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Today in Baseball History
April 18th

52 Fact(s) Found
1899 John McGraw, 26, makes his debut as a major league manager when his Orioles enjoy a 5-3 victory over the Giants, a team he will later manage for 30 years. 'Mugsy,' a 1937 inductee of Hall of Fame, will finish his 33-year managerial career with a 2763-1948 (.586) record, en route to winning ten pennants and capturing three World Championships.
1923 In front of over 72,000 fans, Yankee Stadium opens with Babe Ruth hitting the park's first home run, a two-run homer off Red Sox hurler Howard Ehmke, which helps beat Boston, 4-1. The new $2.5 million ballpark is the first to feature three decks.
1923 At South Field on Columbia's campus in New York City, a collegian hurler strikes out seventeen batters to establish a school record but loses the game due to wildness to Williams, 5-1. The young southpaw, whose name is Lou Gehrig, will become better known for his hitting prowess with the Yankees.
1925 At his Waldorf-Astoria apartment, Dodgers' owner Charles H. Ebbets dies of a heart attack at the age of 65. Later in the day, his team opens the home season in Brooklyn, losing to the Giants at Ebbets Field, 7-0.
1925 The Cardinals rout the Cubs, 20-5, in a game that sees Rogers Hornsby score five runs. Redbirds third baseman Les Bell leads the Wrigley Field 22-hit attack, compiling 12 total bases with a pair of home runs along with two doubles.
1929 The Yankees will become the second team to wear numbers on uniforms when rain postpones their Opening Day game, giving the Indians the distinction of being the first to don the digits. The assignment of the numbers, Earle Combs #1, Mark Koenig #2, Babe Ruth #3, Lou Gehrig #4, Bob Meusel #5, Tony Lazzeri #6, Leo Durocher #7, Johnny Grabowski #8, Benny Bengough #9, and Bill Dickey #10 (#'s 8-10 are all catchers) is the result of the player's position in the lineup.
1929 In his first at-bat since his marriage yesterday, Babe Ruth hits a home run, a first-inning solo shot off Red Ruffing in the Yankees' eventual 7-3 victory over Boston. As the 'Bambino' rounds second base, he tips his hat to his new bride, Claire Hodgson.
1939 The five-year ban on broadcasting games played by the New York major league teams ends when Red Barber, hired away from the Reds by Larry McPhail, calls Brooklyn's 7-3 loss to the Giants at Ebbets Field. In 1934, the two National League teams and the Yankees agreed not to air their games on the radio, fearing the exposure would reduce the number of fans attending games.
1939 In Brooklyn, Red Barber calls the action in the first broadcast of a regular-season Dodger game, a 7-3 loss to New York at Ebbets Field. The future Hall of Fame announcer was brought in from Cincinnati by the team's new president, Larry MacPhail, who had hired the 'Ol Redhead' when he was in a similar post with the Reds.
1942 Due to the fear of a Japanese attack, General L. Dewitt, commanding officer of the Fourth Army Command, asks the Pacific Coast League teams to limit attendance at night games to no higher than the average number of fans from the previous year, approximately 3,000 fans for most clubs. Later in the season, all evening contests scheduled for ballparks within 15 miles of the Pacific Ocean will be prohibited, making San Diego the only club not having to shuffle their starting times.
1946 At Roosevelt Stadium in a game against the Jersey Giants, Montreal Royals' on-deck batter George Shuba congratulates Jackie Robinson with a handshake after his teammate hits his first professional home run. The gesture will become known as 'A Handshake for the Century', because it will be the first time that a white player publicly acknowledges the accomplishment of a black teammate.

