April 2 This Day In Baseball
Debuts, Milestones, No Hitters, Rule Changes, Events, Birthdays, Deaths, and more on This Day In Baseball.
Events for April 2
1869 – Hughie Jennings is born in Pittston, PA. Jennings will be a standout shortstop before making a successful transition to manager. He will lead the Baltimore Orioles National League club to four straight appearances in the 19th century Temple Cup World Championship Series from 1894 to 1897 and the Detroit Tigers to three consecutive American League pennants from 1907 to 1909. Jennings will be elected to the Hall of Fame by the Special Veterans Committee in 1945.
1901 – Jimmy Collins switches leagues but not cities. Collins leaves the Boston Beaneaters National League club to play and manage the American League’s new Boston Americans. The NL Beaneaters will also lose outfielder Hugh Duffy, who becomes manager of Milwaukee’s new AL entry, and catcher Billy Sullivan, who signs with the Chicago White Sox.
1908 – The Mills Commission determines that Abner Doubleday originated the game of baseball. In its final report, the seven-man commission states that: “The first scheme for playing baseball, according to the best evidence obtainable to date, was devised by Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, NY, in 1839.”
1931 – At Engel Stadium, Miss Jackie Mitchell strikes out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game held in Chattanooga, TN. The 17-year-old girl, a member of the Chattanooga Lookouts roster, also walks Tony Lazzeri in Chattanooga’s 14 – 4 loss to the New York Yankees. In 1933 Mitchell will pitch for the House of David team.
Thought by some to be a belated April Fools’ Day hoax, Chattanooga Lookouts’ pitcher Jackie Mitchell, a 17 year-old girl, strikes out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in the first inning of an exhibition game, facing the Bronx Bombers sluggers after entering the game in relief. According to legend, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis will void the teenager’s professional contract, declaring women are unfit to play baseball as the game is “too strenuous.”
The Indians trade Gold Glove first baseman Vic Power and left-handed pitcher Dick Stigman to the Twins for 20-game loser Pedro Ramos, who will compile a 26-30 record during his 2+ seasons with the Tribe. Power will contribute 2+ solid seasons with Minnesota, batting .278, and their new southpaw will post a .702 winning percentage, the best in the American League this season, winning 12 of 17 decisions.
After Donn Clendenon refuses to report to his new team after being traded, along with Jesus Alou to the Astros; the Expos resign their reluctant first baseman. Montreal will send Jack Billingham, Skip Guinn, and $100,000 to the Astros to complete the deal that brings Rusty Staub north of the border.
1972 – Former Dodgers star and Mets manager Gil Hodges collapses just minutes after completing a round of golf in West Palm Beach, Florida, and dies of a heart attack. The popular Hodges dies just two days before his 48th birthday. Hodges had guided the Mets to their “miraculous” 1969 World Series championship.
After playing a round of golf in West Palm Beach with his coaches on Easter Sunday, Mets manager Gil Hodges, two days shy of his 48th birthday, suffers a fatal heart attack. The club will name current first base coach and former Yankee skipper Yogi Berra to run the team when the strike-delayed season begins.
1976 – The Oakland Athletics trade two key members from their recent World Series championship teams, sending outfielder Reggie Jackson and pitcher Ken Holtzman along with minor leaguer Bill VanBommell to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for outfielder Don Baylor and pitchers Mike Torrez and Paul Mitchell.
In a blockbuster trade a week before the season starts, the Orioles deal Don Baylor, Paul Mitchell, and Mike Torrez to the A’s in exchange for Ken Holtzman, Reggie Jackson, and Bill Van Bommel. A month will pass before Jackson will report to his new team, accounting for Baltimore’s slow start in April.
1982 – Oakland Athletics pitcher Steve McCatty walks to home plate during a spring training game carrying a 15-inch toy bat. Oakland manager Billy Martin had ordered McCatty to use the toy bat as a protest of the rule preventing the use of the designated hitter in National League ballparks. Umpire Jim Quick refuses to let McCatty use the bat.
During an exhibition contest against the Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium, A’s starter Steve McCatty steps to home plate wielding a15-inch toy bat as instructed by his manager Billy Martin, who is furious that a DH isn’t being allowed because the meaningless preseason game is taking place in a National League park. After plate umpire Jim Quick refuses to let the hurler use the prop, the right-hander takes three called strikes with a real bat.
1995 – The longest strike in major league history comes to an end. Having the first 23 days of this major league season canceled and 252 games of the last season lost, the owners accept the players’ March 31st unconditional offer to return to work. The players’ decision to return to work is made after a US District Court issued an injunction restoring terms and conditions of the expired agreement. Teams will play 144-game schedules. The strike had begun on August 12, 1994.
