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This Day in Baseball History
April 14th

39 Fact(s) Found
1908 Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss offers Honus Wagner a contract with a proposed salary of $6,000. The third baseman, who won his second consecutive NL batting crown last season, will eventually sign for $10,000, double his previous pay, to become the first major leaguer to make a five-figure salary.
1910 At American League Park in Washington, DC, William Taft becomes the first president to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The Chief Executive stays to see a great game when Senator legend Walter Johnson one-hits the A's in the season opener, 3-0.

1911 Shortly after midnight, a tremendous fire destroys much of the Polo Grounds, leaving the Giants without a place to play. The Highlanders invite the McGraw men to share Hilltop Park, an offer the displaced National League team accepts for six weeks until the completion of the temporary stands at their damaged ballpark.
1915 Herb Pennock's bid to throw a no-hitter on Opening Day is spoiled when he gives up a scratch hit to Harry Hooper with two outs in the ninth inning. The A's southpaw retires the next batter, preserving his 2-0 shutout of Boston at Shibe Park.
1917 White Sox hurler Eddie Cicotte, who will become better known as one of the eight players made permanently ineligible for professional baseball due to his alleged participation in the Black Sox scandal in the 1919 World Series, no-hits the Browns, 11-0. The 33-year-old Michigan native, called Knuckles by his teammates, will finish the season with a 28-12 record with a 1.53 ERA, leading the league in victories and earned run average.
1925 The Indians start the season beating the Browns, 21-4, to establish the major league mark for the most runs scored by one club on Opening Day. Cleveland tallies 12 times in the eighth inning with the help of five St. Louis errors.
1925 WGN broadcasts the first fully live regular season baseball game, detailing Grover Alexander and the Cubs' defeat of the Pirates on a chilly Opening Day, 8-2. Quin Ryan is behind the microphone doing play-by-play from a perch on the Wrigley Field roof.
1930 President Herbert Hoover, continuing the tradition started by William Taft in 1910, throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the Red Sox edge the hometown Senators, 4-3. Historically thought to be a southpaw, the Chief Executive did the honors right-handed six times during his one term in the White House, all four Opening Days at Griffith Stadium, and two World Series games at Shibe Park in 1929 and 1930.

1931 At Braves Field, Jack Quinn becomes the oldest pitcher to start an Opening Day game. The 47-year-old Robin right-hander gives up six runs on nine hits in six innings, taking the loss when Brooklyn bows to Boston, 7-4.
1936 At Sportsman's Park, Eddie Morgan, appearing as a pinch-hitter in the Cardinals' 12-7 loss to the Cubs, hits a home run in his first major league first at-bat. During his brief stint with St. Louis and Brooklyn, the 21-year-old rookie's round-tripper will be his lone career homer.
1949 Bobo Newsom signs as a free agent with the Senators. The 41-year-old right-hander, who will not appear with the club until the 1952 season, becomes the first major leaguer to join the same team on five occasions (1935-37, '42, '43, '46-47, '52).
1953 In their first game ever played in Milwaukee, the transplanted Braves beat the Cardinals at County Stadium, 3-2, thanks to Billy Bruton's walk-off home run off Gerry Staley in the tenth inning. The 27-year-old rookie center fielder will not hit another home run this season.
1953 Bob Lemon nearly throws an Opening Day no-hitter against the White Sox, except for Minnie Minoso's first-inning single spoiling the bid. The Indians' hurler almost loses his shutout when fleet-footed outfielder Jim Rivera walks, steals second and goes to third on a grounder, but he becomes the second out in the second frame attempting to swipe home.
1955 Elston Howard, named the American League's MVP in 1963, becomes the first black to play for the Yankees. The former Monarchs' catcher will appear in nine All-Star Games and 54 World Series games, compiling a .274 batting average during his 14-year playing career.
1960 Bill Mazeroski hits the first home run of the season at Forbes Field, going deep in the bottom of the second of the Pirates' 13-0 rout of the Reds in the team's home opener. The Bucs' second baseman will also hit the last round-tripper of the season at the historic Pittsburgh ballpark, ending the season with a dramatic ninth-inning walk-off homer that beats the Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series.
1961 Frank Lary tosses a one-hitter on Opening Day, beating the White Sox at Tiger Stadium, 7-0. Chicago's lone hit comes in the fifth inning when Jim Landis singles off the glove of shortstop Chico Fernandez.
1965 Willie Mays hits his 455th career home run, a third-inning two-run shot to left field off future Hall of Famer Jim Bunning, in the Giants’ 5-2 victory over the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium. The round-tripper surpasses Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle’s current total, a lead the Say Hey Kid will not again relinquish to his rival center fielder.
1967 In the Yankees' home opener, Red Sox southpaw Billy Rohr, making his major league debut, is one out from a no-hitter when Elston Howard singles hard to right field on a 3-2 curveball, ruining the 21-year-old rookie's shot at immortality. A heartbroken six-year-old fan sitting near the Boston dugout named John has to be consoled by his mother, Jackie Kennedy, although his beloved team beats the Bronx Bombers, 3-0.

