This Day In Baseball April 9
Debuts, Milestones, No Hitters, Rule Changes, Events, Birthdays, Deaths, and more on This Day In Baseball.
Events for April 9
Dr. Creighton Hale recommends Little League pitching mounds be moved back from home plate by 24 inches. The organization’s vice president believes a ball thrown by a youngster at 70 mph from 46 feet would give the batter about the same the amount of time to swing at a pitch, proportionately, as the major leaguers have.
In Atlanta, Georgia, Bill Veeck is among the crowd of marchers taking part in Martin Luther King’s funeral procession that is held five days after the civil rights leader is slain in Memphis. The former owner of the Browns, Indians, and White Sox, who spent 15 hours standing in line to pay his respect to JFK at the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in 1963, walks the entire three-and-a-half mile route from Ebenezer Baptist Church to Morehouse College on his wooden leg without the aid of crutches.
“Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, A nation turns its lonely eyes to you (Woo, woo, woo), What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away, (Hey, hey, hey…hey, hey, hey).” – PAUL SIMON, song writer. 1970 On the Dick Cavett Show, Paul Simon tells Mickey Mantle the lyrics to Mrs. Robinson would have been ‘Where have you gone, Mickey Mantle’ but explains to his favorite player, “it’s about syllables, Mick. It’s about how many beats there are.” The songwriter’s well-known lyrics becomes, “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
Orioles’ right-hander Jim Palmer and Boston’s Ferguson Jenkins, both future members of the Hall of Fame, stage a classic pitching duel at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium on Opening Day. The Birds, behind the eight-inning, six-hit effort by ‘Cakes,’ beat the Red Sox and Fergie, who goes the distance, 1-0, thanks to an unearned run scored in the fourth inning.
The White Sox’s new owner Bill Veeck, known for his promotional genius, surprises the Opening Day crowd at Comiskey Park when he, Rudie Schaffer, and Paul Richards take the field wearing battered Continental Army uniforms to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial. The trio, caring a fife, drum, and flag, strike a pose in their tattered garb, reminiscent of Archibald MacNeal Willard’s painting The Spirit of ’76, a popular piece of art depicting Revolutionary War veterans that was displayed at Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition 100 years earlier.
“I have never seen such stupid ballplaying in my life.” – RAY KROC, the Padres owner, addressing the fans on the PA system during the home opener at San Diego Stadium.During the home opener against Houston at San Diego Stadium, Ray Kroc, the Padres’ new owner, uses the ballpark’s public address system to thank the fans and berate the players for their poor play. At the start of the fast-food tycoon’s eighth-inning tirade, a streaker jumps over the railing of the stands in left field and runs haphazardly across the field.
A year and a day after being hit in the face by a Mike Torrez pitch, shortstop Dickie Thon returns to the Houston Astros lineup and goes 1 for 4 off Fernando Valenzuela in Houston’s 2 – 1 win over the Dodgers. Thon will hit just .207 before going back on the disabled list with recurring vision problems.
Tom Seaver establishes a big league record with his 15th Opening Day assignment, earning the victory in the White Sox’s 4-2 win over Milwaukee at County Stadium. The right-hander, who also got the first-day nods from the Mets (1968-77, 1983) and Reds (1978-79, 1981), will extend the mark previously held by Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators to 16 next season.
On a frigid Sunday afternoon, Rick Sutcliffe adds to the wind chill, striking out 11 batters in the Cubs’ 8-3 win over Pittsburgh. Despite a temperature of 33 degrees, along with a stiff breeze making it feel like eight above, 11,387 fans brave the elements to watch the right-hander’s complete-game effort at Wrigley Field.
“Bo Knew,” – Nike’s full-page ad in tomorrow’s USA Today. Bo Jackson, in his first at-bat after eighteen months of rehab following his hip replacement surgery, connects for a home run with his first swing of the season in the team’s 11-6 Opening Day loss to New York at Comiskey Park. En route to being named the AL Comeback Player of the Year, the 1985 Heisman Trophy winner, will hit 16 home runs and collect 45 RBIs in 85 games, contributing to the White Sox’s American League West Division title.
A hearty but paltry gathering of 1,677 comes out to see the Toronto Blue Jays blank the Chicago White Sox, 5 – 0, at Comiskey Park. Roger Clemens is the winning pitcher over Wilson Alvarez. The game was originally scheduled at night, but was moved to daylight because of extreme cold. The only thing lower than the attendance (the paid take is just 746) is the temperature, which is 34 degrees at game time. It is the smallest crowd to see the White Sox in 27 years.
