Saturday, August 31, 2013

August 31, 1990: Griffey Sr. and Jr. Become the First Father/Son Duo to Play Together in The Majors

On August 31, 1990, at the Kingdome in Seattle, left fielder Ken Griffey and center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. became the first father/son duo to play in a major league baseball game together. The duo put together back-to-back hits in the first inning and they both scored a run in the three run frame. The Mariners would go onto win the contest 5-2. Just two days earlier the Cincinnati Reds released the 40 year old Sr., which led to the Mariners adding him to their roster. The well seasoned veteran came to the team after nearly 20 seasons in the majors that was spent between the Reds, Yankees, and Braves, while his son was in his second season in the majors and was quickly on his way to being a superstar. Less than a month after they played their first game together the father/son duo would power up for back-to back home runs, which was another first. They only played in 51 games together before Ken Griffey Sr. retired in June of 1991, years later Griffey Jr. would say "I got to play with my dad, that's the biggest thing that ever happened to me other than the birth of my children. That's bigger than any record I'll ever set." That's what you call livin a dream folks.

Here's the box score:

Friday, August 30, 2013

August 30, 1937: Joe Louis Defends His Title At Yankee Stadium

On August 30, 1937, after being postponed for four days due to rain, more than 50,000 people packed Yankee Stadium to watch the Heavyweight Champion of the World "The Brown Bomber" Joe Louis defend his title against Tommy Farr. The fight was originally set to be held four days earlier. Louis had knocked out 8 of his last 9 opponents and was considered a clear cut favorite in the match. However, the boxer from Wales put up true fight and took Louis the distance before losing to the champ by a narrow decision. Many thought that Farr had gotten the best of the champ and when it was announced that Louis had won boos rang out in New York. To make matters worse the referee initially raised Farr's arm in victory, the ref would later apologize for his mistake but it wasn't much of a help the day of the fight. While a lot of people thought Farr was robbed of a victory he didn't see it that way, he believed Louis beat  him fair and square, Farr even said "Every time I hear the name Joe Louis my nose starts to bleed." Louis did tip his cap to his opponent, he said I thought I had him but he would not be finished." Farr made him work to retain the title which earned Joe's respect. Louis would knock out his next 7 opponents which is a testament to how tough of a fight Farr was for him.

You can read a great round by round account of the bout here:

This is Joe Louis' account of the fight:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

August 29, 1948: Jackie Robinson Hits For The Cycle

On August 29, 1948, in the first game of a doubleheader in St. Louis, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers hit for the natural cycle in reverse during a 12-7 win over the Cardinals at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Robinson's day started off with a 2 run home run in the first, he followed it up with a leadoff triple in the third, then a double in the fourth, before completing the rare feat with a one out single in the eighth. The 4 for 6 performance ended with the two ribbies and three runs scored for the man that broke baseball's color barrier just one year before. The hot hitting continued for Robinson in the second contest as well, Jackie went 2 for 4 and scored a run in the contest that would take the Dodgers 10 innings to knock the Birds off 6-4. By the end of that day he had 6 hits in 10 at bats and had hit a natural cycle in reverse, which is just one of many accomplishments in the storied career of Jackie Robinson.

Check out the bx scores for both games

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 28, 1971: Rick Wise... One Man Wrecking Crew

On August 28, 1971, Rick Wise of the Philadelphia Phillies struck out 11 men and led an offensive charge in a 7-3 win over the San Francisco Giants at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Wise not only got man after man to swing and miss he also knocked in 5 runs with two home runs. His first was a solo shot in the fifth and his second was a grand slam in the seventh that drove a nail in the Giants' coffin that day. Wise, who is best known for being the man that brought future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton to the City of Brotherly Love when he was traded to the Cardinals in '72, was a pretty damn good hitter as well as a solid pitcher. In his years in Philly, he was no slouch at the plate. He hit .218 as a batter for the Phillies and hit 11 home runs wearing that uniform. While they aren't eye popping numbers they are pretty solid for a pitcher. From 1967 to 1971, Wise consistently hit .200 or higher. From a power standpoint the '71 campaign was his best at the dish, he hit 6 home runs total with two of them coming on that day at the Vet. Wise finished that season with 17 wins which included a no-hitter.

Check out the box score:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 27, 1978: Joe Morgan Hits His 200th Home Run

On August 27, 1978, Cincinnati Reds legend/second baseman Joe Morgan parked his 200th home run over the wall at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. The solo shot off of Chicago Cubs hurler Mike Krukow tied the ballgame at one in the third inning but it wasn't enough for Morgan's Reds to pull off a victory. The Cubs scored a run in the fourth, three in the seventh, and two in the ninth as Krukow went the distance and came away with a 7-1 win. The home run by Morgan also made him the first man to achieve 200 bombs and 500 stolen bases in a career. The Hall of Famer finished with 268 career home runs with his first coming on May 8, 1965 and his last coming on July 31, 1984, he also stole 689 bags in a career that included 10 All Star appearances, 5 Gold Glove Awards, as well as 2 World Series Championships.

