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Today in Baseball History
May 17th

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38 Fact(s) Found
1893 Phillies outfielder Billy Hamilton becomes the first player to have hit both a leadoff and walk-off home run in the same game when he blasts a two-run round-tripper off Al Maul, giving the team an 11-9 victory over Washington at the Philadelphia Baseball Grounds. In 74 years, Vic Power becomes the first modern player to duplicate the 27-year-old Hall of Famer's performance, accomplishing the rare feat for the 1957 A's with a tenth-inning walk-off round-tripper against the Orioles in a game played at Kansas City's Municipal Stadium.

Amazon Sliding Billy Hamilton: The Life and Times of
Baseball's First Great Leadoff Hitter

1903 Due to Sunday restrictions in Cleveland, a major league game takes place in Columbus (OH), with the 'hometown' Indians defeating the New York Highlanders, 9-2. Neil Park, the home field of several minor league teams, will host four big-league contests, including two Tigers games against the Red Sox in 1905, due to the opening in Detroit of a Grand Circuit Trotting Meet, a harness horse-racing series in the United States.
1906 At Philadelphia's Columbia Park, Ty Cobb breaks up Rube Waddell's no-hitter. The Georgia Peach spoils the southpaw's no-no with a bunt single in the Tigers' 5-0 loss to the A's.
1925 In a 2-1 loss to the Senators, Indians' outfielder Tris Speaker singles off pitcher Tom Zachary to collect his career 3000th hit. 'The Grey Eagle' becomes the fifth major leaguer to reach the milestone, joining Cap Anson (1897), Honus Wagner (1914), Nap Lajoie (1914), and Ty Cobb (1921).
1939

"The ball was seldom seen, except on bunts and infield plays comparatively close to the camera, stationed between third base and home plate." - NEW YORK TIMES, description of first televised baseball game.

Princeton beats host Columbia, 2-1, in the first-ever televised sporting event in a ten-inning contest at Baker Field. W2XBS, an experimental station in New York City, airs the two-hour-and-15 minute telecast, available to fewer than 400 TV sets.

NYT FIRST TELEVISION OF BASEBALL SEEN

1941 A sold-out crowd, including representatives from each of the other 15 major league clubs, attends Connie Mack Day in Philadelphia to honor the 78-year-old president-manager of the A's. The celebration includes renaming the team's home field from Shibe Park to Connie Mack Stadium, a change that doesn't officially take hold until 1953.
1945 Rain postpones every game on the American League schedule for the fourth consecutive day. The cry of 'play ball' will not be heard today in Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, and Cleveland as the White Sox, Browns, Tigers, and Indians call off their games with the Yankees, Red Sox, A's, and Senators.
1947 At Forbes Field, Hank Greenberg asks Jackie Robinson if the Dodger infielder was hurt in a collision with him at first base earlier in the game and then tells the embattled Brooklyn rookie, "Stick in there. You're doing fine. Keep your chin up." Jackie remarks to the writers a few days later that Hank Greenberg is his "diamond hero," knowing the Pirates' first baseman, who endured bigotry as a Jew, can appreciate the difficulties of being the first black major leaguer this century.
1956 The Cardinals trade 25-year-old outfielder Bill Virdon, due to his slow start in his sophomore season, to the Pirates in exchange for Bobby Del Greco and Dick Littlefield. Last year's Rookie of the Year will finish the season, hitting .334 in 133 games for the Bucs and will play a vital role in the team's World Championship in 1960.

Amazon 1956 Bill Virdon Baseball Card (Topps #170)

1961 Roger Maris, en route to his record-breaking season of 61 home runs, hit his first round-tripper of the year at Yankee Stadium. The eighth-inning homer off Pete Burnside, his fourth overall, doesn't help when the Senators beat the Bronx Bombers, 8-7.
1963 At Colt Stadium, Houston's right-hander Don Nottebart no-hits the Phillies, 4-1, giving up a fifth-inning run on a two-base error, a sac bunt, and a sacrifice fly. The hitless gem is the franchise's first no-hitter in the team's history, coming in the 197th game since the club's inaugural season last year.