At Kauffman Stadium, the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals, 13 – 7, as both teams each hit three consecutive home runs in the same game for the first time in major league history. Ron Coomer, Jacque Jones and Matt LeCroy connect consecutively in the 6th inning for Minnesota, followed by three in a row by Carlos Beltran, Jermaine Dye, and Mike Sweeney of Kansas City two innings later.
Pittsburgh’s PNC Park makes its major league debut as hometown product Sean Casey leads the visiting Reds past the Pirates, 8 – 2. The Reds first baseman, who hit the first home run ever at Miller Park three days ago, goes 4 for 4 and again has the honor of hitting the first home run in a major league park’s history. The bat which was used to hit both historic homers is sent to the Hall of Fame.
Pittsburgh’s PNC Park makes its major league debut as hometown product Sean Casey leads the visiting Reds past the Pirates, 8-2. The Cincinnati first baseman, who belted the first home run at Miller Park three days ago, goes 4-for-4 and again has the honor of recording the first round-tripper in a major league park’s history. The bat, which was used to hit both historic homers, is sent to the Hall of Fame.
Juan Pierre’s consecutive innings streak comes to an end at 1700 as his name is not in the starting lineup of Florida. The Marlins’ center fielder, whose consecutive game streak stays intact at 340 by entering the contest as an eighth-inning defensive replacement, joins Cal Ripken (Orioles, 1983-86) and Travis Fryman (Tigers, 1995) as the only big leaguers to play every inning for his team during a season.
Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart is killed in the early hours of the morning in Fullerton, California, hours after making his first start of the season, when the car he is riding in is hit by a van that ran a red light. Two fellow passengers are also killed in the hit-and-run collision. The Angels’ game today is cancelled in mourning.
The catchers did it: Carlos Ruiz hits a pinch grand slam off Scott Linebrink in the 7th inning as the Phillies defeat the Braves, 10 – 2. The Phils’ other catcher, Brian Schneider, starting in place of Ruiz, also homers in the game, good for two runs. Ruiz stays in the game and adds a run-scoring double in the 8th, giving him a personal high of 5 RBI in the game. Roy Oswalt records his first career win over Atlanta.
Hiroki Kuroda gets two decisions as the Dodgers sweep a rare southern California doubleheader. In the completion of a suspended game necessitated by four rain delays in San Diego the previous day, Tony Gwynn drives in the winning run in the top of the 11th and Kuroda pitches the bottom of the frame to save the 4 – 2 win. He then starts and wins the regularly-scheduled game, pitching into the 9th inning in a 4 – 0 shutout of the Padres. Jonathan Broxton relieves Kuroda with two out and two on in the 9th; he proceeds to walk Chris Denorfiato load the bases, but the game ends on a rare interference call against baserunner Chase Headley, who collides with 3B Casey Blake as he is attempting to field Cameron Maybin’s ground ball. Broxton has five saves in five outings this season but will soon be lost for the season with an elbow injury.
The Astros erase a week’s worth of offensive impotence by racking up 22 hits and 5 homers in defeating the Mariners, 16 – 9, snapping a six-game losing streak. Chris Carter has the first two-homer game of his career, and J.D. Martinez, Marwin Gonzalez and Jose Altuve each hit their first long ball of the year. Erik Bedard, making his first start of the year, leaves with a 13 – 0 lead after four innings, but does not earn the win as he fails to go 5 innings; Paul Clemens gets the “W” in spite of giving up 5 runs and three homers in 4 innings of relief in his major league debut.
The Yankees also use the long ball, as they bang out five homers of their own in crushing the Indians, 14 – 1. Indians starter Carlos Carrasco gives up seven runs before being ejectedby home plate umpire Jordan Baker for throwing at Kevin Youkilis in the 4th. Ironically, Carrasco had just finished serving a five-game suspension incurred in 2011, but only served at the start of the season as he has undergone Tommy John surgery and been out of the big leagues in the meantime. He claims that he slipped on the pitch to Youkilis, which comes just after a home run by Robinson Cano; he will receive an eight-game suspension this time. Andy Pettitte is the winner for the Yankees.
Major League Baseball’s Diversity Task Force, created exactly a year ago, issues three recommendations to increase the number of African-Americans players: expanding MLB support for existing programs aimed at developing baseball in inner cities; launching programs to improve the quality of coaching available to young African-American players; and raising its profile in inner cities by engaging current and past stars in outreach programs directed at the African-American community. Former manager Jerry Manuel will head the task force on a day-to-day basis, to ensure the implementation of the three initiatives, while Detroit Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski will continue as its chairman.
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