This Day In Baseball August 2

Debuts, Milestones, No Hitters, Rule Changes, Events, Birthdays, Deaths, and more on This Day In Baseball.

August 2, 1979, 32-year-old Thurman Munson of the New York Yankees is killed in the crash of his private plane in Canton, Ohio. The following day the Yankees will honor their captain before their game against the Baltimore Orioles. Fans will give Munson, who helped the Yankees to titles in 1977 and 1978, a thundering 10-minute ovation

August 2, 1960, In an agreement with the major leagues, the Continental League abandons plans to join the American League and National League as a third major league. Walter O’Malley, chairman of the NL Expansion Committee, says, “We immediately will recommend expansion and that we would like to do it in 1961.” Braves owner Lou Perini proposes a compromise that four of the CL territories be admitted to the current majors in orderly expansion. Branch Rickey’s group quickly accepts. The Continental League ends without playing a game.

August 2, 1938, the Brooklyn Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals use yellow baseballs in the first game of a doubleheader. The experiment will end quickly, as the two teams switch to white baseballs in the second game. The Dodgers sweep both games, winning 6-2 and 9-3.

August 2, 1930, Smoky Joe Williams of the Homestead Grays strikes out 27 Kansas City Monarchs in a memorable 12-inning night game. The 54-year-old Williams, who outduels Chet Brewer, 1-0, benefits from pitching under a portable light system that makes it difficult for hitters to see the baseball.

August 2, 1921 – With the jurors lifting the men onto their shoulders, the eight White Sox players accused of throwing the 1919 World Series are acquitted by the jury. The next day, Commissioner Kenesaw Landis will say the overwhelming evidence clearly shows the Black Sox fixed the games with gamblers and all involved will be banned from playing professional baseball again.

August 2, 1907, Walter Johnson makes his major league debut. The Washington Senators’ rookie loses a 3-2 decision to the Detroit Tigers. In an interesting twist, Ty Cobb collects the first hit against Johnson. Cobb would go on to collect more hits against Johnson than any other batter, and bat .366 against the hard-throwing righthander. In 1936, both players will become part of the inaugural class of the Hall of Fame.

Events for August 2

Pirates right fielder Roberto Clemente is robbed on a 430-to-450-foot putout. With two on, two out and no score in the 6th, Dodgers centerfielder Duke Snider goes to considerable lengths to frustrate his favorite right fielder. Frank Finch of the Los Angeles Times reports: “Clemente clouted an ‘extra-baser’ which Snider caught with one hand near the center-field wall.” Clemente, however, has little cause for complaint. A mere two innings earlier, he himself performed a bit of “armed” robbery with Norm Larker playing the hapless victim though Larker, for his part, would claim it’s the umpire who robbed him. Frank Finch continues: “Round Four started well enough for L.A. when Tom Davis got a bad-hop single and raced to third on Norm Larker’s single to right. However, Bob Clemente’s rifle peg to Rocky Nelson nipped Larker trying to get back to first base. Larker snorted and stomped like a Brahma bull, getting the bum’s rush from umpire Ken Burkhart for throwing the tantrum. From the press box, it appeared that Larker had gotten back in time, but he had no excuse for the play even being close.” Clemente’s “lethal weapon” once again proves pivotal two innings later. George Lederer of the Long Beach Independent writes: “Stan Williams learned how costly his [7th-inning] error was when John Roseboro led off the 8th with a single. Roseboro, batting for Williams, lined Vern Law’s first pitch into the right field corner and was held to a single only by Roberto Clemente’s quick retrieve and bullet throw to second. Trailing by three runs instead of one, manager Walter Alston could not call for the bunt that otherwise would have been in order. Maury Wills, leading off in Alston’s revised lineup, promptly grounded into a double play to wipe out the Dodgers’ last serious bid.”

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