Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 1948: Bob Lemon Tosses a No-No In The Motor City

     On June 30, 1948, Cleveland Indians hurler Bob Lemon tossed a no-hitter against Detroit Tigers at Briggs Stadium in Detroit. The one time utility man, had made a more than successful transition to pitcher, on the way to becoming one of the best in the game. He had it all working on that night in Detroit, when he watched his club plate two unearned runs in the first, before he marched his way into the history books. Only three Tigers batters reached, all on walks, as Lemon baffled their lineup. When the ninth inning rolled around the crowd of more than 49,000 were pulling for him despite the fact he wore the uniform of the visitor. They would not be disappointed as pinch hitter Vic Wertz rolled one right back to the pitcher for a quick out, Eddie Mayo went down on strikes, and George Kell hit a weak grounder that Lemon fielded, threw to first, and celebrated the no-no. The crowd at Briggs Stadium rushed onto the field in celebration as the newest member of the baseball's no-hit club was rushed off the field.

Check out the box score here:

Stats of a legend:

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 29, 1977: Willie Stargell Goes Yard For The 400th Time

     On June 29, 1977, Pittsburgh Pirates legend Willie Stargell hit the 400th home run of his storied career during the third inning of a 9-1 rout of the Cardinals in St. Louis. The man who had become known as "Pops" would finish his career with 475 big blasts in his 21-year-career. The milestone shot came off of St. Louis' starter Eric Rasmussen who ended up being the eventual loser in the tilt. Stargell's first home run came on May 8, 1963 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, and Lindy McDaniel was his first victim.

     Over the next two decades Stargell was selected to seven All Star games, led the league in home runs twice, while helping the Pirates win two World Series titles. Stargell's first run at World Series glory came in his prime in 1971. He was 31-years-old at the time, and had led the NL with 48 home runs during the regular season. While the Pirates came out on top in the classic seven game battle against Baltimore, Stargell had hit .208 and had a complete power outage during the series. It took him eight years to reach the Fall Classic for a second time, and the story was much different, as he had put together an MVP campaign at the age of 39, then won the NLCS MVP, and the World Series MVP awards as he led the Pirates to the Championship Title in another seven game battle against the Orioles.

      Pops played parts of three more seasons following that last run to glory, before Father Time knocked at his door in 1982. His last big blast on July 21, 1982, proved to be a game winner in Cincinnati. The solo shot off of Reds hurler Tom Hume in the eighth gave the Pirates a 3-2 edge that the hometown squad could not overcome. Stargell's last plate appearance would come in early October as his season and career came to a close. Stargell joined the ranks of baseball's immortals in 1988.

Check out the box score here:

You can check out Stargell's home run log here:

Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 28, 1997: Tyson Orders Some Ear With a Side of Holyfield

     On June 28, 1997, the soft spoken pitbull known as Mike Tyson forgot to eat before his big fight against Evander Holyfield at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, so he decided to snack on his opponent's ear during the third round of the heavyweight battle. On a serious note, this was perhaps the most infamous moment in the world of sports during the 1990s. Tyson's bite took a chunk out of Holyfield's ear, then crazed pugilist spit it out, as Holyfield immediately reacted as the pain hit him upside the head. While Holyfield's corner argued for a disqualification, the bizarre turn of events the fight continued, although although, it only continued for 33 seconds before the rabid dog bit again. Tyson was disqualified at the end of the round, and he would subsequently lose his boxing license for over a year. As time has moved forward this moment in time has in large part become a joke, but in that moment that the two boxers were standing in the ring, and the one madman decided to use his teeth rather than his gloves no one was laughing.

Friday, June 27, 2014

June 27, 1972: Bobby Hull Heads To Winnipeg

     On June 27, 1972, Bobby Hull stunned the World of Hockey by signing an unprecedented $2.5 million contract to play for the World Hockey Association's Winnipeg Jets. The 34-year-old left winger was parting ways with the Chicago Blackhawks where he spent the first 15 years of his career. Those 15 years included a second place finish in rookie of the year balloting, two MVP awards, five 50 goal seasons, 10 All Star appearances, and a Stanley Cup Championship. He had reached legendary status in the Windy City. However, the ole mighty dollar would lure him to the upstart WHA, which was in its first year of existence.

     Hull gave the new league instant credibility, and the superstar had a lot left in the tank as he led the Jets to three Championships and took home two MVP awards. Hull returned the the ranks of the NHL when the WHA was absorbed by the league in 1979. He spent one more season on the ice splitting time between the Jets and the Hartford Whalers before hanging up the skates. He had spent 23 years on the ice, where he forged his Hall of Fame career.

