Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 31, 1938: 2,000 Consecutive Games For The Iron Horse

     On May 31, 1938, Yankees legend Lou Gehrig played in his 2,000th consecutive game. The man known as the "Iron Horse" had began his historic streak on June 1st of 1925, when he pinch hit for Wally Pipp. The next day he was penciled into the starting lineup, and each day that followed those he was penciled into the starting lineup as well. Gehrig came up with an RBI single during the milestone game that saw his Yankees prevail over the visiting Red Sox with more than 40,000 in the seats at Yankee Stadium.

     In good spirits after the game there was talk of the historic streak reaching 2,500 games, as Gehrig laughed at the thought of not playing in a game. However, the streak came to an end much sooner than expected, as that '38 season saw an overnight demise of one of baseball's greatest players. He had still put up solid numbers, but something was not right. Many thought Father Time had paid him a visit, and the once great Gehrig, was now just an aging ballplayer.

     What they did not know was he had been stricken by the disease that now bears his name. He removed himself from the lineup on May 2, 1939, because he was struggling at the plate. The streak was over at 2,130 games. Within a month of his him removing himself from the lineup an official diagnosis that came on his 36th birthday explained why Gehrig had not been the same player he had been for so long. He had ALS, an unforgiving disease that caused a hardening of the spinal cord, before leading to muscle deterioration, and death. Given just three years to live, Gehrig retired from the game, and on July 4th of '39 delivered a tearful speech in front of a large crowd at Yankee Stadium. Although Gehrig knew his time on earth would be over very soon, he still called himself the luckiest man on the planet. He passed away on June 2, 1941, at the age of 37.

     The story of Gehrig is a story of greatness, and of a tragedy that took a man's life way too soon. I love
looking at the lives and careers of all the great athletes that I have gotten to talk about since I started this page. When I sat down to write this I could not help but think to myself how unfair the story of Lou Gehrig is. I told a friend a ballplayer like that should have gotten a chance to sit in a booth at a ballgame, and talk about the old days, while the fans soak in every word. I got to do that just the other day by listening to the great Bob Gibson; it's really something. Fate dealt Gehrig a bad hand. While it might be unfair, it was the hand that was dealt.

     Not too long ago I posted the ad to the right on my Facebook page. It came out of a March of '38 issue of the Sporting News. I was quickly reminded that the ad was printed one year before he was forced to retire. I had not thought about it before I posted it, I just thought it was a great old vintage ad. After the fact I remember making a comment that was along the lines of: when a player leaves a legacy behind like Lou did that player will live forever in the hearts and minds of people like me and you. He will forever be remembered at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, and amongst the fans of the great game that is played on a diamond. Lou Gehrig is one of the immortals.

The box score from Gehrig's 2,000th consecutive contest:

Stats of a legend:

Gehrig's consecutive games record stood for 56 years before Cal Ripken Jr. surpassed it in 1995. Ripken extended his streak to 2,632 games, and currently owns baseball's Iron Man record.

Friday, May 30, 2014

May 30, 1932: Umpire George Moriarty Picks The Wrong Battle

     On May 30, 1932, several members of the White Sox savagely beat umpire George Moriarty, after dropping both games of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians. Throughout each of the contests Moriarty and the White Sox players exchanged words, and by the time the second game was in the books the pot was boiling over. The altercation began when Sox catcher Charlie Berry accused Moriarty of purposefully missing a crucial call in the ninth inning of the second game that led the Clevelanders to victory. The situation escalated quickly, and Berry was joined by his teammates, who Moriarty made that not so wise decision to challenge them each to a fight. Pitcher Milt Gaston chose to be Moriarty's first challenger, which was probably not the wisest decision by him, as the umpire knocked him out cold. The ump suffered a broken hand by punching the pitcher, and he still had a fight on his hands as catcher Frank Grube, joined by skipper Lew Alfonseca, unleashed a merciless beating on the ump that would send him to the hospital.

     Two days after the incident, fines and suspensions were handed out. The Sox skipper, Alfonseca along with Gaston received the harshest penalties, as they both were fined $500 apiece, while Gaston also received a 10 day suspension as well. The catchers,Charlie Berry and Frank Grube received fines of $250 and $100, and coach Johnny Butler was handed a five game suspension for using profane language toward the umpire. The umpire not only walked away with cuts, bruises, and a broken hand, he was also severely reprimanded after the incident. Moriarty was no stranger to a good scrap. During his playing days with the Detroit Tigers it was said that he and the legendary Ty Cobb nearly threw down. When Moriarty handed Cobb a baseball bat so that things could be even, Cobb quickly decided it was a battle that he was not going to fight.

If you would like to learn more about George Moriarty's career in baseball give this a read:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

May 29, 1928: Bill Terry Slams The Cycle

     On May 29, 1928, New York Giants first baseman and future Hall of Famer Bill Terry hit for the cycle as he led the way in a 12-5 victory over the Brooklyn Robins at Ebbets Field in New York. The cycle by Terry was more than the average cycle as he had smashed a seventh inning grand slam that made him the first player in the modern era to add a grand slam to the historic feat.