Monday, August 26, 2013

August 26, 1981: Dan Bankhead Becomes The First African American To Pitch In Major League Baseball

On August 26, 1947, Dan Bankhead of the Brooklyn Dodgers, became the first African American to pitch in a game in the major leagues when he was called into relieve Hal Gregg in the second inning of a game against the Pirates at Ebbets Field in New York. It was a rough day for Bankhead and the Dodgers, when he heard his number called the team was already down 4-0 and had two men on base. By the time the top half of the second inning came to and end the Pirates had added four more runs to their total and they weren't done. Bankhead was more than the first African American pitcher to take the mound, he was also the first African American pitcher to hit a home run. He accomplished that with a two run shot in the bottom of the second in his first major league at bat. It was the only home run of his career. Unfortunately for him he got rocked after pitching a scoreless third and fourth. The fifth was a whole different story, he would face eight batters and only retired one of them before being yanked. he had given up 10 hits and was charged with 8 runs. The Pirates weren't done, after Bankhead was pulled, they added two more runs to the board and would end the day with a 14-3. While it might have been a rough introduction to the majors it was an accomplishment not just for himself but for his race that had been unjustifiably kept from playing with their white counterparts before his teammate Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier earlier that season. Bankhead didn't have the career in the majors that Robinson or many of the other African American players did, which is why many don't know his name. In fact, Bankhead only made three more relief appearances during that '47 season. He did make an appearance Game 6 of the World Series as a pinch runner. It was a series that the Dodgers lost to the Yankees but it was an experience that most men can only dream of living. Over the next couple of seasons Bankhead pitched in the minor leagues, he was pretty damn good but a bit wild as he had problems putting men on via the walk. In 1950, Bankhead got another shot at the major league roster, he made 12 starts and appeared in 41 games as he posted a 9-4 record. They were the only 9 wins of his major league career. It came to an end the following season after appearing in just seven games. His career numbers will never put him in the Hall of Fame, which in the end hardly matters. He was a pioneer that helped pave the way for many men after him.

If you would like to read more about the life and career of Dan Bankhead check out this artiicle published by SABR: his career in the majors might have came to an end but his career in baseball did not.

Here is a link to the SABR Facebook page, give it a"like" they publish all kinds of great bios from the past.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 25, 1946: Ben Hogan Wins His First Major

On August 25, 1946, Ben Hogan won the first major of his career by outdueling Ed "Porky" Oliver at the Portland Country Club in Oregon. The 34 year old Hogan had success before he finally won his first major. He had been the leading money winner in 1940,'41, and '42 and on this day he was going to reach an achievement that all professional golfers strive for. Oliver reached the finals after a surprising win over Byron Nelson in the quarterfinals, then knocked of Harold McSpaden to reach the finals. Hogan had never gotten past the quarterfinals until '46, he had proved to be a winner it just took a little time to get over that hump. Hogan knocked off Frank Moor and Jimmy Demaret to set up the showdown with Oliver. It was battle between one of the bigger men in Oliver who weighed around 220 pounds and the much smaller Hogan who weighed in at just 135. Hogan trailed Oliver by 3 after the first round, however, he finished the round with a birdie and he would continue to drop birdies. By the time the golfers reached the Hogan had came storming back, he dropped consecutive birdies on 28 and 29 and held a 4 stroke advantage. On the 32nd hole Hogan had another sure birdie on the way when Oliver missed his putt and conceded the match. Hogan had just won his first major and would be taking home a $3,500 prize, by today's standards that would be more than $40,000. Hogan went onto win eight more majors to bring his total to nine in his career. His nine wins is good for fourth on the all time list for major wins, only Walter Hagen, Tiger Woods, and Jack Nicklaus have more.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

August 24, 1943: The Philadelphia A's Losing Streak Continues and Ends on The Same Day

On August 24, 1943, Connie Mack's Philadelphia A's tied an American League record that nobody would want to have, by losing their 20th consecutive game. They lost it by the score of 6-5 to the White Sox in the first game of a doubleheader at Comiskey Park in Chicago. The record was held by the 1906 Red Sox and the 1916 A's who were also managed by Mack. It looked like the A's were going to be able to put a stop to the losing streak as they headed into the ninth but Lum Harris couldn't hold onto a 5-4 lead. With two out and a man of first Ralph Hodgin tied it up with a double, then Guy Curtwright won it with an rbi single that brought Hodgin into score. Then the tide turned. Roger Wolff was on the bump in the second game for the A's, and he was the last pitcher to record a win for a the team. Wolff came through once again, he scattered 8 hits and only one run crossed the plate, which was due to an error by his first baseman Dick Seibert. Wolff had his offense come through big in the third, they erupted for 8 runs with the highlight of the inning being a bases loaded double by Jimmy Ripple that brought all three men into score. It was all the offense the A's needed as the avoided breaking the record with an 8-1 win. Connie Mack led the A's to nine American League pennants and five World Series titles in his time in Philadelphia. He managed the club from 1901 to 1950, while he proved to be a true winner, he also was at the helm 17 times when the teams finished in last place. With the A's in a constant state of financial struggle, Mack was forced to rebuild his roster multiple times, which led to some of the down seasons. The A's won just 49 games in that '43 season. I would bet going through that losing streak had to be the bottom of the barrel for them, and holding their heads high might not have been always easy to do. After they took that second game against Chicago, I'm sure the smiles were abundant and they all slept a little bit better when their heads hit the pillow that night.

