This Day In Baseball April 23
Debuts, Milestones, No Hitters, Rule Changes, Events, Birthdays, Deaths, and more on This Day In Baseball.
Events for April 23
In his major league debut, Luis Castro plays second base for Connie Mack’s Philadelphia’s A’s in an 8-1 victory over the Orioles at Oriole Park. The 25 year-old Medellin native is the first and last player from Colombia to appear in the big leagues until Orlando Ramrez broke in with the Angels in 1974.
At Huntington Avenue Grounds, Boston Red Sox centerfielder Tris Speaker pulls off his second unassisted double play, the gem occurring in the 2nd inning against the Philadelphia Athletics. Speaker snares a low line drive and beats baserunner Harry Davis back to second base. The game goes 11 innings with the Athletics prevailing, 5 – 3. Eddie Plank is the starter and winner over Eddie Cicotte.
An estimated crowd of 21,000, about 2,000 of whom stand and watch in a cordoned-off outfield section, brave a chilly wind off the lake to witness the Chicago Whales of the Federal League host the Kansas City Packers in their home opener at the new Weeghman Park. It is the first major league game in the new ballpark, which will later be renamed Wrigley Field. After two innings of play, Packers starting pitcher George Howard “Murphy” Johnson is served with an injunction by his former club, the Cincinnati Reds, from whom he had jumped a few days earlier. Johnson is forced to leave the game. The Whales win, 9 – 1.
Senator right-hander Walter Johnson records his fifth Opening Day shutout, beating the A’s at Griffith Stadium, 1-0. The Philadelphia starter Scott Perry matches zeros with the ‘Big Train’ for a dozen frames until pinch-runner Mike Menosky scores the decisive run for Washington with one out in the bottom of the 13th inning.
On WMAQ, Hal Totten, a Chicago Daily News play-by-play reporter, does a play-by-play radio report of the 12-1 Cubs’ victory over the Cardinals. It will be the first broadcast of every Cub and White Sox home game of the season, marking the first time a team’s games have been on the airwaves on a regular basis.
At Braves Field, Jim Tobin of the Boston Braves pitches a one-hit 6 – 0 shutout against the Philadelphia Phillies in the Braves’ home opener. Philadelphia second baseman Ford Mullen gets the only hit in the 6th inning. In his previous start, Tobin lost a three-hitter to the New York Giants, 2 – 1, at the Polo Grounds.
Bob Cain of the St. Louis Browns and Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians each pitch one-hitters, with the Browns prevailing, 1 – 0. This ties a major league record for the fewest hits by two teams in a game (since broken). Bobby Young hits a triple in the 1st inning and scores on an Al Rosen error as the Browns move into first place. The Indians’ only hit is a single by Luke Easter. For Feller, it is the fourth time he’s tossed a one-hitter against the Browns.
New York Giants knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm hits a home run in his first major league at-bat as he pitches five innings in relief in a 9 – 5 win over the Braves. In his second at-bat, two days later, he will hit a triple. But Wilhelm, a notoriously poor hitter, will never hit another home run or triple in a major league game spanning the next 21 years, covering a then-record 1,070 games.
Both starters at Sportsman’s Park toss a one-hitter, but Browns’ southpaw Bob Cain gets the victory when he beats Bob Feller and the Indians, 1-0. The lone run of the contest scores in the bottom of the first frame when third baseman Al Rosen’s error allows Bobby Young, who tripled to lead off the inning, to cross the plate.
Giant reliever Hoyt Wilhelm homers in his first major league at-bat, a fourth-inning blast off Dick Hoover in the team’s 9-5 victory over Boston at the Polo Grounds. During the next 21 years, covering 1070 games and 432 official at-bats, the knuckle-balling future Hall of Fame hurler will never homer again.
The expansion New York Mets win the first game in franchise history after nine consecutive losses, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates, 9 – 1, at Forbes Field. Jay Hook’s five-hit complete game snaps Pittsburgh’s record-tying winning streak of 10 games undefeated from the start of the season as the Mets’ 0-9 start had tied a National League record for futility.
Ken Johnson of the Houston Colt .45s becomes the first pitcher in major league history to hurl a nine-inning no-hitter and lose the game. Second baseman Nellie Fox, usually a reliable defensive player, commits a critical run-scoring error on Vada Pinson’s ground ball and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Astros, 1 – 0.
At Colt Stadium, Ken Johnson becomes the first pitcher to lose a nine-inning no-hitter when the Reds beat the Colt .45’s, 1-0. Pete Rose, attempting to bunt, reaches second on a throwing error by the pitcher, scores the game’s lone run in the top of the ninth inning when Nellie Fox boots Vada Pinson’s two-out ground ball to second base.
Baltimore wins the ten-inning pitching duel that includes Detroit’s Denny McLain retiring 21 straight batters and Baltimore’s Mike Cuellar getting 20 consecutive hitters when Mark Belanger’s single plates Ellie Hendricks, who had doubled to start the final frame, snapping the Tigers’ right-hander’s streak. At season’s end, both starters will share the Cy Young Award when the writers’ choice for the prestigious honor results in a tie in the ballot box.
California Angels pitcher Bruce Kison settles for a one-hitter when Ken Landreaux of the Minnesota Twins hits a double with one out in the 9th inning. California wins, 17 – 0. It is the second time in a year that Kison has lost a no-hitter with one out in the 9th. For Landreaux, the hit marks the beginning of a 31-game hitting streak.
White Sox utility player Steve Lyons plays all nine positions during an exhibition game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. ‘Psycho,’ however, will not join the small list of players, that includes Bert Campaneris (1965 A’s) and Cesar Tovar (1968 Twins), who have accomplished the feat in a major league game.
Fernando Tatis of the St. Louis Cardinals becomes the first player in major league history to hit two grand slams in one inning. Tatis connects both times in the 11-run 3rd inning against pitcher Chan Ho Park to lead the Cardinals to a 12 – 5 rout of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He simultaneously sets a record with eight RBI in one inning. Park becomes the first pitcher in the 20th century, and only the second ever, to surrender two slams in a single frame, joining Bill Phillips of the 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys.
Fernando Tatis becomes the only player in baseball history to hit two grand slams in one inning when he collects eight RBIs in one frame to breaks the old record of six. The Cardinal third baseman hits both off Dodger starter Chan Ho Park in an 11-run third of the team’s 12-5 victory at Chavez Ravine.
Riding as a passenger in a car near San Francisco, 73 year-old Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam dies in an auto accident. The prolific writer’s books covered various topics in American history, including pennant races (The Summer of ’49), World Series (October 1964), and ballplayers who were lifelong friends (Teammates).
The Chicago Cubs become the second franchise in major league history to reach 10,000 wins. They top the Rockies, 7 – 6, in a 10-inning affair to join the Giants with 10,000. They trail, 5 – 4, entering the 9th but Derrek Leeconnects safely against Rockies closer Manuel Corpas and Aramis Ramirez homers to make it 6 – 5. Chicago closer Kerry Wood fails to hang on to the win; he retires two batters but Scott Podsednik singles and Ryan Spilborghs triples to tie it. In the 10th, Kip Wells allows a single to Geovany Soto; Ryan Theriot later drives in the run with a single for a 7 – 6 edge. This time, it holds up, as Carlos Marmol notches the save; Wood is credited with the win and Wells suffers the loss.
In Philadelphia, Dave Bush holds the Phillies hitless for 7 1/3 innings in a 6 – 1 Milwaukee win. The no-hit bid ends when pinch hitter Matt Stairs drives a pitch off the foul pole for a home run. Phillies starter Cole Hamels is hit in the shoulder by a line drive off the bat of Prince Fielder in the 4th inning and has to leave the game.
The Mets beat the Braves, 5 – 2, as Ike Davis hits his first major league home run. There is an unusual play in the 7th inning: with the Mets leading 3 – 2 with two runners on base, Jose Reyes hits a high pop-up and the umpires invoke the infield fly rule. But 3B Chipper Jones crosses in front of SS Omar Infante in the windy conditions, and the ball glances off his glove and falls to the ground. C Brian McCann picks up the ball, and not realizing that Reyes is out automatically, goes after him. He relays the ball to 1B Eric Hinske, who tags both Reyes and the bag to no avail. While the Braves are busy flogging a dead horse, Angel Pagan races around the diamond for the Mets’ fourth run. Nippon Pro Baseball veteran Hisanori Takahashi replaces starter John Maine, who has to leave in the 4th inning with pain in his left elbow; he strikes out seven in three innings to pick up his first major league win.
