to me as I looked through multiple newspapers, and the Sporting News as well without finding the glorious headline sprawled across a page. The only stories were the little blurbs like the one featured in the picture. The big news of the day was about Yankees' sluggers Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig who were going back and forth in a home run race amongst teammates. Gehrig had taken the lead by putting his 31st over the wall. Historically of course the true story of that day was the about the man who had become known as the "Georgia Peach" as he had done something that had never been done before.

     3,900 of those hits came while wearing the uniform of the Tigers over a 22 year period. He had been forced into retirement due to a gambling allegation. The commissioner of baseball Kennesaw Mountain Landis cleared him, and Cobb decided that he was not going to leave the game with a black cloud over his head, which led the star to Philly. He inked a $70,000 deal with a huge bonus that made him the highest paid player of his day, and he earned those pennies by hitting .357 in '27, and .323 in '28. Cobb was 40 years of age during that first season, and those A's clubs he was a part of were great teams who finished second behind the Yankees who had the legendary "Murderers Row" in their lineup in New York.

     Cobb finished his career with a record 4,191 hits. In 1984, 57 years after Cobb had rapped that double, Pete Rose joined him in the 4,000 hit club, and in September of '85 Rose picked up hit number 4,192 and became baseball's all time hit king. Rose finished his career with 4,256 hits and still owns that title. Rose is also the only other man who his not named Cobb to pick up 4,000 hits. Who will be the next man to join that club? Time will tell. It may just remain a party of two.

Check out the box score here:

It should be noted that official records were changed later that brought Cobb's hit total to 4,189. With that said the magic number for Rose was 4,191 as it had been the number that had been a part to of baseball lore.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July 17, 1961: Frick Rules*

     On July 17, 1961, the commissioner of baseball Ford C. Frick ruled that if any player surpassed the home run record in more than 154 games an asterisk would stand next to their name in the record books. The asterisk never actually appeared in a record book, but Ruth was considered the true home run king until 1991 when an eight member committee voted to remove it.

     The record had been set by Babe Ruth in 1927 when he belted 60 homers, and that 1961 season had brought about one of the greatest home run chases of all time, as Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris tore the cover off the ball at a record breaking pace. Mantle fell short of the mark with 54 big blasts, while Maris broke the record on the final day of the season. If the season had ended in the 154 games that Ruth had played, Maris would have fell two short with 58 homers. He tied the record in game 159, and hit 61st blast in game 163. The Yankees had played to a tie early in the season, which warranted an extra game.

     Breaking the coveted home run record proved to be a blessing and a curse for Maris. It was not celebrated by many, as they did not want to see a new guard take the post from the old. In my humble opinion the ruling by Frick is one of the great travesties from baseball's past. Maris would say later in life that he felt slighted by it. He should have. It seems that Maris' '61 season has been celebrated much more in the years that followed than when it was actually occurring. The story has been well documented, as Maris had suffered such great stress during the chase that he could not sleep at night, and his hair fell out. I have always looked it as such a great feat with such a sad undertone, and Frick's position added to the latter.

     While the asterisk was removed by the committee in 1991, Maris did not live to see the day. He passed away in 1985. I can understand the position of the former commissioner, and even do think there is no harm in mentioning that the schedule had been extended when Maris broke the record. Making the man feel slighted the rest of his life because the powers that be decided to add a few games to the schedule was wrong. He did not add the games to the schedule, and he should not have been penalized for doing what no man had done before him. My personal belief is Frick had misguided values, and had he known how the history books would be written he might have changed his tune. Overall his tenure as commissioner was successful, however, the * decision was one that was controversial to say the least. What we do know is Roger Maris put together one of the most remarkable seasons in the history of the sport, and today many consider him the true home run king. Although there has not been an asterisk inserted beside the names that  might truly deserve it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 16, 1990: The Psycho Drops His Pants

   On July 16, 1990, one of the funnier moments from the diamond took place at Tigers Stadium in Detroit, when Chicago White Sox utility man Steve "Psycho" Lyons dropped his pants during the fifth inning of a contest against the Tigers. It was a bang bang play, and when the Tigers hurler Dan Petry began to argue with the ump that he was out Lyons decided to free himself of the dirt that made its way into his pants. As soon as he realized what he had done it was too late, as the crowd laughed and cheered. He said later that the ladies in the audience waved money at him as he ran back to the dugout. It was classic.