Check out the box scores
Losing streak continues:
Losing streak ends:

Friday, August 23, 2013

August 23, 1936: Bob Feller Makes His Debut

On August 23, 1936, a 17 year old kid by the name of Bob Feller made his first major league start for the Cleveland Indians. The rookie pitcher out of Van Meter, Iowa had made several appearances in relief before he got the chance to start against the St. Louis Browns at League Park in Cleveland. To say the debut was impressive would be one of the biggest understatements ever made. Feller mowed down the Browns batters, he scattered 6 hits and struck out 15 as Cleveland cruised to 4-1 win. He fell behind briefly when Lyn Lary and Roy Bell put back to back doubles together in the sixth to put the Browns up 1-0, then his team came out swinging in the bottom of the sixth and tacked 3 runs on the board. They followed that up with another run in the seventh. Hal Trosky led the Cleveland offense with a 4 for 4 performance which included two ribbies. At the time, Feller's strikeout total was just two short of Dizzy Dean's major league record that was set in '33, and just one shy of Rube Wadell's American League record that was set in 1908. Feller was more than a baseball player, he was the first athlete to enlist after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and he sacrificed 3 years of his career to serve in the Navy. When it was all said and done, Feller won 266 games and he struck out 2,581 batters. The 8 time All Star and World Series Champ, led the American League in strikeouts 7 times and in wins 6 times. He was well respected by his peers, Ted Williams called him the fastest he had ever seen and Stan Musial believed he was the greatest pitcher of their era. Feller pitched all 18 years of his career in Cleveland, he pitched his last game in September of '56, the following season the organization retired his number 19. He was the first Indians player to bestowed the honor. In 1962, Feller was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, it was his first time on the ballot. He had come a long way from that start in 1936.

Here's the box score:

The artwork was done by Gary Longordo, check out his Facebook page:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 22, 1989: Nolan Ryan Strikes Out His 5,000th Batter

On August 22, 1989, at Arlington Stadium in Texas, Nolan Ryan struck out his 5,000th batter of his career in a 2-0 loss to the Oakland A's . No player had ever reached the plateau and no player has reached it since. Ryan came into the contest just 6 strikeouts away from the historic milestone, and he went to work on reaching the mark immediately. He struck out Jose Canseco in the first, Dave Henderson and Tony Phillips in the second, and Rickey Henderson and Ron Hassey in the third. Which put him just one strikeout away from the historic milestone. The moment came in the fifth inning and Rickey Henderson was the victim. Henderson fouled off the first two pitches he saw before he swung and missed the third pitch. The crowd of 42,869 stood and cheered for more than a minute while his catcher rookie Chad Kreuter ran the ball out to him while his teammates surrounded him at the mound. Ryan tipped his cap and went back to work. As the cheers were still coming down from the stands Carney Lansford singled then scored after center fielder Cecil Espy committed an error on a Jose Canseco flyball. At that point the Rangers were down 2-0 and they couldn't muster the offense to reward the future Hall of Famer with a W. At the end of the day the 42 year old Ryan had struck out 13 men, his career strikeout total sat at 5,007, and there were quite a few more on the way. Ryan finished his career with 5,714 strikeouts which is 839 more than Randy Johnson who sits behind The Ryan Express on the all time list.

Here's the box score:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August 21,1931: The Great Bambino Hits #600

On August 21, 1931, Yankees slugger Babe Ruth knocked the 600th home run of his career in an 11-7 win over the Browns at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. With the Yankees already leading 1-0 and a man on, Ruth knocked George Blaeholder's pitch clear out of the yard where it bounced off a car across the street. The fans in St. Louis had seen Ruth's power in the past, he muscled up for three home runs in Game 4 in the '26 World Series against the Cardinals, then he did it again in the final game of the '28 World Series.  When his career came to an end The Great Bambino had parked 58 of his 714 home runs over the wall at Sportsman's Park.

Here's The Box Score:

The artwork was done by Stephen Holland, you can find more of his great work here:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

August 20, 1955: Arnold Palmer Wins His First Game As a Pro

On August 20, 1955, a 25 year old Arnold Palmer won for the first time in his storied PGA career. The first win came at the Canadian Open at the Weston Country Club in Toronto. Palmer nearly shot a four round record for the course with a total of 265. Palmer shot a 64 in the first round, a 67, in the second, a 64 in the third, then finished off the fourth with a 70. The 265 was just two strokes short of the tournament record. Palmer walked away with an eye popping prize of $2,400, I would imagine Tiger Woods' caddy makes that on an off day. Headed into the final round Palmer was four strokes ahead of Jack Burke Jr. and five ahead of Fred Hawkins. Hawkins came out and went birdie-eagle-birdie in the second through fourth holes as he attempted to catch the kid from Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Palmer had a hiccup with a double bogey on the fifth hole and suddenly his lead was just two. He nailed a crucial birdie on the par 5 seventh, then dropped a long distance 40 foot putt on the ninth for another birdie that helped lead him to victory. Palmer would go onto win a grand total of 95 rounds of golf as a professional, he sits 4th on the all time wins list.

Monday, August 19, 2013

August 19, 1965: Jim Maloney No Hits The Cubs In Chicago

On August 19, 1965, Jim Maloney of the Cincinnati Reds no-hit the Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago. It was the tenth no-hitter in the history of the organization. The fireballer had pitched a no-no through 10 on the 14th of June against the Mets in Cincy, then lost it with an 11th inning home run off the bat of Johnny Lewis. Maloney walked just one man and struck out 18 in that heartbreaking loss in Cincy, his luck changed for the better on that day at Wrigley. It was nowhere near the performance he turned in against the Mets, Maloney needed 187 pitches and walked 10 men which led to him having to pitch out of multiple jams. The 10 walks is a modern day record for walks in a no-no, while it wasn't pretty,  there was nothing but a zero in the hit column for the Cubs. Once again Maloney's bid for a no-no would head to extra innings, this time Leo Cardenas put the ball over ivy in the tenth, then all Maloney had to do was retire the side to give him the elusive feat. He walked the first man, got a flyball out, then Ernie Banks hit into the classic 6-4-3 double play and Maloney had just added a no-hitter to his resume.