Courtesy of The Deadball Era

1968 In the bottom of the ninth inning, Jim Northrop hits a walk-off grand slam off Steve Jones to beat the Senators at Tiger Stadium, 7-3. The Detroit center fielder will hit five grand slams this season, four in the regular campaign and one in Game 6 of the Fall Classic, contributing to the team's 13-1 rout of the Cardinals.
1970 At Crosley Field, Braves' outfielder Hank Aaron collects his 3000th hit when he scratches an infield single off of Reds' pitcher Wayne Simpson. 'Hammering Hank' becomes the ninth player in major league history and the first with 500 home runs to reach this milestone.

1971 Luis Tiant, after being released by the Twins and Braves earlier in the season, signs as a free agent with the Red Sox, beginning a love affair with the fans in Boston. 'El Tiante' will struggle, winning just one of eight decisions for the team this year, but during his eight-year tenure with the BoSox, the Cuban right-hander will compile a 122-88 (.601) record, including three seasons with 20 or more victories.
1971 In Washington's 6-3 loss to the Indians at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Tom McCraw hits perhaps the shortest home run in baseball history. The fourth-inning inside-the-park round-tripper is the result of three Indians, shortstop Jack Heidemann, left fielder John Lowenstein and center fielder Vada Pinson colliding in an attempt to catch a 140-foot pop fly hit to short left-center field.

(Ed. Note: All three players involved in the play were injured, needing replacements to finish the contest. -LP).

1971 Ralph Garr ties a major league record for the round-trippers in extra innings, going deep in the 10th and the 12th frame with a walk-off homer against the Mets in the Braves' 4-3 victory. The Atlanta left-fielder, called the 'Road Runner' by his teammates, is the fourth player to accomplish the feat and the first to do so since 1966, when New York's Art Shamsky went yard in the 10th and 11th in a losing cause for the Reds at Crosley Field.
1973 At Anaheim Stadium, a horrific injury dampens Bobby Valentine's promising major league career when his spikes get caught in the outfield's chain-link fence attempting to catch a home run ball hit by Dick Green. The 23-year-old speedster, who had started the season hitting .400 in April, suffers a multiple compound leg fracture and will miss the rest of the season, eventually finishing his playing days as a utility player with the Padres, Mets, and Mariners.
1977 At Wrigley Field, the Cubs tie a franchise record, hitting seven home runs during a 23-7 pounding of the Padres. Larry Biittner goes deep twice, with Dave Rosello, Gene Clines, Bobby Murcer, Jerry Morales, and Steve Ontiveros also clearing the ivy.
1978 Los Angeles trades Glenn Burke, one of the most popular and respected players on the team, to the A's for veteran outfielder Billy North, who hits .234 during the one season with his new club. After refusing a bribe by Dodger GM Al Campanis in the offseason to get married, the closeted gay player knew his time with the Dodgers was nearing an end with management's awareness of his sexual preference.
1978 Lee Lacy, pinch-hitting for Davey Lopes in the Los Angeles 10-1 rout of the Pirates, goes deep in the bottom of the eighth inning off Will McEnaney at Dodger Stadium. The utility player becomes the first player in major league history to homer in three consecutive at-bats as a pinch-hitter.
1979 The Phillies beat the Cubs in a fifty-hit slugfest in the Windy City, 23-22. The 11 home runs hit in the game tie a major league mark, shared by Chicago and their opponents, 1967 Reds and 1977 Mets, while playing in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.

Amazon Ten Innings at Wrigley: The Wildest Ballgame Ever, with Baseball on the Brink

1984 Padres second baseman Alan Wiggins ties a National League record by stealing five bases in one game in the team's 5-4 victory over Montreal at Jack Murphy Stadium. Dan McGann (1904), Davey Lopes (1974), and Lonnie Smith (1982) also accomplished the feat in the Senior Circuit.
1985 The Rangers fire skipper Doug Rader and replace him with the Mets' third-base coach Bobby Valentine. Before returning to New York in 1996 to manage his former team, 'Bobby V' will compile a 581-605 record (.490) during his eight seasons in Texas.