     The moment overshadowed what was a great game between the two clubs. When the incident happened the Tigers held a 4-1 advantage, but watched it disappear in the seventh when second baseman Scott Fletcher belted a three-run shot. The game tying home run simply set the table for longtime Tiger, Alan Trammell to win it with a two out walk off bomb that sailed past the left field fence. While the game will forever be remembered for Lyons pulling his pants down, the walk off shot should be remembered as well.  

Here is a top 10 wardrobe malfunction list. Lyons is ranked fifth on this one: I found it to be the best quality video of the incident. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July 15, 1901: Mathewson No Hits The Birds

     On July 15, 1901, with 5,000 fans in the stands at Robison Field in St. Louis, Christy Mathewson tossed the first no-hitter of his Hall of Fame career, as he led the way to a 5-0 win for the New York Giants over the hometown Cardinals. According to the Sporting News the fans cheered Mathewson even though he was mowing down the hometown club. They were witnessing history being made.

     The no-no came in the final game of a four game of the series, and was a redemption of sorts, as Mathewson had lost the first game 1-0 after being victimized by errors. To make things worse for the New Yorkers they dropped the next two games as well. Mathewson put an end to that streak in grand fashion by tossing the no-no. The big hurler walked four, and had another man reach on an error, but not one Cardinals batter reached cleanly. The Sporting News reported the no-hitter was preserved by a sensational grab by outfielder Kip Selbach, and throws by George Davis at third, as well as Charlie who was holding down the shortstop position.

     Mathewson would throw the second and final no-hitter of his career on June 13, 1905. That 1905 season was one that would help the hurler known as "Big Six" achieve legendary status, as he pitched three shutouts in the Fall Classic as he won his first title. Simply glancing at his stats will make you understand how absolutely great he was. I really enjoy the short bios that are on the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's website, so I am going to quote it today, much like I did with the Sisler story the other day.

"As charismatic and popular as any player in the 1900s, the college educated Mathewson won 373 games over 17 seasons, primarily for the New York Giants. Using his famous fadeaway pitch Matty won at least 22 games for 12 straight years beginning in 1903, winning 30 games or more four times. A participant in four World Series, Mathewson lone title came in 1905, when he tossed three shutouts in six days against the Athletics. He set the modern National League mark in 1908." 
      Simply put Mathewson was one of the greatest players to ever step on a baseball diamond. In 1944, an aging Roger Bresnahan who had forged a Hall of Fame career of his own, called Matty the greatest pitcher ever, saying that if there was ever a second coming of Mathewson he would walk clear across the continent to watch him pitch. That is just one instance of one of his peers appreciating his legendary work from the mound. In 1936, the Baseball Writers Association of America selected Mathewson as an inaugural member of the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, Mathewson did not live to see that day, as tuberculosis took his life at the age of 45. With that said, legends live forever, and Mathewson is a true legend of the great game.

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 1970: Rose Bowls Over Fosse

     On July 14, 1970, with 51,838 in the stands at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati the 41st playing of the All Star game came to a close in controversial fashion, when Pete Rose of the hometown Reds bowled over Cleveland Indians backstop Ray Fosse in the bottom of the twelfth inning to give the National League a 5-4 victory.

     The turn of events that led to the play at the plate began when Angels hurler Clyde Wright surrendered back-to-back two out singles to Rose and Dodgers third baseman Billy Grabarkewitz. With Rose standing on second Jim Hickman of the Chicago Cubs lofted a single into center, and Rose was off to the races, as he rounded third Fosse was the only thing standing between him and scoring the game winner, and Rose buried his head and ran right through him.

     While the play has been glorified by many who saw it as Rose giving an all out effort, the repercussions were beyond measure for the young catcher. He had clearly been injured on the play, but the injury was misdiagnosed as a bruised collarbone. He was back in the lineup the next week, and played all the way until a finger injury put him on the shelf in September. The following Spring an x ray revealed that Fosse had a separated and fractured shoulder.

