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
In the first game ever played at Fenway Park; the Red Sox beat Harvard, 2-0, in an abbreviated exhibition contest played on a cold and snowy afternoon in front of 3,000 hardy fans. Crimson third baseman and captain Dana Wingate, a sophomore from Winchester, Massachusetts, becomes the first batter in the Boston ballpark, taking the first pitch for ball one before being struck out on a fastball thrown by Casey Hageman.
After helping the team capture its third World Series title, Tris Speaker, declining their request to take a pay cut, is traded by the Red Sox to the Indians for Sam Jones, Fred Thomas, and $55,000. The Grey Eagle’s salary of $17,500 is deemed to be exorbitant by Boston, due to the future Hall of Fame outfielder’s batting average dropping to .322 during the previous season.
Pittsburgh’s one-sided pre-season victory over the defending World Champions notwithstanding, today’s main attraction is 21-year-old Mickey Mantle, as the Yankees’ young phenom becomes just the third batter in Forbes Field’s 44-year history—after Babe Ruth in 1935 and Teddy Beard in 1950—to clear the 89-foot-high right field roof.
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.
At Washington, D.C.’s Griffith Stadium, the Orioles become the first major league team to turn a triple play on Opening Day. Vice-President Richard Nixon, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch substituting for President Eisenhower, sees the hometown Senators post a 9-2 victory over Baltimore, behind a solid seven-hit, complete game performance by Pedro Ramos.
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.
Keeping with the team’s tradition of having a rookie select the music, Reds freshman first baseman Hal Morris picks U Can’t Touch This, following the Opening Day 8-4 extra-inning victory at the Astrodome. The iconic MC Hammer tune will become the team’s mantra and the unofficial theme song for the eventual world champs.
Delino DeShields, the 21 year-old second baseman of the Expos, goes 4-for-6 to become only the second rookie to collect four hits in an Opening Day debut. Forrest Jacobs, also a second baseman, became the first major league rookie to accomplish the feat in his 1954 Opening Day debut with the Philadelphia A’s.
Randy Myers, in response to a writer informing him after Cincinnati’s 8-4 victory, the Astros weren’t happy about Glenn Davis getting hit three times, says if there is any retaliation, he and his teammates (Rob Dibble and Norm Charlton) clock at least ninety-five on the radar gun. When the Houston Chronicle beat reporter responds with “that’s pretty nasty,” the left-hander counters, “Well, we’re pretty nasty guys,” giving rise to the trio of hard-throwing Reds relievers being called the ‘Nasty Boys.’
“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.
The Tigers set an American League record by extending their streak of innings without allowing since the start of the season to 24, before giving up an unearned run in the 7th inning of a 7 – 1 win over the Twins. The previous mark of 22 innings was set by the 1947 Chicago White Sox, while the major league mark of 32 innings belongs to the 1963 St. Louis Cardinals. Shane Greene is the winner against Kyle Gibson as Detroit improves to 3-0 and Minnesota falls to 0-3.
Four Indians pitchers make a bid for a combined no-hitter until Jed Lowrie hits a solo homer with one out in the 9th inning for the Astros’ sole hit as Cleveland wins, 5 – 1. Trevor Bauerstarts things off with 6 hitless innings, followed by Kyle Crockett and Scott Atchison with one inning each, before Nick Hagadone is tagged for the homer after striking out Chris Carterto start the 9th inning. It’s not a dominant pitching performance, however, as the four Cleveland hurlers combine to allow 7 bases on balls, although they do record 16 strikeouts. Asher Wojciechowski is the loser in his major league debut.
Trailing 8 – 1 in the 8th and 9 – 3 in the bottom of the 9th, the Angels mount a tremendous comeback to defeat the Mariners, 10 – 9. Albert Pujols, who had homered earlier in the inning, ties the game with a two-run single, before Cliff Pennington drives in Mike Trout with the winning run. Yunel Escobar adds a two-run double as Casey Fien and Edwin Diaz give up 7 runs in the fateful inning. Robinson Cano drives in 5 runs with a double and a homer in a losing cause.
The Halos, trailing 9-3 going into the bottom of the ninth inning, stun Seattle by scoring seven times in their 10-9 victory in Anaheim. Cliff Pennington’s single into right field plates Mike Trout with the winning run, resulting in a deafening roar at Angel Stadium when the fans react to their team’s incredible comeback.
Max Scherzer is still cruising along as he records a complete game shutout in leading the Nationals to a 2 – 0 win over the Braves with a two-hitter. He strikes out 10 and walks none, but the highlight for him is his first career stolen base; he claims the last time he swiped a base, he was in high school.
After starting the season with 11 consecutive road games – and losing 8 of them – the Red Sox finally hold their home opener. The raise their World Series banner and their players receive their rings, but they lose again, 7 – 5 to the Blue Jays. On the positive side, Dustin Pedroia starts at second base in his first game since last May, and it is the first time ever that both managers hail from Puerto Rico: Alex Cora for Boston and Charlie Montoyo for Toronto.
1965 Houston’s “Eighth Wonder Of The World” opens its doors for the first indoor baseball game, an exhibition against the New York Yankees. Dick Farrell tosses the first pitch . Ron Brand triples for Houston’s first hit. The legendary Mickey Mantle homers to center field for the game’s first run but the newly-named Astros prevail, 2-1 in twelve innings, on a single by player-coach Nellie Fox
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