Photo courtesy of Mike Shuba

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1947 Dodger president Branch Rickey names 62 year-old Burt Shotton, a team scout, to replace Leo Durocher, who was suspended ten days ago by Commissioner Happy Chandler for acts "unbecoming to a major league manager." Brooklyn's new skipper, the son of a sailor who operated freighters on Lake Erie, reluctantly takes over the team two games into the season and will manage the club for one year in his street clothes along with wearing the team's hat and jacket.
1950 Eddie Waitkus, who missed most of last season after being shot in June by a deranged fan in a Chicago hotel room, goes 3-for-5 in the Phillies’ Opening Day 9-1 victory over the Dodgers at Shibe Park. The Philadelphia first baseman will be named the Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year, scoring a team-high 102 runs while playing in every game for the National League Champions.
1950 The Yankees defeat the Red Sox on Opening Day, 15-10, after trailing 9-0 after five innings. The Bronx Bombers take the lead when they score nine times in the top of the eighth frame at Fenway Park, thanks to eight hits, none being home runs, and three walks surrendered by Boston's starter Mel Parnell and four relievers.

1950 In the first Opening Day game scheduled as night contest, the Cardinals beat the Pirates at Sportsman's Park, 4-2. Gerry Staley gets the win, and Stan Musial homers in the St. Louis contest.
1950 Sam Jethroe, former Cleveland Buckeyes star of the Negro American League, becomes the first black player for the Braves. The 33 year-old highly-touted prospect, who will lead the majors with 35 stolen bases, will be named the National League's Rookie of the Year.
1950 Vin Scully calls the first game of his illustrious 67-year career with the Dodgers, detailing Brooklyn's 9-1 defeat to the Phillies on Opening Day at Philadelphia's Shibe Park. The 22-year old broadcaster, who will be awarded the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award by Bud Selig in 2014, will become the team's primary announcer just three seasons later.
1950 The Phillies play their first game with name official changed back from Blue Jays, routing the Dodgers at Shibe Park, 9-1. The team wears red pinstriped uniforms designed by manager Eddie Sawyer that are reminiscent of the club's look in the early 1900s in the early 1900s.

1952 On Opening Day in Brooklyn, Willie Mays is knocked unconscious when he smashes into the Ebbets Field wall after chasing pinch-hitter Bob Morgan's seventh-inning, two-out base-loaded line drive into the gap in left field. All three Dodgers baserunners cross the plate but do not score when the motionless Giants center fielder comes to his feet and jogs into the dugout, apparently unhurt, having held onto the ball after making a fantastic catch for the third out to end the inning.
1955 In his first major league appearance, 25 year-old Pirates reliever Al Grunwald, getting just one batter out, gives up a single to Don Mueller, a double to Monte Irvin, a triple to Willie Mays, and a homer to Whitey Lockman. The Giants' fourth-inning 'cycle' contributes to an eight-run frame in the eventual 12-3 victory over Pittsburgh at the Polo Grounds.
1956 Ed Rommel becomes the first major league umpire to wear glasses during a game when he mans third base during the Yankees' 9-5 victory over Washington at Griffith Stadium. The bespectacled arbitrator, known as the father of the modern knuckleball, played 13 seasons with Philadelphia, compiling an impressive record of 171-119 with the A's from 1920 to 1932.

1957 At Briggs Stadium, Roger Maris hits a game-winning, grand-slam home run in the top of the 11th inning against Detroit in the Indians' second game of the season. In his major league debut two days ago, the 22 year-old rookie outfielder went 3-for-5 in the Tribe's 3-2 loss to Chicago at Cleveland Stadium.
1958 At the LA Coliseum, in front of a National League record crowd of 78,672, the Dodgers play their first home game on the West Coast. Carl Erskine gets the win, besting Al Worthington and the Giants, 6-5.
1959 Branch Rickey, former general manager of the Cardinals, Dodgers, and Pirates, is appointed the president of the Continental League. The third potential major league never materializes, but helps to accelerate the expansion of the existing leagues, including putting a National League team in New York to fill the void created by the Giants' and the Dodgers' departure to the west coast in 1958.