1968 Jim Bunning becomes the first pitcher since Cy Young to collect a thousand strikeouts in both leagues when he whiffs eight Dodgers during his first win for the Pirates, a 3-0 complete-game victory in Chavez Ravine. The 37-year-old right-hander, acquired from the Phillies in December, sent 1,406 American League batters back to the bench with a bat in their hands for nine seasons while pitching for the Tigers at the start of his Hall of Fame career.
1969 In the first regular-season contest not played in the United States, the Expos host their first home game, treating 29,184 fans on a cold day at Jarry Park to an 8-7 win over the defending National League champion Cardinals. Montreal moundsman Larry Jaster throws baseball's first international pitch to left fielder Lou Brock, and Mack Jones provides the offense for the home team, driving in five runs and hitting the first home game homer in franchise history.
1976 At Wrigley Field, Dave Kingman launches a homer down the left-field line that hits a house 530 feet from home plate. The Cubs and the Northside home survive the right fielder's blast, with Chicago defeating the Mets in the Wrigley Field contest, 6-5.
1978 The biggest Opening Day crowd, 45,777, attends the Wrigley Field opener against Pittsburgh. Although the team gives up an early 3-0 lead, the hometown fans will not go home disappointed when Larry Biittner homers leading off in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the Cubs a 4-3 walk-off victory.
1982 At Watt Powell Park, the home of the International League's Charleston Charlies, Toledo' Mud Hens' pinch-hitter Randy Bush hits an eighth-inning home run in the team's 4-3 victory over Charleston that travels over 200 miles. The Twins' farmhand, not known for his power, hits a ball over the right-field wall that lands on a moving coal train.

Photo and creativity courtesy of Patrick Flynn

1983 The Metrodome's roof deflates due to the weight of heavy snow dumped during a late-season storm, canceling the game between the Twins and Angels. The postponement marks only the second time the putting off a contest occurs in a domed stadium due to weather, the first being a 1976 Astros match not played when massive flooding in the Houston metropolitan area prevented many fans and the umpiring crew from reaching the Astrodome.
1990 Cal Ripken begins a streak that leads to the major league record for the most errorless games [95] and total chances [431] by a shortstop. At the end of June, the O's infielder will appear to have made an error, but official scorer Bill Steka changed his mind the next day, giving Birds' center fielder Mike Devereaux the error.
1990 Kansas City beats the Blue Jays, 3-1, marking the first time two reigning Cy Young Award recipients contribute to the same victory. Brett Saberhagen picks up his first win of the season when the reigning NL Cy Young recipient, Mark Davis, a closer with 44 saves for the Padres last year, pitches a perfect ninth inning to pick up the save in the Royals Stadium contest.
1993 After establishing the all-time career major league record last night with his 358th save, Cardinal reliever Lee Smith breaks the National League mark, recording his 301st in the Senior Circuit when he tosses a perfect 15th frame in the Cardinals' 2-1 victory at Dodger Stadium. The right-handed reliever will extend the big league mark to 478, pitching for the Cubs (1980-1987), Red Sox (1988-1990), Cardinals (1990-1993), Yankees (1993), Orioles (1994), Angels (1995-1996), Reds (1996), and Expos (1997).
1998 Diamondback third baseman Matt Williams knots the score at 4-4 when he hits the first-ever grand slam in franchise history. The fourth-inning blast off southpaw Kent Mercker has little consequence in the expansion team's 15-5 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. (Our thanks to M. Blake for suggesting this entry.)
1999 Tampa Bays' designated hitter Jose Canseco becomes the 28th player in major league history to hit 400 home runs when he takes Kelvim Escobar deep down the left-field line in the top of the third inning in the Devil Rays' 7-6 loss to Toronto at the SkyDome. The controversial slugger will finish his 17-year career in 2001 with 462 round-trippers.
2001 The Reds beat Al Leiter and the Mets, 1-0, to establish the new National League mark for not being shut out by an opponent, scoring in their 175th consecutive game. Ironically, the record-breaking contest comes against the last team and pitcher to blank the franchise, a 5-0 defeat at Cinergy Field in a playoff game to determine the NL Wild Card.
2001 A total of eleven one-run games (six in AL and five in NL) breaks a 1967 record set on May 30th when there were ten combined one-run contests in the major leagues.

