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This Day in Baseball History
April 1st

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39 Fact(s) Found
1914 Rube Waddell, a southpaw who once struck out a record 349 batters in one season, dies of tuberculosis at 37. The eccentric Hall of Famer compiled a 193-143 (.574) record and a 2.16 ERA during his 13 seasons with the Colonels, A's, Pirates, and Browns.


Rube Waddell (American Tobacco Company)
Library of Congress - Benjamin K. Edwards Collection

1937 The Reds sell Babe Herman to the Tigers. The 34-year-old outfielder, batting .300 for his new team, will appear in only 17 contests with Detroit before retiring from the game, although he will return to play briefly for the war-time Dodgers in 1945.
1938 Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who is not a fan of Branch Rickey's farm system, grants free agency to nine Cardinal minor leaguers, including a talented prospect named Pete Reiser. A reported gentlemen's agreement has Brooklyn signing and hiding the 19-year-old outfielder in the minors for a trade back to St. Louis fails when Leo Durocher disobeys orders, allowing the phenom to display his incredible ability in spring training exhibition games.
1950 At Gilmore Field, the Pacific Coast League Hollywood Stars unveil their new look, wearing shorts and rayon shirts on Opening Day. The team plans to wear the new track-suit-styled uniforms during day games and warm night contests. In 1976, the White Sox will also don shorts in the first game of a doubleheader against Kansas City.

1962 The White Sox sign 21-year-old Dave DeBusschere, a hoop star at the University of Detroit. The 6-6, 225lb right-hander will compile a 3-4 record in 36 appearances with Chicago before moving to the National Basketball Association, becoming one of the fifty greatest players named in the league's history.

1963 Former Brooklyn Dodger Duke Snider returns to New York when the Mets purchase him from LA for $40,000. At the end of the season, Buzzi Bavasi will tell the 36-year-old outfielder, who will represent New York in the All-Star Game, that the Yankees had asked for him to back up Mickey Mantle before being dealt to the team across the river.
1964 During spring training in Tucson (AZ), Cleveland's manager Birdie Tebbetts suffers a heart attack. George Strickland will fill in for three months until the 51-year-old skipper returns to the Indians dugout with limited duties, resigning from the team two seasons later on August 19, again replaced by his third base coach.
1968 The Braves purchase Orioles right-handed reliever Stu Miller, best remembered for committing a balk in the 1961 All-Star Game when a gust of wind pushed him off the mound at Candlestick Park. The 40-year-old Northampton (MA) native will throw only 1.2 innings in two appearances for Atlanta before retiring from baseball, having compiled a 105-103 record and 153 saves during his 16-year major league tenure with five teams, including the Cardinals, Giants, and Phillies.


Stu Miller - 1961

1969 After acquiring Lou Piniella from the Indians in the expansion draft, the Seattle Pilots trade him to the Royals in exchange for Steve Whitaker and John Gelnar. The 25-year-old outfielder will have a stellar season in Kansas City, copping the league's Rookie of the Year Award.
1970 After ruling the Seattle Pilots insolvent, Federal Bankruptcy Referee Sidney Volinn orders the team to sell the club to a group headed by Midwestern businessman Bud Selig. The American League expansion team's tenure in the Northwest is over after just one season when the club is hastily moved to Milwaukee to start the new season as the Brewers.
1976 After being released by the Padres, Bobby Tolan (.255, 5, 48) signs as a free agent with the Phillies. In June, the outfielder-first baseman, who plays only 15 games for Philadelphia, will ink a deal with the Pirates.
1982 The Mets send fan-favorite Lee Mazzilli to Texas for rookie starters Ron Darling and Walt Terrell. The deal, not well-received at the time, turns out to be a steal for New York when the two right-handers combine for 118 victories during their tenure with the team, with their departed outfielder playing a total of 58 games with Texas before being traded to the Yankees for Bucky Dent.