     Only one other time had it been accomplished in the major leagues, and that came on May 25, 1882, when Curry Foley of the Buffalo Bisons smacked a grand slam on a day that he had a triple, a double, and a single to his credit. Including Curry, only nine men have added a grand slam to the cycle. Only one of those men did it in walkoff fashion, and that was Tony Lazzeri. What makes Lazzeri's day at the dish even more remarkable is his cycle was a natural cycle, that was finished off with a blast that forever cemented him in the history books.

     Terry's seventh inning blast forever marked a page in the history books for him as well. An outstanding hitter, Terry put together nine consecutive seasons where he batted .320 or better, with the pinnacle coming in 1930 when he hit an eye popping .401. He picked up at least 200 hits in six seasons, and parked 154 balls over the wall in a career that spanned 14 years. In 1954, Terry joined the ranks of the immortals in Cooperstown, New York.

Check out the box score here:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May 28, 1956: Dale Long Blasts Eight Home Runs In Eight Games

     On May 28, 1956, Dale Long of the Pittsburgh Pirates blasted a fourth inning solo shot that instantaneously put him in the record books, as it was his eighth blast in his eighth consecutive game. The big blast also tied the contest, and proved to be crucial for the Pirates who would go onto win the game by the score of 3-2 over the Brooklyn Dodgers in Pittsburgh. Long was the first man to hit eight bombs in eight games, and to date only Ken Griffey Jr. and Don Mattingly have joined Long in what is a very exclusive club. Both Long and Griffey, each hit eight bombs during their eight game span, while Mattingly blasted 10 total over his eight games. Long hit a total of 27 dingers during that '56 campaign, which was a career high for the well traveled first baseman.

You can check out the box score here:

You can view Long's career numbers here:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 27, 1937: King Carl Locks Down His 24th Consecutive Win

     On May 27, 1937, New York Giants screwballer Carl Hubbell extended his record setting consecutive winning streak to 24, by firing two scoreless innings during a 3-2 win over the Reds in Cincinnati. Hubbell came into the contest in the eighth with the score knotted at two, and he made quick work of the Reds batters by setting them down 1-2-3. Mel Ott led off the top of the ninth with a big blast that provided Hubbell with all he needed to secure the victory. The man they called "King Carl" matched his eighth inning by retiring the side in quick succession. This was the eighth win of the '37 season for Hubbell who had not lost a game since July of '36. He had recorded only three of the wins in relief, while the other 21 came as a starter. The streak came to an end on May 31st against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Hubbell posted a 22-8 record that season for the pennant winning Giants who fell to the New York Yankees in the Fall Classic. Hubbell's historic streak has yet to be matched.

Check out the box score here:

Stats of a legend:

Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26, 1987: Bird Steals The Show

     On May 26, 1987, Larry Bird made a play that will never be forgotten in Boston, as he stole an inbounds pass from Detroit's Isiah Thomas, and fed it to his teammate Dennis Johnson who nailed the game winning basket with just one second left on that clock. The spectacular play led the Celtics to an improbable 108-107 win over Pistons. The victory gave the Celtics a 3-2 edge in the series, and after falling 113-105 in Game 6 in Detroit, the Celtics returned home and took the Conference Title by defeating the Pistons 117-114. The run by the Celtics would end in the Finals, as the Lakers took the crown in six games, however, the road traveled to the Finals would be a road that would not be forgotten.

Watch the epic moment here:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 25, 1922: The Babe Flips His Lid

     On May 25, 1922, Babe Ruth went into a full tirade after being called out at second base in the third inning of a contest that had his Yankees facing the Senators in New York. After being called out by Umpire George Hildebrand, the Bambino proceeded to argue, before he picked up a handful of dirt and threw it in Hildebrand's face. The umpire promptly ejected Ruth from the contest, however, the fireworks were far from over. As Ruth was vacating the field, some fans booed and heckled him. Ruth took exception to this, and decided to go after one fan in particular by dashing into the crowd. The fan, whose mouth was bigger than his heart ran away when he realized that Ruth was coming for him. The incident happened after Ruth had served a six-week suspension for barnstorming. After he rejoined the Yankees lineup on May 20th, he was named the team's captain. The title was stripped from him after the incident that happened five days later, and was given to the team's shortstop Everett Scott. Ruth was also fined $200 for the tirade, which would be the equivalent of $2,800 today. Despite the incident, the Yankees still went onto claim a 6-4 victory over the visitors from Washington.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

May 24, 1992: Unser Jr. Wins The Indy 500 By a Whisker

     On May 24, 1992, Al Unser Jr. claimed the top prize at the Indianapolis 500, by holding off Scott Goodyear by just .043 of a second , in what was, and still is, the closest Indy 500 ever. It was a cold and windy day in Indy, which led to less than favorable conditions for the drivers. 21 out of the 33 drivers failed to finish, with 12 of them being involved in a wreck, while the rest did not finish due to mechanical failure. Michael Andretti dominated the race by leading 160 laps, and had a comfortable lead, when his fuel pump decided to stop pumping with just 11 laps to go. Andretti's bad fortune would turn into Unser's good fortune, as he held Goodyear off, and ended up in victory lane. The win by Unser Jr. was his first at the Indy 500, and it made him the first second generation driver to claim victory at the world famous track. His dad had won the race four times, with his last coming five years to the day that he watched his son win the same race. Unser Jr. became a two-time winner in 1994.