     The kid who was in his first full season in the majors was just 23 years old at the time of the incident, and was batting .307 with 16 homers before the break. He still carried a respectable average after the All Star game, but his power disappeared as he hit just two more home runs the rest of the season. That one moment in time forever changed the career of Ray Fosse, and to this day he holds some resentment because of it. In the seven years that followed Fosse hit just .253 with 41 home runs. The moment he was selected to that All Star game was a moment that showed promise to a young career. The moment Pete Rose came into score is career was forever changed. Some articles credit Rose with making Fosse famous. In reality, nobody will ever know how famous Fosse might have been. I would not go as far as saying he would have been a Hall of Famer, but that play robbed him of the chance.

     I would like to make it clear that I love players that play the game with an edge that gives them a competitive advantage. Rose was one of those guys. When he was on the field he gave it his all, and when he came into score that day, that is all he was trying to do. I have no doubt that Rose had no intention on injuring the catcher, but the fact is he did. It is unfortunate, but that is just how it goes. With the recent rule changes in baseball to protect the catcher it is likely that future generations will not see a career sidetracked by a play like this one. I myself have been critical about those rule changes, and think that in a lot of ways it has taken an exciting play out of the game. I guess sacrifices have to be made to protect players. That catcher position is by far the most vulnerable position on the diamond, and I commend Major League Baseball for trying to protect the young men who play the game today. I believe that the rules will be tweaked a bit and only improve with time. I know that when I tune into the All Star game this coming week the last thing I would want to see is a player have his career derailed by a play at the plate. No matter which team won the game.

Check out the box score here:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 12, 1925: Sisler Walks Off In St. Louis

     On July 13, 1925, Gorgeous George Sisler led the Browns to victory with a walk off shot at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis that gave his club a dramatic 5-4 victory over the visiting Washington Senators. The mercury was touching the 100 degree mark that day in the Mound City and the Browns bats were nearly as hot as the weather, as they connected with three home runs on nine hits. Harry Rice was the hottest hitter, going 3 for 3 with a homer, and a double, while catcher Pinky Hargraves put one in the seats as well. Sisler's big fly removed an 0 for 4 collar, as he belted the walk off bomb with one out in the ninth.

     One of the best hitters of his era, Sisler hit 102 home runs during his Hall of Fame career. Four of those 102 were walk off shots, with the one on that hot July day in St. Louis being the second of the four. Twenty of them were inside the park shots. While Sisler could put a charge into one, he was best known for being the one of the best all around players of his era.

    The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's website has a great bio about Sisler that goes as follows: "A sharp batting eye and extraordinary fielding ability at first base led Ty Cobb to call Sisler the nearest thing to a perfect ballplayer. The owner of an engineering degree, Sisler was one of baseball's most intelligent and graceful ballplayers, starring predominantly for the St. Louis Browns. He won two batting titles, hitting over .400 twice, and amassed an astounding total of 257 hits in 1920, a record that stood for 84 years until surpassed by Ichiro Suzuki in 2004. He had a 41-game hitting streak in 1922, hit .300 or better 13 times, and had a sizzling .340 lifetime average." On a sidenote, when Ichiro was in St. Louis during the 2009 All Star game he paid a visit to Sisler's grave. It was an absolutely classy move by one of the great players of our time. 

     As a native St. Louisan I love to look back at those days that Sisler called Sportsman's Park home as a member of the Browns. It had to be something to have Rogers Hornsby playing in the same town for the National League's Cardinals. Sisler hit .420 in 1922, while Hornsby cranked out a .401 average that same season for the Cardinals. No matter which team was in town the fans could go to the ballpark, and watch one of the greats of the era. They both began their playing careers in St. Louis in 1915. Hornsby spent the first 11 years of his career with the Birds, while Sisler spent the first 12 years of his career with the Browns. That stretch of baseball was not just a Golden Era in the city that became known as The Gateway to the West, it was truly a Golden Era in all of baseball.

