1883 The Phillies, known as the Quakers at the time, win their first game in franchise history when they rout the White Stockings, later to be known as the Cubs, at Chicago’s Lake Front Park. Philadelphia had lost their first eight games of the season before today’s 12-0 victory, and will finish the season in last place in the eight-team National League with a dismal 17-81 (.173) record.
1904 The Senators establish a major league record by starting the season 0-13 when the team drops a 6-3 decision to New York at Hilltop Park. Washington will be 11 games out of first place before the club wins its first contest this year.
1918 With the anticipation of crime rates decreasing in the city, officials in Washington D.C. lift the prohibition on playing baseball on Sunday in the nation’s capital. In five days, 17,000 enthusiastic fans, the largest crowd in the history of Griffith Stadium, will be treated to a dramatic, 1-0 extra-inning victory against Cleveland in the first contest played on a Sunday in the District.
1920 The Giants inform the Yankees, tenants since 1913, their lease to play at the Polo Grounds will not be renewed at the end of the season. There is speculation the National League team, which later will decide to continue sharing their home until the Yankees’ new stadium is completed in 1923, may have been reacting to the team’s recent acquisition of Babe Ruth.
1920 Beating the Tigers in relief at Griffith Stadium 9-8, 32 year-old Senator right-hander Walter Johnson registers his 300th victory. Although the ‘Big Train’ hurled for mostly losing teams during his 21-year career, he will compile 417 victories, including winning 20-games or more for ten consecutive seasons (1910-1919).
1927 In the top of the seventh in the Phillies’ game against St. Louis, a section of the right field stands of the Baker Bowl collapses, causing hundreds of fans to fall on the patrons below. Although there are many injuries, the only death is caused by the stampeding crowd.
1939 During the Indians’ 9-4 victory over Chicago at Comiskey Park, a woman, sitting in the stands near the visitor’s dugout, is injured when Marvin Owen’s foul ball strikes her just above the right eye. The Indians’ starting pitcher, her 20 year-old son Bob, threw the pitch that resulted in Mrs. Feller needing seven stitches on Mother’s Day.
1950 Pirates’ first baseman Johnny Hopp helps his team crush the Cubs, 16-9, when the Nebraska native goes 6-for-6, including a pair of homers. The All-Star infielder is called ‘Hippity’ by his teammate.
1965 At Fenway Park, Carl Yastrzemski drives in five runs, hitting for the cycle with an additional home run. Yaz’s effort, however, still falls short when the seventh-place Red Sox lose to Detroit, 12-8.
1967 Keeping a promise to his wife Merlyn, Mickey Mantle hit his 500th career home run on Mother’s Day, a shot into the lower deck into the right field corner of the lower deck at Yankee Stadium. The ‘Commerce Comet’, now the sixth big leaguer to reach the milestone, hits the historic homer off Stu Miller, helping New York defeat the Orioles, 6-5.
1972 After twenty-one seasons with the Giants, 41 year-old Willie Mays makes a dramatic return to New York in his debut with the Mets when he hits a game-winning home run off Don Carrithers to defeat his former team, 5-4. The ‘Say Hey Kid’s’ 647th career homer in the fifth breaks a 4-4 deadlock.
1976 In an unusual promotion, visiting player Mike Schmidt makes many of the fans attending the game in Houston very happy. The crowd is promised free beer if the Philadelphia slugging third baseman strikes out, which happens in the fifth inning of the 5-1 Phillies victory at the Astrodome.
1977 The first no-hitter is thrown by a Kansas City pitcher at Royals Stadium when Jim Colborn blanks the Rangers, 6-0. California’s fireballer Nolan Ryan recorded the first no-hitter in the ballpark during its inaugural season in 1971.
1981 With a 3-2 win over Montreal in front of the largest Dodger Stadium crowd in seven years, rookie sensation Fernando Valenzuela improves his record to 8-0. The 20 year-old southpaw, who has started the season with five shutouts and a miniscule ERA of 0.50, gets the victory when right fielder Pedro Guerrero hits a lead-off game-ending home run off Steve Ratzer in the bottom of the ninth inning at Chavez Ravine.
1986 Angel’s’ DH/outfielder Reggie Jackson homers off Red Sox hurler Roger Clemens to surpass Mickey Mantle on the all-time home run list with 537. The future Hall of Famer will retire next season, finishing his 21-year career sixth on the all-time list with 563 round-trippers.
1988 Jose Oquendo becomes the first non-pitcher to get a major league decision, losing to the Braves in nineteen innings, 7-5. After pitching three scoreless innings in an extra inning marathon against Atlanta, the Cardinals’ utility man gives up a two-run double to Ken Griffey in the nineteenth to suffer the loss at Busch Stadium.