NYT MAZZILLI SENT TO RANGERS

1987 The Pirates trade Tony Pena, a three-time Gold Glove catcher, to the Cardinals in exchange for three youngsters, Mike LaValliere, Mike Dunne, and Andy Van Slyke, who thinks the deal is an April Fool's Day joke. The former Pittsburgh backstop cries at a news conference with Bucs' skipper Jim Leyland present when the team announces the swap with the Redbirds.
1987 Mets phenom pitcher Dwight Gooden avoids suspension for substance abuse by agreeing to enter a drug rehab facility. The talented 22-year-old right-hander will make his first start on June 5, winning 15 games for the team despite missing the season's first two months.
1989 Former Yale University and National League president Bart Giamatti becomes the seventh commissioner of Major League Baseball. Baseball's new leader, a lifelong Red Sox fan, is the author of The Green Fields of the Mind, an essay that laments the end of a season in Boston.

1996 Nationalpastime.com appears for the first time on the internet. The popular website is the first to feature baseball history on a daily basis.

1996 The postponement of Cincinnati's Opening Day game becomes necessary after home plate ump John McSherry, working his 26th season in the major leagues, suffers a fatal heart attack after calling the first seven pitches of the contest. The respected but noticeably overweight veteran arbitrator's death prompts Major League Baseball to compel its umpires to be more physically fit.
1996 The Mets rally overcome a 6-0 deficit, beating the Cardinals at Shea Stadium, 7-6, in the century's biggest Opening Day comeback. The decisive run scores due to an unusual 9-3-6-3-6 double play when Bernard Gilkey, the baserunner on first, is doubled up on Rico Brogna's short sac fly to right field (RF-1B-SS-1B-SS), allowing Lance Johnson to cross home plate on the play.
1996 Only 7,296 fans show up at Cashman Field to watch the A's lose their season opener to the Blue Jays, 9-6. Due to the renovations at the Oakland Coliseum, the first six home games take place in Las Vegas, marking the first time since the White Sox participated in 11 home contests in Milwaukee's County Stadium in 1969, that a major league game takes place in a neutral site.
1997 Setting a record for the most runs scored in one inning of an Opening Day contest this century, the Padres score 11 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning en route to a 12-5 rout of the Mets. Chris Gomez, Rickey Henderson, and Quilvio Veras lead the attack with back-to-back-to-back home runs.

(Ed. Note: The Diamondbacks break the Opening Day mark when the team crosses the plate 14 times in the the third inning of a 16-1 victory over the Rockies at Chase Field. - LP)

1998 At Camden Yards, the Orioles rock the Royals, 10-1, as Scott Erickson records his 100th major league victory. O's skipper Ray Miller, who hadn't won a game since managing the Twins in 1986, enjoys his first win with Baltimore.
2001 In the first major league game ever played in Puerto Rico, the Blue Jays defeat the Rangers, 8-1, in the major league season opener. In his debut with Texas, $252 million shortstop Alex Rodriguez collects the season's first hit and first run, but he makes a throwing error on his first chance in the field.
2002 Cinci Freedom, who evaded capture for ten days after jumping a six-foot fence to avoid slaughter, is excused from her scheduled appearance in the Reds' traditional Opening Day parade. Before the Reds' 5-4 walk-off victory over the Cubs at Cinergy Field, the 1,050-pound Charolais cow is deemed too jumpy to participate in the Findlay Market activities after receiving a key to the city.
2002 With a 6-2 victory over the Bucs at Shea Stadium, the Mets improve their mark for Opening Day victories to 26-15 (.634), a major league record. The New York expansion team didn't win on Opening Day until the ninth year of the franchise's existence.
2005 Appearing in the 21 games, Cardinal slugger Albert Pujols does not strike out during spring training. In his 68 plate appearances, the St. Louis first baseman finishes the exhibition season with a .458 batting average, six homers, and 20 RBI.
2006 A day before the start of the season, the White Sox ink Jose Contreras (15-7, 3.61) to a $29 million, three-year contract extension. The 34-year-old Cuban native was the World Champs' most effective pitcher during the team's stretch run to the AL pennant, posting an 11-2 mark following the All-Star Game.
2008 Robert Andino's first career round-tripper is memorable as his two-out, tenth-inning walk-off homer to deep left off Matt Wise gives the Marlins a 5-4 victory over the Mets at Dolphin Stadium. The post-game celebration is short-lived when the Miami native takes off for home to meet the police after getting a text message from his wife informing him their house may have an intruder.
2008 On Opening Day in Los Angeles, Juan Pierre's 434 consecutive game streak, the longest current in the major leagues, ends when the Dodger outfielder does not play in the 3-2 victory over the Giants. New skipper Joe Torre plays Andre Ethier in left field instead of the highly paid, light-hitting fly chaser.
2009 After tallying a run in the top of the first, Kentucky State finds itself on the short end of a 22-1 score. The Eastern Kentucky University Colonels score 27 more times in the next three frames, prompting the decision to halt the contest in the middle of the fifth, giving EKU a 49-1 triumph over the Thorobreds.
2011 Doug Glanville becomes a baseball color analyst for the ESPN network, where he contributed to the Baseball Tonight show, ESPN.com, and ESPN - The Magazine. The former major league outfielder, best known for playing with the Phillies, is also a guest columnist for the New York Times, where he writes about sports culture.
2013 On Opening Day, Jackie Bradley Jr. makes a memorable major league debut, walking three times, scoring twice, and robbing Robinson Cano of an extra-base hit with an outstanding defensive play in the Red Sox' 8-2 victory over New York at Yankee Stadium. The 22-year-old Boston rookie outfielder, called JBJ by his teammates, also makes uniform history, becoming the first major leaguer to wear "Jr." on the back of his jersey.