You can view Hull's career numbers here:

This link is to a great piece done by ESPN as part of their Sportscentury series. It covers the story in greater detail, and also points out the fact that Hull opened the door for bigger contracts for hockey players.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 26, 1970: Frank Robinson Hits Two Grand Slams In Washington

     On June 26, 1970, Frank Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles became just the seventh player to hit two grand slams in one game during 12-2 romp of the Senators in Washington. Robinson came into the game with a lot on his mind, as he had a sick 7-year-old son at home, and sore back to boot. However, those two things would not keep the 34-year-old slugger from making history. The first big  blast came in the fifth against Joe Coleman, and the second came in the sixth against Joe Grzenda. He was only the third man to accomplish the feat in consecutive innings. Jim Gentile did it as a member of the Orioles in 1961, and Jim Northrup did it in 1968 as a member of the Tigers. Today, only 13 men have hit two slams in a game, and only one man can boast doing it twice in a single inning, with that being Fernando Tatis who did it as a member of theSt. Louis Cardinals in 1999. Robinson hit 536 home runs during his Hall of Fame career, eight of those were grand slam home runs, and two of those eight came on this day in 1970.

Check out the box score here:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 25, 1997: The Spurs Take Duncan #1

     On June 25, 1997, the San Antonio Spurs selected Tim Duncan out of Wake Forest #1 overall in the NBA Draft. Duncan was the only player in the draft that the talking heads considered to be a sure fire pick, and for the most part they were right. Besides Duncan, only Chauncey Billups, and Tracy McGrady proved to be All Star material. The Spurs walked away with the rights to the number one pick due to the draft lottery that had the Boston Celtics as the prohibitive favorites. The moment it was announced that the Spurs had won that lottery there was no question as to who they would pick. Tim Duncan was their man. It would be the first step in what has become a modern day dynasty. Two years to the day of the pick being made Duncan led the Spurs to an NBA title with an MVP performance against the Knicks. It was his first of five titles, with his last coming just this year. With the recent announcement that he will return to the Spurs lineup next season the Tim Duncan era continues in San Antonio.

You can look over his career numbers here:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24, 1962: Jake Reed's Big Blast Decides The Longest Game In Yankees History

     On June 24, 1962, the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers played a 7 hour, 22 inning marathon in Detroit. The contest was decided by an unlikely hero by the name of Jack Reed who launched a two run homer into the right field seats at Tigers Stadium in the top half of 22nd that gave the Yankees a 9-7 lead. It went into the books as the longest game ever played as far as length goes, and while that record has since been surpassed, it still stands as the longest game ever played in the history of the Yankees organization. A total of 167 at bats were taken between the two clubs combined, Yogi Berra caught every inning for the New Yorkers, eight different players had 10 at bats in the game, and New York's second baseman Booby Richardson had 11 at bats. On the Detroit side of the diamond Rocky Colavito picked up seven hits in ten trips, but he would not reap a reward for his outstanding effort as the Yankees prevailed because of Reed's heroics. Reed had a short lived career in the big leagues and the big blast was the only home run of his career. It was a home run that forever cemented him into the history of the club.

Check out the box score here:

This link will provide you with a variety of franchise records that have been set by the Yankees organization throughout the years:

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 1917: Ernie Shore Tosses a Perfecto*

     On June 23, 1917, 26-year-old righty Ernie Shore turned in a perfect game* as he led the way in a 4-0 Red Sox win over the Washington Senators in Boston. The asterisk that goes along with this fact is because Shore faced just 26 men, as he relieved an ejected Babe Ruth who walked a man, then hit the umpire, before being sent to the showers. After the man on first was gunned down trying to steal second, Shore set each and every man that followed down in succession without the benefit of a walk, a hit batsman, or a hit. In the days that followed some credited Shore with the perfecto, while others argued that he only faced 26 men, therefore it could stand as a true perfecto. As time has marched, the game has been debated amongst historians, and while many think that Shore should be given credit for the perfect game it has been officially put in the record books as a combined no-hitter.

     While Ruth will forever be known as the power slugger that put more than 700 home runs in the seats, he was also a pitcher that won 94 games from the mound during his Hall of Fame career. In the 1917 season alone, Ruth won a career high 24 games, but he got himself scratched from the lineup card quickly on that day in Boston. Ernie Shore's road to the history book began with Ruth  throwing three consecutive balls. Ruth showed disgust each time the ump called a ball, and after the third ball was called he yelled at the umpire "If you call the next one a ball I'm going to punch you in the nose." He wasn't kidding. Owens called a ball that sent Washington's second baseman Ray Morgan trotting to first, and there came Ruth who delivered a healthy shot to the umpires head. Some articles said it hit him in the ear, others said it was in his jaw. Either way it goes, Ruth along with his catcher Pinch Thomas were ejected, and Shore had to come into pitch. Little did he know that his pitching performance would be talked about for decades to come.

     Ruth faced harsh penalties over his actions. Some articles said it was a $500 fine and ten games, while others said the fine was a $1,000. Whatever the fine ended up being, it was well worth it, as Ruth's actions led to a history being made as Ernie Shore tossed a perfect game*

     This was a tough "fact" to substantiate all around, as the story seemed to have changed through the years. I looked through papers from the day after, which is featured in the picture above, and I looked at papers that were printed in every decade that followed.This piece by Sports Illustrated  has just about the best game account I could find, although, it does say that many feel that Shore deserves the credit since he retired 27 in a row. He only faced 26 men. My personal opinion would be that he does deserve the credit for perfection, but an asterisk is a necessary reminder that it was far from conventional.

Check out the box score here:

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 22, 1962: Stan The Man Passes The Georgia Peach On The All Time Total Bases List

     On June 22, 1962, Stan "The Man" Musial became baseball's all time total bases leader when he surpassed Ty Cobb on the list by picking up four hits, which led to seven total bases, during a doubleheader against the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia. Cobb's benchmark had been set 5,863, and Musial tied him in the second inning of the first contest, as he led off the frame with a home run, then later in the inning as the Cardinals batted around he picked up a single to surpass the mark. That second inning turned out to be a six run outburst  for the Cardinals who would go onto win 7-3. The outcome was very different in the second contest, as the Phillies found revenge to the tune of an 11-3 victory over the visitors, but not before Musial added another base to his totals. Musial would go onto amass 6,134 total bases in his career, which came to a close the following season. Musial's total bases record ranks second on the all time list today. Only Hank Aaron can boast more as he touched 6,856 bases during his storied career.

It should be noted that very reputable websites such as and have different totals for Cobb's total bases mark. I am looking at the newspapers that came in the days that followed these events, and some official staticians might have changed some of Cobb's career numbers since.

Box scores for both contests
Game 1:
Game 2:

Here is the list from Baseballreference:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21,1967: Things Heat Up In The Bronx

     On June 21, 1967, all hell broke loose at Yankee Stadium in New York during the second inning of a contest that featured Red Sox and Yankees. The Red Sox had jumped out to an early lead with a four run first that was highlighted by a three run shot off the bat of Tony Conigliaro. The melee started in the second, when Yankees hurler Thad Tillotson hit third baseman Jim Foy in the helmet. It was just the precursor to the brawl that was going to take place in the bottom half of the frame, as Jim Lonborg went to the mound ready to retaliate. He gave up a leadoff single, recorded two outs, before that retaliation would come. Tillotson was the next man up, and Lonborg left a nice baseball shaped bruise on his shoulder within moments of him settling into the batters box. An angry Tillotson began his march toward first base jawing at Lonborg, and next thing you know the fists were flying. It took several minutes and 12 police officers to restore order.

     Nobody was ejected (just goes to show how different things are today), and no major injuries were reported. Although, Joe Pepitone did have to leave the Yankees lineup in the fourth due to a sprained wrist that resulted from the scrap. Pepitone was in the Yankees lineup during their next game. While it looked like order was restored, Tillotson threw a pitch that caused Lonborg to hit the beck in the fourth, and in the fifth Lonborg hit Dick Howser in the helmet, and Howser had to leave the game. Despite all of this there were no ejections, as Lonborg went the distance, and only allowed a run, while his teammates plated eight runs total.

Watch the events unfold here:

Check out the box score here:

Friday, June 20, 2014

June 20, 2004: A Father's Day To Remember; Griffey Jr. Hits 500

     On June 20, 2004, Ken Griffey Jr. celebrated Father's Day in St. Louis by hitting his 500th home run. The solo shot off of Matt Morris in the top of the fifth put the Reds up 5-0. The club from Cincy scored another run in the sixth, and cruised to a 6-0 victory, with Jung Bong and his bullpen combining for the shutout. The moment was particularly special because Ken Griffey Sr. was in the crowd at Busch Stadium, and as soon as his home run trot was complete he went over to his Father and hugged him, as the fans gave Griffey Jr. and his family a standing ovation. It was most definitely a Happy Father's Day. Griffey Jr. was just the 20th man to reach the plateau. He hit 130 more home runs before he retired in 2010.

     As many of you know I am a native St. Louisan, and I was born a Cardinals fan. With that said, this was one of the greatest moments that I have ever seen happen against the team that I call my own. It was truly a special moment at the ole ballpark. Root for your team; love the game.

Check out the box score here:

You can view Griffey Jr.'s home run log here:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 20, 1927: Jack Scott Goes The Distance In Both Ends Of A Doubleheader

     On June 20, 1927, Philadelphia Phillies hurler Jack Scott started and went the distance in both ends of a doubleheader at Redland Field in Cincinnati. The 35-year-old veteran had to settle for a split in the contests, as he surrendered just six hits, and only gave up a run in the first contest. He benefitted from a three run third that saw Fresco Thompson and Heinie Sand knock in the runs. Scott surrendered three runs through the first three innings in second contest, before settling in the rest of the way. Unfortunately for him, his team could not get to Eppa Rixey who tossed a complete game shutout. Scott is the last pitcher to start and pitch complete games in both ends of a doubleheader, and it is safe to say it will not be matched again.

Box scores of both contests can be viewed here
Game 1:
Game 2:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18, 1947: Ewell Blackwell Joins The No-Hit Club

     On June 18, 1947, in front of more than 18,000 fans, at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, Reds hurler Ewell Blackwell no-hit the Boston Braves. The 24-year-old righty walked four men, and struck out three as he cemented himself into the history books. Blackwell had run support right out the gate, as he watched his first baseman Babe Young blast a three run bomb in the bottom of the first. Young blasted another three run shot on the eighth, and was responsible for all of the runs that the Reds put on the scoreboard during the 6-0 history maker. Blackwell was just the ninth player to accomplish the feat in Reds uniform, and he nearly became the second man in a Reds uniform to throw consecutive no-hitters. Four days after he faced the Braves, Blackwell came within one out of no-hitting the Dodgers in Cincy. Eddie Stanky broke up the masterpiece, and two batters later Jackie Robinson  laced a single to right before he worked himself out of the jam, and settled for the two-hitter. Blackwell's teammate Johnny Vander Meer had thrown consecutive no-nos in 1938; no other pitcher has yet to match Vander Meer's feat.

Check out the box score here:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 17, 1960: 500 Homers For The Splendid Splinter

     On June 17, 1960, Boston Red Sox legend, Ted Williams blasted the 500th home run of his storied career, during a 3-1 win over the Indians in Cleveland. The milestone shot that proved to be a game winner, came against Wynn Hawkins during the third inning of the contest, with Willie Tasby on first. Frank Sullivan took the mound for the Sox that day and he turned in one of the best performances of his season by striking out 12 men as he went the distance. Sullivan's lone run surrendered came in the first as John Romano knocked Marty Keough in from second with a two out single. Sullivan only allowed three more hits the rest of the day, which would be key in preserving the win on Williams' historic day.

     Williams first big league home run came more than 20 years before that historic day in Cleveland. He was a 20-year-old kid at the time. He took 13 at-bats before the first one came on April 23, 1939. It as a first inning two run shot off of Philadelphia A's hurler Bud Thomas during the first inning of what turned out to be a 12-8 win at Fenway. With the first one included Williams would hit 521 home runs total, and his last came during his last major league at bat on September 28th of that 1960 season. It was an eighth inning solo shot at Fenway off of Baltimore Orioles hurler Jack Fisher that pulled his Red Sox within one of the visitors. The following inning Williams would celebrate a win as his teammates put together a late rally that led to a 5-4 victory.

Check out the box score here:

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 1931: Watkins and Frisch Strike In The Ninth

     On June 16, 1931, down 1-0, with one out in the bottom of the ninth at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, George Watkins and Frankie Frisch connected on back-to-back home runs to give the Cardinals a 2-1 victory over the visiting Phillies. The game was a duel from beginning to end, as Burleigh Grimes got the call for the Birds, and surrendered a first inning home run to Chuck Klein before settling in and allowing just two hits after the big blast. On the other side of the diamond Ray Benge had allowed just three hits of his own, until he came into that ninth inning. Benge set Sparky Adams down, before the home run duo of Watkins and Frisch struck like a bolt of lightning to win the game. The win capped off a three game sweep of the Phillies for the club who absolutely dominated the National League, as they won 101 games and headed toward their second World Series Title.

Check out the box score here:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15, 1951: The Brown Bomber Scores His Final KO

     On June 15, 1951, "The Brown Bomber" Joe Louis recorded the last knockout of his career in the sixth round of a bout against Lee Savold at Madison Square Garden in New York. The man who had began his professional career in 1937 recorded was 37 years of age while Savold was 35. Many newspapers around the country dubbed it an old timers fight, and some even called it the "Battle of the Aged." As always each fighter had supreme confidence that they would come out victorious, but it was Louis who would dominate his opponent throughout the short battle. The only round awarded to Savold was the fifth. However, the sixth was a different story, as Louis unleashed a flurry of combinations that brought blood pouring from his opponent's face, and eventually sent him crashing to the canvas. Louis recorded two more unanimous decisions before his storied career came to an end after losing to Rocky Marciano by TKO in October of that same year. Louis knocked out 52 men in his career. His final record stood at 66-3-1.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

June 14, 1949: Eddie Waitkus Gunned Down By a Mentally Unstable Fan

     One of the most unusual stories from baseball's past unfolded at a Chicago Hotel on June 14, 1949, as an obsessed 19-year-old fan by the name of Ruth Ann Steinhagen shot, and nearly killed Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Eddie Waitkus. Steinhagen had become infatuated with Waitkus three years earlier when he found his spot in the big leagues with her hometown Cubs.

     Over the three seasons that followed Waitkus proved that he belonged in the big leagues, with his high point being when he was selected to the All Star game in 1948. In the winter that followed the All Star selection Chicago shipped him to Phillies. The trade turned Steinhagen's infatuation into a deadly one, and after the Phillies had beaten the Cubs 9-2 on that day in mid June, she was lying in wait.

     Steinhagen had checked herself into the ballplayer's hotel on that fateful day, and left him what would become an infamous note that was set to lure him to his death.

The note read: "Mr. Waitkus, it is extremely important that I see you as soon as possible. My name is Ruth Ann Burns and I'm in room 1297A. We're not related, but I have something of importance to speak to you about. I think it would be to your advantage to you as I am leaving the hotel the day after tomorrow. I would appreciate it greatly if you could see me as soon as possible. I realize this it out of the ordinary, but as I say it is extremely important. Please come soon. I won't take up much of your time I promise." 
     By his own account the 29-year-old Waitkus said that he spoke with her on the phone before heading to her room. He said that curiosity had gotten the best of him because she was so serious about being able to talk to him in person. He went up to her room, knocked, then she opened the door, and he walked in. She had said that she planned on stabbing him, but he passed her too quickly, and found himself a seat.Waitkus described it as a bad dream, as Steinhagen told her that he was not going to bother her any more, before she pulled a .22 caliber rifle out of a closet and shot him. The bullet just missed his heart, hit him in the lung, then lodged near his spine. The man who had been playing on a big league diamond earlier that day was suddenly in a fight for his life. He went into immediate shock, and had to be given oxygen, as well as multiple transfusions to keep him alive. Several surgeries were performed, before doctors were able to successfully remove the bullet.