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1960 Ted Williams becomes the first major leaguer to homer in four different decades when he blasts a pitch from Senators' right-hander Camilo Pascual over the center-field wall for the only run in the Red Sox's 10-1 Opening Day loss at Griffith Stadium. In 1939, the then 20 year-old 'Kid' hit the first of his 521 career round-trippers, a first-inning two-run shot off Philadelphia's Bud Thomas at Fenway Park.
1964 In the top of the third inning, L.A. southpaw Sandy Koufax throws the second of his two career immaculate innings when he strikes out the side on nine pitches, quickly setting down Leo Cardenas, Johnny Edwards, and Jim Maloney. Cincinnati will score all of the game's runs in the next frame, thanks to a three-run homer hit by Deron Johnson, to beat the Dodgers in the Chavez Ravine contest, 3-0.
1966 Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills singles to center off future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, becoming the first batter to hit on artificial turf in a major league game. The Astrodome's new playing surface, called Chemgrass initially by its manufacturer, the Monsanto Company, couldn't be made quickly enough, so the season begins with the artificial material only on the infield with the outfield remaining painted dirt until July.
1970 Denny Doyle's first-inning single is the only hit allowed by Nolan Ryan when he blanks the Phillies at Shea Stadium, 7-0. The 23 year-old right-hander ties the Mets' mark established by Jerry Koosman in 1968 with 15 strikeouts, but Tom Seaver will break the short-lived record, whiffing 19 Padres later in the week.
1972 For the first time in franchise history, the Yankees play a night game at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day. The Bronx Bombers, behind the three-hitter by thrown Steve Kline, beat the Brewers in the Bronx ballpark, 3-0.
1973 In the top of the 11th inning in San Francisco's 4-3 victory over Atlanta at Candlestick Park, Dave Rader completes an unusual unassisted double play for a catcher. After catching an attempted sacrifice bunt which is popped-up with Braves runners on first and second base, the Giants' backstop races to second base and steps on the bag before Sonny Jackson, who had headed toward third on contact, can get back.
1978 Lyman Bostock, a highly-sought free agent in the offseason who hit .336 for the Twins last year, offers to not to accept a salary for April if he doesn’t begin producing, after going 2-for-39 (.051) to start the season. The 27 year-old outfielder raises his batting average to .296, the highest on the club, before being fatally shot near the end of the season as an unintentional victim while riding a passenger in a car.
1978 After getting ahead in the count 3-0, Reggie Jackson, knowing he has a green light to hit away, feigns to be upset by getting a bogus take sign from third base coach Dick Howser. Oriole right-hander Tippy Martinez, deceived by the batter's behavior, grooves a fastball down the middle of the plate that the Yankee slugger promptly puts over the fence, giving the Yankees a 4-3 walk-off victory.
1981 In International League action at McCoy Stadium, the Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings begin the longest professional game ever played. At 4:07 a.m, the suspended 32-inning contest ends with the score knotted at 2-2, being completed later in the season with the Red Sox scoring the winning run in the 33rd inning.

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1982 Joe Torre's Braves set a National League record when they win their 11th straight game to start the season, beating Houston at the Astrodome, 6-5. The eventual NL West Division champs, who will finish the campaign with an 89-73 record, will extend the mark to 13-0 when they add two more victories against Cincinnati at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
1987 At Three Rivers Stadium, Mike Schmidt becomes the 14th player in major league history to hit 500 career home runs. The Phillies third baseman's three-run ninth-inning shot off Don Robinson is cheered by the Pittsburgh fans and his teammates in the team's 8-6 Phillies victory.