Having the first 23 days of this season canceled and 252 games of the last season lost, the owners accept the players’ March 31 unconditional offer to play a 144-game schedule. The players decide to return to work when a U.S. District judge issues an injunction restoring terms and conditions of the expired agreement.
With an Opening Day 7-1 victory over the Indians at Jacobs Field, Joe Torre wins the first of his 1,173 victories as the manager of the Yankees. During his 12-year tenure, the Bronx Bombers will reach the postseason each year, winning ten American League East Division titles, six American League pennants, and four World Championships.
On Opening Day, Derek Jeter hits a home run off Dennis Martinez in New York’s 7-1 victory over the Indians at Jacobs Field. The 22 year-old infielder becomes the first Yankee rookie to play shortstop at the start of the season since 1962 when Tom Tresh filled in for Tony Kubek, who reported to duty to his recently federalized National Guard unit.
Tino Martinez leads the Yankees to a 16 – 2 romp over the Mariners at the Kingdome. The former M’s first baseman hits three home runs — a solo job, a two-run tater and a three-run shot. With the game out of reach and the crowd chanting his name, he has two opportunities to hit a grand slam, but fails to become the first player to hit home runs for the cycle. He ends the game going 4-for-6 with 7 RBI, a walk and 5 runs scored.
Gary Sheffield (.314, 42, 120) and the Marlins agree to a six-year, $61 million contract extension. The deal is the largest in total dollars in baseball history, but is only the third highest annual salary, behind Albert Belle’s (1996-2000 White Sox – $11 million) and Barry Bonds’ (1993-98 Giants – $11,131,157).
With the help of Jeromy Burnitz’s grand slam in the top of the frame, the Brewers record their first National League victory when they beat Atlanta in 11 innings, 8-6. The franchise, which started in Seattle in 1969 before moving to Milwaukee a year later, played in the American League for the first 29 years of its existence before switching circuits, a move necessitated by the restructuring of each league from two divisions into three.
2000 – At Ameriquest Field in Arlington, Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers ties the Minnesota Twins’ Frank Viola for third place in consecutive home wins when he defeats the Chicago White Sox. Rogers has won 19 consecutive home games and hasn’t lost on his own turf since June 28, 1997, a span of 1,012 days. Ray Kremer of the Pittsburgh Piratesholds the record of 22 consecutive home wins in 1926 and 1927, and Lefty Grove of the Boston Red Sox is second with 20 straight home wins from 1938 to 1941.
For the first time in major league history, a Japanese position player participates in a regular season game. Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, hitless in his first three at-bats, singles in the 7th inning to ignite a two-run rally, and bunts for another single in the 8th in his debut at Safeco Field. He will go on the be both the American League Rookie of the Year and MVP this year.
San Francisco Giants starter Livan Hernandez beats the San Diego Padres, 3 – 2, with relief help from Robb Nen, who strikes outs the three batters he faces. Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn collects his 3,110th hit, tying him with Dave Winfield on the all-time list. With his start today, Gwynn becomes the fifth player in National League history to spend 20+ years while playing his entire career with one team. The others are: Cap Anson (1871-1897 Cubs), Mel Ott (1926-1947 Giants), Stan Musial (1941-1944, 1946-1963 Cardinals), and Willie Stargell (1962-1982 Pirates).
For the first time in major league history, a Japanese-born position player participates in a regular-season major league game. Ichiro Suzuki, hitless in his first three at-bats, singles in the seventh inning to ignite a two-run rally and bunts for a hit in the eighth in his Mariner debut at Safeco Field.
In his major league debut, 6′ 11″ pitcher Jon Rauch of the Chicago White Sox throws a perfect 1 1/3 innings in a 7 – 4 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. The Louisville, Kentucky native, who was a member of the 2000 US Olympic baseball team, becomes the tallest pitcher to appear in a major league game.
Mike Bordick’s record streak for games played and total chances without an error by a shortstop ends as Yankees outfielder Bubba Trammell’s 3rd-inning grounder tips off his glove. After converting a fielder’s choice in the 1st inning, Bordick misplays his second chance of the game, establishing 544 chances and 110 consecutive games without an error as the new major league mark for shortstops.
The Detroit Tigers become the first major league team to have four pitchers make their big league debuts during the same game. Rookie starter Jeremy Bonderman, who gives up gives up six runs on nine hits in four innings, is followed by rookies Wilfredo Ledezma, Chris Spurling and Matt Roney in the 8 – 1 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
Todd Zeile hits a home run in his first at-bat for the New York Yankees, becoming the only major leaguer to hit a home run for ten different teams. In addition to homering with the Yankees, Zeile had also gone deep for the Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins, Rangers, Mets, and Rockies. He will add the Montreal Expos to the list before the end of the year.