Here's the box score:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

August 18, 1992: Larry Bird Retires

On August 18, 1992, Celtics legend Larry Bird announced that he would be retiring. Bird had just won a Gold Medal as a member of the Dream Team in the '92 Olympics and he realized that his body was no longer going to hold up to the rigors of the NBA. Bird had been hampered by chronic back issues for more than two years which led to the decision. Bird spent all 13 years of his career with the Celtics, he played in 897 games scoring 21,971 points which averaged out 24.3 points per game, along with  10 rebounds per game, and 6.3 assists per game. He also shot .496 from the field, .376 from three point land, and was money at the free throw line as he carried an .886 free throw percentage. He won his first title in 1981, his second in 1984, then the third and final title of his career in 1986. He took home three NBA titles over the course of his legendary career but like all great players Father Time came knocking to let him know he wasn't the young man he once was. At his press conference Larry said "I don't know where I'm at" when it came to his role in basketball history. "It doesn't really matter. I just know that I played against some of the best players in the world and I did pretty fair against them." He was choked up at times but no tears flowed as he said goodbye to the game that he knew and loved. He did say "When I played, I played as hard as I could. That's what I want to be remembered for." There is no doubt he is remembered for that as he is one of the greatest to ever pick up a basketball.

The artwork was done by Gabz, you can find it here:

Saturday, August 17, 2013

August 17, 1973: Willie Mays Hits 660

On August 17, 1973, New York Mets slugger Willie Mays hit the 660th home run of his career, it proved to be the last home run for the legendary slugger. The shot came off of Cincinnati southpaw Don Gullet  in the fourth inning at Shea Stadium in New York. It was a solo blast that put the Mets ahead 1-0, unfortunately for Mays and teammates it was a lead that they would not hold onto. Johnny Bench tied it up with a ninth inning blast then Hal King hit another solo blast that led to the Reds winning in the tenth. When he found his way to the big leagues in 1951, the 20 year old  kid didn't get a hit in his first twelve at bats. In his thirteenth at bat he hit the first long ball of his career, it came off of Braves hurler and future hall of famer Warren Spahn. From there Mays became a legend, he helped the Giants win the World Series in 1954 and became one of the best in the game at a rapid rate. The man they called the "Say Hey Kid" topped the 30 home run mark 11 times and the 50 mark twice. He not only was one of best to swing a bat his defense was legendary. He earned 12 gold gloves and took home the National League MVP award twice. Mays became a popular figure in New York before the team shifted to San Francisco in 1958, after spending more than 20 years in a Giants uniform he was traded to the Mets in the Spring of '72. While he was well past his prime he hit the last 14 homers of his career with a Mets uniform on. The Mets went onto the World Series in '73, Mays got just two hits in seven at bats as they lost the Oakland A's on seven games. After the season ended the 42 year old Mays announced he was retiring, he finished his career with a .302 average along with the 660 home runs. He is currently 4th on the all time home run list.

Here's the box score:

Friday, August 16, 2013

August 16, 1920: Tragedy Strikes Ray Chapman

On August 16, 1920, tragedy struck at the Polo Grounds in New York, when shortstop Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians suffered what proved to be a fatal injury after being hit in the head by a pitch from Yankees hurler Carl Mays. Chapman came to the dish in the fifth inning with his team up 4-0 on that fateful day, he squared to bunt but Mays' pitch sailed up and in at him and hit him in the head. The ball hit him so hard that Mays thought it was the crack of the bat and as the ball came back toward the mound he threw it over to first thinking the 29 year old shortstop made contact, unfortunately that was not the case. Chapman suffered severe head trauma, he was rushed to a hospital where two operations were performed but they couldn't save him. At 4:30 a.m the next day Chapman was gone, his wife Kathleen who was 3 months pregnant at the time did not make it to the hospital in time to be with her husband before he passed away. The tragedy of Ray Chapman continued after he died, Kathleen committed suicide in 1928 and his daughter Rae that he never got the chance to meet passed away in 1929 after a bout with the measles, she was just 8 years old. The Indians won the ill fated contest 4-3 but the shock of losing one of theirs in his prime had to overrule any good feeling they had from winning a ballgame. However, the team rallied together and made a run that ended with a World Series Championship. The Championship was bittersweet, many of the Cleveland players had tears in their eyes after achieving something their fallen teammate never got to experience. The man that went by the nickname "Chappie" broke into the league in 1912, when the Indians were called the Cleveland Naps. He batted .278 over  9 seasons in the bigs, he topped the .300 mark three times and was a true weapon when it came to bunting. To this day he sits 6th on the all time list for sacrifice hits. He not only could get he job done with his bat he was a threat on the basepaths as he led the team four times in that department and even set a team record for stolen bases with 52 in 1917, it wasn't until 1980 that the record was broken. He could also flash the leather at short, he led the league three times in putouts and led in assists once.  After Chapman's death Mays suffered as well, some thought he threw at his head because he had a reputation for backing men off the plate. There was never proof that was the case but some players around the league threatened to sit out games if he was on the bump. Mays didn't help his reputation by trying to place blame on the umpires for not removing the ball that appeared to be damaged, it was a feeble attempt at diverting the negativity towards him elsewhere. Mays was able to move on, he led the American League with 27 wins the next season and would pitch until 1929. Some even considered him Hall of Fame worthy even though he never made it to Cooperstown. The accident brought forth the need for batting helmets in Major League Baseball, while it shined a light on the need it took 30 years for it to become a rule. To date, Chapman is the only player in the history of Major League Baseball to suffer on field injuries that ended in death. In the end it was a tragic accident, I'm sure if Mays would have known what would come after he threw that pitch he would have never thrown it.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August 15, 1975: The Earl of Baltimore Gets Tossed Twice