Amazon Valentine's Way: My Adventurous Life and Times

1992 Using only 21 dates, the Blue Jays reach the one-million mark in attendance sooner than any team in major league history. The 1991 Blue Jays and the 1981 Dodgers shared the previous record.
1993 Mariners' third baseman Mike Blowers becomes the 13th player in major league history to hit grand slams in consecutive games. The fourth inning bases-full round-tripper off Craig Lefferts contributes to Seattle's 16-9 victory over Texas at Arlington Stadium.
1996 Trailing the Mariners, 13-10 in the bottom of the ninth at Camden Yards, Chris Hoiles gives the Orioles an incredible comeback victory with a walk-off grand slam. The decisive home run comes on a full count with two outs off Norm Charlton.

1998 In front of nearly 50,000 fans on Beanie Baby Day at Yankee Stadium, David Wells retires all 27 batters he faces, defeating the Twins, 4-0. The 33-year-old left-hander's gem is the 13th perfect game in modern major league history.

2002 After the Twins score three times in the top of the 14th at Yankee Stadium to take a 13-10 lead, Jason Giambi hits a one-out grand slam off reliever Mike Trombley to give the Bronx Bombers a one-run victory. The dramatic home run becomes a signature at-bat for the newly acquired slugger, who the New York fans had not warmly accepted until now.

2002 Diamondback first baseman Erubiel Durazo establishes a franchise record by driving in nine runs in the team's 12-9 victory over the Phillies. The 28-year-old Mexican infielder sets the mark with three two-run homers and a three-run double in the Citizens Bank Park contest.
2003 The Rays tie a major league record when the team does not record a single assist in their 2-0 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards. The Tampa Bay pitchers whiff nine Baltimore batters and catch the other 15 outs on in the air during their eight innings in the field.
2005 Ervin Santana, with his first ten major league pitches, allows a collective cycle to the first four Indian batters he faces: a triple by Grady Sizemore, a double by Coco Crisp, a single by Travis Hafner, followed by a home run blasted by Ben Broussard. The 22-year-old Angels' prized rookie right-hander will redeem himself by recording a five-hit shutout in his second major league start, beating the White Sox, 4-0.

2007 Shea Stadium, home of the Mets, becomes a huge recording studio when Sesame Street's Bob McGrath and a chorus of 15,000 school children sing an uplifting tune to Ronald Sterling, a seven-year-old with the Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome immune deficiency disorder. The non-profit group, Songs of Love Foundation, which creates personalized songs for sick children throughout the country, arranged for the '... You're a Grand Slam' tune to be sung and recorded at the ballpark, with the baseball-loving youngster listening on the phone.
2008 With San Francisco's 3-1 interleague loss to the White Sox, Barry Zito becomes the first Giants hurler in 98 years to start a season with eight consecutive losses. Jesse Burkett opened the 1890 campaign without a victory, also losing eight straight decisions.
2009 Pudge Rodriguez hit his 300th career home run, a fourth-inning shot off of Chicago's Rich Harden, in the Astros' 6-5 win at Wrigley Field. The perennial All-Star catcher will finish his 21-year major league career with 311 round-trippers.
2011 At Turner Field, Braves' catcher Brian McCann's ninth-inning pinch-hit, game-tying solo home run off Astros' right-hander Jeff Fulchino sending the 1-1 contest into extra innings. The backstop follows with a two-run walk-off shot in the 11th, joining Jeff Heath as the only major leaguers to hit a ninth-inning game-tying pinch-hit home run and then later win the game with a walk-off home run in extras innings, a feat the Boston left-fielder accomplished in 1949 at Braves Field.

2012 🇧🇷 When he plays third base in the Blue Jays' 4-1 victory over the Yankees at the Rogers Centre, Yan Gomes becomes the first Brazilian to appear in a big-league game. In his debut in the major leagues, the 24-year-old Sao Paulo native enjoys a 2-for-3 day at the plate.
2015 The Marlins fire manager Mike Redmond (155-207) after extending his contract before the final game of last season as a reward for improving the club's performance by 15 victories. The 44-year-old skipper, after his team gets off to a disappointing 16-22 start, will be replaced by the team's general manager Dan Jennings, who has never played in the majors and has never managed at any professional level.
2016 The Braves dismiss manager Fredi Gonzalez after the team gets off to a 9-28 start, a game worse than the first 37 games played by the 1962 Mets, historically considered one of the worst teams in baseball history. During the departed skipper's first three seasons in Atlanta, the club won 279 games from 2011 to 2013, the best record in the National League during that span.

38 Fact(s) Found