This Day In Baseball April 14
Debuts, Milestones, No Hitters, Rule Changes, Events, Birthdays, Deaths, and more on This Day In Baseball.
Events for April 14
1880 – The new Cincinnati Bank Street Grounds is opened with an exhibition game between the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the visiting Washington Nationals. The park seats 3,490 and will serve professional teams in three leagues: the National League this year, the American Associaton in 1882 and 1883, and the Union Association in 1884.
1903 – Ed Delahanty, one of five major league brothers, and the greatest natural hitter of his time, rejoins the Washington Nationals in accordance with the baseball peace terms. A three-year contract with the New York Giants at $8,000 a season, signed during the winter, is canceled. The Nationals reimburse the Giants for the $3,000 advanced to Delahanty.
William Howard Taft becomes the first U.S. President to throw out a ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day. Attending the game in Washington, D.C., President Taft tosses the first ball to future Hall of Famer Walter Johnson, who pitches the first of his 14 Opening Day Washington games, striking out nine, en route to a 3 – 0 one-hit shutout against Eddie Plank and the Philadelphia Athletics. A double by Home Run Baker – caused by right fielder Doc Gessler tripping over a fan who had spilled out of overflow seating – spoils Johnson’s chance at an opening day no-hitter. Gabby Street is the Senators’ catcher, the only opener in which he catches for Johnson.
In the season opener before 25,000 at New York’s Hilltop Park, the Boston Red Sox sport laced collars, the last major league team to wear a collar. Boston sends the New York Highlanders into extra innings before the game is called at the end of 14 innings with the score, 4 – 4. Ed Cicotte starts for Boston, with Joe Wood relieving in the 8th inning. Hippo Vaughn goes all the way for New York, retiring Boston batters in the 4th and 12th innings on four pitches. He needs just three pitches in the 10th.
Two future Hall of Famers make their major league debuts with the Philadelphia Athletics in the same game. Lefty Grove starts against the Boston Red Sox and leaves in the 4th inning after walking four and striking out nobody. He gives up five runs on six hits. In the 8th inning, Mickey Cochrane pinch-hits a single, while the Athletics go on to score nine runs in the last four innings to win, 9 – 8, in ten innings. Grove, known as Groves in Baltimore, is also listed that way in the New York Times box score. Grove will become the first pitcher to lead the American League in strikeouts and walks in the same year.
The Cleveland Indians open the season with a 21 – 14 victory over the St. Louis Browns. The Indians score 12 runs in the 8th inning when the Browns make five errors. Browns first baseman George Sisler has four errors in the game, and the Indians’ 21 runs set a major league record for the most runs scored by one club on Opening Day.
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. The Chief Executive, who is historically thought to be a southpaw, will do the honors right-handed six times during his one term in the White House, all four Opening Days at Washington’s Griffith Stadium and two World Series games played at Shibe Park in the 1929 and 1930 Fall Classics.
Bob Lemon almost throws an Opening Day no-hitter against the White Sox, but the attempt is spoiled by Minnie Minoso’s first inning single. The Indians’ hurler almost loses his shutout when fleet footed outfielder Jim Rivera walks, steals second, and goes to third on a grounder, but is thrown out trying to steal home.
Roberto Clemente celebrates opening day with a 410-footer followed by a 445-footer. Unfortunately, this is Forbes Field, so neither of the long drives leaves the park. According to the Uniontown Evening Standard: “Clemente starched the ball all four times he was at the plate… In the 2nd inning Clemente lined a shot off the wall at the 406 mark. In the 5th he lashed a drive to the deepest part of centerfield …” The latter shot is characterized by Pirates beat writer Les Biederman as “one of the longest outs possible at Forbes Field. He chased Vada Pinson to the batting cage in deep center with three on for his 445-foot fly ball that turned into a sacrifice fly.”
Andre Rodgers becomes the first Bahamian to play in the major leagues when he grounds into a 6-4 force play facing Bob Friend in the top of the second inning of the Giants’ 9-2 loss in Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field. The 22 year-old shortstop’s roommate and fellow Caribbean, Valmy Thomas, entering the game in the sixth to replace catcher Wes Westrum, also becomes the first native of the Virgin Islands to play in a big league game.
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 – Boston Red Sox rookie pitcher Billy Rohr makes a memorable debut by no-hitting the New York Yankees for eight and two-thirds innings. Elston Howard spoils Rohr’s masterpiece with a two-out single in the 9th, but the Red Sox still win, 3 – 0. Despite his impressive debut, Rohr will win only two more games in his major league career.
In the home opener at Yankee Stadium, southpaw Billy Rohr, making his major league debut, is one out from pitching a no-hitter when Elston Howard singles on a 3-2 pitch, 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 Red Sox beat the Bronx Bombers, 3-0.
Jim Bunning wins his first game for the Pittsburgh Pirates, a 3 – 0 shutout over the Dodgers. For Bunning, it is his 40th career shutout and includes his 1,000th National League strikeout, becoming the first pitcher since Cy Young to reach the 1,000 mark in both the National and American Leagues. In the game, right fielder Roberto Clemente robs Ron Fairly of a game-tying two-run homer. Understandably overshadowed by Bunning’s achievement, this pivotal defensive play gets its props in the Pittsburgh papers. Les Biederman of the Pittsburgh Press writes: “Fairly gave the 27,136 Dodgers fans a thrill when he lifted a long fly down the right field line in the 1st inning and for a moment it appeared headed into the seats. But Clemente timed his leap perfectly and came down with the ball in his glove. From the nearby bullpen, Ron Kline and Roy Face thought it might have been a home run. ‘I think the ball might have gone into the seats against nine other right fielders in the league,’ Kline added.”
At the Astrodome, New York Mets pitcher Nolan Ryan earns the first of his 324 major league victories. The 21-year-old right-hander hurls six and two-thirds innings of three-hit, shutout baseball to lead the Mets over the Houston Astros, 4 – 0. Danny Frisella takes the save in 2 1/3 innings of relief. Tommie Agee goes 2 for 3 with two runs and Art Shamsky 2 for 3 with two RBI. Larry Dierker is the losing pitcher.
Cal Ripken begins a streak which leads to the major league record for the most errorless games  and total chances  by a shortstop. At the end of June, the O’s infielder appeared to have made an error before the record was set, but official scorer Bill Steka changed his mind the next day, deciding to give Birds’ center fielder Mike Devereaux the error instead.
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 proves to be of 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.)
2005 – On a historic night at RFK Stadium, Livan Hernandez and Vinny Castilla are up to the task. Hernandez carries a one-hitter into the 9th inning and Castilla falls a single shy of the cycle as the Washington Nationals post a 5 – 3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first major league game in Washington, D.C. in over 33 years. After beginning their first season in the nation’s capital with a nine-game road trip, the Nationals start the first game at RFK Stadium since the departure of the Washington Senators with former pitcher Joe Grzenda handing a ball to U.S. President George W. Bush, who throws the ceremonial first pitch. Grzenda tossed the final pitch in Senators history against the Yankees on September 30, 1971.
The Orioles place closer Mike Gonzalez on the disabled list, retroactive to April 10th, after he struggled to an 0-2 record with an ERA of 18.00 in the season’s first week. Also going on the DL are Angels closer Brian Fuentes, who has a strained back he injured while lifting weights, and Arizona catcher Miguel Montero, who needs to undergo surgery for a torn meniscus in his right knee, injured while attempting to avoid a tag from Pittsburgh’s Zach Duke four days ago. But the biggest blow of all is to the Phillies, who place starting shortstop Jimmy Rollins on the list with a calf injury.
A judge in Dayton, OH waives a 30-day jail sentence which had been given to former minor league pitcher Julio Castillo for throwing a baseball into the stands and injuring a fan during an on-field brawl at a Dayton Dragons game in 2008. While he avoids prison time, Castillo’s prospects in organized baseball are now dim, as his conviction for assault still stands and he is ordered to leave the United States and stay away for three years.
It is Opening Day in the Italian Baseball League. In a strong pitching matchup, Jesus Matos and Victor Moreno of Unipol Bologna outduel Jesus Silva and Justin Cicatello of Cariparma Parma, 2 – 1. The contest is a rematch of last year’s Italian Series, won by Parma. Livinston Santaniello triples, scores one and drives in another to lead the Bologna offense.
Cliff Lee does his best Roy Halladay impression in shutting out the Nationals, 4 – 0, with a twelve-strikeout, three-hit performance; Halladay hurled a complete game victory over the Nats yesterday. Carlos Ruiz gives Lee the only run he needs when he leads off the 6th with a home run; Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann had set down the first 15 Phillies batters in order until that blast.
At a news conference in which he announces that P Pedro Feliciano is lost for the season because of impending shoulder surgery, Yankees GM Brian Cashman lashes out at former manager Joe Torre for his handling of pitchers. He blames Torre for chronically overusing relievers such as Scott Proctor, thereby ruining their careers. Feliciano led the National League in games pitched three consecutive years while with the New York Mets prior to joining the Yankees, although Torre had nothing to do with that.
The Indians beat the Royals, 11 – 9, in a wild 10-inning game. Benches clear in the 3rd inning after Kansas City’s Jonathan Sanchez plunks Shin-Soo Choo, and again in the bottom of the frame when Jeanmar Gomez hits Mike Moustakas. Gomez is immediately ejected by home plate umpire Gary Darling, as are Indians manager Manny Acta and 3B Jack Hannahan, the first player to join the fray. The Indians then proceed to blow a 9 – 2 lead, with the Royals scrapping runs here and there until Yuniesky Betancourt ties the game with a solo homer off Vinnie Pestano in the 8th. Choo hits a two-run double in the 10th to give Cleveland its margin of victory. For his part, Gomez will receive a five-game suspension for deliberately throwing at Moustakas, and will be fined $500, as Acta and Hannahan will also be.
The Chicago Cubs and the City of Chicago, IL agree on renovations to Wrigley Field that will cost $500 million. An electronic video scoreboard will be installed in left field, and the number of night games allowed at the historic facility will be increased. No public funds will go towards the renovations, although owner Tom Ricketts will be allowed to develop property near the ballpark to create additional revenue streams.
The Pirates and Reds go on a homer binge at Great American Ballpark, hitting 10 long balls into the rain before the game is suspended after 6 innings with the score tied at 7. The 10 homers are the most ever hit in a single game at the ballpark, and the most in any big league game since 2006. Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez go back-to-back twice for Pittsburgh, only the second time this has happened in team history, and Starling Marte and Travis Snider also pull the trick, making it only the third time that a team has hit three pairs of consecutive home runs in one game. When the game resumes a day later, no more homers are hit, as Pittsburgh wins, 8 – 7, with Russell Martin’s 7th-inning single driving home Andrew McCutchen for the winning run.
Dan Uggla hits two homers, including a 9th-inning grand slam, to lead the Braves to a 9 – 6 win over the Phillies. In the 8th, Uggla combines with Evan Gattis and Andrelton Simmons for three consecutive homers to put the Braves ahead, 5 – 1, but the Phillies score 5 runs in the bottom of the inning, capped by a three-run blast by Domonic Brown, to set the stage for Uggla’s game-deciding blast.
There are two great pitching efforts today. Vince Velasquez strikes out 16 batters and pitches a three-hitter and leading the Phillies over the Padres, 3 – 0. The Padres have already been shut out an unprecedented 5 times in 10 games this season. Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals does not fan quite as many, but he pitches a one-hit shutout to defeat the Brewers, 7 – 0. Still, he strikes out a career-high 13 opponents as Domingo Santana has Milwaukee’s lone hit, a single in the 6th.
The White Sox start an outfield composed of three players named Garcia: Avisail in right, Leury in center and Willy, making his major league debut, in left. The three are unrelated and it marks the first time a major league team has three outfielders with the same last name in its starting line-up, a quirk caused by Melky Cabrera going on paternity leave before the game. However, it’s P Dylan Covey, also making his debut, who steals the show, with one run allowed in 5 1/3 innings as the Sox defeat the Twins, 2 – 1.
The Braves open their new ballpark, SunTrust Park, with a 5 – 2 win over the Padres before a sellout crowd of 41,149. Ender Inciarte has the first hit and scores the first run in the 1st inning, and hits the first homer at the new park in the 6th. The Braves’ centerfielder already has three homers this year, matching his output for all of 2016.
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 team manager Bobby Cox serving as the catcher, prior to the inaugural game at SunTrust Park. Atlanta’s center fielder Ender Inciarte records the first out, first hit, first run, and first home run in the team’s 5-2 victory over the Padres at the new ballpark.
The first time in baseball history that a team starts three fly-chasers with the same surname in the same game occurs when left fielder Willy Garcia, center fielder Leury Garcia, and right fielder Avisail Garciaare appear in the Twins’ lineup at Target Field. In the 1960’s, the three Alou brothers, Felipe, Jesus, and Matty, patrolled the same outfield on three occasions, but the trio of siblings never started the contest at the same time.
2018 – The Braves experience a bullpen meltdown for the ages against the Cubs as they blow a 10 – 5 lead in the 8th, after being ahead 9 – 1 and 10 – 2 earlier in the game. Chicago manages to score 9 runs on just 3 hits to win the game, 14 – 10; worse, all 9 runs score after two outs. Temperatures at the start of the game at Wrigley Field are at 38 degrees with a 24 mph wind, but it gets steadily colder and the wind grows stronger as the game progresses, making for very uncomfortable playing conditions. Jason Heyward leads off the fateful inning by being hit with a Luke Jackson pitch and pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella adds a single after one out; Jose Ramirez strikes out Efren Navarro for the second out, but then the roof caves in as he plunks Kris Bryant to load the bases and an infield hit and a walk push across a couple of runs. Javier Baez then clears the bases with a double that ties the game, but after an intentional walk to Addison Russell, Sam Freeman walks Heyward to load the bases again, and walks the next two batters to bring in two more scores. Peter Moylan comes in next, but he uncorks a wild pitch scoring run number 8, and a final runner crosses the plate on a throwing error by C Kurt Suzuki.
4/14/2018: In the top of the fourth with runners on first and third, Deven Marrero of the Diamondbacks hit a fly to left center in Dodger Stadium that just cleared the wall. Alex Avila, the runner on first started back to the bag to tag up. Marrero briefly passed behind and beyond Avila and was called out for passing him. The play was first ruled to be a three-run homer, but the replay review reversed the call to a two-run single.
German Marquez throws the first complete game in the majors this season as he twirls a one-hitter to lead the Rockies to a 4 – 0 win over the Giants, snapping his team’s eight-game losing streak. Evan Longoria has the only hit against him, a single with one out in the 8th. Nolan Arenado hits a three-run homer to lead the offense, his first long ball of the year.
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