On August 15, 1975, Orioles skipper Earl Weaver was ejected by umpire Ron Luciano in both games of a doubleheader at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. The first ejection came in the fourth inning, with his Orioles already down 6-0 Luciano reversed an out call after realizing that the first baseman Tony Muser didn't step on first when he was attempting to turn a double play. It set the manager off and the umpire tossed him after a verbal assault by the always fiery skipper. The Rangers went onto win the contest 10-6 behind a 4 rbi performance by Tom Grieve. Ole Earl didn't even get to see the players take the field in the second  game. As the skipper was handing over his lineup card before the game he let Luciano know that he thought he had a personal vendetta against him and he thought it was bullshit. Next thing you know Earl was on his way back to the locker room after Luciano tossed him for the second time that day. The Orioles responded with 18 hits in a 13-1 win over the Rangers. Doug DeCinces led the O's attack with a two run shot in the fifth, and a bases loaded triple in the sixth. DeCinces finished the day with 5 ribbies as the Orioles pounded the Rangers. When interviewed, Weaver insisted the ump had it out for him, he pointed out 5 separate times that he had made bad calls against his club. Naturally, Luciano denied the allegations, he said he called it the way he seen it and when Earl would not stop voicing his displeasure before the second game even began he had to toss him. Weaver was ejected from 91 games in his Hall of Fame career, three times he got tossed from both games of a doubleheader. It's safe to say that there was a bit of bad blood between him and Luciano, the umpire kicked him out of four games in the minors and eight games in the majors. While Earl could get fired up and booted out of a game in the blink of an eye, he was a winner that compiled 1,480 wins as a big league manager. He helped lead the Orioles to the top of the American League four times and won a World Series title in 1970.

Box scores for both games
Game 1:
Game 2:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August 14, 1936: The Original Dream Team

On August 14, 1936 , the United States Olympic Basketball team claimed the first ever Gold Medal for the sport by knocking off Canada by the score of 19-8. It was an odd contest, the game was played outdoors on a dirt court while it was pouring down rain which led to the low scoring affair. Twenty three nations entered the competition making it the largest team sport in the Olympics. The game being played outdoors was an experiment that in the end proved to be an experiment that should have never happened as rain hampered the gold medal contest. Of course it was a different game back then so most scores were far lower than what we see today. The United States squad beat the Phillipines 56-23, then downed Mexico 25-10 to setup a trip to the first ever gold medal contest in basketball history. After the United States won, the players were awarded their medals by none other than the inventor of the sport James Naismith. Naismith invented the sport in 1891, then started the first ever basketball program at the University of Kansas. As the sport evolved the Olympic committee took notice, it was first picked up as a demonstration sport in 1904 then it was finally added as an official event more than 30 years later in the '36 games. It was a crowning achievement for Naismith to see countries from all over the world playing the game he had come up with so many years before, he called it the greatest compensation he could have ever received for his invention. Fittingly he was there to hand out the medals to the respective winners, while the Americans took home the Gold, Canada took home the Silver, and Mexico took home the Bronze.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

August 13, 1947: Willard Brown Becomes The 1st African American To Hit A Home Run In The American League

On August 13, 1947, Willard "Home Run" Brown of the St. Louis Browns became the first African American to hit a home run in American League history when he hit an eighth inning game tying home run off of Detroit Tigers hurler and future Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser. The big blast was a two run shot that tied the ballgame up at 5. Things didn't get any better for the Tigers, a few batters later a passed ball put the Browns ahead 6-5. It was a lead they would not relinquish.  The man they called Home Run Brown only played 21 games with the Browns and that home run was the only one he ever hit with in the majors. By the time he reached the majors Brown's best days were passed him, he hit just .179 as a member of the Browns before his days in Major League Baseball came to an end. In his heydey Brown was said to have had the speed of a leopard and power that could only be matched by the great Josh Gibson. The native of Shreveport, Louisiana won ten home run titles and four batting titles in his time in the Negro League's. His career spanned from 1935 to 1956, he not only made a mark in the Negro Leagues and the Major Leagues, he also became a star in Puerto Rico where he would win the triple crown in 1950. His career in the majors might have been short but his impact on the game did not go unnoticed, in February of 2006 Brown was recognized as one of the best to ever step on a ballfield when he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Here's the box score:

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12, 1948: The Indians Obliterate The Browns In St. Louis

On August 12, 1948, the Cleveland Indians bounced back from an 8-4 loss in the first game of the doubleheader at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, with a 26-3 beatdown of the St. Louis Browns. The Indians fell just one run short of tying their franchise record of 37 runs in one game that they had set 25 years earlier. 14 men got a hit for the Tribe which set a major league record for most men with a hit in one contest. Every single man that got an at bat for the Indians picked up a hit in the contest and four home runs were hit by the Indians. Pitcher Gene Bearden,  catcher Jim Hegan, and outfielders Walt Judnich and Larry Doby all went yard as they obliterated the Browns. Despite the huge win the Indians fell out of first place for the first time since August 2nd. In early September they found themselves four and a half games out of first then fought their way back into it and won the American League pennant after knocking out the Boston Red Sox in a one game playoff. The team then went onto win the grand prize after knocking out the Boston Braves in 6 to become World Champs. I bet the people in Boston loved them that year.