2013 Bryce Harper, providing all of the offense the Nationals will need, becomes the youngest player to homer twice on Opening Day. The 20-year-old outfielder, playing in his first Opening Day as a major leaguer, hits solo shots in the first and fourth frames in Washington's 2-0 victory over Miami.
2013 Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino, who will end the day with an 0-1 record when he gives up a walk-off sac fly in an Opening Day loss to Milwaukee, becomes the first big league pitcher to wear the number 0, joining position players Oddibe McDowell (1985-88), Junior Ortiz (1989-2004), and Al Oliver (1978-85). Several players, including hurlers, including Bobo Newsome (1943), Curtis Leskanic (2000-01), Rick White (2005-06), and Brian Wilson (2003-14), have donned a double-zero.
2013 Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers' Opening Day pitcher, hits a leadoff home run off San Francisco's George Kontos in the bottom of the eighth inning to break up a scoreless tie in the team's eventual 4-0 victory. LA's 25-year-old southpaw retires the side in the next frame, completing a 4-0 complete-game shutout against the Giants at Chavez Ravine.
2015 Auction items featured in Sotheby's "New York Sale" include the 1967 Mets' bullpen cart shaped like a baseball wearing a cap. The electric-powered vehicle, valued between $20,000 and $30,000, fetches a surprisingly high bid of $125,000.

2018 In his much-anticipated pitching debut, Shohei Ohtani, striking out six batters in six innings while allowing three runs, picks up his first big league win when the Angels beat the A's at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, 7-4. The 23-year-old Japanese sensation, also touted for his prowess as a hitter, does not have a plate appearance in the American League contest.
2021 In the longest nine-inning game in franchise history, the Royals set a club record for runs scored on Opening Day, beating the Rangers at Kauffman Stadium, 14-10. The number of Kansas City players crossing the plate in the four-hour and 26-minute contest surpasses the team's 11 tallies against Toronto in 1979.
2021 Nationalpastime.com celebrates the 25th Anniversary of its debut on the internet. The popular almanac-styled baseball history website, the first to display facts for every day of the year, features 12,000 easily searchable entries, many enhanced with videos, photos, text, and quotations.

(Ed. Note: Where does the time go? -LP)

2021 The Diamondbacks score six times in the fifth inning when Ketel Marte, AsdrĂșbal Cabrera, Tim Locastro, and Stephen Vogt all go deep, marking the first time a team hits four home runs in one inning on Opening Day. Arizona's historic offensive output falls short when the team drops an 8-7 decision to the Padres at Petco Park.

39 Fact(s) Found