Mike Bordick’s record streak for games and chances without an error by a shortstop ends when Yankee outfielder Bubba Trammell’s third-inning grounder tips off his glove. After converting a fielder’s choice in the first inning, the Blue Jay infielder misplays his second opportunity of the game, establishing 544 chances and 110 consecutive games without an error, a new major league mark for shortstops.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Tigers become the first major league team to have four pitchers make their big league debut during the same game. Twenty year-old starter Jeremy Bonderman, who gives up six runs on nine hits in four innings, is followed by rookies Wilfredo Ledezma, Chris Spurling, and Matt Roney in the 8-1 loss to the Twins.
Todd Zeile homers in his first at-bat as a Yankee, becoming the only major leaguer to hit a home run for ten different teams, surpassing Tommy Davis, who went deep for nine different clubs. In addition to homering with the Bronx Bombers, the infielder has also gone deep for the Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins, Rangers, Mets, and Rockies.
At the age of 27 years, 249 days of age, Alex Rodriguez becomes the youngest player in major league history to hit 300 home runs. The Ranger shortstop’s fifth inning three-run blast off Anaheim’s Ramon Ortiz in the Rangers’ 11-5 loss at Edison Field surpasses the mark established in 1935 by Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx, who had accomplished the feat when being 79 days older than A-Rod.
During the Royals’ Opening Day ESPN telecast, commentator Joe Morgan announces the team will honor the late Buck O’Neil by placing a fan who best exemplifies his spirit in a special seat during every home game at Kauffman Stadium. The first person to sit in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat easily identified by its red color in a sea of blue behind home plate, is the Negro League legend’s younger brother, Warren.
Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory’s ceremonial first pitch before the Reds’ home opener lands thirty feet up the first base line from home plate, widely missing its intended target, a bewildered Eric Davis. The terrible toss will receive national media attention, including the politician receiving a second chance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, an opportunity in which His Honor will also widely miss the mark.
In his first big league at-bat, rookie third baseman Alex Gordon, the Royals #1 pick and second overall in 2005, receives a standing ovation from the Kauffman Stadium crowd when he steps to the plate. The former Golden Spikes Award is the fourth player in franchise history to make his major league debut on Opening Day.
Josh Hamilton receives a 22-second standing ovation from the fans at Great American Ball Park as he makes his major league debut. The Reds’ 25 year-old rookie, a former number one draft choice who has overcome a nearly career-ending history of substance abuse, lines out pinch-hitting for pitcher Kirk Saarloos in the eighth inning and then plays left field for the remainder of the 5-1 Opening Day victory over Chicago.
Mike Hampton, who signed the richest contract ever given to a pitcher, makes his Rockies debut, getting the victory when the team beat the Cardinals, 8-0. The $123.8 million southpaw will get off to a quick 9-2 start for Colorado but will finish his stay in the mountains 21-28 along with an ERA of 5.75 over the next one and half seasons before being dealt to the Braves.
For only the fourth time in major league history, a hurler under the age of 21 wins an Opening Day assignment when 20 year-old Venezuelan right-hander Felix Hernandez pitches eight strong innings in the Mariners’ 4-0 victory over the A’s at Safeco Field. Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers was the last pitcher ‘not of age’ to accomplish the feat, beating the Astros, 2-0, in 1981.
Third base ump Ed Montague tosses Larry Bowa for not staying within the boundaries of the coaching box although he warned the Dodger coach several times to follow the new edict put in place by MLB following the tragic death of Tulsa Drillers’ first base coach Mike Coolbaugh. The former infielder and manager’s behavior will lead to a three-game suspension for “inappropriate and aggressive conduct,” in which he had to be restrained by manager Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer in the sixth inning of the 3-2 victory over the Giants in Los Angeles.
4/2/2008: In the top of the 5th inning, the Mets Carlos Beltran hit a deep fly ball off the Marlins Matt Lindstrom to right-center field. The ball cleared the wall, struck a metal railing and bounced up in the air, landing back in the field of play. It was initially called a home run by third base umpire Jeff Kellogg. Kellogg was incorrectly overruled by second base umpire Rick Reed and Beltran was given a double, his third of the game.
The injury-ravaged New York Mets round out their roster by making six cuts, sending Ps Nelson Figueroa, Kiko Calero, Bobby Parnell and Elmer Dessens, along with IF Russ Adams and OF Chris Carter, major league veterans all, down to AAA Buffalo. Among those that make it through the day are veteran Frank Catalanotto, a spring training invitee, and 20-year-old P Jenrry Mejia.
For the second time in two games this year, Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler leads off with a home run, the first player ever to do so, victimizing John Lackey after teeing off against Jon Lester on Opening Day. The Rangers go on to crush the Red Sox, 12 – 5, as 3B Adrian Beltre belts a grand slam against his former team and Yorvit Torrealba and Nelson Cruz also go deep. For the Sox, David Ortiz sets a record for most career RBI by a designated hitter with a two-run homer and a run-scoring ground ball, passing Edgar Martinez, and Jacoby Ellsbury hits his first long ball since 2009. Colby Lewis is the winner for Texas.