There are other unusual plays in games today. In Kansas City, the Royals’ David DeJesus hits a long drive that bounces off the fence and back onto the field. Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer, convinced the ball went into the stands, does not chase it as DeJesus races around the bases for an inside-the-park homer; the Twins still win, 8 – 3. And at Chase Field, the Phillies’ Jayson Werth hits a high fly ball to right field in the 4th inning; Diamondbacks RF Chris Young is camped under it, but lets the ball drop to the ground and picks it up immediately. While Young is vainly trying to convince umpire Dale Scott that he did indeed make the catch, Werth does not stop running and makes it all the way home on a rare four-base error. In spite of the embarrassment, Arizona wins, 7 – 4.
The homer-happy Yankees are at it again, connecting five times in a 15 – 3 win over the Orioles. Russell Martin goes deep twice and is joined by Jorge Posada, Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez, who hits a grand slam. It is the 22nd slam of A-Rod’s career, moving him past the provisionally retired Manny Ramirez and into second place on the all-time list, one behind Lou Gehrig. CC Sabathia picks up his first win of the year, while Brad Bergesen is the loser.
Ivan Rodriguez, who has caught more games than anyone in big league history, announces his retirement after a 21-year career. He was hoping to continue playing this season as well, but found no takers for his services. The Rangers honor him by having him throw the ceremonial first pitch before today’s game; unusually, he throws it from his familiar position behind the plate, with Michael Young catching it at second base and tagging out a phantom baserunner.
The Giants sweep the Mets in a doubleheader at Citi Field, 6 – 1 and 7 – 2. Tim Lincecum picks up his first win of the season in the opener, while Madison Bumgarner is the winner in the second contest. With a hit in both games, including a homer in the nitecap, Pablo Sandoval has now hit in all 16 games the Giants have played thus far, tying a franchise record held by Willie Mays.
The Blue Jays complete a four-game sweep of the Royals at Kauffman Stadium with a 4 – 1 win, powered by Jose Bautista’s two-run homer. The Royals have now lost 11 straight, and all 10 of their home dates so far this season. It is the first time the Jays sweep a four-game series on the road since a visit to Yankee Stadium back in 2003.
2013 – For only the second time in major league history, brothers hit back-to-back homers in a game. In the second game of a doubleheader played in frigid conditions at Coors Field, the Braves’ B.J. Upton leads off the 5th inning with a homer off Jon Garland, and his brother Justin immediately follows suit, driving Garland’s next pitch over the center field fence for his major league-leading 11th homer of the year. Atlanta sweeps the twinbill over Colorado, 4 -3 and 10 – 2. The only previous instance of brothers going deep consecutively was Hall of Famers Lloyd and Paul Waner doing so for the Pirates on September 15, 1938.
Wrigley Field celebrates its 100th birthday with a party that includes birthday cakes, the presence of many former Chicago Cubs greats such as Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Andre Dawson, and everyone dressing up in the style of 1914 when the park was known as “Weeghman Park” and was home to the Chicago Chi-Feds of the long-defunct Federal League. Alumni of the NFL’s Chicago Bears, who played here from 1921 to 1970, also take the field before the game. The Cubs don the uniforms of the Feds, while the visiting Diamondbacks impersonate the Kansas City Packers. The visitors come out on top, 7 – 5, as they score 5 runs against Pedro Strop in the top of the 9th to spoil the party.
Already suspected by Red Sox broadcasters of illegally using pine tar during his last start against the team, the Yankees’ Michael Pineda gets caught red-handed this time, as umpire Gerry Davis find the substance on his neck and ejects him in the 2nd inning of his start as the Sox win, 5 – 1. Facing a suspension, Pineda confesses to the violation of the rules after the game, explaining that “my hands get sweaty”.
The Athletics pitch a one-hitter against the Angels, but still lose, 2 – 0, as the only safety is a two-run homer by Kole Calhoun in the 3rd against Jesse Chavez. Chavez goes 6 innings in his first start of the season, but Nick Tropeano keeps the A’s off the scoreboard into the 7th inning before three relievers complete the shutout.
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