Check out the box score here:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

July 12, 1962: Tommie and Hank Rally In The Ninth

     On July 12, 1962, Hank Aaron capped off a Braves rally at County Stadium in Milwaukee with a walk off blast that led his club to an unbelievable comeback 8-6 win over the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. Hank's kid brother Tommie led the rally off with a one out pinch hit home run off of the Cardinals starter Larry Jackson who proceeded to give up a single before getting the hook. Lindy McDaniel came into relieve Jackson, and served up a single to Mack Jones, then walked Eddie Mathews. The table was set for one of the greatest sluggers of all time, and he cleaned it off with one swing of the bat that sent the ball sailing into the seats in left. It was the first time that brothers had hit home runs in the same inning since 1938 when Lloyd and Paul Waner of the Pittsburgh Pirates accomplished the feat.

     Tommie Aaron's career in the major league ranks was not one that led to Cooperstown. He hit just 13 home runs that were scattered over seven big league seasons. The '62 season was his rookie campaign, and it proved to be his best from a power standpoint, as he hit eight of those thirteen during that season. Three of those eight came on the same day that big brother Hank connected on a big fly. The first time it happened was exactly one month to the day that the two siblings helped put together a rally to be remembered. The third came on August 14th of that season. With Tommie's 13 added to Hank's 755, the Aaron brothers hold the record for sibling home runs with 768 total.

This link is a great piece about brothers who have paired up on a baseball diamond throughout the history of baseball:

Check out the box score here:

Friday, July 11, 2014

July 11, 1914: The First Page Was Written; Babe Ruth

     On July 11, 1914, a 19-year-old kid by the name of Babe Ruth made his major league debut for the Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston. The kid had a solid seven inning outing, scattering eight hits, while allowing three runs to cross the dish, as he helped lift the Sox to a 4-3 victory. Ruth was assisted with a variety of miscues on the Cleveland side that helped him and his teammates celebrate a win on the day his major league career began. When fans of the game flipped through their newspapers the following day, they most likely browsed right past this story about the "$20,000 southpaw", little did they know how many more pages would be written about that young man who everybody called Babe.

Check out the historic box score here:

This biography provided the Society of American Baseball Research, is in depth, and will give you a great look at the life and times of George Herman Ruth:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

July 10, 1999: Brandi Chastain Leads The U.S. Women's Soccer Team To Glory

     On July 10, 1999, with more than 90,000 fans cheering on the United States Women's Soccer Team at the Rose Bowl in California, Brandi Chastain became a national hero when she scored a shootout goal that secured a World Cup Championship for the U.S. squad. The classic battle against China had no score on the board after the regulation 90 minutes of play, and after two extra time periods that were 15 minutes apiece the score remained 0-0. A shootout would decide it. Both teams put the ball in the back of the net four times before Chastain was presented with an opportunity to win it, and the opportunity would not be wasted, as she fired the ball into the upper right hand corner of the netting to secure the 5-4 victory. Chastain spontaneously ripped her shirt off, collapsed to her knees, before being mobbed by her teammates. Chastain's celebration is an embodiment of everything that is great about sports. Pure jubilation.

Watch the historic goal, and listen to Chastain reflect on it here:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 9, 1969: Tom Terrific Comes Oh So Close

     On July 9, 1969, New York Mets hurler Tom Seaver retired 25 straight men, before his bid at perfection was broke up by a out single off the bat of Chicago Cubs rookie Jim Qualls. "Tom Terrific" would have to settle for a one-hitter as he led the way in a 4-0 win. The hit would solidify a place in the history books for Qualls who had a very short career in the big leagues. Seaver threw five one-hitters in his storied career, and with this game included two no-hitters were broken up in the ninth inning. His fortune changed in 1978 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds when he no-hit the St. Louis Cardinals. It was the lone no-hitter of his Hall of Fame career.

