1862 The Union Grounds, the new home of the Eckfords, opens in Brooklyn. The Williamsburg ballpark is the first baseball facility to be enclosed entirely by a fence, thereby allowing only paying customers to view the games.
1901 Watty Lee throws the first shutout in American League history when the visiting Washington Senators blank the Americans at Boston’s Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds, 4-0. The 21 year-old southpaw, who will finish the season with a 16-16 record, will be the author of two of the eight shutouts thrown in the Junior Circuit’s inaugural season.
1912 At Hilltop Park, Ty Cobb, after days of listening to verbal abusive Highlander fans, jumps into the stands near the Tigers dugout and pummels Claude Lueker, who has no fingers on one hand and only two fingers on the other, due to an industrial accident. The “Georgia Peach’ lands at least a dozen punches to the head of the heckler, knocking his victim down, before kicking the hapless fan in the lower body with his spikes.
1918 In a game that takes only 2 hours and 47 minutes to play, Senators’ legend Walter Johnson goes the distance in an 18-inning contest, defeating Larry Williams, who also tosses a complete game, and the White Sox at Comiskey Park, 1-0. Eddie Ainsworth, who advances to third base on the ‘Big Train’s’ single, scores the winning run on a wild pitch.
1919 After 12 scoreless innings at Ebbets Field, the Reds score 10 runs in the 13th inning to beat Al Mamaux and the Dodgers, 10-0. Cincinnati starter Hod Eller, who tossed a no-hitter in his previous start, is the beneficiary of the blowout.
1941 Joe DiMaggio begins his 56-game hitting streak with a hit against White Sox pitcher Edgar Smith. The Yankee outfielder will collect at least one hit in every game until July 17, when his unrivaled accomplishment, which captures the attention of a nation, is stopped in Cleveland with the help of outstanding defensive plays by third baseman Ken Keltner.
1944 In front of just 1,014 fans at Crosley Field, Reds’ hurler Clyde Shoun, in his first start of the season, no-hits the Braves, 1-0. Chuck Aleno’s only home run of the 1944 season accounts for the game’s lone run.
1952 Virgil Trucks throws the first of his two no-hitters this season, blanking the Senators, 1-0, thanks to a two-out, two-strike ninth-inning home run by Vic Wertz. Due to a parade honoring war hero General Douglas MacArthur in downtown Detroit, a sparse crowd of only 2,215 fans is in attendance at Briggs Stadium to witness the second no-no in franchise history, the first since George Mullin accomplished the feat in 1912.
1956 Sal Maglie, obtained on waivers by Cleveland last season from the Giants, is shipped to the Dodgers for a hundred dollars after impressing Brooklyn in an exhibition game. The ‘Barber’ will post a 13-5 record along with a 2.89 ERA for the eventual NL Champs, finishing second to teammate Don Newcombe in the balloting for both the Cy Young and MVP awards.
1960 After being traded from the Phillies, Don Cardwell no-hits the Cardinals in his Cub debut. Thanks to three outstanding defensive catches, including Walt Moryn’s game-ending grab, the Winston-Salem, NC native becomes the first pitcher to keep the opponents hitless in a first start after being traded.
1961 Teammates Felipe and Matty Alou both homer in the Giants’ 14-1 victory over Chicago at Candlestick Park. Felipe’s grand slam in the first inning scores the first four runs of the game, and his younger brother’s puts on the finishing touch of the rout with an eighth-inning round-tripper.
1961 The American Basketball League’s Cleveland Pipers, owned by George Steinbrenner, hire John McLendon, Jr. as the franchise’s head coach, making him the first African American to be named to a top leadership position in any major professional sport. The well-respected college coach, leaving the post midway through the 1961-62 ABL season, will become the first of many of the future Yankee owner’s employees to resign over the years due to interference from the front office.
1968 Hoping to fill the void created when the Braves moved to Atlanta, the White Sox play the first of nine games in Milwaukee. A crowd of 23,403 fans watches the Pale Hose lose to the Angels, 4-2, in the first American League contest to take place in Milwaukee since 1901.
1968 “If they think we’re stupid for playing this game, how stupid are they for coming out to watch us.” – DENNY McLAIN, commenting about the small crowds at Tiger Stadium at the start of the season. At Tiger Stadium, the biggest crowd since Opening Day greets Denny McLain with a chorus of boos, showing their displeasure about comments he made on a local radio station where he called the fans “the biggest front-runners in the world.” The right-hander, who will label the same fans the best in the world when they howl their approval after his 30th victory, was critical of the fans because of the lack of attendance at the ballpark at the start of the season.
1970 After going 0-4 on Opening Day, Rico Carty proceeds to get a hit in 31 straight games. This season’s batting champ’s sixth-inning RBI single at Crosley Field sets the record for the longest hitting streak for the Braves since the franchise relocated to Atlanta.
