This Day In Baseball April 12
Baseball history on April 12 includes Major League baseball players born that day of the year, Major League baseball players who died on that date, baseball players who made their Major League debut on that date, and Major League baseball players who appeared in their final game that date.
Events for April 12
Former Cubs pilot Joe McCarthy makes his debut as Yankee manager, beating Boston at the Bronx ballpark, 6-3. The future Hall of Fame manager, who is the team’s all-time leader in managerial wins with 1460, guides the club to eight pennants and seven World Championships during his 16-year tenure in the Bronx.
During a preseason exhibition game in Brooklyn, the Ebbets Field public address announcer informs the crowd, including the new dad as he approaches home plate to bat, “Mickey doesn’t know it yet, but he has just become the father of an eight-pound, twelve-ounce baby boy.” Mickey Mantle Jr., whose given middle name is Elven in memory of the Yankee slugger’s recently deceased dad, is the first of four children, all sons, with his wife, Merlyn.
Pinch-hitting for Warren Spahn, Chuck Tanner, who becomes better known for his managerial skills, hits a home run for the Braves on the first pitch of his first major league at-bat. The 26 year-old outfielder’s eighth-inning round-tripper off Gerry Staley ties the score in Milwaukee’s eventual 4-2 victory over Cincinnati at County Stadium.
At Municipal Stadium, the recently arrived Athletics beat the Tigers, 6-2, in their first game in Kansas City. At first, the franchise’s shift from Philadelphia will be warmly received by the Missouri fans as the A’s draw 1,393,054 patrons to the ballpark in their first season, second only to the Yankees in American League attendance.
With 42,269 fans in attendance, the San Francisco Giants edge the St. Louis Cardinals, 3 – 1, in the first game played at Candlestick Park. Giants pitcher Sam Jones throws a three-hitter, and Cardinals outfielder Leon Wagner hits the first home run in the $15-million stadium. In the 3rd inning, the umpires protest that the foul poles are several inches in fair territory, rather than on the foul lines; the Giants will make the correction after the season.
In the first game ever played at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, after Vice President Richard Nixon throws out the ceremonial first pitch, Giants’ starter Sam Jones three-hits the Cardinals, 3-1. During the third inning, the foul poles are discovered to be located entirely in fair territory, leading to a protest made by the umpires.
When is scoring position not scoring position, Part 2. An older and wiser Willie Mays has clearly profited from his July 25, 1958 debacle vis-à-vis the rifle that hangs from the shoulder of Roberto Clemente. “They say that if you don’t get to Bob Veale early, you never will,” writes Giants beat writer Bob Stevens. “The Giants almost did in the 4th and some say third base coach Charlie Fox suffered from a flash of conservatism. Willie had singled into left and was wild-pitched to second. Jim Ray Hart struck out, looking. Willie McCovey popped to second base. Two out. Jesus Alou strung a line drive single into right field, a ball solidly hit. Fox stopped Mays after Willie had gone 15 feet down the third base line toward home. Willie went to his knees as he applied the brakes and had to scramble back on all fours to get back to the bag. Tom Haller struck out. If Fox had opened the gates and let Mays go, and if Willie had made it, the Giants would have won in nine innings. But I think Clemente’s throw would have eaten him up.” As does Mays himself: “The ball was hit too good and Clemente got it at his knees. I just couldn’t take a chance on Clemente’s arm.”
Richie Allen of the Philadelphia Phillies hits the first regular-season home run in the history of the Astrodome. Allen connects against Houston Astros pitcher Bob Bruce in the Phillies’ 2 – 0 victory. Previously, Mickey Mantle had hit the first overall home run in the Astrodome in an exhibition game between the Astros and the New York Yankees.
The A’s mascot Charlie-O the Mule, chosen to highlight the role the Missouri mules played in Allies victory in World War I by lugging ammunition and supplies through the mud and snow of France, makes his debut on Opening Night at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium. In a pregame ceremony, Warren Hearnes, the governor of Missouri, presents the 1,400-pound animal to team owner Charlie O.Finley, who rides his namesake much to the delight of the 18,109 fans attending the game against the Tigers.
Bobby Witt ties an American League record, committing four balks in the Rangers’ 4-1 loss in Detroit. The major league record for the most balks in one game is five, established in 1963 by Braves’ right-hander Bob Shaw, which included three in the third inning of the team’s 7-5 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
1992 – At Cleveland Stadium, Boston Red Sox left-hander Matt Young pitches eight no-hit innings, but loses a 2 – 1 decision to the Cleveland Indians in the first game of a doubleheader. In the second game, Roger Clemens shut outs Cleveland as the Indians manage only two hits against him, setting a major league club-record for fewest hits (2) in a twinbill.
Barry Bonds, who signed a six-year, $43 million deal as a free agent, the richest contract in baseball history, delights the crowd of 56,689 at Candlestick Park by homering in his first at-bat in front of the hometown fans. The clean-up hitter’s second-inning drive to deep right field off Mike Hammond proves to be the difference in San Francisco’s 4-3 extra-inning victory over Florida.
The Blue Jays postpone the game against the Royals when SkyDome’s retractable dome gets jammed during a routine test opening, sending chunks of the roof, some as big as eight feet by six feet, crashing onto the field below. The gaping hole in the dome is clearly visible from the outside of the ballpark, making the damage easy to spot by the city’s commuters on a nearby expressway.
Fenway’s Green Monster, the left field wall in the major league’s smallest park, has a new look. In the place of a net that was used to collect home runs balls that cleared the wall, the fans now occupy the space, sitting 310 feet away and 40 feet above the field, as they watch Red Sox right-hander Pedro Martinez give up ten runs in 4.1 innings in a 13-6 loss to the Orioles.
With a 5-2 victory over the Indians at Cleveland’s Jacobs Field, the Royals set a franchise record for victories at the start of the season, winning their ninth consecutive game since Opening Day. In 1977, Kansas City won 16 straight from August 31 through September 15 for overall team’s mark for consecutive wins.
At the Giants’ home opener at SBC Park, the torch is passed both literally and figuratively as Barry Bonds hit his 660th career homer to tie his godfather, Willie Mays, for third on the all-time home run list. The 72 year-old Hall of Famer Mays greets his godson at home plate with a torch studded with $18,000 of diamonds forming the numbers 660, 25, which is Barry’s number, and 1, the number to needed move ahead.
Twenty-two year-old college senior Jeffrey Maier hits a third-inning two-bagger against Bates to become the all-time career hits leader at Wesleyan, with 169, surpassing the 2003 mark set by Bill Robinson. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound third baseman gained national notoriety a decade ago as a 12 year-old young fan when he leaned over the Yankee Stadium fence to catch Derek Jeter’s fly ball ‘homer’, which prevented Orioles outfielder Tony Tarasco from catching the ball during the 1996 ALCS.
Mike Hartley becomes perhaps the first former major leaguer to play in the Bundesliga. The 46-year-old player-coach throws two relief innings, walking two, striking out two and allowing one unearned run in a 10 – 8 win for the Heidenheim Heideköpfe over the Mainz Athletics. Simon Gühring, a former Brewers minor leaguer, gets 3 hits to lead Heidenheim’s offense.
Fausto Álvarez becomes the oldest player in Hoofdklasse history. In a 13 – 2 opening day win for Amsterdam, the slugger who is 47 years and 5 months old, shows no signs of age. He goes 4 for 4 with a home run. Álvarez breaks Stan Bahnsen’s record; Bahnsen was 47 years and 4 months when he last played in the Netherlands.
For the second time in a week, a team draws four bases-loaded walks in one inning. This time, it’s the Chicago Cubs who profit, in a game in which four Brewer pitchers issue 10 free passes and hit two batters. The Cubs score 4 runs in the top of the 4th inning thanks to Milwaukee’s generosity, but the key play in the 9 – 5 victory happens in the bottom of the 5th when Reed Johnson robs Prince Fielder of a grand slam by climbing over the right field fence at Miller Park. Ryan Dempster is the winner in the nationally-televized contest. On April 8th, the Phillies had also drawn four bases-loaded walks in an inning.
Aaron Harang of the Cincinnati Reds pitches the first shutout of the season when he disposes of the Pirates, 2 – 0, on three hits. Brandon Phillips hits a two-run homer for the Reds. Pittsburgh pulls off a triple play in the 8th inning in going down in defeat. It is the first triple play by Pittsburgh in 16 years and their first one on the road since 1968, when Gene Alley and Bill Mazeroski teamed with Donn Clendenon on one, also against Cincinnati.