Check out the box score:

You can check out the most runs scored in a game here:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August 11, 1950: The College All Stars Stun The Eagles

On August 11, 1950, with 88,885 fans on hand at Soldier Field in Chicago, the College All Stars stunned the NFL Champion Philadelphia Eagles with a 17-7 victory behind an outstanding effort from All American Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice. The All Stars scored first, on a 7 play 54 yard drive that featured  a 31 and a 12 yard run by Justice before fullback Ralph Pasquariello punched it in at the goalline.  The second touchdown for the All Stars proved to be the one that put them over the top, it came in the second quarter after quarterback Eddie LeBaron found a way to make a play as defenders were about to take him down. The quarterback wrestled his way free from defenders twice, on the second time he found a wide open Justice who took it to the house for a 35 yard touchdown that put the All Stars ahead 14-0 in the second quarter. Running back Steve Van Buren finally put the Eagles on the board in the fourth, but it wasn't enough to take away the victory from the Collegians. The College All Star game was an annual event that was played in Chicago, it featured some of the best the college ranks had to offer in a matchup against the defending NFL Champs. The game was played every year from 1934 until 1976, although a strike did end up cancelling the '74 event. It came to an end becasue the coaches were worried that their players might be injured, with the cost of athletes on the way through the roof they had to protect their investments so it went to the wayside. The pros won the contest 31 times while the collegians won it just 9 times and tied it twice. It had to have been quite the thrill for those kids in the those 9 victories over the pros, they had to be on top of the world.

This is a link to a newspaper article from the day after the 17th annual College All Star Game in Chicago:

Saturday, August 10, 2013

August 10, 1981: Pete Rose Surpasses Stan The Man

On August 10, 1981, with Stan Musial in attendance at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pete Rose became the all time hits leader in the National League. Musial had held the title since September 29, 1963 when he knocked his 3,630th hit passed a 22 year old rookie second baseman from the Cincinnati Reds by the name of Pete Rose. Rose tied Musial's record on June 10th then the season came to an abrupt halt just a couple day later due to a disagreement over player compensation for free agents. The dispute was finally resolved in late July and players returned to the field on August 10th. More than 60,000 packed the house in Philly to witness history, coincidentally the Philles were set to play the Cardinals and it would set up for a magic moment in the eighth when Rose singled through the hole at short. The crowd gave the new National League hit leader a long standing ovation while Stan ran out to congratulate him. The Phillies dropped the game to the Redbirds 7-3, however, history had been made. The man they called "Charlie Hustle" spent his first 16 years in Cincinnati. After being named rookie of the year in 1963 he only got better, he became a perennial all star and won three National League Batting Titles before leading the Big Red Machine to back to back titles in 1975 and 1976. When he left as a free agent in 1978, Rose had 3,164 hits under his belt and had a lot of ball left to play. In 1980, the 37 year old Rose helped lead the Phillies to their first championship and would continue to put up solid numbers as he approached the all time record for a National Leaguer. After he surpassed Musial the hits kept coming for Rose, in 1985 he recorded his 4,192nd hit to become the all time hit leader. He finished his career with 4,256 and is currently #1 on the list.

If you want to check out some badass numbers check out Pete's numbers:

Friday, August 9, 2013

August 9, 1963: Roger Craig Changes Numbers To Get a Losing Monkey Off His Back

On August 9, 1963, at the Polo Grounds in New York, Roger Craig made a desperate attempt at changing a run of bad luck by changing his uniform number from 38 to 13. The Mets starter was one loss shy of the major league record of 19 consecutive losses in a row which led to the desperate measure. It looked like it worked for him in the bottom the ninth when Jim Hickman hit a walkoff grand slam off of Chicago Cubs reliever Lindy McDaniel to put the Mets in the win column with a 7-3 victory. A jubilant Craig said "It's over. Oh man. It's over." Craig might have had a few things working for him in that ninth inning, his manager Casey Stengel got in on the action by waving crossed fingers at McDaniel in an effort to hex the pitcher, meanwhile Craig's wife sat in the stands knitting furiously, whatever works I guess. I know I have done some crazy things during a ballgame hoping it would help align stars in the universe, I even think it might have worked a few times. Do you have any crazy sports superstitions?

Here's the box score: 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

August 8, 1976: The White Sox Wear Shorts

On August 8, 1976, in the first game of a doubleheader at Comiskey Park in Chicago the White Sox took the field wearing shorts as they took on the Kansas City Royals in the first game of a doubleheader. The idea to dress up like a mailman to play baseball came from Bill Veeck who had purchased the team one year earlier. After purchasing the Sox, Veeck had several ideas for uniform changes to make his new club the class of Major League Baseball. In March of '76 the owner had several of his players show off several new looks to the media in a catwalk style event, most of the new uniforms were a little different but nothing drastic until Jungle Jim Rivera came trotting out in his blue bermuda shorts, I'm sure the reporters chuckled when they seen the White Sox first baseman in his new digs. When the game rolled around in early August the White Sox were 19 games out of first place and Veeck saw an opportunity for a boost in attendance by making his club wear  the shorts. The result was a good one for the club from Chicago, they might have looked all jacked up but they won the contest 5-2 over the Royals. Two weeks before the game was played second baseman Jack Brohamer said the only way he would wear the shorts is if he could wear a halter top too, coincidentally Brohamer knocked in what proved to be the game winning runs with a two rbi single in the sixth. Simply put the shorts unis might have been the worst uniforms of all time, the Sox lost the second game of the doubleheader wearing pants so maybe the shorts helped them get the job done. It was a short lived gimmick, they wore the shorts two more times before the idea was scrapped and they went back to a traditional uniform, I'm glad they did.

Here's the box score from the shortastic game:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August 7, 1956: Ted Williams Fined For Spitting

On August 7, 1956, after being booed for dropping a flyball in the 11th inning of a game against the Yankees in Boston, Ted Williams made a spectacular play to end the inning then ran in and spit toward the crowd and the press box at Fenway. More boos rang out after Williams reacted to the crowd's displeasure for his misplay in the outfield. Williams would end up getting the game winning rbi with a bases loaded walk on the bottom of the 11th but that didn't stop the team owner Tom Yawkey from letting him know that his actions were unacceptable. Yawkey heard the incident on the radio and put a call into the team's GM Joe Cronin and told him to fine the slugger $5,000 which would be the equivalent of more than $40,000 by today's standards. The ever defiant Williams made no apologies for the incident, he paid the fine and would say "I'm not sorry for what I did. I was right and I would spit again at the same fans that booed me today. Nobody's going to stop me from spitting." Williams never did acclimate real well when it came to dealing with fans and media, he had several run ins with both parties throughout his career. It was something that the fans in Boston just had to accept as Williams was one of the best hitters to ever swing a bat.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August 6, 1926: Gertude Ederle Becomes The First Woman To Swim Across The English Channel

On August 6, 1926, Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim across the English Channel. The 19 year old New York native was more than just the first woman to accomplish the feat, she did it faster than any man that came before her, as she completed the swim in 14 hours and 31 minutes. The previous record was held by an Italian swimmer by the name of Sebastian Tirrabocchi who had swam from France to England in 16 hours and 23 minutes, making Ederle's swim that much more impressive. Ederle had a tug boat with some family as well as her trainers aboard following her as she swam her way into the history books. It took sheer determination for here to complete her journey, several times throughout her trainer wanted her to come out but her father and sister encouraged her to keep going. Thousands gathered on the shore in Kingstown, England as the young American girl made it after more than 14 hours of fighting the sea, it took everything she had to complete the historic swim. Hundreds of people gathered around her as she walked ashore she was met by an immigration officer who asked for her passport before she was able to even hug her father as she had just made history. Only 5 men had swam the channel before Ederle completed the historic swim, her record stood until 1950 when Florence Chadwick swam the channel in  13 hours and 20 minutes. The record has been broken many times since then, but nothing will ever change the fact that Trudy was the first woman to complete the feat. Ederle was treated like a true American hero when she arrived back in the States, more than two million people lined the streets of New York as they threw her a ticker tape parade to celebrate the historic swim.

This story appeared in the New York Times after Ederle's Swim:

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5, 1973: Niekro's No No

On August 5, 1973, at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Phil Niekro pitched the first no hitter for the Braves organization since the team moved to Atlanta.The knuckleballer had it working that night and so did his offense as they scored 9 runs against the Padres, while Niekro baffled batter after batter. Niekro fanned 4 men and walked 3 while two more reached on throwing errors by his teammates. The bid for a perfecto was broken up way early with a second inning walk but that didn't stop the Braves hurler from thinking about the possibility of a no no. He didn't think his chances were good since there hadn't been one for the club since the team moved, especially with the fact that he was in a hitter friendly park that the ball was flying out of on a  pretty consistent basis. On this day Niekro not only kept it in the park he kept the Padres from recording a hit and made history in Atlanta. It was the first no hitter for the franchise since Warren Spahn accomplished the feat with the Milwaukee Braves. Since that day the Braves have picked up a combined no no in 1991, then in 1994 Kent Mercker accomplished the feats against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Mercker also started the '91 combined no no.  Niekro spent 21 years in a Braves uniform, 268 of his 318 wins came with that uniform on. The 5 time All Star had his # 35 retired by the organization in 1984, then in 1997 he found his way into baseball immortality when he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Here's the box score:

Sunday, August 4, 2013

August 4, 1982: Joel Youngblood... Two Hits, Two Teams, One Day

On August 4, 1982, Joel Youngblood became the first and only player in the history of Major League Baseball to pick up a hit for two teams in two different cities one day. Youngblood started the day as a member of the New York Mets, the club was in Chicago to take on the Cubs and Youngblood was batting 3rd in the lineup. In his second at bat of the game he knocked in two runs with a single off of  Ferguson Jenkins, before being replaced by Mookie Wilson after the third inning ended. The Mets skipper George Hamberger told Youngblood he was being shipped to the Montreal Expos and had to jump on a plane headed for Philadelphia where his new club was taking on the Phillies. The Mets did go onto win 7-4 with a little help from the newest Expo. It didn't take long for Youngblood  to make his presence known with his new team, he was called into the game in the seventh inning and picked up a single off of Steve Carleton. The Expos ended up losing 5-4, however, Youngblood's single was a history making moment. The fact that he picked up both hits off of two future Hall of Famers makes it just a bit more remarkable. Youngblood was a .265 career hitter who bounced around a bit throughout his 14 years in the big leagues. While his career did not end in Cooperstown he will always have the distinction of picking up a hit for two teams in two different cities in one day. Definitely a pretty interesting day in the life of a ballplayer.

Here's the box score for Youngblood's game with the Mets:

Here's the box score from his game with the Expos:

Saturday, August 3, 2013

August 3, 1948, Satchel Paige Makes His First Major League Start

On August 3, 1948, more than 70,000 fans in Cleveland witnessed Satchel Paige make his first major league start  as his Indians took on the Washington Senators. The 42 year old Paige gave up two runs in the first then settled down and gave the Indians seven strong innings while striking out 6 Senators. When Paige left the game the Indians held a 4-2 lead and would end up holding onto win it 5-3 giving the Negro League legend his second major league win. Paige became the oldest man to ever make his big league debut on the 9th of July then on the 15th of July he picked up his first major league win in relief. Paige pitched several games in relief before he finally got a start, the start came with a lot on the line as the Indians were just one game back in the race and Paige did not disappoint as he helped lead the team to victory. Paige finished the '48 season with a 6-1 record, each of those wins were crucial as the Indians ended the season tied with the Boston Red Sox atop the American League. The Indians knocked off the Sox in one game playoff and would take on the Boston Braves in the Fall Classic. The Indians took down the Braves in six games. When Paige made an appearance in Game 5 he became the first African American to take the mound in the Fall Classic. He only pitched two thirds of an inning in the series but there is a good chance they wouldn't have been there without his contributions. Paige pitched for the Indians for two seasons before spending 3 seasons with the St. Louis Browns. He did return to the hill in 1965 as a member of the Kansas City A's, the 59 year old Paige pitched 3 innings and gave up one hit in the lone appearance. To this day he is the oldest to make his debut and the oldest player to play in Major League Baseball. While Paige's record in the majors was just 28-31, he had made his true mark in the sport in the Negro Leagues, with 5 All Star appearances and a Negro League World Series Title in 1942. In 1971, Paige became the first African American to be inducted into The Baseball Hall of Fame, it was well deserved for a man that gave his life to the sport. The Negro League stats aren't readily available which makes it hard to say what his exact numbers were before he reached the majors. In 1961, Paige estimated he had taken the mound 2,500 times, won 2,000 games and had thrown more than a 100 no hitters. There is one thing that we can say without a doubt, he was a legend in his time and his legend still lives on today.

Here's the box score from Satch's first start in the majors:

Friday, August 2, 2013

August 2, 1979: The Death of Thurman Munson

On August 2, 1979, Thurman Munson lost his life after crashing his plane at the Akron-Canton Airport in Green, Ohio. The 32 year old Yankees Captain had taken flying lessons over the last two years and was practicing landing in a Cessna he had recently purchased, in his third attempt at landing Munson's plane clipped some trees just short of the runway and crashed 870 feet short of the runway. The plane burst into flames upon impact, the two passengers Munson had on board were able to escape the fiery wreckage but couldn't get close enough to the plane to try and save Munson's life due to the intense heat. Munson broke his neck during the crash and would have most likely been quadriplegic if he would have survived. At the time of the accident The Yankees catcher was a 10 year veteran who had a .292 career average, he had topped the .300 mark 5 times.  He had taken home American League Rookie of the Year honors in 1970 and the league MVP award in 1976. The 7 time All Star and 3 time Gold Glover had helped lead the Yankees to three American League Pennants and two World Series championships. Following his death George Steinbrenner retired his #15 immediately. In September of 1980 Munson joined the rest of the Yankees immortals with a plaque in Monument Park, these words are on that plaque; Our captain and leader has not left us today, tomorrow, or the next day... Our endeavors will reflect our admiration for him. Those same words composed by Steinbrenner had flashed in the scoreboard at Yankee Stadium the day after he lost his life. The game that followed the passing of Munson was against the Orioles in the Bronx, the team honored their fallen comrade by having all their starters stand at their respective positions while the catcher position remained vacant, following a prayer and a rendition of America The Beautiful the crowd of more than 50,000 gave a standing ovation that was eight minutes long, following the ovation the stadium announcer Bob Sheperd said "Thank you ladies and gentleman, thank you for your wonderful response."  The Yankees took the field without their captain and ended up losing to the Orioles which in the end just didn't matter as they had lost one of their own. While today is a sad anniversary of one of the greats losing his life, it is also a day to celebrate the life he lived. It was a great one.

This video tells the story quite well:

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 1, 1972: Colbert Hits 5 Bombs In a Doubleheader

On August 1, 1972, San Diego Padres first baseman Nate Colbert hit 5 home runs and drove in 13 during a 7 for 9 performance in a 9-0 and 11-7 doubleheader sweep of the Atlanta Braves at Fulton County Stadium. Only one man has equaled the five home runs in a doubleheader and that was the one and only Stan The Man Musial. A native St. Louisan, Colbert witnessed Stan's record setting day on May 2, 1954 when he was just an 8 year old little boy at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Colbert started the first game of the doubleheader with a 3 run blast in the first, he followed it up with a solo shot in the seventh as the Padres cruised to the 9-0 victory. After going 4 for 5 in the first game with 2 homers and 5 ribbies some might have thought it couldn't get much better in the second game but they were wrong. Colbert went 3 for 4 in the second game with 3 bombs and 8 ribbies. The first bomb came in the 2nd inning, it was a grand slam that opened up a 7-0 lead over the hometown Braves. Atlanta plated a run before Colbert struck again, this time it was a two run shot to open up a 9-1 lead. While Colbert was acting like a one man wrecking crew the Braves fought back and by the time the ninth rolled around they had closed the gap to 9-7, then the one man wrecking crew wrecked them one last time. With two outs in the top of the ninth he got a hold of his 5th home run of the day the two run bomb made history as it sailed over the wall as he had just matched his childhood hero's record of 5 homers in a doubleheader. Colbert's 13 ribbies and 22 total bases broke Stan's records that he had set 18 years earlier. When Colbert witnessed Stan's heroics he turned to his dad and said "That's what I want to do when I grow up" he was one kid that accomplished his dream.

Here's the box score for the first game:

Here'e the box score for the second game: