1915 “Help me, Lads, I’m covered with my own blood!” – Wilbert Robinson’s reaction before quickly realizing the fluid dripping down from his chest is grapefruit juice.
Dodger manager Wilbert Robinson, thinking he is going to catch a baseball dropped from a plane, is surprised and splattered when the sphere turns out to be a grapefruit. Although legend has it that Casey Stengel is behind the prank, the pilot, Ruth Law, a pioneer in American aviation, substituted part of her lunch when she realized she forgot to bring a baseball.
1944 It’s True, Cy Young’s middle name is not Tecumseh, as sometimes listed, but the initial T really stands for True. The Hall of Fame right-hander’s middle name mixup may be the result of his teammates calling him ‘The Chief’, the English word for Tecumseh.
1953 On the day that will become known as ‘Black Friday’ in Boston, Lou Perini announces he will seek permission from the National League to move his franchise to Milwaukee, home of the team’s top minor-league affiliate. The Braves owner cites poor attendance as the reason for asking to relocate the club, after spending 82 years in the New England city.
1954 During an exhibition game against the Yankees, recently acquired Brave Bobby Thomson breaks his ankle in three places and will be sidelined until July 14. The ’51 National League playoff hero is replaced in the Braves’ lineup by a promising prospect named Hank Aaron.
1960 Much to the chagrin of other owners and most of his players, Bill Veeck’s White Sox become the first team to put the players’ names on the back of the jersey, unveiling the new look on their road uniforms in an exhibition game against Cincinnati in Tampa. After the rest of the league’s clubs protest the Chicago owner’s innovation, the commissioner’s office will rule that in addition to displaying traditional numbers, each team will have the option to use monikered uniforms.
1979 The Tigers and Mets swap relievers, with Detroit sending Ed Glynn to the Big Apple in exchange for Mardie Cornejo, who, after posting a 4-2 record as a rookie last season, will never play in another major league game. In contrast, the latest addition to the New York bullpen will make 84 appearances, compiling an ERA of 3.53 during the two years with his new club.
1986 Royals teammates Hal McRae, 39, and his 18 year-old son Brian appear together in a preseason game against the Phillies. Kansas City manager Dick Howser refers to the father-son event as a ‘Big Mac Attack’.
1997 In their first ever minor league spring training game, the Rays defeated Philadelphia, 6-0. John Kaufman, Tom Bergan, Matt Williams, and Jamie Ybarra combine to throw a no-hitter in the exhibition contest against the major league team.
2001 Throwing 22 strikes out of 29 pitches over two innings of shutout ball in his surprise start against the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium, Rick Ankiel makes his first appearance since the 2000 playoffs, in which he lost his control, throwing seven wild pitches in three postseason appearances.
2006 Three pitches into the top of the seventh inning, the stadium lights at Tradition Field partially fail. With fifty percent of the lights not functioning, the exhibition game is ended, after a 15-minute delay, with the Mets leading the Nationals, 10-4.
2008 Joining the ranks of Garth Brooks and Tom Selleck as celebrities who have appeared in a spring exhibition game, Billy Crystal strikes out in the first inning as the Yankees’ leadoff batter. The comedian, who signed a one-day contract with the Bronx Bombers, wears the number sixty in honor of his 60th birthday, which is tomorrow.
2008 The pitching-poor Cardinals bolster their rotation by agreeing to a preliminary one-year deal with Kyle Lohse (9-12, 4.62). The 29 year-old right-hander, who pitched for the Reds and Phillies last season, will make $4.25 million hurling for the Redbirds.
2009 Pat Burrell takes out ads in two of Philadelphia’s largest newspapers to thank Phillies fans for their support during his nine years with the team. The 32 year-old slugging outfielder signed a free-agent deal in the off-season with the Rays, the club the Phils beat in last season’s World Series.