Watch Al Unser Jr. drive his way into the history books here:

Friday, May 23, 2014

May 23, 1958: Wilt The Stilt Leaves KU

     On May 23, 1958, Wilt Chamberlain announced that he would forego his senior year at Kansas, and go on a 160 game barnstorming tour as a professional basketball player. Unhappy about the way he was developing at Kansas, Chamberlain felt this move would help him become a better pro. The Philadelphia Warriors owned his rights, but he could not wear their uniform until his class graduated, due to a rule that was in place. The barnstorming tour never came to fruition, however, less than a month after this announcement Chamberlain inked $65,000 deal to play for the Harlem Globetrotters for one year, which made him the highest paid player in basketball history. It was just the beginning of a storied career in the ranks of the professionals.

You can read about that storied career here:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 22, 1976: Reggie Smith Powers The Birds Past The Phils

     On May 22, 1976, St. Louis Cardinals switch hitting first baseman Reggie Smith belted three home runs at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, as he led his club to a 7-6 victory over the hometown Phillies. Smith's first big blast was a three run shot from the right side of the plate in the fifth that gave the Cards a 4-2 lead, his second was a solo shot from the left side in the seventh that tied the ballgame at six, and his third was a solo shot from the right side in the top of the ninth that proved to be the game winner.

     The three home run performance was the only time that Smith achieved the feat in a career that spanned 17 seasons, and included 314 home runs. Throughout those 17 seasons he wore the uniform of the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the San Francisco Giants. The seven time all star was crowned a World Series Champion in 1981 as a member of the Dodgers.

Check out the box score here:

Check out his career numbers here:

And last but not least, you can read an in depth bio about the life and career of Reggie Smith here:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May 21, 1979: Four In A Row For The Habs

     On May 21, 1979, the Montreal Canadiens hoisted Lord Stanley's Cup for the 22nd time. Not only was this the 22nd time the Canadiens celebrated a Championship Title, it was the fourth consecutive title for the team who has laid claim to hockey's top prize more than any other team in the history of the league. The title run ended after the '79 championship, and it fell one short of the all time NHL record for consecutive championships that was set by the same organization from 1956 to 1960.

     The Championship in '79 came against the New York Rangers, as the club from Montreal took out the New Yorkers in five games. The Rangers took game 1 of the series, before they watched the Canadiens take four straight, which included an overtime thriller in the fourth game. The deciding game saw each team trade first period goals, then the Montreal squad scored three goals in the second, with two coming off the stick of Jacques Lemaire. The crowd at the Forum in Montreal was electric throughout the scoreless third that saw Ken Dryden turn away everything that the Rangers threw at him as the Canadiens marched toward their fourth consecutive title. It was the first time since 1968 the Canadiens won the title on home ice, and the party that followed was greater than the three that came before it because of that. Montreal has added two more titles ('86 and '93) since, and are most definitely one of the most storied teams in all of hockey.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 20, 1991: MJ Takes Home His Second MVP Award

     On May 20, 1991, Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan took home his second of five MVP awards. The up and coming superstar had claimed the honor for a first time in 1988. The ultimate competitor, Jordan accepted the award graciously, but made it be known that his goal was to win a title. Less than a month after winning this award he did exactly that, by leading the Bulls to a 4-1 series victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. Jordan would add five more titles to his resume in what was a legendary career.

You can view his career numbers here:

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19, 1962: Another Milestone For The Man

 On May 19, 1962, Stan "The Man" Musial picked up the 3,431st hit of his career during the ninth inning of an 8-1 win over the Dodgers in Los Angeles. The historic single off of Ron Perranoski pushed him past the legendary Honus Wagner in the hits department, and made him the National League's all time hits leader. Musial received a standing ovation from the L.A. fans before being pulled for a pinch runner. Today, his 3,630 career hits ranks fourth on the all time list. Only Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, and Hank Aaron have picked up more than the one, the only Stan "The Man" Musial.