Check out the box score here:

This is a great piece by Keith Sutton about near no-hitters:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July 8, 1970, Jim Ray Hart Completes The Cycle With a Six RBI Inning

   On July 8, 1970, San Francisco Giants third baseman Jim Ray Hart hit for the cycle during a 13-0 rout of the Braves in Atlanta. Hart also tied a longstanding record  record with six RBIs in a single inning, that had been set in 1911 by Fred Merkle in 1911. The run at the cycle began with a double in the second, an RBI single in the third. In most cases it might take a player the whole game to achieve the feat. Hart, who was already halfway there just needed one more inning's worth of work, and it didn't take long to get there, as the San Francisco bats came alive in the fifth and plated 11 runs with Hart leading the way. He was the fifth man up in the blowout frame, and followed a bases loaded RBI single with bases three run blast that opened up the Giants lead to 6-0.  As his teammates batted around Hart entered the record books with a triple that cleared the bases once again, before the 15th batter of the inning was retired.  His batting line at the end of the day was 4 for 5 with seven RBIs, and six of those ribbies put him in a club that had just six members before the historic inning.

     Five more men joined the six ribbies in an inning club, before the record was broken by Fernando Tatis of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1999. Tatis blasted a record setting two grand slams during the third inning of a contest against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Hart played in 1,125 games over 12 years on a big league diamond. He wore a Giants uniform in 1,001 of those games, before finishing his career as a New York Yankee. He was a career .278 hitter with 170 homers, and 578 RBIs. Six of those RBIs were memorable to say the least.

Check out the box score here:

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7, 1948: Satch Signs With The Indians

     On July 7, 1948, Satchel Paige celebrated his birthday by inking a deal to play ball for the Cleveland Indians. The signing of the 42-year-old Negro League legend by the showman Bill Veeck was considered a publicity stunt by many. Some writers claimed Paige was 50 years old, while Paige simply said he would be 40 some time soon. Veeck would end up putting the age talk to bed by obtaining his birth certificate from his hometown in Alabama that proved him to be 42. While there were many critics of the deal, Paige would post a 6-1 record down the stretch, as the Indians held off the Boston Red Sox who trailed by just one game at season's end. He also pitched two thirds of an inning in a Game 5 of the World Series loss to the Boston Braves, before celebrating a World Series title with his teammates the next day, as they took the series in six. 

     Paige spent two years in Cleveland, before being released. He barnstormed, and played in the Negro League once again before a familiar face in Bill Veeck came knocking in July of 1951. Veeck, now with the Browns gave him another shot at playing Major League Baseball in St. Louis, and Paige took it. He appeared in 23 games, posted a 3-4 record, while hurling 62 innings. The '52 season turned out to be the best year of his major league career. The 45-year-old posted a 12-10 record, recorded 10 saves, and led the league in games finished. It didn't continue over to '53, and after going 3-9, the team that was headed to Baltimore and were to be known as the Orioles gave him walking papers. With that said his days on the diamond were far from over. 

     He bounced around pitching for any outfit that would hand him a ball, making stops in the International League, Pacific Coast League along the way. In September of 1965, Paige got another call from a showman from the ranks of Major League Baseball by the name of Charlie Finley who owned the Kansas City A's. At the age of 58 Paige joined the A's, and pitched. He made one appearance, which made him the oldest man to ever appear in  major league contest on September 25, 1965. The old man proved he still had it by allowing just one hit over three innings. The lone hit came off the bat of Carl Yastrzemski. The one game proved to be his last major league contest, but he did pitch in one more contest as member of the Peninsula Grays of the Caroline League. Old Satch was finally hung up the cleats at the age of 59. 

     Long before Paige inked the deal with the Indians he had built a resume in the Negro Leagues that would have almost surely led to Hall of Fame induction. While the Negro League stats are incomplete there are some that are readily available, such as he was a five time All Star and World Series Champion in 1942 as a member of the Kansas City Monarchs. Paige's club swept the Homestead Grays in four games, and the hurler pitched in each and every game, while earning a win, and a save. In 1971, the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York recognized the man who had forged a legendary career long before Bill Veeck came calling on that July day in 1948. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 6, 1982: Bob Horner Joins a Select Club

     On July 6, 1986,with 18,000+ in the seats at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Braves first baseman Bob Horner became the 11th man in the history of Major League Baseball to belt four home runs in one contest. Unfortunately, Horner's historic day at the plate did not translate into a win for his club who fell to the Montreal Expos by the score of 11-8.

      Horner's run into the record books began with a solo shot off of McGaffigan in the second, he connected on a another solo shot off of McGaffigan in the fourth, then he blasted a three run shot in the fifth that ended McGaffigan day. While Horner was knocking the cover off the ball, the Expos were teeing off on Atlanta's pitching staff. By the time the ninth rolled around Horner's club was in an 11-7 hole. He was the third man up, and had a guaranteed shot at joining the select club of men who had put four over the wall in one game. The pitcher, Jeff Reardon, had been called on in the eighth to finish things off. Reardon picked up two quick outs in the eighth, and two quick outs in the ninth, then Horner gave one of his pitches a long ride into the books. Even though they watched their home team lose, the crowd in Atlanta was buzzing as the final out was recorded.

     To date, the number of men who have hit four home runs in one game stands at 16. Only two of those 16 men suffered a loss at the end of the day, with Horner being the second of the two. The other man who accomplished the feat in a losing effort came almost 90 years earlier on July 13, 1896 when Ed Delahanty of the Philadelphia Phillies blasted four, but ended up on the wrong side of a 9-8 score.

Check out the box score here:

Watch Horner's fourth blast here:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 5, 1937: Hal Trosky Bombs The Browns

     On July 5, 1937, in a first game of a doubleheader at Sportsman's Park in St.Louis, Cleveland Indians first bagger Hal Trosky blasted three home runs in a 14-4 rout of the Browns. The first two came against Oral Hillebrand in fifth and seventh innings, and the third came in the eighth with Sheriff Blake on the bump. Trosky finished the contest with seven ribbies, as he led the way in the 17-hit-attack that the Tribe had unleashed on the cellar dwelling Browns. The Indians rapped out 21 more hits in the second contest, and buried the hometowners, before they jumped on a train that would be headed to Detroit.

     Trosky is a player that was overshadowed by many of the great sluggers of his day. With that said, he was one of the best sluggers in the game during the 1930s. You can read more about his life and career here:

Check out the box score here:

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4, 1969: Bob Oliver Hits The First Grand Slam In Royals History

     On July 4, 1969, during the first game of a doubleheader at Kansas City Municipal Stadium, centerfielder Bob Oliver hit the first grand slam of his career, and it was also the first grand slam in the history of the Royals organization during a 13-2 victory over the visiting Seattle Pilots. It took 79 games for one of the men on the expansion roster to achieve the feat, and as soon as Oliver's ball cleared the wall he would forever be the answer to a trivia question. Oliver helped the cause in the second game as well, by knocking in a run that helped lift his club to a 3-2 victory to complete the doubleheader sweep.

Check out the box score here:

     Oliver spent eight seasons in the big leagues. He landed with the Royals in the expansion draft, and led the team with 13 homers, while carrying a .254 average. Earlier in that rookie campaign, on May 5th to be exact, Oliver became the first Royal to pick up six hits in a game, a feat that has only been accomplished twice since. He carried his success over and made some serious noise with the lumber in 1970 as he parked a career high 27 in the seats. Oliver's power numbers dropped off significantly in '71, and in the Spring of '72 he was traded to the California Angels. He hit 19 homers for the Angels that season, then followed it up with an 18 home run campaign. Oliver was dealt to the Orioles in '74 during, before joining the Yankees in '75, before being released after appearing in 18 games. He tried to comeback in '76 with the Phillies who shipped him to the White Sox in the Spring, but he never did appear in another major league contest.  

    Happy 4th of July to each and everyone of you, and thank you to all the men and women who have served, or are currently serving. Be safe out there. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 3, 1939: Johnny Mize Rakes For The Birds In Chicago

     On July 3, 1939, Johnny Mize led the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-3 victory over the Cubs in Chicago with a 4 for 4 performance, that included two home runs, a double, and a triple. The big blasts were his 13th and 14th of the season. When the '39 season came to a close, Mize had a National League leading .349 average, and he also led the league with 28 big blasts.

     Mize arrived on the scene in St. Louis in 1936, just two years removed from the Championship club of '34. Nicknamed "The Big Cat", Mize manned first base for the Redbirds for six very productive seasons, as he topped the .300 mark in every campaign, before a contract dispute led to him being traded to the New York Giants in the Winter of 1941. Two years removed from the '34 Championship club, and he parted ways just one year before the championship club of 1942. However, his glory days would come.

     Mize hit .305 and led the league with 110 RBIs with the Giants in '42, before losing the next three years of his career while serving his country. He returned to the lineup in 1946 with some thump in his bat, as led the National League in home runs in '47 with 51, then again in '48 with 40. His days with the Giants came to an end in August of 1949 when the team sold him to the Yankees for $40,000. At that point in his career, Mize was an aging veteran whose numbers were in decline. With that said, he ended up being a piece to a Yankee puzzle that won five consecutive championships from 1949 to 1953. During the '52 series, at 39-years-old Mize homered on three successive days. He to wait until 1981 to receive his call from Cooperstown. It came 28 years after his last

      The trade could arguably be called the worst trade the Cardinals organization has ever made. In my opinion it is right there with Steve Carlton for Rick Wise. The trade that sent Mize to New York brought the Cardinals catcher Ken O'Dea, first baseman Johnny McCarthy, pitcher Bill Lohrman, and $50,000. Out of those three players, McCarthy never appeared in a game in St. Louis, Lohrman made five appearances before being sold back to New York, and O'Dea never played in more than 100 games in a season over five years with the club . With that said O'Dea was no scrub, and he did help the club win two championships ('42 and '44). O'Dea was also selected to the All Star game in '45, but never got to make that trip because the game was cancelled due to the war. He was just no Johnny Mize.

Check out the box score here:

Stats of a legend:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July 2, 1963: Marichal and Spahn Battle In a Pitching Duel For the Ages

     On July 2, 1963, in a battle of future Hall of Famers, San Francisco Giants hurler Juan Marichal outdueled Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves in 16 inning marathon that was put on ice when Willie Mays took a Spahn screwball that failed to screw and put it over the leftfield wall. The two pitchers threw 428 pitches between the two of them, with the 42-year-old Spahn tossing 227, while the 25-year-old Marichal threw 201. Many years later, Marichal said he could close his eyes and still see the shot by Mays fly over the wall four hours and ten minutes after the first pitch was thrown.

     The articled in the picture appeared in newspapers all across America the following day. Marichal looked back on the famous game in 2008 with Richard Sandomir of the New York Times. It is an absolute great read:

Check out the box score here:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July 1, 1903: The Giants Pull Off A Quadruple Play Against The Cards In New York

     On July 1, 1903, the Giants pulled off a quadruple play against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals in front of 3,685 fans at the Polo Grounds in New York. The Cardinals had loaded the bases during the sixth inning, which set up the historic play. The centerfielder for the Cardinals, Homer Smoot came to the dish hoping to plate some runs. Smoot connected on a fly ball to center, that looked like it was going to fall in, as the runners took off. The Giants centerfielder caught the ball retiring Smoot, before he fired it home to his catcher John Warner who retired St. Louis' pitcher Clarence Currie at the dish. Warner then fired to shortstop George Davis who nailed Patsy Donovan for the third out, as Donovan was trying to advance from first to second. While the third out had been recorded, neither team seemed to realize it, and St. Louis' second basemen John Farrell , who was standing at second when it all began turned the corner at third, and headed home. Warner tagged him as he tried to cross the dish for the "fourth out" of the inning.

     The Giants went onto win the contest by the score of 5-2, which was due in large part to the triple play that came with a bonus out. The newspaper article that I found did not go into great detail about the four out play. However, I did confirm this fact to be true through the Society of American Baseball Research. The source they used was the New York Times. Unfortunately, I do not have access to their archives. While the article I did find does not lay out the complete story, I do consider it quite the find. Especially since it comes from the turn of the century.

The SABR source can be found here: