This Day In Baseball April 28
Debuts, Milestones, No Hitters, Rule Changes, Events, Birthdays, Deaths, and more on This Day In Baseball.
Events for April 28
1906 – It’s the only time two player-managers steal home on the same day, though not in the same game. Chicago Cubs pilot Frank Chance steals in the 9th inning to give Chicago a 1 – 0 win over the Cincinnati Reds, and Fred Clarke matches him in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 10 – 1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Braves sweep a twin bill from the Phillies played at Fenway Park, the home of the American League’s Red Sox, because the seats in the reserved grandstand in their Boston ballpark are still tacky after the team’s Opening Day debacle due to wet paint. As a thank-you, the Red Sox, who play all day games at home, are offered the use of Braves Field for night games, but the team declines the invitation.
Jim Martin, the Pampa Oilers’ catcher, is struck by lightning behind the plate during a Class C West Texas-New Mexico League contest played at Abilene’s Blue Sox Stadium. The 20 year-old backstop, who will return to the lineup tomorrow, is knocked unconscious by the bolt of electricity that propels his mask 20 feet beyond the pitcher’s mound.
1952 – The St. Louis Browns become the first major league organization to loan or sell players to a team outside of the United States when they “lend” two African-American minor league players, infielder John Britton and pitcher Jimmy Newberry, to the Hankyu Braves of the Japanese Pacific League. Abe Saperstein, owner and coach of the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters, negotiated this special example in lend-lease for both sides.
4/28/1956: Mickey Mantle drilled a ball into the Fenway Park center field bleachers in the eighth inning. The blast off Dave Sisler landed three or four rows up in the stands. The ball bounced once while a number of fans tried to grab it and then bounced back onto the field. Mantle hustled and beat the throw to third. Casey Stengel, Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey and Frank Crosetti surrounded second base umpire Ed Rommel, trying to convince him that his ruling was incorrect. The argument took five minutes and Stengel was ejected by Rommel. Rommel ruled that the ball hit the top of the wall and not in the stands.
1961 – 40-year-old Warren Spahn becomes the second oldest man to pitch a no-hitter in major league history. The Milwaukee Braves’ ace masters the San Francisco Giants, 1 – 0, for his 290th career win, second no-hitter and 52nd shutout. Spahn strikes out nine batters and walks only two. Hank Aaron drives in the game’s lone run with a single in the 1st inning off loser Sad Sam Jones.
As Houston fans cheer their pregame ascent, Mets announcer Lindsey Nelson and a radio engineer climb into the Astrodome’s gondola and are hoisted 208 feet above second base to broadcast the game. The umpiring crew determines that any ball hitting the pair will be in play, since an existing ground rule also calls a ball hitting any part of the dome is also in play.
Roberto Clemente’s clutch… base on balls? The notoriously wild swinger works out a walk when it matters – in the 9th inning, with the Bucs down by one, two outs, bases empty, no balls, two strikes, up against a pitcher, Ted Abernathy, who’s always had Clemente’s number. The Sporting News’s Les Biederman reports: “Abernathy had Clemente no balls and two strikes, but apparently the Pirate slugger worried the Cub reliever and he grew too careful. He threw three balls and then Clemente put on a dazzling display of bat control. Abernathy threw eight straight strikes and Clemente fouled off every pitch, seven to right field. Then he drew a walk and Willie Stargell, who always hits Abernathy, hit him again.” After fouling off a 3-2 pitch of his own, Stargell falls short by a foot or two of ending the game with one swing, but his line drive off the centerfield wall brings home Clemente with the tying run en route to an extra-inning Pirate win.
Padres’ rookie Ozzie Smith, a future Hall of Famer due to his defensive prowess at short, makes what he will rate as his best play ever when he dives to his left to field a grounder hit by Jeff Burroughs of Atlanta. Although the ball takes a bad hop and scoots behind the ‘Wizard’s’ head, he promptly sticks out his bare right hand, snagging the ball before popping to his feet to get the out at first base.
4/28/1980: Two players lost homers due to rain. Yankee Reggie Jackson hit a two run home run in the top of the third inning off Jim Palmer while Baltimore’s Ken Singleton led off the bottom of the fourth with a home run off Mike Griffin. The game was called with the Yankees ahead 4-1 after four innings.
Ranger reliever Jeff Zimmerman takes his third loss of the young season when he balks home the winning run in the team’s 4-3 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards. The walk-off balk, scoring pinch-runner Mark Lewis, is called by home plate umpire Ian Lamplugh when the right-hander starts his motion, but steps off the rubber without delivering a pitch.
Kevin Mench of the Texas Rangers homers in his seventh straight game, moving within one game of the major league record. Dale Long, Don Mattingly and Ken Griffey, Jr. share the major league record with homers in eight straight games. Mench also becomes the first right-handed batter to homer in seven straight games, joining lefties Jim Thome, Mattingly, Long and Griffey.
2009 – Trevor Hoffman adds another save to his all-time leading total when he picks up number 555 in pitching a scoreless 9th inning in Milwaukee’s 6 – 5 win over Pittsburgh. It is the Brewers’ 14th straight win over Pittsburgh, dating back to 2007. This is Hoffman’s first save for the Brewers; he picked up two as a rookie for the Florida Marlins in 1993, and the 552 others came with the San Diego Padres.
The all-time saves leader, Trevor Hoffman of the Milwaukee Brewers, continues to struggle this year. He blows a save for the second consecutive day in a 6 – 5, 14-inning loss to the Pirates by giving up a game-tying 9th-inning home run to Ryan Doumit, one day after giving up a grand slam to Doumit. Hoffman has already blown 4 save opportunities this year, as many as in all of 2009, and has an ERA of 13.00 with 6 homers allowed.
Major League Baseball announces a number of changes to the rules that govern the All-Star Game that have been agreed with the Players’ union: the designated hitter will now be used in all games, not just those played in American League parks; a pitcher who started a game on the last Sunday before the All-Star break will not be eligible to play in the game and will be replaced on the roster, although he will still be recognized as an All-Star (this will become known as the Sunday Starter rule); rosters are expanded to 34 players, adding one position player; one of the position players will be designated as being able to re-enter the game in case of injury – catchers are already allowed to do so in those circumstances.
3B Luke Hughes of the Minnesota Twins homers in his first major league at-bat off the Tigers’ Max Scherzer in the 3rd inning of an 11 – 6 loss. The Australian is the fifth Twin to accomplish the feat, but the first since Andre David in 1984. The Tigers trail 6 – 1 in the 4th and then score 10 unanswered runs. The key play occurs when Denard Span drops a fly ball hit by Johnny Damon in a six-run 6th inning.
Phillies slugger Ryan Howard agrees to a $125 million, five-year contract extension that could keep the infielder with the team until 2017. The 30 year-old first baseman’s $25 million guaranteed average salary during the new deal is the second-highest amount in the major leagues, trailing behind only Alex Rodriguez’s ten-year contract with the Yankees that averages $27.5 million per season.
Changes recommended by baseball’s special committee for on-field matters, including the expansion of All-Star rosters to 34 players, including 13 pitchers, will be implemented for this season’s Mid-Summer classic scheduled to be played at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Other new adopted rules include the use of a designated hitter every year, making a pitcher who starts on the final Sunday prior to the break ineligible to play, and allowing re-entry into a game if the last available position player at any position is injured.
Luke Hughes becomes the fifth player in Twins’ history to homer in his first at-bat in the major leagues when he goes deep off Detroit’s Max Scherzer in Minnesota’s 11-6 loss at Comerica Park. The Australian-born rookie third baseman joins Rick Renick (1968), Dave McKay (1975), Gary Gaetti (1981), and Andre David (1984) in accomplishing the feat.
2011 – Ben Zobrist has the best day of his career as he drives in 10 runs in a doubleheader sweep of the Twins by the Rays, 15 – 3 and 6 – 1. Zobrist goes 7 for 10 with 2 homers and 3 doubles in the two games; his 8 RBI in the opener are a team record. Zobrist finishes with 18 RBI in a five-game period, the best by any AL player since Reggie Jackson in 1969. The injury-racked Twins feature a depleted line-up, with emergency starter Anthony Swarzak losing the nightcap and LF Rene Tosoni making his major league debut and getting two hits in the first game.
Ben Zobrist breaks the Rays’ RBIs record of seven established in 2007 by Carlos Pena when he drives in eight runs with an RBI single, a three-run homer, along with a pair of two-run doubles. The All-Star infielder’s offensive output helps Tampa Bay trounce the Twins 15-3 in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Target Field.
Bryce Harper makes his much-anticipated major league debut for the Nationals, but it’s the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp who steals the show, leading off the 10th inning with a walk-off homer off Tom Gorzelanny to give Los Angeles a 4 – 3 win. The 19-year-old Harper, the youngest player in the majors, hits a double in the 7th and then a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the 9th, but Washington’s bullpen blows a 3 – 1 lead, when Henry Rodriguez throws three wild pitches and gives up two runs to send the game into extra innings. Harper will go on to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
The Yankees complete a four-game sweep of Toronto with a 3 – 2 win at home. All four wins are come-from-behind, today’s being highlighted by a two-run homer by Lyle Overbay in the 7th. Jays ace R.A. Dickey, still complaining of a stiff neck and back, falls to 2-4 on the year and will undergo an MRI to find the source of the persisting discomfort.
The Pirates take the NL Central lead behind rookie Jeff Locke, who gives up only 3 hits and no runs over 7 innings, beating the Cardinals, 9 – 0. It is Pittsburgh’s 15th win in April, their best total since 1992. C Russell Martin hits a pair of homers to back up Locke’s pitching, while Clint Hurdle celebrates his 700th win as a big league manager.
Another rookie, Reds starter Tony Cingrani, has a big day, collecting 11 strikeouts, including four in the 4th inning, in six scoreless innings. He also gets his first career hit – a single off Ross Detwiler in the 2nd – as Cincinnati defeats the Nationals, 5 – 2. The four-strikeout inning is made possible when leadoff hitter Denard Span reaches first base on a dropped third strike by C Corky Miller.
While rioting continues in Baltimore, MD, the Orioles once again cancel today’s game against the White Sox, and in an unprecedented move, decide that tomorrow’s will be played without any spectators present. A week-end series against the Rays will be moved to St. Petersburg, FL, with the O’s playing as the home team.
The Nationals come back from 8 runs down to defeat the Braves, 13 – 12. Dan Uggla is at the center of things against his former team as he drives in 5 runs, including a three-run homer in the 9th. It is the biggest comeback in Nationals history, and the first time they have won a game in which they have allowed 11 or more runs.
2017 – Trailing 9 – 1 against the Orioles in the 6th, the Yankees mount a tremendous comeback to pull off a 14 – 11 win. Matt Holliday ends the game with a three-run walk-off homer off Jayson Aquino in the 10th, the eighth long ball of the game. The Yankees had tied the score in the 9th on Starlin Castro’s two-run blast off Brad Brach. Each team hits a grand slam, with Mark Trumbo doing so for the O’s and Jacoby Ellsbury for the Yanks. For his part, Aaron Judge goes deep twice for New York, while Manny Machado and Welington Castillo reply for Baltimore. The two teams are now tied for the lead in the AL East at 14-7, but Baltimore will quickly sink in the standings to finish in last place.
The White Sox become just the 7th team to record 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game as Reynaldo Lopez and three relievers combine in the effort. Lopez fans 14 in 6 innings in the 4 – 1 win over the Tigers, and his three successors on the mound, Jace Fry, Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome, each strike out two batters in one inning of work.
1984 – NBC accidentally leaves the field microphone open while broadcasting a 5-3 Atlanta victory. Astro catcher Harry Spilman argues with home plate umpire Jerry Crawford. Manager Bob Lillis and Coach Denis Menke soon get into the act and profanities fly in every direction. NBC switchboards are flooded with complaints.
1965 – New York broadcaster Lindsay Nelson calls the Mets’ 12-9 loss to Houston from the gondola at the top of the Astrodome, located 208 feet above second base . The umpires tell Met skipper Casey Stengel that any ball which might hit Nelson would still be considered in play. That doesn’t occur but a lot does as the two teams trade the lead. Bob Aspromonte’s bases-loaded single delivers the game-winner.
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