Check out the box score here:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May 18, 1912: Replacement Players Take The Field For THe Striking Tigers

     On May 18, 1912, the Detroit Tigers got hammered by the defending Champion Philadelphia Athletics at Shibe Park in Philly. At least it appeared to be the Detroit Tigers. The men who usually donned the uniform with the big D insignia had decided to go on strike due to the suspension of Ty Cobb who had assaulted a handicap man who was heckling him in New York just three days before this contest, and to avoid a $5,000 a day fine (which would be nearly $120,000 today) the owner of the Detroit squad, Phil Navin put together a misfit squad that included a future priest, five sandlotters, and two future boxers. The future priest, Alan Travers pitched the ballgame and went the distance, and gave up all 24 runs, although, only 14 of them were earned as the defense behind him was suspect to say the least. This was the first ever strike in the history of Major League Baseball.

     The fan was disabled and an irritated Cobb beat the man mercilessly after he repeatedly taunted the future Hall of Famer. The fan, Claude Lucker had lost all but two fingers in a printing press accident, and when Cobb attacked him many fans pleaded for him to stop. Before order was restored the Pittsburgh Press  reported that blood was flowing freely from the face of the fan.

     Cobb picked the wrong day to pull this stunt, as the President of the American League happened to be in the ballpark, and he witnessed the whole thing. Johnson condemned the actions of Cobb, and suspended him indefinitely. Cobb, claimed that the man had heckled him on other occasions, and that day he had asked the fan to stop, and when he did so the fan let loose with some of the worst insults he had ever heard. It was the straw that broke the camels back, and it was also the straw that busted Lucker's face open.

     After the suspension was handed down, Cobb's teammates held a secret meeting, and decided they would not play, if Cobb could not play. They were serious. Ban Johnson was serious as well, and he made it known by threatening to fine the Tigers' owner. Navin pleaded with his players to end the strike. They heard his plea, and returned to the field on May 21st. Luckily for Navin, this club was off for a couple of days after the debacle in Philly. Ultimately, Cobb received a 10 game suspension

     I looked through at least 15 newspapers while researching this fact, and the picture that will accompany the fact is going to be a combination of two of them. The first one is an Associated Press piece that was found in the Spartanburg Herald out of South Carolina, while the other is the only boxscore I was able to find. The boxscore was found in the Milwaukee Sentinel. I will also include a link below that was written by Gary Livacari who is a member of the Society of American Baseball Research. I too am a member of SABR, and I urge anybody that has a serious interest in baseball history to join.

The piece by Mr. Livacari is about Allan Travers, who took the mound in that historic game.

If you happened to be interested in joining the Society of American Baseball Research you can view membership benefits here:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

May 17, 1970: Hammerin Hank Joins The 3,000 Hit Club

      On May 17, 1970, "Hammerin" Hank Aaron collected the 3,000th hit of his storied career during the second game of a doubleheader at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. The historic hit was a run scoring single that came during the first inning against Reds rookie Wayne Simpson. The game was stopped and the President of the Braves, William C. Bartholomay and Stan Musial who had been the last man to record 3,000 hits joined Hank and presented him the ball. Aaron added the 570th home run of his career in the third, but it was not enough for the Braves to pull out a win, as they fell to Reds 7-6 in 15 innings. Aaron was overjoyed to be in a club that is reserved for immortals, however, he was disappointed that his team could not pull out a win. They had also dropped the first game of the doubleheader by the score of 5-1.

     Aaron was just the ninth player in the history of the game to record 3,000 hits. His final number in the hits column was 3,771, which is good for third on the all time list. You can view that list here:

Friday, May 16, 2014

May 16, 1955: Marciano Vs. Cockell

     On May 16, 1955, Rocky Marciano successfully defended his title for a fifth consecutive time, by scoring a ninth round TKO over Britain's Don Cockell, at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, California. Marciano would successfully defend the title one more time before deciding to retire in 1956. The legendary boxer never lost a professional fight, and is the only boxer to hold the heavyweight title without tying or losing a fight in his career.

Watch footage of the fight here:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

May 15, 1941: Joltin Joe's Historic Streak Begins

     On May 15, 1941, the New York Yankees suffered what proved to be their worst loss of the season in front of a home crowd as the Chicago White Sox prevailed by the score of 13-1. It also marked their fifth consecutive loss, and dropped them a game under .500. However, that one run that was scored by Yankees was a little single off the bat of Joe DiMaggio in the bottom of the first inning. That little single began one of the most storied streaks in the history of sport, as DiMaggio picked up at least one hit in every game that he played in until July 17th of that same year when he was held hitless by the Cleveland Indians. That little single had started a span of 56 games that would set a major league record  for hitting streaks that still stands today.

     The previous record had been held by Wee Willie Keeler, who had set the bar at 45 in 1897. The modern day record had stood at 41, which was accomplished by George Sisler in 1922. As Joe approached Sisler's mark a media storm began. It was a storm that did not have an effect on the hot bat of Joltin Joe. Once he surpassed both Sisler and Keeler, Joe kept on hittin until that day in Cleveland, and it took two spectacular plays by the Indians third baseman Ken Keltner to put the streak to bed. When it was all said and done DiMaggio had hit .408 during the historic stretch by picking up 91 hits in 223 at bats, which included 15 bombs and 55 ribbies.

