This Day In Baseball April 10
Debuts, Milestones, No Hitters, Rule Changes, Events, Birthdays, Deaths, and more on This Day In Baseball.
Events for April 10
1913 – In a game which features U.S. President Woodrow Wilson throwing out the first pitch, the New York Highlanders become the New York Yankees. Playing their first game under their new nickname, the Yankees lose to the Washington Senators, 2 – 1, as future Hall of Famer Walter Johnson picks up the win for Washington. After giving up an unearned run in the 1st inning, Johnson begins a string of shutout innings that will reach a major league record 56 before the St. Louis Browns score in the 4th inning on May 14th.
1947 – In one of the most significant moments in baseball history, Jackie Robinson becomes the first black player of the 20th century to sign a major league contract. Robinson agrees a one-year deal with the Brooklyn Dodgers, whose general manager, Branch Rickey, personally recruited Robinson from the Negro Leagues.
On the heels of his career year in 1961, Roberto Clemente hits a game-winning grand slam on opening day for the Pirates. He lofts one of losing pitcher Jim Owens’ deliveries over the left-centerfield wall at a spot 406 feet from home plate. It will be the only Pirates Opening Day grand slam until Neil Walker hits one in 2011.
At Colt Stadium, the Houston Colt .45s make their major league debut with an 11 – 2 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Houston right fielder Roman Mejias hits a pair of three-run home runs before a crowd of 25,271 fans. Bobby Shantz pitches a complete-game five-hitter and Don Cardwell is the loser. The Colt .45s and New York Mets join the National League as expansion teams this year.
Wally Post hits the first home run in Dodger Stadium history, a two-out, three-run shot in the seventh inning off Johnny Podres that proves to be the difference in the Cincinnati’s 6-3 victory. The left fielder’s round-tripper to center field is a fair ball, unlike some others hit in the ballpark where the foul poles are discovered to be positioned in foul territory, requiring special permission from the National League to be recognized as fair during the first year in the team’s new home in Chavez Ravine.
In front of 52,564 fans, Reds infielder Eddie Kasko doubles off of Johnny Podres in the first ever at-bat at Dodger Stadium, and Duke Snider’s single in the bottom of the second accounts for the home team’s first hit. After playing their first four seasons at the LA Memorial Coliseum, the team drops a 6-3 decision to the Reds in the debut of the new $22 million ballpark in Chavez Ravine, financed with a low two-percent interest loan from the Union Oil Company in exchange for exclusive rights to advertise within the stadium.
1968 – Roberto Clemente’s opening day optical illusion goes for naught as Pittsburgh’s newly acquired answer to its pitching problem, Jim Bunning, fresh off his career year with Philadelphia, provides an unwelcome harbinger of what will be a very trying season and, in so doing, marks the beginning of the distinctly mediocre final phase of his Hall of Fame career. But it’s just another day at the office for Clemente, as he provides one of those signature moments when, as Frank Robinson recalls, “You’d watch him and find yourself saying to the guy next to you, ‘Did you see that?'” Unfortunately, Bunning, Juan Pizarro and Ron Kline combine to squander Pittsburgh’s 4 – 2 advantage in the final frame, thus leaving Clemente’s magical moment (and his 3rd-inning, tie-breaking homer) somewhat adrift: “Rookie Hal King couldn’t believe Roberto Clemente caught his long fly down the right field line for the third out in the 2nd inning,” writes Les Biederman in the Pittsburgh Press. “King had just turned second base when he heard the crowd groan and saw the Pirates running off the field. He stopped, gave a bewildered look and kept glancing down the right field line to see how it was possible.”
1974 – After a number of snowouts, the Expos finally open their season with an epic 11 – 8 win over the Pirates. Trailing 6 – 5 heading in the top of the 9th, Montreal scores three runs off Dave Giusti, but Bob Robertson hits a two-run pinch homer off Chuck Taylor to tie the game with two outs in the bottom of the 9th. The Expos manage to score three runs off a tiring Ramon Hernandez in the 13th, with a double by rookie 2B Jim Cox driving in the go-ahead run. Taylor is still on the mound to pitch the bottom of the 13th, his sixth inning of relief, and he sets down the Bucs in order to earn the win.
1976 – Don Money hits a 9th-inning grand slam to give the Milwaukee Brewers an apparent 10 – 9 win over the New York Yankees. The umpires, however, rule that first baseman Chris Chambliss had called time out prior to the pitch. Money returns to the plate and flies out to right. The Brewers lose, 9 – 7.
4/10/1976: On the second day of the season in Milwaukee, Don Money batted with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and the Brewers behind the Yankees 9-6. Before Dave Pagan delivered his second pitch to Money, New York manager Billy Martin yelled to first baseman Chris Chambliss to call time. Chambliss asked umpire Jim McKean. Money hit the pitch and circled the bases. The Brewers celebrated and went into the clubhouse thinking they had won for the second time in two games. However, before Money crossed the plate Martin was on the field arguing with McKean. After a couple of minutes of Martin’s tirade, the umpires sent for the Brewers to come back on the field. The Brewers were obviously upset about the call. First base coach Harvey Keunn said that the pitcher was already in his motion when Chambliss yelled for time. Some Brewers went so far as to say that Martin intimidated McKean into reversing the homer. The Yankees won the game, 9-7, and the Brewers protested the outcome to no avail.
With the bases loaded and the Brewers trailing the Yankees by three runs, Don Money blasts Dave Pagan’s 1-0 pitch deep into the left-field bleachers for an apparent walk-off grand slam. After the outfielder circles the bases, the home run is nullified when New York manager Billy Martin vehemently charges the field insisting a timeout had been called before the pitch by first base umpire Jim McKean, who initially denies the skipper’s claim, but then admits he had, leading to Milwaukee’s eventual 9-7 heartbreaking loss.
After yesterday’s 10-2 Opening Day rout by the Blue Jays, White Sox owner Bill Veeck offers free admission to fans for tomorrow’s Comiskey Park contest. The outcome will also be disappointing for the Southside fans when the Pale Hose allows six Toronto runs to score in the top of the eighth inning and lose the game, 9-7.
1980 – On Opening Day at County Stadium, Sixto Lezcano hits a grand slam off Dick Drago with two outs in the 9th inning, to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 9 – 5 victory over the Boston Red Sox. Lezcano also opened the 1978 season with a grand slam, becoming the first player in major league history to do it twice on Opening Day.
At Arlington Stadium’s season opener, Jon Matlack and Yankee southpaw Ron Guidry match zeroes for nine innings. In the 12th, with his 1978 Opening Day nemesis, Richie Zisk, at the plate, Goose Gossage allows Mickey Rivers to score the game’s only run from third base when his first and only pitch is wild, giving the Rangers a 1-0 victory.
1997 – The Chicago Cubs fall to 0-8, the worst start in the club’s 122-year history, following a 1 – 0 loss to the Florida Marlins at frigid Wrigley Field. Florida pitcher Alex Fernandez, making his first appearance in Chicago since he left the White Sox over the winter as a free agent, is two outs away from a no-hitter when pinch-hitter Dave Hansen legs out an infield hit off the pitcher’s glove. Fernandez settles for the one-hitter.
Following the lead of the NHL’s Bruins and the NFL’s Patriots, the Red Sox begin playing Ed Cobb’s Dirty Water, a song sung by the Standells known for its iconic lyrics, ‘Boston you’re my home,’ after the home team wins. The debut of the Fenway Park tradition is memorable when the inaugural use of the team’s victory anthem plays on the PA system as Mo Vaughn is circling the bases following his walk-off grand slam, giving the BoSox, who had entered the frame trailing by five runs, an improbable 9-7 walk-off victory over Seattle.
