This Day In Baseball April 20
Debuts, Milestones, No Hitters, Rule Changes, Events, Birthdays, Deaths, and more on This Day In Baseball.
Events for April
On Opening Day, before 8,376 fans at Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds, the Americans defeat the A’s in the morning game of a Patriot’s Day twin bill, 9-4. In front of 27,658 spectators, Connie Mack’s Athletics win the matinee match-up, 10-7, which features two future Hall of Fame hurlers, Eddie Plank and Cy Young.
In Detroit, the Tigers play their first game in Navin Field, later to known as Tiger Stadium, defeating Cleveland, 6-5. The ballpark at the corner of Trumbull and Michigan, which will serve as the team’s home for the next 87 years, replaces Bennett Park, which was located on the same site since 1896.
In the only game he’ll ever play with Lou Gehrig in the field, Ted Williams strikes out in his first major league at-bat. The 20 year-old Red Sox rookie, last season’s American Association Triple Crown winner, will finish the day 1-for-4 with the first hit of 2,654 he will collect during in his 19-year career, a 400-foot double in a 2-0 loss at Yankee Stadium.
In the first big league game he ever attends, Richie Ashburn makes his major league debut, going 1-for-5 in the Phillies’ Opening Day victory over Boston at Shibe Park. The 21 year-old rookie left fielder replaces holdout Harry Walker, last year’s National League batting champ, batting leadoff in the Phillies’ lineup.
Nine days after firing the very popular General Douglas MacArthur from his post as Commander of the Far East, U.S. President Harry S. Truman throws out the ceremonial first pitch at the Senators’ home opener against New York at Griffith Stadium. The Air Force Band tries to drown out the boos from the crowd directed at the Commander in Chief by loudly playing “Ruffles and Flourishes” and “Hail to the Chief” during the pregame ceremonies.
Yankees outfielder Claudell Washington, appearing as a pinch-hitter, hits the 10,000th round-tripper in franchise history, the most in the major leagues. The historic home run comes off Jeff Reardon in the top of the ninth inning in New York’s eventual extra-inning 7-6 victory over Minnesota at the Metrodome.
After retiring 26 consecutive A’s players, Mariners right-hander Brian Holman gives up a homer to pinch-hitter Ken Phelps, turning his perfect game into the ninth one-hitter in franchise history after he strikes out Rickey Henderson for the final out. Ironically, the round-tripper will be the final one ‘Digger’ hits in his 11-year major league career.
Appearing as a pinch hitter at Petco Park, Julio Franco becomes the oldest major leaguer to hit a home run. The 47 year, 240 days old’s eighth-inning blast, which put the Mets ahead in their 7-2 victory over the Padres, surpasses Jack Quinn, who accomplished the feat as a pitcher for the Philadelphia A’s at the age of 46 years, 357 days.
Bud Selig announces MLB is taking over operations of the Dodgers because of concerns over team finances and the ability of Frank McCourt to run the franchise. Los Angeles is facing substantial debt payments, which the owner plans to meet by using funding from the club’s new $2.5 billion, 20-year media-rights deal with Fox Sports, but the Commissioner has withheld his approval of the agreement between the News Corp.’s media company and the team.
With more than 200 former players in attendance, including the likes of team icons Johnny Pesky, Luis Tiant, Carl Yastrzemski, Bill Buckner, and Pedro Martinez joining the celebration, the Red Sox commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of Fenway Park. Caroline Kennedy, the great-granddaughter of Boston’s former mayor known as Honey Fitz, who threw out the first pitch on opening day in 1912, tosses one of the three ceremonial first pitches.
After flying from Los Angeles, Neil Diamond shows up unannounced at Fenway Park to ask the Red Sox if he can sing Sweet Caroline at the first game played at the ballpark since the bombing at the Boston Marathon. The crowd and the rest of the nation are truly ‘Boston Strong’ after his eighth-inning performance of the team’s
In an emotional ceremony before the team’s first game at Fenway Park since the bombing at the Boston Marathon, the Red Sox recognize the victims and the heroes of the tragedy. David Ortiz sums up the mood of the city when he tells the capacity crowd, “This jersey that we wear today, it doesn’t say Red Sox. It says Boston. This is our f’***ng city, and nobody’s going to dictate our freedom. Stay Strong.”
Ian Kinsler scores from first on a base-on-balls as the result of the Angels committing three errors on the same play in the first inning of the Tigers’ 2-1 victory over the Angels at Comerica Park. The unusual route to home begins when backstop Hank Conger, to thwart Kinsler’s potential theft of second base, throws a called ball four to batter Miguel Cabrera into centerfield, where Mike Trout makes an error on his throw to third trying to nail the base runner now advancing to third, who will score when pitcher Hector Santiago makes an errant toss to the plate.
Sean Manaea tosses the 12th no-hitter in A’s franchise history and the first since southpaw Dallas Braden’s perfect game in 2010, when he keeps the opponents hitless in the team’s 3-0 victory over the 17-2 Red Sox at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The 26 year old southpaw’s performance ends Boston’s run of 3,987 games without being no-hit, a streak dating back Mariners’ Chris Bosio’s no-no against the club at the Kingdome on April 22, 1993.
2005 – Back-to-back homers by Adam Everett and Craig Biggio in the first pace the Astros over Ben Sheets and the Brewers, 6-1. Biggio drives in himself for the 1,000th RBI of his career, the second Astro to achieve that many in a Houston uniform. Later, he swipes third for his 399th career steal. Roy Oswalt tosses a complete-game four-hitter while Everett enjoys a three-hit night.
1997 – Craig Biggio blasts two homers to topple Los Angeles, 3-1, at Dodger Stadium. His solo shot off Ismael Valdes stakes the Astros to an early lead but Raul Mondesi ties the game with a blast off Chris Holt. After Tim Bogar doubles, Biggio takes Tom Candiotti deep in the eighth for the game-winner.