     The day after the Yankees suffered the 13-1 loss to Chicago, some newspapers referred to DiMaggio's hit as a weak single. Those same newspapers were also referring to the club from New York as "The once mighty Yankees" after they hit the early season skid. If they only knew what was to come...

     DiMaggio's streak did more than shatter a record, it sparked his team, and they would go onto win the World Series, while Joltin Joe claimed the American League MVP Award. Some would argue that the MVP Award should have gone to Ted Williams in Boston who hit an eye popping .406 that season compared to Joe's .357. However, the Sox finished 17 games behind the pennant winning Yankees as Joe had proved to be the Most Valuable Player in his league.

     The closest any player has come to the 56 game hitting streak record was Pete Rose in 1978, who had his snapped at 44 games, just one shy of Keeler's mark. In other words: no one has even come close to that magic number 56. Legendary.

This might not be the prettiest box score in the history of the Yankees organization, however, there is a piece of beauty in there, as it holds a stat line: DiMaggio 1 for  4

Check out the list of men who have picked up a hit in at least 30 consecutive games:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 14, 1967: 500 Bombs For The Mick

     On May 14, 1967, Mickey Mantle blasted the 500th home run of his legendary career off of Baltimore Orioles reliever Stu Miller. It came during the seventh inning of the contest at Yankee Stadium, and led the Bronx Bombers to a 6-5 victory. Mantle's historic day was nearly hijacked in the eighth when Mantle committed an error at first base that started a rally for the O's. However, the error only led to one run, before Dooley Womack put the Baltimore batting order to bed the rest of the way.

     Mantle was just the sixth player in the history of the game to reach the 500 home run plateau. The names that came before him were: Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Mel Ott, Jimmie  Foxx, and Babe Ruth. Mantle hit 36 more before calling it a career after the '68 season. The Yankees legend will forever be remembered as one of the greatest to ever pick up a bat.

Watch Mantle make history, with Jerry Coleman making the call: "Here it goes!! It's outta here!!!"

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

May 13, 1979: Watson Wins The Byron Nelson Classic For The Third Time

     On May 13, 1979, Tom Watson became the first golfer to win the Byron Nelson Classic by dropping a birdie in the first hole of a sudden death playoff against Bill Rogers. Watson's dominance at the course based in Irving, Texas continued in 1980 when he took the top prize at the Byron Nelson Classic again, and in 1981 he nearly claimed it once more only to lose in a playoff. One of the best golfers in the World during his peak, Watson claimed 2 victories at The Masters, 1 victory at the U.S. Open, and 5 wins at the British Open. His 39 wins on the PGA Tour ranks 11th on the all time list. Watson found his spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1988.  

Monday, May 12, 2014

May 12, 1986: Wickenheiser Puts The Exclamation Point On The Monday Night Miracle

     On May 12, 1986, one of the most memorable hockey games in the history of the St. Louis Blues organization took place in St. Louis as the Blues prevailed 6-5 over the Calgary Flames in Game 6 of the Campbell Conference Finals. The game has been dubbed the "Monday Night Miracle" as the team came into the contest facing elimination, and found themselves trailing  4-1 headed into the third, before capping off a miraculous comeback with a goal by Doug Wickenheiser 8 minutes into overtime.

     The memorable comeback began with 14 minutes to play in the third, when Wickenheiser cut the score in half with a 35-foot slap shot that got behind the pads of Mike Vernon. Seven minutes after Wickenheiser's first tally of the contest, a former Blue, Joe Mullen answered back for Calgary to put the Flames up 5-2. Brian Sutter came right back and had an answer of his own for Mullen's goal and cut the lead to 5-3. If the Blues were gonna lose they were not going to do it without a fight, and because of that they would be victorious.

     With the crowd at the Old Barn feeding the fire Greg Pawlaski cut the lead to 5-4 at 15:49 in the period, and it was Pawlaski who stole the puck from Jamie Macoun, and punched it in with just 1 minute and 8 seconds to go in regulation to tie it up. Both teams desperately fought to score the game winner in the overtime frame, and just 30 seconds before Wickenheiser's historic goal, St. Louis' goalie Rick Wamsley watched a 65 foot shot from Joe Mullen's stick blaze past him, only to have the crossbar make a ringing save. 30 seconds later Bernie Federko stole the puck from Paul Reinhart's skates, passed it to Mark Hunter who fired the puck into Mike Vernon's pads, as Doug Wickenheiser came flying into score on the rebound. The place erupted with a cheer that might have loosened the roof at The Arena, as the Blues had just forced a Game 7.

     While there was a storybook ending to this game for the Blues, there was not a storybook ending to the series. Two days later, the Flames beat the Blues 2-1 in Calgary, which punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they fell to the Montreal Canadiens four games to one. It might not have ended the perfect way for Blues fans, but on that one night in St. Louis, history was made, and it will forever be remembered as "The Monday Night Miracle."