In a 7 – 6 victory over the Cardinals at Coors Field, the Colorado Rockies turn the first triple play in club history. With Scott Rolen on second base and Tino Martinez on first, Colorado first baseman Todd Helton catches Orlando Palmeiro’s soft liner for the first out and throws to shortstop Jose Hernandez who steps on second for the second out and then tags Martinez to complete the feat.
In a 7-6 victory over the Cardinals at Coors Field, the Rockies turned the first triple play in club history. With Scott Rolen on second base and Tino Martinez on first, Colorado’s first baseman Todd Helton catches Orlando Palmeiro’s soft liner for the first out and throws to shortstop Jose Hernandez, who steps on second for the second out and then tags Martinez to complete the triple killing.
During the Devil Rays’ home opener, a snippet of More Cowbell, a skit from Saturday Night Live, originally aired in the spring of 2000, is shown at Tropicana Field. The use of the video clip, suggested by the team’s new principal owner Stuart Sternberg, will inspire the Tampa Bay fans to start the tradition of clanging bells at the ballpark during games.
After four days of weather-induced postponements, including blinding snow and sub-freezing temperatures, the Cleveland Indians play their home opener on the road, beating the Angels at Miller Park in Milwaukee, 7-6. The last time a series changed venues, the games were played in U.S. Cellular Field when the Marlins hosted the Expos in Chicago due to Hurricane Ivan hitting Miami in September of 2004.
In the nationally-televised Sunday-night game, the Red Sox shut out the Yankees, 4 – 0, thanks to a dominating performance by Josh Beckett, who gives up only 2 hits in 8 innings while striking out 10. The Red Sox strand 16 baserunners but manage to squeak a run off CC Sabathia on Mike Cameron’s infield single in the 3rd, before tacking on a few insurance runs late in the game. Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon combine to retire the final 17 New York batters in order.
The Miami Marlins announce that they are suspending manager Ozzie Guillen for five games for making remarks supportive of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in a recent Time magazine interview. The Marlins decide to act even though Guillen has apologized in order to stem the groundswell of protest from Miami’s large Cuban community.
The Braves win their first game this season, 6 – 4, over the Houston Astros, as Chipper Jones homers in his first game of the year. The win snaps a nine-game losing streak dating back to the Braves’ collapse at the end of the 2011 season, which cost them a playoff spot. Rookie SS Tyler Pastornicky hits his first major league homer for Atlanta as Houston wears the uniforms of the Houston Colt .45s in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first game in team history.
Vin Scully misses the Dodgers’ home opener for the first time in 35 years when doctors order the 84 year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster to rest as he recovers from a bad cold. The last time the team’s play-by-play announcer was absent from the season’s first home game he was calling the first round of the Masters in 1977.
The Boston Red Sox’s record streak of sell-outs at Fenway Park ends after 820 games as the attendance for today’s game against the Orioles is 30,862, well below the stadium’s capacity of 37,493. The streak had begun on May 15, 2003 and included 794 regular-season games and 26 postseason contests. It easily surpassed the previous record of 455, set by the Cleveland Indians between 1995 and 2001. The streak went on even though Fenway’s seating capacity was increased by 5000 over the period.
2014 – As usual, sparks fly in the first meeting of the season between the Yankees and Red Sox. New York defeats Boston, 4 – 1, behind the pitching of Michael Pineda, but Boston’s broadcasters claim they have detected pine tar on Pineda’s pitching hand. The Yankees’ hurler dismisses the claim, saying it is just sweat mixed with dirt, while umpire Brian O’Nora states that nothing of concern was brought to his attention.
Twenty-four year-old sophomore hurler Danny Salazar strikes out ten White Sox batters in 3.2 innings during the Indians’ loss at U.S. Cellular Field, marking the first time since 1914 that a starting pitcher whiffed ten batters without finishing the fourth frame. The right-hander gives up five earned runs and six hits and gets all his outs via the strikeout, except for Adam Eaton, who is thrown out at second base, trying to stretch a single into a double for the first out in the third inning.