     Before the bullet was even removed from the body of Eddie Waitkus, Steinhagen was deemed insane and committed to an insane asylum. It was very clear that she had major mental issues immediately after the incident, as she calmly called the hotel operator to report she had shot a man. When she was initially asked why she had done it she said "I'm sorry I shot him, but I don't know why." She would tell the police that "She was fit for a psychiatrist." And that she was. In the days that followed, with a speedy court process in effect, Steinhagen wrote an autobiography with a picture of Waitkus in front of her for doctors to study before she faced a judge. She was truly a troubled soul as she expressed how she could not live without the man she had never met before the day she had shot him. When the court found her insane Waitkus sat just a few feet from her, but chose to not so much as glance at the woman who had forever changed his life. Steinhagen spent three years in the insane asylum before being released. She stayed out of the public eye until she passed away at the age of 83 in 2012.

     The incident did not end the career of Eddie Waitkus. It did cause him to miss the rest of that '49 season. However, he returned to Shibe Park on August 19th, and before a crowd of more than 25,000 Eddie Waitkus Night was held. In full uniform, Waitkus spoke to the crowd, and let them know that no matter what the future held for him he appreciated their support. Acting on behalf of National League President Ford Frick Phillies manager Eddie Sawyer gave his first baseman an award that commemorated a selection to the All Star game. Waitkus was not able to play in the game, but he had been leading all first baseman in the polling before he was shot. The ceremony ended with Waitkus being showered with gifts that included a brand new Dodge, a television set, two radios, luggage, golf clubs, two suits, a wristwatch. All of the gifts came from local businesses who chose to show support for the man who was still on a road to recovery.

     Waitkus made a triumphant return to the diamond in 1950, and obtained the nickname "The Comeback King" as he helped the Phillies win the National League Pennant with his .284 average. Waitkus played in the big leagues until he retired after the '55 season. While he put up respectable numbers, it was said  that he was never the same. He suffered from depression following the incident, which led to alcoholism, and a failed marriage. It is likely that it haunted him until he passed away, after a battle with cancer, at the age of 53, in 1972.

     Waitkus who was once called "The Natural" because of his gifts on the diamond would end up being a part of the inspiration, for a book, then subsequent movie that featured the same title. While the book/movie is very different than the story of Eddie Waitkus, the author admittedly used his the infamous incident to help form a fictional story that revolved around the life of Roy Hobbs.

     While researching the story of Eddie Waitkus, I ran across an account of a friend of Steinhagen's who said that she had been obsessed with other ballplayers, and even a movie star before she latched onto Waitkus. It is important to not make light of mental problems, especially when you consider the day and age in which we live. It is hard to say if that friend had any idea that Steinhagen was capable of carrying out such a heinous act, but as we read stories like this one, it is important to try and recognize those who might be on the edge of making a choice that will forever change the lives of others. All too often we turn on the news and see that there has been a shooting, and I believe that we as a society must be vigilant in doing our part to prevent tragedies. If you ever think someone is even capable of such a thing call your local law enforcement and make it be known. You never know, you might just become a hero who helps save a person's life. Luckily, in the case of Eddie Waitkus he lived to play another day.

You can view the career numbers of Eddie Waitkus here:

Friday, June 13, 2014

June 13, 1937: The Yankees Offense Goes Off In St. Louis; Joltin Joe Goes Yard Three Times

     On June 13, 1937, tied 9-9 in the top of the ninth at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, New York Yankees second baseman Tony Lazzeri sparked a huge rally with a three run shot that put his club up 11-9. Before the inning was over the Yankees had scored seven runs and would end up taking the first game of  a doubleheader against the Browns 16-9. The papers of the day called the Yankees pitching staff taxed due to injuries, which led to the men who could get the job done to being overworked.

      The pitching woes continued for the club in the second game of the doubleheader as three different pitchers gave up eight runs. On the other side of the diamond, the Browns skipper Rogers Hornsby let his starter Julio Bonetti go the distance for his Browns. Bonetti gave up eight runs of his own through nine, with a six run fifth being the one that haunted him most. Three of the eleven hits given up by Bonetti came of the bat of Joe DiMaggio, and each of the hits for The Yankee Clipper were of the home run variety, making it the first three home run game of his career. Bonetti nearly escaped with a win, but watched the his opponents tie it in the ninth, before the game was called in the eleventh due to both teams having to hop a train, as the Browns were headed to Philly, while the Yankees had a long homestand in front of them. Like good clubs do, the Yankees worked their way through the injuries that haunted their pitching staff, and figured out ways to win ballgames, as they made a run at the 1937 World Series title.

     While the three home runs by DiMaggio were largely ignored in the newspapers the next day (probably because of the tie), it marked a significant moment in the career of the young slugger. He would only hit three home runs in a game two more times, and he had to wait more than a decade to accomplish the feat again. His second three home run contest came during his historic 56 game hitting streak on May 23, 1948 in a 6-5 win in Cleveland, then his last three home run contest came during an 8-1 win over the Senators in Washington on September 10, 1950.

Box scores for both contests
Game 1:

Game 2:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

June 12, 1984: The Celtics Win Their 15th Title

     On June 12, 1984, the Boston Celtics laid claim to their 15th title with a 111-102 defeat of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the Lakers in scoring with 29 in the deciding contest, but he was not able to carry his team to victory. Cedric Maxwell led the way for Boston with 24 points. Dennis Johnson followed him with 22, which included two crucial free throws late in the contest, and the MVP of the series Larry Bird scored an even 20. Bird averaged 27 points and 14 rebounds in the series, as he helped bring a parade to the streets of Beantown.

Check out the box scores here:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

June 11,1985: Von Hayes Homers Twice In The First On A Truly Historic Night At The Vet

     On June 11, 1985, Philadelphia Phillies leftfielder Von Hayes became the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to hit two home runs in the first inning of a game. Hayes led off the frame with a solo shot, then as he watched the batting order go full circle he walked to the dish with the bases loaded and emptied them with the first grand slam of his career. The grand slam opened up an 8-0 lead, and one batter later third baseman Rick Schu tripled, before a wild pitch led to him crossing the dish to extend the first inning lead to 9-0. The two first inning home runs by Hayes were just part of what was a historic day for the Philadelphia franchise who pounded the visiting New York Mets to the tune of 26-7. Multiple franchise records fell before the contest was in the books which included a record that had stood for 62 years for most hits in a contest with 27. The 26 runs is tied for second most in the history of the National League. The St. Louis Cardinals hold the National League record with 28 runs scored in a 1929 contest, and the Texas Rangers hold the Major League record, as they scored 30 runs in a 2007 contest. You can check out the list of games that had 25 or more runs scored here:

Check out the box score here:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 10, 1944: Joe Nuxhall Becomes The Youngest Player To Play Major League Baseball as His Reds Fall To The Cardinals 18-0

     On June 10, 1944, after only scoring one run in their last 25 innings, the St. Louis Cardinals offense came alive by blowing out the Reds 18-0 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, The 18 runs came off of 21 hits and `14 walks. Stan "The Man" Musial led the way with a 3 for 4 performance that included three ribbies. Although, every single batter who came to the plate wearing a Cardinals uniform, including the pitcher Mort Cooper picked up at least one base knock in the contest. Cooper scattered five hits, as he kept the Redlegs off the board. The 18-0 victory fell one run run short of tying a National League record for most lopsided shutout, which belonged to the Chicago Cubs who beat the New York Giants on June 7, 1906. The Pirates took sole possession of the most lopsided shutout of all time for the entire league with a 22-0 blowout of the Cubs in 1975. The  2004 Cleveland Indians tied that mark with a 22-0 shutout of the New York Yankees.

     The game also marked another very significant moment in baseball's past, as Cincy's manager Bill McKechnie called on a young lefty by the name of Joe Nuxhall to pitch in the ninth. Nuxhall was just 15-years-old at the time, making him the youngest player to ever play in a major league contest. Nuxhall came into the game with the score 13-0, and proceeded to give up five runs, on five passes, two singles, and a wild pitch. The youngster came to Spring Training in 1945, but chose to temporarily retire while he completed high school. After he had his diploma in hand, Nuxhall went about making it to the major leagues in a more traditional fashion, as he worked his way through the minor leagues, before returning to the Reds as a 23-year-old rookie in 1952. Over the next 15 years Nuxhall appeared in two All Star games, and posted a 135-117 record, with 130 of those wins coming in a Reds uniform. Nuxhall's last appearance as a player came in in October of 1966. For the next 40 years, Nuxhall called games for the club that sent him trotting to the mound as a 15 year old kid in 1944.

Check out the box score here:

Joe Nuxhall's career numbers:

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 1984: The Rangers Win On a Dropped Foul Ball

     On June 9, 1984, the Rangers found victory in an unusual way before a home crowd of 17,189 in Arlington. With the game tied 3-3 in the twelfth, and the bases loaded, A's outfielder Gary Hancock dropped a Pete O'Brien foul ball laced down the left field line. The umpires ruled the ball a catch, and Wayne Tolleson took advantage of the miscue by dashing home. Some accounts said that Hancock got caught up in making his exchange, to throw the runner out, while others say that he realized he was in foul territory, and in a last ditch effort to not allow a sacrifice fly, he was going to let it hit the ground in foul territory. If that was the case he could not hit the brakes fast enough, as the ball came up on him in a hurry. Either way, it was a great day for those fans in Texas. The game winning RBI by O'Brien might have been the most unusual of his 12 year career, in which he amassed 736 total.

Check out the box score here:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8, 1989: Steve Jeltz Becomes The First of The Fightin Phils To Homer From Both Sides of The Plate

     On June 8, 1989, Phillies utility man Steve Jeltz became the first player in the 106 year history of the franchise to hit home runs from both sides of the plate, as he helped his club overcome a first inning 10 run deficit on the way to a 15-11 win over the Pirates at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Two other players have homered from both sides of the plate while wearing a Phillies uniform: Tomas Perez achieved the feat in 2001, and Jimmy Rollins did it twice with the first coming in 2006, and the last coming in 2011. Jeltz hit five home runs total in his 8 years in the bigs, with the two history makers being his third and fourth. His fifth came later that season

Check out the box score here:

Saturday, June 7, 2014

June 7, 1941: Whirlaway Wears The Crown

On June 7, 1941, Whirlaway became the fifth horse to claim horse racing's Triple Crown by blowing away the field with a three length victory at the Belmont Stakes. The horse who was destined to make history came into the race a favorite, but was considered a back of the pack runner, as he had come from behind in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. The victory at the belmont would be much different as Whirlaway came out of the gate on fire and opened up a huge eight length lead. An article that appeared in the Pittsburgh Press said that as Whirlaway's jockey Eddie Arcaro got off to the hot start, he turned and screamed to his competitors "Go to hell! We're off to the races!" And he was not kidding around, as he rode the thoroughbred into the huge lead. Robert Morris ridden by Alfred Robertson made a hard charge late to close the gap, but could not overcome Whirlaway who became a select member of a coveted club the moment he crossed the finish line.

This link is to  a very cool video that has footage from all three stages of the Triple Crown, as well as the story of Whirlaway:

Personally, I found Whirlaway's win at the Preakness absolutely remarkable. I have seen a lot of things when it comes to professional sports, but I do not remember the day Affirmed took the Triple Crown in '78. I was just 10 months old at the time, and had not learned how to turn the channel yet. I wanna to see it happen; Maybe today. Good Luck to California Chrome.

Friday, June 6, 2014

June 6, 1979: 300 Homers For Willie Horton

     On June 6, 1979, Mariners DH Willie Horton belted the 300th longball of his career. The two run shot off of Jack Morris, proved to be crucial in the 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers at the Kingdome in Seattle. A September callup, Horton's journey in the big leagues began with the Tigers organization in 1963. His first long ball came that same year on September 14th.

     Over the next 15 years Horton would park a total of 262 balls in the seats while wearing a the uniform of the Detroit Tigers. He also represented the Tigers four times in the All Star game, and was a part of the Championship club of 1968. Horton's playing days in the Motor City came to an end in 1977. He was traded to the Texas Rangers after appearing in just one game for the Tigers. Horton spent one season in Texas, which included the second three home run game of his career.

     The 1978 season was a rough one for the veteran ballplayer. The Rangers shipped him to the Cleveland Indians before the season began, and after just 50 games with the Tribe he was released. 10 days after his release the Oakland A's came knocking, and he would be playing ball once again. Although, he would need to keep his bag packed, as the A's sent him to Toronto via trade a little over a month later.

     While some might have thought Horton's days in the game as a top talent were over, he landed with the Mariners in '79, and put together a solid year that included a .279 average, 29 homers, and 106 RBI. That '79 season was capped off with the 36-year-old Horton being named the AL Comeback Player of The Year. After one more season in Seattle, Horton's playing days came to an end. His career spanned over 18 seasons, and during that time he blasted 325 home runs past the fences, hit .273, and knocked in 1,163 runs. The overall career numbers might not have been enough for him to find a spot in Cooperstown, but his accomplishments in a Tigers uniform will never be forgotten. 14 of those 18 seasons came with that uniform on The Tigers organization retired his number 23 in 2000. He was only the sixth man to have his number retired by the organization, which includes the likes of Ty Cobb and Al Kaline.

Check out the box score here:
If you would like to learn more about the life and career of Willie Horton check this out:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

June 5, 1974: Reggie Jackson and Billy North Square Off in The Clubhouse

     On June 5, 1974, fists flew in the visitors clubhouse at Tigers Stadium in Detroit, when Reggie Jackson and Billy North of the Oakland A's squared off in a battle between teammates. The two outfielders had not been on speaking terms for a month, after Jackson had accused North of not legging out an infield single. As the month went by a pot that was at a simmer began to boil. It finally boiled over on that day in early June. Not once, but twice the two players squared off. The first time Vida Pinson and Blue Moon Odom intervened, but minutes later they were at it again. This time Sal Bando and Ray Fosse tried to play peacemaker. Once the melee came to an end Jackson had a sore shoulder, while Ray Fosse suffered a neck injury that would change the course of his season instantaneously. Officially diagnosed as a pinch nerve, Fosse's injury required surgery, and kept him sideline until late August. He was the biggest victim in the mess. Once the dust settle the North and Jackson were penciled into the lineup, before the A's beat the Tigers 9-1. North contributed with a 2 for 3 day, with a double and a ribbie, while Jackson went 0 for 4 before leaving the game in the middle of the sixth.