     Doug Wickenheiser became an instant hero that day in St. Louis, and any time you hear his name mentioned in the Gateway City, memories of that game will surely come to mind. Unfortunately, Wickenheiser passed away in 1999 after a long battle with cancer. He was only 37 years of age. The Blues organization established The 14 Fund in memoriam of the player who provided the exciting overtime winner for the club in '86. The fund has led to millions of dollars being donated to help promote the health and wellness of kids all around the St. Louis area. If you ever feel compelled to donate to a charity please consider The 14 Fund.

Here is a link to make a donation:

Here is a great highlight video from the historic contest:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

May 12, 1955: Mr. Cub Helps Slam The Cubs Past The Dodgers

     On May 12, 1955, the Cubs snapped the Brooklyn Dodgers 11 game winning streak by handing them a 10-8 defeat at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The game was highlighted by a first inning grand slam off the bat of Mr. Cub himself Ernie Banks. The big blast gave the Cubbies a 5-2 lead, and despite the fact that the Dodgers played a hard nine, they never did lead in this game again.

     Banks set a major league record by hitting five grand slams during that '55 season. This game was his first ten other players had hit four in a season which included names like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Ralph Kiner.  The grand slam that helped beat the Dodgers in Chicago on this day in '55, was the first grand slam of his career, and just the 27th longball that would come off his bat. Banks was just 24 years old and he was well on his way to legendary status. By season's end he had blasted 44 home runs to set the record for most home runs by a shortstop, and that is a mark he topped twice.

    In 1961, Jim Gentile of the Baltimore Orioles joined Banks in the five grand slams in a season club. The record was surpassed in 1987 by Yankees slugger Don Mattingly who hit six grand salamis. Mattingly was joined by Travis Hafner of the Indians in 2006. Albert Pujols hit five grand slams as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009, making him the only other National Leaguer other than Ernie Banks to crush five grand slams in a season.

You can check out the list here:

Check out the box score here:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

May 10, 1946: 15 Wins In a Row For The BoSox

     On May 10, 1946, a grand slam off the bat of Yankees slugger Joe DiMaggio could not stop the Boston Red Sox from extending their winning streak to franchise record setting 15 games. A crowd of 64,183 packed the stands at Yankee Stadium to witness the opening game of the three game series. They saw a true battle that had the Red Sox jump out to a three run lead in the third on RBIs by pitcher Joe Dobson, and rightfielder George Metkovich, before Joltin Joe erased the Yankees deficit with one big swing of the bat in the bottom of the fifth. The seventh inning decided the contest. Joe Page who was on the mound for the Yankees in relief of Red Ruffing led the frame off by issuing a walk to Bobby Doerr, and Rudy York blasted a ball to left-center that ended up being a game tying RBI triple. It was Joltin Joe's brother Dom who delivered the game winning hit with a single into right that brought York trotting into score. Earl Johnson relieved Dobson after Joe ordered up his grand slamwich, and Johnson was lights out as he helped the BoSox record their 15th straight victory.

     The streak came to an end the next day, and to date it is the longest winning streak in the history of the storied franchise. The Red Sox would go onto win the American League Pennant and met the St. Louis Cardinals in the Fall Classic where they lost a hard fought seven game battle.

Check out the box score here:

Longest winning streak team-by-team list :

Friday, May 9, 2014

May 9, 1973: Bench Blasts Three Against Carlton

     On May 9, 1973, Cincinnati's Johnny Bench added the second three home run game of his career to his resume, as he led his Reds to a 9-7 victory over the Phillies All three of the big blasts came against future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton who had been on the receiving end of Bench's first three home run game in 1970 when Carlton was hurling for the Cardinals. Bench also tied a major league record with four consecutive home runs, as he had homered in his last trip to the plate during the previous game. At the end of this day Bench had recorded seven RBIs, and he had helped set the table for Dave Concepcion whose ninth inning 2-run-shot was the game decider. Bench's third three home run game came in 1980 against the Padres in San Diego.

     Bench feasted on Steve Carlton pitches, hitting 12 long balls while facing him, which ranked Carlton at the top of his list of victimized pitchers. Don Sutton shared the ranking with Carlton as he had also served up 12 homers to the Hall of Famer. Phil Niekro was right behind them both; he turned his head and watched 11 balls fly over the wall while Bench was at the plate.