Two star second basemen go on the disabled list today. The Orioles’ Brian Roberts is the victim of a strained abdominal muscle and will be spelled by Julio Lugo. For their part, the Blue Jays have to do without Aaron Hill, who goes on the DL with an injured hamstring. They lose their home opener to the Chicago White Sox, 8 – 7, in 11 innings, even though Hill’s replacement, John McDonald, turns four double plays. Five homers are hit in the game, including Andruw Jones’s first two in a White Sox uniform.
The Minnesota Twins inaugurate their new outdoor ballpark, Target Field, with a 5 – 2 win over the Red Sox. A host of former Twins greats, including Hall of Famers Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew, joined by Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek and Frank Viola, among others, are on hand to witness the historic game. Carl Pavano picks up the win while Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel pace the offence with three hits and two RBI each.
New Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, describing himself as a former “Wrigley bleacher bum” in his days in university, attends the team’s first home opener since his purchase of the club. He is witness to a 9 – 5 win over the Brewers; Xavier Nady, Jeff Baker and Aramis Ramirez all homer for the Cubs.
The Rangers’ excellent but injury-prone outfielder, Josh Hamilton, is headed back to the disabled list after fracturing his humerus bone just below the shoulder while sliding at home in the 1st inning of today’s game with Detroit. Hamilton is out on the scoring attempt, and the Tigers go on to win the game, 5 – 4, when Miguel Cabrera singles off Darren O’Day with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 9th to break a 4 – 4 tie.
The 2011 Nippon Pro Baseball season finally kicks off, having been delayed for weeks due to the March 11th earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country. In the most emotional game, the Rakuten Golden Eagles (whose home city of Sendai was among the hardest-hit areas) kick off with a 6 – 4 win over the Chiba Lotte Marines at QVC Marine Field. Motohiro Shima hits a three-run homer off Yoshihisa Naruse to power the way for Rakuten, while Hisashi Iwakuma tosses shutout ball before fading in the 9th; Ryan Speier wraps it up for his first save in Japan. A 6.3 magnitude aftershock provides a reminder of the previous month’s disaster, as if any was needed.
The Rakuten Eagles, unable to use their stadium due to the extensive damage caused by last month’s massive earthquake and tsunami, beat the Chiba Lotte Marines at QVC Marine Field, 6-4, in Japan’s Pacific League opener. The crowd of 22,525 attending the game are not disturbed feeling an aftershock at the ballpark caused by an earthquake in Chiba earlier in the day.
The Yankees turn only their second triple play since 1969 in defeating the Orioles, 5 – 2. With two men on in the 8th, Manny Machado hits a hard grounder to 2B Robinson Cano. The play then goes 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 as Alexi Casilla is caught in a rundown between second and third, and Machado is erased when he attempts to take second during that time. It is the first time that a triple killing has taken that particular circuitous route.
The Blue Jays continue their cursed beginning to the season, losing SS Jose Reyes when he suffers an ankle injury sliding into second base on a stolen base attempt in the 6th inning of today’s game with the Royals. He is expected to be out for three months. The Jays win, 8 – 4, but the loss of Reyes casts a huge pall on celebrations.
2015 – After one week of action in the major leagues, two teams are still undefeated, and both play in the AL Central. The defending American League champions, the Kansas City Royals, complete a three-game team of the Angels with a 9 – 2 win behind starter Yordano Ventura to improve to 6-0. Meanwhile, the Tigers are keeping pace as their 8 – 5 win over Cleveland also completes a week-end sweep; Miguel Cabrera hits two homers while going 4-for-4 for the day and 11-for-14 in the series.
1970- Astros blast five home runs to trounce Phil Niekro and the Braves, 8-3 . Jim Wynn has the most memorable shot, a rocket that doesn’t come to rest until it finds the gold (upper reserved) seats in the third inning (section 738C, row 6, seat 3) . That bested his blast into the purple seats in the first. Tommy Davis, Joe Pepitone and Doug Rader go yard as well, making an easy night for starter Larry Dierker.