This Day In Baseball April 24
Debuts, Milestones, No Hitters, Rule Changes, Events, Birthdays, Deaths, and more on This Day In Baseball.
Events for April 24
Three rain postponements give Chicago the honor of hosting the first major league game in American League history (the circuit played as a minor league in 1900). At South Side Park, a crowd of over 10,000 fans attends the game to see pitcher Roy Patterson take the win for the Chicago White Sox over the the visiting Cleveland Blues, 8 – 2. Clark Griffith manages Chicago.
1902 – Professional baseball gets its start in Durham, North Carolina as the Durham Tobacconists (who will be renamed the Bulls 11 years later) play an exhibition game against Trinity College (now Duke University). The Bulls, except for 1971-1980, when minor league baseball didn’t exist in the city, will continue to play in Durham until the present day.
President Warren G. Harding, an avid baseball fan who likes to keep a scorecard at games, witnesses the first shutout ever thrown at Yankee Stadium. The chain-smoking Chief Executive is delighted to see Babe Ruth’s fifth-inning homer off Allen Russell but is disappointed the Senators drop the contest, 4-0.
Unfazed by Forbes Field’s ample dimensions, St. Louis Cardinals player-manager Rogers Hornsby leads by example, slugging his team to a 9 – 3 thrashing of the Pittsburgh Pirates. 3 for 3 with a single, double, sacrifice fly and tape-measure IPHR good for 5 RBI, the Rajah’s exploits are documented by Lou Wollen of the Pittsburgh Press: “Manager Rogers Hornsby is an ideal leader. Not only does he pilot the Cardinals in expert fashion, getting all the baseball possible out of his players, but he shows them on the ball field how the game should be played. Yesterday, for instance, he demonstrated the latest approved methods in clouting, leading his club in this department. He batted perfectly and saw his team vanquish the Pittsburgh world’s champions by a 9 to 3 score.” Hornsby finishes with a flourish, as Wollen can attest: “The Cardinals wound up by tallying twice in the 9th when Heinie Mueller tripled past Clyde Barnhart in left center and Hornsby smashed a home run to the (450-foot-distant) flagpole in center.”
1931 – Three days before his 35th birthday, Chicago’s player-manager Rogers Hornsby is again undaunted by Forbes Field’s forbidding expanse. Hornsby hits three consecutive home runs to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 10 – 6. This is the final season in which Hornsby will allot himself significant playing time – 357 at-bats in 100 games. The hyphenate portion of his career will extend through 1937, but his on-field appearances will come primarily off the bench and never again will he amass as many as 100 at-bats in a season. Regarding today’s display, Fred Wertenbach of the Pittsburgh Press reports: “For the enlightenment of those fans not among the 15,000 at yesterday’s slaughter, the great Rogers crashed three successive long, legitimate and unsullied homers over the distant Forbes Field ramparts, two off Larry French and the third off Claude Willoughby. Mr. French tried to southpaw Hornsby in the 3rd à la screw ball. Two men were on at the time. He pitched a bit low. Hornsby drove it over the left field wall, about the seventh panel up from the scoreboard. The score then became Cubs 3, Pirates 5. In the 5th, Larry faced Hornsby again with two on. ‘Huh! He hits ’em low; I’ll try one high outside,’ Larry reasoned. Bang! The ball cleared the screen in right, and the score in a trice became 6 – 5, Cubs. The 6th frame saw Willoughby, a right-hander, ready to benefit from French’s experience, the latter having left the scene. ‘This guy hits ’em low, he hits ’em high – my play is to curve him to death,’ was the ex-Phillie’s logic. Kiki Cuyler was on second. Wham! A curve, waist high, was interrupted as it came up to the plate, and diverted over the scoreboard in left. Two more runs added to the Cub total, making eight driven in by Rogers.”
In the final game of his twentieth and last full season, Ted Lyons beats the Indians, going the distance in the White Sox’ 3-1 victory at Cleveland’s League Park. The 41 year-old ‘Sunday Teddy,’ although exempt from the draft due to his age enlists in the U.S. Marine Corps after the season and fights in the Pacific during WW II, completes all of his twenty games, all started on Sundays, posting a 14-6 record along with an ERA of 2.10.