1973 Nolan Ryan, who lasted just one-third of an inning in his previous start, throws the first of his seven career no-hitters, including another one in two months. The ‘Ryan Express’s 3-0 gem is the first no-hit game to be played in Kansas City’s Royals Stadium.
1976 In his first major league start, rookie right-hander Mark Fidrych throws a complete game two-hitter in the Tigers’ 2-1 victory over Cleveland. ‘The Bird’, who holds the Tribe hitless for the first six innings, amuses his teammates and delights the Detroit fans with his unorthodox antics, which includes talking to the ball.
1981 At Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, the Indians’ Len Barker pitches the 11th perfect game in major league history, defeating the Blue Jays, 3-0. Catfish Hunter was the last pitcher to accomplish the feat, hurling a perfecto for the A’s in 1968.
1989 After several well-publicized run-ins with the team’s star, the 12-24 Blue Jays fire manager Jimy Williams, replacing him with hitting coach Cito Gaston. George Bell had made it widely known he did not want to be Toronto’s designated hitter, despite his skipper’s insistence he fill that role for the club.
1991 England’s Queen Elizabeth is President George Bush’s guest at the Oriole game played at Memorial Stadium. The O’s, who play in a city named after a British Lord, drop a 6-3 decision to Oakland.
1991 The Red Sox and White Sox play a contest which lasts 4 hours and 11 minutes, setting a new record for slowest game ever played in nine innings. Boston’s 9-6 victory at Fenway Park features ten pitchers who throw a total of 352 pitches.
1997 In an 8-2 win over San Diego, the Cubs score half their runs when Brian McRae, Doug Glanville, and Sammy Sosa all triple in the bottom of the seventh inning off Friar right-hander Tim Scott. Chicago third baseman Jose Hernandez also chips in with a run producing three-bagger during the fourth inning of the Wrigley Field contest.
1998 On the day the Marlins trade Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson, Jim Eisenreich, and Manuel Barrios to the Dodgers for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile, the team hangs on to beat the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, 8-7. In the first inning, the Fish connect for nine consecutive hits, a franchise record, and score seven runs, all without the help of their recently departed teammates.
2002 Astros’ bench coach Tony Pena is named manager of the Royals, replacing interim skipper John Mizerock, who had taken over the reins when Tony Muser was released on April 29. Buck Showalter and Bucky Dent were rumored to be candidates for the position.
2005 For the first time this season, the White Sox did not have the lead in a game when they are beaten by the Orioles, 6-2. The streak of being ahead in 37 straight games establishes a major league record from the beginning of a season and ties the 1934 Yankees and the 1942 Cardinals for the third longest span in major league history.
2006 For the first time in baseball history, teams meet in a day-night, home and away interstate doubleheader. The Sioux Fall Canaries (SD) and Sioux City Explorers (IA) of the American Association (Independent) split the twin bill, with the I-29 rivals each losing its home game.
2008 Ryan Braun, National League’s Rookie of the Year last season, and the Brewers come to terms on a $45 million, eight-year deal, the richest and longest in franchise history. The generous contract for a “zero-plus” player (less than one year major league service) replaces the $455,000, one-year renewal the team gave him during spring training.
2010 Owasso High School junior Dylan Bundy, needing his team to win both ends of a doubleheader to stave off his team’s elimination from the state tournament, throws the final five innings of the opener and the first five innings of the nightcap. The future first-round pick (4th) of the Orioles, who will throw 181 pitches over the two games en route to striking out 20 batters in 10 innings, helps the Rams beat Jenks, 10-7 and 5-4, advancing his teammates to the Oklahoma state championship game. (Our thanks to Rick Heaton, sports editor/associate editor of the Owasso Reporter, for his help in providing details of this entry.)
2011 At Target Field, Jose Bautista hits home runs in the third, fourth, and sixth innings, contributing to the Blue Jays’ 11-3 victory against Minnesota. The Toronto right-fielder, last season’s homer leader, has clouted four round-trippers in a span of five at-bats, including his last plate appearance in yesterday’s game.
2013 Royals TV honors longtime broadcaster Fred White, who died today due to complications from melanoma, with a half-inning of silence to start the game. The Homer (IL) native, an employee with the organization for the past 40 years, was the team’s play-by-play announcer for 25 years, covering a span from 1973 to 1998.
2015 Mariner right-hander Felix Hernandez becomes the fourth-youngest hurler to record his 2,000th career strikeout when he whiffs Sam Fuld in fifth inning of the team’s 4-3 victory against Oakland at Safeco Field. Bert Blyleven, Walter Johnson, and Sam McDowell are the only three pitchers to reach the milestone faster than King Felix.