     In the days that followed the owner of the club, Charlie Finley was irate about the incident. He came into the clubhouse and let the players know that the two-time defending champions would play like champions. Despite the turmoil the teammates learned to live together, and drove toward a third consecutive title, which came on October 16th of that year, as the A's took care of business in the Fall Classic by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to one. Later in life the two embattled players acknowledged a respect for each other, and looked to move on. There is a good chance a few laughs have been had between old teammates about that day in Detroit.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June 4, 1980: The Curtain Closes on Gordie Howe's Career

     On June 4, 1980, the storied career of Gordie Howe came to close. The 52-year-old known as "Mr. Hockey" had first took the ice as a member of the Detroit Red Wings in 1946, and for the next 25 years he wore the winged wheel across his chest. During his time in the Motor City, Howe laid claim to six scoring titles, six league MVP awards, and four Stanley Cup Championship titles.

     Howe's playing days in Detroit came to an end after the '70-'71 season. At 41 years of age Howe looked to be joining the ranks of the front office in Detroit. Two years into front office job, Howe realized his office was on the ice, and found an opportunity of a lifetime with the World Hockey Association's Houston Aeros where he could play alongside his two sons Marty and Mark. Gordie, along with his sons joined the Hartford Whalers before the '73-'74 season began, which is where he spent the last three seasons of his career. His final season included a return to the NHL, as the Whalers joined the league after the WHA ceased to exist in 1979.

      Howe is the only man who can boast that he played in five different decades. He joined the ranks of the Hockey Hall of Fame long before he hung up his skates, as he was inducted in '72, after he "retired" from the game. Howe owned the NHL points record with 2,857, and the goals record with 801 when he retired. Today, only Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier have scored more points, and only Gretzky has scored more goals than Howe. Gretzky's goal total sits at 894. If Howe had played those six WHA seasons in the NHL, he might still own the record that Gretzky possesses today.

Stats of a legend: 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June 3, 1975: Pele Signs With The Cosmos

     On June 3, 1975, Pele inked a three-year deal to play for the New York Cosmos. The 34-year-old superstar built a legendary career in Brazil over 17 years that led to many calling him the greatest to ever play the game. During his time in Brazil he was a part of three FIFA World Cup championships. After announcing his retirement in October of '74, the North American Soccer League club lured him back onto the playing field. The contract was for a reported $4.7 million,which made him the highest paid athlete in America. The investment into the superstar was an investment into the sport as a whole, as it brought a popularity to the game that had not yet been seen in the United States. It not only paid off in popularity, it also paid off when he led the Cosmos to a Championship Title in 1977.

The extraordinary artwork was done by Sebastian Domenech. If you enjoy soccer check out this page:

Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2, 1949: The Phillies Blast Five Homers In One Inning

      On June 2, 1949, the Philadelphia Phillies matched a major league record by blasting five home runs in a single inning during a 12-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. The big inning came in the eighth, as Philadelphia's catcher Andy Seminick led the way by blasting two of the five long balls, while Del Ennis, Puddin Head Jones, and even their pitcher Schoolboy Rowe got in on the action by going yard. Seminick's day at the plate was memorable to say the least. Not only had he parked two in the seats during the historic eighth inning, he had also knocked one out of the park in the second, making the game his only three home run contest of his career.

     The five home runs in a single inning had only been done one other time before that day, which came on June 6, 1939 when the New York Giants belted five in one frame in a contest against Reds. The relocated San Francisco Giants victimized the Reds once again in 1961 by hitting five blasts in one inning. The only time it has happened in the American League came in 1966, when the Minnesota Twins connected on five in one inning during a game against the Kansas City Royals. It took nearly 40 years for a team to accomplish the feat again, which came in 2006 when the Milwaukee Brewers did it in a game against... Guess who... the Reds. Pretty crazy that they happened to be the club who were on the wrong side of history during each of the National League games that the rare feat was accomplished.

     Andy Seminick, is an interesting figure from baseball's past. He enjoyed one of his best seasons in  the big leagues in 1949 by connecting on 24 home runs, which was a total he would match the following season. While Seminick's name is not on a plaque in Cooperstown, he was a ballplayer who refused to give up on his dream of playing in the big leagues, and because of that he put together a 15 year career at the Major League level.

If you would like to learn more about him give this a read:

Check out the box score here:

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June 1, 1946: Assault Takes The Triple Crown

     On June 1, 1946, ridden by jockey Warren Mehrtens, Assault became the seventh horse to claim horse racing's most coveted prize, The Triple Crown, when he roared to a three-length victory at the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York. The horse known as "The Club Footed Comet" due to an injury that caused his foot to be deformed, and caused him to limp. The amazing thing about Assault was that once he reached a full gallop there were no signs of the old injury hampering him. In fact, he proved that he would go down in history as one of the great horses as he ran his way into the history books by claiming the Triple Crown. Assault dominated at the Kentucky Derby with an eight-length victory, then pulled off a neck length victory in the Preakness by holding off Lord Boswell. The close race led to the oddsmakers turning to Lord Boswell as the favorite. However, Assault was destined to make history, and that he did by working his way through the field before he ran his ran into the history books. Since that day four more horses have won The Triple Crown, and each of them are considered legends of their sport.