Johnny Mize homers three times against the Braves’ right-hander Johnny Sain, but the Giants’ first baseman’s trio of round-trippers proves not to be enough when the team bows to Boston at the Polo Grounds, 14-5. The ‘Big Cat’ becomes the first major leaguer to hit three home runs in one game five different times.
Dodger southpaw Sandy Koufax ties his major league record, a mark he shares with Bob Feller when he strikes out 18 batters in a nine-inning contest during the team’s 10-2 rout of the Cubs at Wrigley Field. In 1938, nineteen year-old right-hander Bob Feller established the record, whiffing 18 batters in the Indians’ 4-1 loss to the Tigers at Cleveland Stadium.
Commissioner Ford Frick fines Casey Stengel $500 for appearing in uniform for a beer advertisement, which shows the Mets manager ready to bunt. Kathy Kersh, who is holding the ball in the Rheingold ad, will later become better known as Cornelia, one of the Joker’s women in the 1960’s Batman television series.
At Cleveland Stadium, Rickey Henderson becomes the first player in baseball history to hit a home run off two different 300-game winners in the same game. The left fielder’s solo homer in the eighth inning off Phil Niekro and his two-run blast in the ninth off Steve Carlton aren’t enough to thwart the Tribe’s 6-5 walk-off victory over the Yankees.
1996 – Greg Myers and Paul Molitor each have five RBI as the Minnesota Twins set a team record for runs and rout the Detroit Tigers, 24 – 11. It is the highest run total against the Tigers in 84 years, matching the mark set in a 24 – 2 loss to the Philadelphia Athletics on May 18, 1912, in a game in which Detroit did not have its regulars due to a players’ strike.
At Candlestick Park, Geoff Jenkins hits a home run off Orel Hershiser to become the first Milwaukee Brewers player to hit a home run in his major league debut. The Brewers defeat the Giants, 7 – 5. Jenkins joins Chuck Tanner, who accomplished the feat in 1955 as a member of the Milwaukee Braves, as the only players in Milwaukee baseball history to homer in their first game.
Zack Greinke continues to dominate opposing hitters as he pitches a second straight complete game for the Kansas City Royals. He strikes out 10 in a 6 – 1 win over Detroit. The Tigers’ lone run in the 5th inning is unearned, but it ends Greinke’s streak of 38 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to last season. He is nonetheless 4-0 with a virgin ERA so far this year, on his way to winning the AL Cy Young Award.
At Fenway Park, Mariano Rivera is charged with a rare blown save in the first matchup between the Yankees and Red Sox this season. With two outs in the 9th inning, Rivera gives up a two-run home run to Jason Bay to tie the score, 4 – 4. Kevin Youkilis homers over the Green Monster in the 11th for a 5 – 4 Boston win.
Pitcher Chris Jakubauskas of the Pirates is hit in the back of the head by a line drive off the bat of Lance Berkman in the 1st inning of a game at Minute Maid Park. He suffers a concussion and is taken out the game and placed on the disabled list, but there is no fracture or hemorrhage. The Pirates lose to the Astros, 5 – 2.
Jorge Cantu of the Florida Marlins goes 0 for 4 in the second game of today’s doubleheader, ending his hitting streak at 21 games, dating back to last September. He still drives in the Marlins’ lone run in an 8 – 1 loss to the Rockies, giving him 20 RBI for the season. Cantu went 1 for 4 as Florida won the first game, 4 – 1. His hitting streak included a 10-game stretch to start the year during which he collected at least a hit and a RBI in each game.
After undergoing shoulder surgery in November 2009, Ted Lilly pitches six scoreless innings in his first start of the year for the Cubs, leading his team to a 5 – 1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Carlos Zambrano, who, in a controversial decision, was moved to the bullpen to make room for Lilly in the starting rotation, pitches an inning and a third in his first relief appearance in almost eight years. He gives up the Brewers’ sole run, but drives in one of the Cubs’ tallies with a sacrifice fly.
Pirates starter Chris Jakubauskas, after just a dozen pitches into his first appearance of the year, is struck in the head by a vicious line drive off the bat of Houston’s Lance Berkman. The 31 year-old right-hander, who leaves the field on a stretcher in obvious distress, will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a concussion and head contusion after being hospitalized overnight.
The Braves complete their first sweep of the Giants in San Francisco since 1998 with a 9 – 6 win in 10 innings. Nate McLouth hits a two-run single off Brian Wilson to place the Braves ahead. Atlanta also beat last postseason’s heroes, Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner, during the three-game series.
The Mets defeat the Marlins, 2 – 1, in a game marking the return of star shortstop Jose Reyes to New York after leaving the Big Apple for Miami as a free agent the previous off-season. Johan Santana strikes out 11 in 6 2/3 innings for the Mets, but leaves the game trailing, 1 – 0, as his teammates have yet to score a run in support of his pitching this year. The Mets score two late runs to win the game, but it is reliever Jon Rauch who gets the W. Before the game, the Mets place two key players on the disabled list, LF Jason Bay who has a broken rib, and starting P Mike Pelfrey, who has swelling in his elbow.
For the first time in major league history, four different pitchers combine to walk four consecutive batters when the Marlins hurlers load the bases and then force in a run in a 2-1 loss against the Mets. Josh Johnson walks Lucas Duda, then Randy Choate issues a free pass to Justin Turner, followed by Steve Cishek’s base-on-balls to Scott Hairston, and finally, Mike Dunn forces home Josh Thole with the tying run with the last of the only walks given up by the Miami staff in the Citi Field contest.
2013 – The Rockies continue to surprise, today beating the Braves, owners of the major leagues’ best record, with a 12-inning, 6 – 5 win. The Rockies rally to tie the game against closer Craig Kimbrel on Dexter Fowler’s two-out double in the bottom of the 9th, and Yorvit Torrealba, playing 1B because the Rox have used all of their substitutes, drives in Wilin Rosario with a single off Luis Ayala with two outs in the bottom of the 12th to end the game.
P Michael Pineda of the Yankees is handed a ten-game suspension after being caught using pine tar on the mound in the previous day’s game. The sentence is longer than previous ones, as there had already been controversy over his alleged use of the substance earlier this season. Pineda acknowledges his sin and states that he will not appeal the suspension.
Rumors emerge that the Rangers have reached a tentative deal with the Angels to acquire troubled OF Josh Hamilton. Hamilton left Texas after the 2012 season to sign a five-year deal worth $125 million, but has not been as productive a player since the deal and suffered a relapse of dependency problems. He has yet to play a game this season.
2016 – Chris Heisey ends a 16-inning marathon by belting a walk-off homer off Michael Tonkin that gives the Nationals a 6 – 5 win over the Twins. At 5 hours and 56 minutes, it is the longest regular season game in Nats history. It goes into extra innings after Bryce Harper hits the first pinch homer of his career off closer Kevin Jepsen to tie it at 4 in the 9th. Washington is down by a run again in the 15th when Danny Espinosa draws a two-out walk and steals second; out of pinch-hitters, manager Dusty Baker lets P Oliver Perez bat for himself and he lays down a bunt down the third base line. C John Ryan Murphy picks it up and throws wildly to first base, allowing Espinosa to score and prolonging the game. The Twins strike out 20 times during the game.
Dovydas Neverauskas, taking the roster spot of DL-bound Adam Frazier, becomes the second person born in Lithuania, but the first raised there, to appear in a major league game when he throws two innings of one-run ball for the Pirates in 14-3 loss to the Cubs at PNC Park. A’s outfielder Joe Zapustas, who played two games for the team in 1933, was also born in the Baltic state, but spent his childhood in Boston.
1962 – Colt .45s host St. Louis for the first time and defeat them, 4-3. The Houston Buffs were a farm club of the Cardinals for 40 years before the city joined the National League. Don Taussig’s homer off Larry Jackson in the sixth inning is the game-winner . Hal Woodeshick survives five errors to earn the victory.
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