The Commissioner’s office demands that the New York Yankees stop relaying hand signals from the stands to their hitters at New Yankee Stadium, something which is expressly prohibited by a directive from Major League Baseball. GM Brian Cashman apologizes to Joe Garagiola Jr. and says the team will comply.
Ian Kinsler leads off the bottom of the first with a round-tripper off Red Sox’ Jon Lackey to become the first major leaguer ever to hit leadoff homers in each of his team’s first two games. On Opening Day, the Texas second baseman also took Boston’s Jon Lester deep as the Rangers’ first batter of the season.
Ichiro Suzuki breaks the Mariner’s franchise record with an infield singles off A’s reliever Brian Fuentes in the team’s 5-2 victory over Oakland. The Seattle right fielder, beginning his 11 season with the M’s, surpasses the total of 2,247 hits established by Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez, Seattle’s designated hitter from 1987 to 2004.
David Ortiz breaks the major league record for RBIs by a designated hitter, established by Seattle’s Edgar Martinez. ‘Big Papi,’ who hit a two-run homer in the second to tie the mark, drives in Alex Gonzalez for his record-setting 1,004th career run batted in as a DH with a fourth-inning groundout to first base in the Red Sox’ 12-5 loss to Texas.
Yu Darvish flirts with perfection in his first start of the season for the Rangers, retiring the first 26 Astros batters he faces in succession before Marwin Gonzalez singles through the middle with two outs in the 9th. Having struck out 14 batters and with his pitch count at 111, Darvish is then removed from the game and reliever Michael Kirkman gets the game’s final out after allowing another single, to Jose Altuve. Texas wins, 7 – 0.
Madison Bumgarner of the Giants turns the table on the Dodgers, avenging the Opening Day shutout by Clayton Kershaw by pitching 8 scoreless innings of his own, giving up only two hits, as the Giants win, 3 – 0. Sergio Romo pitches a perfect 9th inning for the save, while South Korean pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu is a loser in his major league debut.
The Indians spoil Opening Day for the much-heralded revamped Blue Jays, scoring two runs off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey in the 2nd inning, thanks to a pair of passed balls by C J.P. Arencibia, who has all kinds of trouble handling his new batterymate’s dancing pitches. Asdrubal Cabrera adds a two-run homer in the 5th for a 4 – 1 win at the Rogers Centre. Justin Masterson gets the win and Chris Perez the save.
Marwin Gonzalez’s two-out, ninth-inning single, a hit that goes through the box between the pitcher’s legs, spoils Yu Darvish’s bid for a perfect game. The 26 year-old Ranger starter is removed from the Minute Maid Park contest after giving up the most extended hit and watches reliever Michael Kirkman close the Texas 7-0 victory over Houston.
Rookie catcher Tony Sanchez, pinch-hitting in the bottom of the 16th inning, singles in the winning run to end the 5-hour and 55-minute marathon, now the longest game in Pittsburgh history by time. The 4-3 victory over Chicago took six minutes longer to play than when the Bucs beat the Astros, 8-7, in an 18-inning contest played in 2006.
The 2017 Major League Baseball season opens with three games. In the first of those, the Rays jump on Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka for 7 runs in 2 2/3 innings, including homers by Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison to cruise to a 7-3 win. Chris Archer, who led the major in losses in 2016 with 19, starts off the year with a win.
Madison Bumgarner becomes the first pitcher to homer twice on opening day as he connects off Zack Greinke in the 5th and Andrew Chafin in the 7th. The Giants have a 5 – 4 lead over the Diamondbacks entering the bottom of the 9th, but with two outs and nobody on, newly signed closer Mark Melancon chokes, allowing a double to Jeff Mathis and three consecutive singles, the last by Chris Owings, as Arizona rallies for a 6 – 5 win.
2019 – Returning to Washington, DC for the first time since signing a record free agent contract with the Phillies this spring, Bryce Harper is welcomed with a very loud chorus of boos before each of his at-bats. He has the last laugh, however, as he collects 3 hits, including a massive 458-foot two-run homer off Jeremy Hellickson in the 8th, to lead the Phils to an 8 – 2 win over the Nationals.
1993 – Nolan Ryan pitches in the Dome for the last time, a 4-3 exhibition loss for his Texas Rangers. A packed house of over 53,000 cheer the 46-year-old Alvin legend. Luis Gonzalez’ three hits help to stake Pete Harnisch to a 4-0 lead over the future Hall-Of-Famer, who struck out only one batter in six innings.