The Yankees and Red Sox lock horns in a 19-inning marathon, the game ending with the Red Sox coming out on top, 6 – 5, at 2:13 AM. The game is further lengthened by a 16-minute delay caused by a power outage in the 12th inning at New Yankee Stadium. Chase Headley forces extra innings with a homer off Edward Mujica with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, then David Ortiz and Mark Teixeira exchange solo homers in the 16th, and both teams score once in the 18th as well, further extending the game. Xander Bogaerts scores the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Mookie Betts, and this time Steven Wright, in his fifth inning of relief work, keeps the Yankees from replying.
Mound opponents Cubs Travis Wood and Tyler Matzek of the Rockies each hit eighth in their team’s lineup, marking just the 12th time in major league history that both pitchers have not batted ninth in the same game. The last time this occurred was in 2008 when the Cardinals, led by Tony La Russa, who frequently employed his hurler in that slot, played the Pirates.
Mark Buehrle becomes the 113th pitcher in major league history to win 200 games when he hurls six solid innings in Toronto’s 12-5 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards. The 36 year-old southpaw, who has also played for the White Sox and Marlins, is the second pitcher to reach the milestone while wearing a Blue Jays uniform, joining Roger Clemens, who accomplished the feat in 1997.
At Great American Ball Park, Reds closer Aroldis Chapman throws a 101 mph fastball by Matt Holliday to get the last out in the team’s 5-4 victory over St. Louis, making the fireballer the leader in saves by a Cuban-born player with 115. The 27 year-old Holguin native surpasses Pinar del Rio’s Danys Baez, who, beginning in 2001, closed for six teams during his ten-year tenure in the major leagues.
After a wait of 108 years, a two-hour rain delay pushes back the ceremony to raise the Cubs’ 2016 World Championship banner at Wrigley Field a little bit more, but a boisterous sellout crowd is on hand to see 1B Anthony Rizzo being the first player to raise the flag and to take the World Series Trophy on the field. Rizzo is then the hero of the home opener, as his 9th-inning single off Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers drives in the winning run in a 3 – 2 win.
2018 – The Red Sox win their first confrontation of the season with their arch rivals the Yankees by knockout. The 14 – 1 victory is Boston’s 9th straight win after a loss on Opening Day, and is highlighted by a nine-run 6th inning, the most runs allowed by New York in an inning in two decades. Mookie Betts goes 4 for 4, scores 5 runs and hits a grand slam in the big inning to lead the Sox.
2019 – The surprising Mariners continue to be the hottest team in the majors, improving to 12-2 with a 6 – 5 win over the Royals. Mitch Haniger hits a tie-breaking homer with two outs in the 9th, and Seattle has now homered in its first 14 games matching the 2002 Indians as the only two teams ever to do so. For Kansas City, which suffers its 9th straight loss, Whit Merrifield sets a new team record by extending his hitting streak to 31 games, dating back to last season, with a bunt single in the 7th. The record had previously been held by Royals legend George Brett.
1971 – Chicago great Ferguson Jenkins is sailing along with a four-hit shutout and a 1-0 lead through eight innings when the Astros win without hitting a ball past the infield. Cesar Cedeno’s scratch hit starts it off. Two walks later, Cedeno bluffs a break for the plate which causes Jenkins to balk home the tying run. Jenkins then misplays Roger Metzger’s botched squeeze bunt for an error as Cesar Geronimo scores the game-winner.
1962 Major League Baseball officially starts in Houston as the Colt .45s make a big hit in their 11-2 Opening Day win against the Chicago Cubs. Bobby Shantz gets the victory, striking out Lou Brock as the first batter. Roman Mejias belts two home runs and drives in six for the Colts. Hal Smith also homers. In all, quite a 50th birthday gift for team owner Judge Roy Hofheinz.
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