Check out the box score here:

Johnny Bench's home run log can be viewed here:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 8, 1970: The Knicks Take The Title

     On May 8, 1970, the New York Knicks claimed their first NBA title with a 113-99 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in seventh game of the hard fought Finals. Willis Reed was an inspirational force in the contest as he had suffered a devastating leg injury in the fifth game of the series. The Knicks won that fifth game, however, the injury looked to be too much for the man who led the Knicks into battle. After missing Game 6 Reed said that "I'll play if I can crawl" it was do or die, and he was not about to sit on the sideline and watch his team have their obituary written. The moment Reed stepped on the court the crowd at Madison Square Garden let him know how much they appreciated him by letting out a thunderous cheer. Reed then made two quick baskets early in the contest, before being held off the scoreboard. While his numbers in the box score did not curtail a great performance, his mere presence was a difference maker. Defensively he was able blanket Wilt Chamberlain enough to hold the star to 21 points. The offensive star of the game for new York was Walt Frazier who knocked down 36 points in the contest that brought the Knickerbockers their first NBA Title.

This is an in depth account of the game and the series:

Check out the box score here:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May 7, 1959: Campy's Night In The City of Angels

     On May 7, 1959, a record-setting 93,103 fans packed the Coliseum in Los Angeles for "Campy's Night." The exhibition game that was set to be played game against the New York Yankees would be the secondary story on this night as all of those in attendance were there to help the former Dodgers great who had been paralyzed in an automobile accident, and had medical bills piling up. Campanella received a thunderous cheer when he was rolled onto the field by shortstop Pee Wee Reese. The former Dodgers backstop came across a loudspeaker and said to the crowd "Thank you ladies and gentleman. I want to thank each and everyone of you from the bottom of my heart." He went on to thank the owners of the Yankees and the Dodgers before saying "This is something that I'll never forget. I thank God that I am here living to see it. Thanks a million." What followed was a beautiful thing as public address announcer called on the crowd to light matches that would resemble candles on a cake to honor Campanella. The Dodgers fell to the Yankees 6-2 that night, however, it would be a night that will forever be remembered for many more reasons than a box score. An estimated $60,000 was raised for the man who had manned the catcher position for 10 seasons wearing Dodger blue.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 6, 1953: Bobo Holloman's Historic No No

     On May 6, 1953, in front of a home crowd at Sportsman's Park, Bobo Holloman of the St. Louis Browns became the first rookie pitcher in the modern era to toss a no-hitter in his first major league start. Holloman's dominant performance led to a 6-0 victory over the Philadelphia Athletics. The feat had been accomplished two other times before the modern era began, the first was Ted Brientenstein's first major league start with the St. Louis Browns (who later became the Cardinals) in 1891, and in 1892 Charley Jones threw a no-hitter for the Cincinnati Reds in his first major league start. Holloman's no-no was the fourth and final no-hitter in the history of the St. Louis Browns who would soon be headed to Baltimore. He faced 31 men in the contest, walking three, while the other man got on because of his own error. Holloman not only mowed down batter after batter, he also knocked in 3 of the 6 runs scored for the Browns as he made his way into the history books. Holloman took the long route to the major leagues and was 27 years of age when he fired the no-hitter. He went onto post a 3-7 record in '53, never pitched another complete game, and after July 19th of  that same season his days in Major League Baseball would come to an end. Despite that fact, Holloman is the only rookie during the modern era to accomplish the feat. Clay Buchholz (2007) and Wilson Alvarez (1991) each did it in their second major league start.

You can view the list of rookies to throw a no-no here:

You can read more about Bobo Holloman here: It includes a great account of the no-hit perfomance by the Browns owner Bill Veeck.

Check out the box score here:

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 5, 1904: Cy Young Tosses A Perfecto

     On May 5, 1904, Cy Young watched 27 men come to the plate and set each and every one of them down in succession as he led the Boston Americans to a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Athletics at the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston. Young battled another future Hall of Famer in Rube Waddell that day who gave up 10 hits, but worked his way around most of them. The perfecto was the first one thrown in the 20th century, and just the third time it had been accomplished in the history of professional baseball. The last time a perfecto had been tossed before Young's historic day was in 1880. It happened twice that year in the period of five days. The first came on June 12, 1880 with Lee Richmond accomplishing the feat for the first time as a member of the Worcester Ruby Legs, and five days later John Montgomery Ward accomplished the feat with the Providence Grays. Both of those men accomplished the feat when the mound was 45 feet from the plate, and the rules were very different than those in which Young played under. Young was the first player to do it from the traditional 60 feet 6 inches. Young's perfecto was the second no-hitter of his career. He threw another no-hitter at the age of 41 in 1908.

The article was printed in the Boston Evening Transcript the following day. They expressed it was the greatest game ever played in their city. There have been many great games played in Boston, and even today this one has to rank near the top of them.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May 4, 1982: Eisenreich Leaves The Game

     On May 4, 1982, the Minnesota Twins fell to the 5-3 to the Red Sox in Boston. However, the scoreboard was not why this fact made it to the page. The reason why it made it to the page is because before the third inning began rookie centerfielder Jim Eisenreich chose to pull himself from the game after being taunted by the Boston fans. Eisenreich suffered from Tourette's syndrome.

     Up to that point it had not been diagnosed. He simply knew something was not right as he suffered from twitches. While doctors tried to figure out the reasons why this was happening to him, others caught on and some thought it was funny. Even his own teammates gave him grief over it. On that day in Boston a newspaper article documented Eisenreich's struggles with what was being considered a nervous condition. It fed a fire that would ultimately lead to the fans being very cruel as he tried to man his post in the outfield. As the taunts rained upon him his condition worsened to the point that he was hyperventilating and trembling before he asked to be removed. Eisenreich tried to work through the issues, but it led to an early retirement. He played in just 34 games in 1982, 2 games in '83, and 12 games in '84,  before missing all of 1985 and 1986. With the help of medication and a correct diagnosis Eisenreich made a triumphant comeback with the Kansas City Royals in 1987. He was able to play ball for the next 13 years, and that included a World Series ring with the Marlins in 1997.

     As a man I look at Eisenreich as a hero who made it be known that great obstacles can be overcome. Those dark days turned into very bright days, and today he influences children who are fighting the same battle that he has had to fight. We as people can be very cruel when it comes to making fun of a person who suffers from an affliction. It is important that we remember that nobody chooses to suffer from a disease. We all have our faults, some by choice, while others are out of our hands. No matter what they might be always remember the person that is being taunted has to live with whatever it is they are being taunted about. Life is not always fair, but we can definitely help make it more fair by treating people with respect even if they have something that makes them a little different than the rest. In the end we are all different, and we all could be taunted for one reason or another. Just think about it, and think about how you might feel if you were standing in those shoes. Eisenreich was able to turn his condition into something that we can all learn from, and for that I tip my cap to him.

     May 15th to June 15th is Tourette's Syndrome Awareness Month. This link will guide you to the National Tourette Syndrome Association page There are many ways to make a difference in this world and simply showing support is one of them. The site will offers a variety of other ways to help out as well.

A great biography about Jim Eisenreich's life can be found here:
and his career numbers can be found here: 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May 3, 1936: Joltin Joe Arrives

On May 3, 1936, Joltin Joe DiMaggio made his much anticipated major league debut. He had been held back from injury, before letting all of New York and the rest of the baseball world that he had arrived by collecting a triple, two singles, three runs scored, and an RBI in a 14-5 win over the St. Louis Browns at Yankee Stadium. The Yankee Clipper shared the spotlight in the shellacking, as Lou Gehrig went 4 for 5 with two ribbies, and Ben Chapman who went 4 for 4 with a triple, a double, and two singles, which led to 5 RBIs on the day. Chapman was manning center that day, and quickly became expendable with the new kid in left, and by June he was sent to the Washington Senators as Joe took over in center for the Bronx Bombers.

Check out the historic box score here:

Stats of a legend:

Friday, May 2, 2014

May 2, 1964: Northern Dancer Wins The Derby

     On May 2, 1964, Northern Dancer, ridden by Bill Hartack won the Kentucky Derby with a record setting 2 minute flat running time. The race was one for the ages as the Canadian born horse crossed the finish line a neck length ahead of High Hill. Northern Dancer became a National Hero in Canada as the first Canadian bred horse to win one of the horse racing's most coveted crowns. Northern Dancer's record stood until 1973, when Secretariat crossed the line in Louisville with a 1:59.40, and in 2001 Monarchos beat Northern Dancer's time by just three tenths of a second. Today, Northern Dancer's time stands as third best in the history of the race that began in 1875.

If you would like to read more about Northern Dancer check this out:

It is a fascinating story about a horse who was considered a runt, and even came close to being gelded before he found his way into the history books. Many great horses have had the same blood running through their veins as Northern Dancer, with one of them being the aforementioned Monarchos. 50 years ago today the 3-year-old wowed the crowd in Louisville, and even today we can look at his story and be wowed once again.

Ten facts about the Kentucky Derby:

And last but not least, watch Northern Dancer make history here:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May 1, 1920: The Longest Game In The History of Major League Baseball Is Played in Boston

     On May 1, 1920, the longest game in the history of Major League Baseball was played at Braves Field in Boston. The game against the Brooklyn Robins was called with the scored tied 1-1 due to darkness after 26 innings of play. Joe Oeschger got the start for the Boston club, while Leon Cadore got the call for the club from Brooklyn. Both starters established a major league record by going the distance in the contest. The runs came in back-to-back innings with Brooklyn striking first in the fifth on an RBI off the bat of Ivy Wilson, before Boston's Tony Boekel knocked in the equalizer with an RBI of his own in the sixth. Excellent defense bailed each starter out of numerous jams as the game marched toward the record books. Cadore gave up 15 hits, walked 5 men, and struck out 7. On the flip side, Oeschger allowed just 9 hits, walked 4, and equaled his counterpart by striking out 7. We might see the day that a game extends past 26 innings, but we will never see the day when two starting pitchers turn in that kind of performance.

Here's the digital box score: I thought the box score out of the newspaper was pretty neat.

On a sidenote: On May 1, 2012, I started this page, and On This Day I say Thank You for supporting the page.