1991 A sellout crowd of 42,191 watches the White Sox play their first game at new Comiskey Park and sees the home team get crushed by the Tigers, 16-0. Jack McDowell gives up the park's first homer to Cecil Fielder.
1997 Roger Pavlik of the Rangers becomes the first starting pitcher in the American League to begin a game by walking the first four batters. The Blue Jays take advantage of the All-Star hurler's wildness by scoring five runs in the frame en route to a 6-5 victory at the Ballpark in Arlington.
2000 Adam Kennedy ties a franchise mark by driving in eight runs during the Angels' 16-10 rout of Toronto. The Halo infielder's run-producing single, three-run triple, and grand slam account for his RBIs in the SkyDome contest.
2000 After serving a 12-game suspension for making disrespectful comments about minorities, John Rocker pitches a scoreless ninth inning against the Phillies in a 4-3, 12-inning home victory. The outspoken Braves' reliever receives a standing ovation as he enters the game.
2000 During the Angels' 16-10 victory over the Blue Jays, a SkyDome promotion becomes a bit too frank when fans get hit with bits of hot dogs when the wieners fall apart after being shot from the 'Hot Dog Blaster.' Undaunted by the fallout, promoters continue to propel the missiles even though the hot dogs repeatedly splatter the onlookers.
2001 After a 4-10 start, former Royals' skipper Hal McRae replaces Larry Rothschild as the manager of the Devil Rays. Rothschild, the only pilot in the team's four-year history, finished in last place three consecutive years, compiling a 205-294 record.
2002 After the Brewers' dismal start of 3-12, GM Dean Taylor releases manager Davey Lopes. The fired skipper, who compiled a 144-195 overall record with Milwaukee, will be replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jerry Royster.
2004 Sammy Sosa surpasses Ernie Banks as the Cubs all-time home run leader when he goes deep off Reds right-hander Paul Wilson in the first frame off in the team’s 11-10 loss at Wrigley Field, slugging his 513th dinger for the franchise. Slammin’ Sammy adds another round-tripper in the third inning to bring his current career total to 543 homers, en route to finishing with 609 during his 18-year tenure in the majors.

2007 At Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field, Mark Buehrle hurls the 16th no-hitter in White Sox history and the first home no-no since 1967. The South-side southpaw faces the minimum 27 batters, thanks to picking off Sammy Sosa, who walked in the fifth inning.
2008 Tom Glavine of the Braves is put on the disabled list for the first time during his 22-year career. The 42 year-old southpaw's ailing right hamstring needs more time to heal before he goes after his 304th career win.
2008 In the longest game in franchise history, the Rockies beat the Padres, 2-1, in a 22-inning marathon played at Petco Park. The game, which ends at 1:31 am, takes 6 hours, 16 minutes to complete, falling one minute shy of San Diego's record for the length of a game, but goes into the team record books for the most innings played to complete a contest.

2008 The T-Bones, a minor league team in the independent Northern League, cancel the Michael Vick "Welcome to the Neighborhood Night" after receiving numerous complaints about the promotion. The plans for the event included the teams wearing black and white striped jerseys and orange jumpsuit-style uniforms to mock the former Falcons quarterback, who is serving a 23-month sentence in the nearby Leavenworth prison after pleading guilty to federal charges related to dogfighting.
2008 Conor Jackson, needing only a double to complete the cycle, hustles instead to get his second triple of the game. The Diamondbacks outfielder's unselfish offensive output helps to pace the club to a 9-0 win over the Padres.
2008 The Dodgers announce the fans' selection of Joe Beimel in an online poll during spring training as the player whose likeness will appear in an August 12th bobblehead promotion. The 30 year-old southpaw reliever, considered a long shot for the honor, gets the nod due to an intense internet campaign orchestrated by his parents, Ron and Marge.

2011 Tiger outfielder Ryan Raburn becomes the first player to hit a ball off Seattle's Safeco Field's retractable roof when his first-inning pop fly makes contact with one of the trusses approximately 175 feet above the playing field. The redirected foul ball, which falls between Mariner catcher Miguel Olivo and third baseman Chone Figgins, if caught, would have been the second out of the inning, according to the ballpark's ground rules.
2012 Beginning with the second pitch of the fifth inning through the seventh pitch of the eighth frame, Bartolo Colon throws 38 consecutive strikes en route to picking up the victory in the A's 6-0 win over the Angels. The Oakland starter faces eleven straight batters who never see a pitch that is called a ball in the Anaheim contest.
2012 A memorable pitching duel between Cliff Lee, who throws ten innings of scoreless ball against San Francisco, and Matt Cain, who doesn't give up a run to the Phillies in his nine innings of work, ends with the Giants beating the Phillies, 1-0, in 11 innings at AT&T Park. The only run in the extra-inning contest, which takes only two hours and 27-minutes to complete, scores as the result of Melky Cabrera's one-out RBI single off Antonio Bastardo.

52 Fact(s) Found