2002 Mascots from all the major league teams and Sandy the Seagull of the nearby farm team, Brooklyn Cyclones, attend a birthday party for Mr. Met at Shea Stadium. The Amazins' 38-year-old bobble-headed good luck charm, believed to be the first live mascot in big-league history, appeared in the flesh, so to speak, in 1964 after being an illustration on the cover of scorecards the season before.
2002 In his major league debut, Mariner DH Ron Wright strikes out in the second inning, grounds into a triple play (1-6*-2-5-1*-4*) in the fourth frame, and completes his one-game career hitting into a twin killing (6-4-3) in the sixth in the team's 9-6 loss to the Rangers. The 26-year-old's three at-bats against Kenny Rogers account for six outs, tying the mark for the fewest number of plate appearances for any player hitting into a triple play, a feat accomplished in 1901 by Giants hurler Larry Hesterfer in his only big-league game.
2004 Aaron Miles becomes the fifth player in history to hit his first two career home runs from different sides of the plate in the same game, joining Johnny Lucadello (1940 Browns), U.L. Washington (1979 Royals), Bret Barberie (1991 Expos), and Brian Simmons (1998 White Sox). In a 14-4 defeat of the Diamondbacks at Coors Field, the Rockies' switch-hitting second baseman hits a solo homer in the first inning, batting lefty off Elmer Dessens before going deep in the fifth with two on as a right-handed batter off southpaw Stephen Randolph.
2004 In the game played after teammate Mike Mussina earns his 200th career victory, Kevin Brown, obtained from the Dodgers for Jeff Weaver and two minor-leaguers in an off-season trade, reaches the same plateau, beating the Devil Rays, 5-1. The wins mark the first time in baseball history that members of the same pitching staff have won their 200th career victory in consecutive starts.
2006 At the Mets Team Store, through the April 17 tax deadline, fans can have their taxes done for free by Gilman Ciocia. The Shea TAX-TEAM will also prepare an automatic extension for those not ready to file.
2017 Hank Aaron, who also did the traditional toss for the Braves in the first and last contests at Turner Field, throws the ceremonial first pitch, with former long-time manager Bobby Cox serving as the catcher, before SunTrust Park's inaugural game. Atlanta outfielder Ender Inciarte records the first out, first hit, first run, and the first home run in the team's 5-2 victory over the Padres at the new ballpark.

2017 The White Sox make history starting three fly-chasers with the same surname in the same game when left fielder Willy Garcia, center fielder Leury Garcia, and right fielder Avisail Garcia appear in the Target Field lineup. In the 1960s, the three Alou brothers, Felipe, Jesus, and Matty, patrolled the same outfield on three occasions, but the trio of siblings never started the contest simultaneously.

(Ed. Note: The outfielders combine to collect four in ten at-bats, contributing to the team's 2-1 victory against the Twins.)

2021 When he crouches behind the plate in the Cardinals' 6-0 loss to the Nationals at Busch Stadium, Yadier Molina becomes the first backstop to catch 2000 games with one team and the sixth overall to reach the milestone. The 39-year-old catcher, currently in his 18th major-league season, joins Ivan Rodriguez (2,427), Carlton Fisk (2,226), Bob Boone (2,225), Gary Carter (2,056), and Jason Kendall (2,025) in accomplishing the feat.

39 Fact(s) Found