1989 In his first at-bat as a Cub, Lloyd McClendon hits a three-run homer in a 4-0 victory over Atlanta at Wrigley Field. The 30 year-old utility player, obtained in an off-season trade from Cincinnati for Rolando Roomes, plays an important role for the division champs, hitting .286 and 12 home runs in 259 at-bats.
1995 In upstate New York, 11-year-old Katie Brownell, the only girl enrolled in the local Little League, throws a perfect game in front of an astonished crowd of about 100 parents and friends. The shy sixth-grader strikes out every batter she faces, allowing only three foul balls in the six-inning contest at Oakfield Town Park.
1996 Dwight Gooden becomes the eighth Yankee to hurl a no-hitter when he throws 135 pitches, beating the Mariners at the ballpark in the Bronx, 2-0. The 31 year-old right-handed ‘Doc’, who hadn’t won a game in nearly two years, was almost released last month after starting the season poorly.
2000 Although Sammy Sosa gets five hits, Henry Rodriguez drives in seven runs, and Eric Young steals five bases, the Cubs still manage to lose to the Expos, 16-15. Young’s accomplishment on the bases is the most by a Cubs player since 1881, when George Gore stole seven bases.
2002 At Latino-American Stadium, 77 year-old Jimmy Carter throws the ceremonial first pitch of the Cuban League All-Star game. Warming up, the former U.S. President is coached by one-time big league pitching prospect Fidel Castro.
2003 Kendall and Jake Burnham become the first husband-and-wife team to appear in a professional baseball game when the newly-weds play for the San Angelo Colts of the independent Central League. With her husband Jake starting at third base, the former fast pitch softball star, with two out in the bottom of the ninth, strikes out looking at three pitches in the 8-1 loss to Amarillo.
2004 Chone Figgins, going 5-for-6, collects a triple, a grand slam, and six RBIs in the Angels’ 10-9 victory over Baltimore at Camden Yards. The Anaheim third baseman/outfielder, who drives in the game’s winning run in the 10th inning with a single, joins Buck Rogers as one of the two players in franchise history to hit their first career round-tripper with the bases loaded.
2006 On Mother’s Day, with his Mom in the stands, Bill Hall hits a walk-off home run to beat the Mets at Miller Park, 6-5. The Milwaukee center fielder, joining many other major league players, uses a pink bat in MLB’s effort to raise public awareness of breast cancer.
2008 After making an outstanding catch of Kevin Millar’s line drive near the Camden Yards warning track, Boston’s left fielder Manny Ramrez high-fives a fan before throwing the ball back to the infield to complete a 7-4-3 double play. Randy Dunning, a 24 year-old Red Sox fan attending the Orioles game with his mom and dad, a going-away present from his parents before he leaves Officer Candidate School at Fort Meade, is the glad-hand recipient of ‘Manny being Manny’.
2008 Trailing 6-0 to the Reds at Great American Ball Park, the Marlins score six times in the top of the ninth to tie the game. Florida, however, loses the game in the tenth as Paul Janish, in his second major league at bat in his first major league game, gets his first big league hit, a game-winning RBI single.
2009 The Mets collect a franchise-record seven stolen bases in their 7-4 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park. Ironically, the team sets the club mark without the help of a sidelined Jose Reyes, New York’s all-time career leader in thefts.
2010 Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones both collect five hits, including a home run for each, in the Pirates’ 10-6 victory over Chicago. The last time two Bucs enjoyed a five-hit game on the same day happened when Willie Stargell and Bob Robertson accomplished the feat against Atlanta in 1970.
2011 For the first time since 1914, the Dodgers are defeated after allowing just one hit, losing to the visiting Diamondbacks,1-0. Chad Billingsley, the hard-luck loser, gives up a leadoff double in the second to Stephen Drew, who scores the game’s only run when shortstop Jamey Carroll fails to cover the bag in an attempted pick-off play.
2011 Jorge Posada, claiming a stiff back and then the need for time to clear his head, asks not to play after learning he has been slotted to hit ninth in manager Joe Girardi’s lineup. The DH’s decision to sit out the game causes controversy when Yankee GM Brian Cashman refutes his player’s injury to the media during the nationally televised game against Boston.
2012 At the age of 19 years and 211 days, Nationals’ rookie Bryce Harper becomes the youngest player in franchise history to hit a home run, breaking the mark established by Gary Carter, who was 20 years and 173 days old when he went deep as an Expo before the team left Montreal to play in Washington. Harmon Killebrew remains the youngest to homer for a Washington team, accomplishing the feat with the Senators in 1955 at the age of 19 years and 88 days old.