This Day In Baseball August 20
Debuts, Milestones, No Hitters, Rule Changes, Events, Birthdays, Deaths, and more on This Day In Baseball.
Events for August 20
Umpire Bob Emslie becomes ill before the second game of the Superbas-Phils twin bill and Phils P Al Orth and Superbas C Jim McGuire fill in for him. However, it is a close game, and Orth is needed as a pinch hitter in the 9th. Doc White then becomes the second umpire as Orth hits a single and scores a run. Brooklyn holds on for a 3 – 2 win.
The National League-leading Pirates set an NL mark for inept fielding, making six errors in the 1st inning, giving the Giants seven runs toward a 13 – 7 win in the first of two games. Christy Mathewson, with relief in the 6th inning, coasts to his 23rd win. Deacon Phillippe wins the nightcap, 4 – 1, for the Pirates to keep the Giants five games back.
New York tops the Reds, 2 – 0, as Christy Mathewson hurls an eight-hit shutout. The Reds’ Andy Coakley allows just four Giant safeties in the loss. For Matty, it is his 25th win. The Giants will sweep three games from the Reds, with the only negative being Fred Snodgrass sustaining a broken thumb. The rookie catcher, who played just six games, will return next year to play mostly in the outfield.
1912 – In Washington, Walter Johnson wins his American League-record 15th straight, downing Cleveland, 4 – 2. Big Train is topped in the nightcap when Washington hurler Carl Cashion tosses a 6-inning no-hitter, winning, 2 – 0. The only baserunners reach on two errors by SS George McBride. Johnson’s effort takes one hour and 55 minutes, while Cashion’s six innings finish in just 65 minutes; the game is called to allow Cleveland to catch a train to Boston. Cashion will win only 11 other games in his major league career.
In the nightcap of a doubleheader, Carl Cashion tosses a six-inning no-hitter to give the Senators a 2-0 victory over the Indians and a sweep of the twin bill at Griffith Stadium. The 21 year-old right-hander, who will not get credit for his accomplishment due to the shortened nature of the game, has an outstanding fastball, but a lack of control will limit his career to just 43 games over four seasons.
The longest hitting streak in professional baseball ends at 69 games when Joe Wilhoit is held hitless by the Tulsa Oilers in Western League action. The 33 year-old minor leaguer’s phenomenal stretch, which started on June 14th and included fifty games with two or more hits, ends with the Wichita Jobbers’ outfielder compiling a .512 batting average (153-for-297).
1923 – A four-piece bat used by Babe Ruth is banned by American League president Ban Johnson because of the glue used on it. A protest is made against the Browns’ Ken Williams for using a bat with a wooden plug in it. Johnson rules that all bats must be one piece with nothing added except tape extending to 18 inches up the handle.
1926 – The Giants lose their fifth in six games, 6 – 2 in St. Louis. Frankie Frisch misses a sign that costs a run. After the game, berated by John McGraw in front of the team, Frisch buys a ticket to New York and leaves the team. Fined $500, McGraw’s favorite, and heir apparent, is through with the Giants.
8/20/1926 – The Tigers were in Philadelphia to play the Athletics. In the second game of a twin bill, the team did not follow Ty Cobb’s lineup at the start of the game but were not called on it the first time through the list. In the fourth inning, Harry Heilmann doubled and, with two out, scored on a hit by Charlie Gehringer. However, coach Kid Gleason asked umpire Billy Evans about the proper order and Evans negated the play and called out Gehringer for batting out of turn. Before the game, when the announcer had listed the Tigers lineup, the writers thought he had made a mistake and simply transposed the two names in their scorebooks. Apparently, so did O’Rourke, the correct batter, and Gehringer. The Tigers won in spite of the gaffe, 5-4.
At St. Louis, Lou Gehrig hits his 33rd homer in the 4th to tie Babe Ruth for the major league lead, but the Babe answers in the 9th with his 34th, a grand slam over the RF roof, to give the Yanks a 7 – 3 win over the Browns. Lefty Gomez almost has New York’s first shutout of the season, but he weakens in the 9th.
At Union Terminal Tower, Frankie Pytlak and Hank Helf, catchers for the Indians, establish record for catching baseballs dropped from a high altitude. The balls fall an estimated 708 feet and travel an average speed of 140 mph during their 52-floor descent from Cleveland’s enduring landmark, the second-tallest building in the world.
In front of about 10,000 people attending a Saturday morning publicity stunt organized by the Come to Cleveland Committee, five members of the Indians attempt to set a record by catching a baseball thrown from the top of the 708-foot Terminal Tower. Twenty-four year-old rookie third string catcher Henry Helf, wearing his street clothes, catches a ball dropped from the 52-story structure, estimated to be traveling at the speed of 138 mph, to break Gabby Street’s mark for a vertical catch established when the Senator catcher snagged a sphere dropped 555 feet from the top of the Washington Monument in 1908.
Dodger shortstop Tommy Brown becomes the youngest player (17 years, 8 months, and 14 days) in major league history to hit a home run. The round-tripper by ‘Buckshot’, who started his career as a 16 year-old high school student, will be the only run Brooklyn scores off 30 year-old Pirates southpaw Preacher Roe, who goes the distance in the 11-1 rout of the home team at Ebbets Field.
1947 – The Boston Braves hit a million in attendance for the first time in their history and the fans get their money’s worth in the 34-hit slugfest. The Pirates notch 20 to outslug the Braves, 16 – 10. Jim Russell, with a triple, double and three singles, and Jimmy Bloodworth, with four singles, lead the Buc shots.
1950 – In the 1950 East-West Game, a record four future major leaguers make pitching appearances, throwing 10 of the 18 innings. The West wins, 5 – 3, behind 3 hits, a run, 2 RBI and two steals by Jesse Douglas. In a losing cause, Junior Gilliam homers – he will become the only player to hit homers in both an East-West Game and All-Star Game.
The Browns beat the Baltimore Orioles, the city’s AAA minor league team, 8-2, in an exhibition game played in front of a small crowd of 10,861 at Municipal Stadium. Undaunted by the low turnout of fans for the contest against the International League team, St. Louis owner Bill Veeck will seek and be given permission to shift his franchise to the Charm City, a move denied by the American League owners last year.
In the second game of a doubleheader, the Phillies snap a 23-game losing streak when the Braves beat the Braves at Milwaukee’s County Stadium, 7-4. The winning pitcher John Buzhardt, who wears jersey #23, throws a complete game, ending the team’s skid at 23 straight losses, a major league mark for the most consecutive defeats by a team.
For the second time in two weeks, Don Blasingame is the only thing between the Senators and a no-hitter. Blasingame’s single off the A’s Moe Drabowsky is the only hit for the Nats in a 9 – 0 first game loss. The A’s complete the sweep with a 7 – 5 victory in the second game. Dave Wickersham is the winner.
In his first major league start, Grover Powell blanks the Phillies in the Mets’ 4-0 victory at Connie Mack Stadium. The shutout will be the only big league win for the 21 year-old right-hander, who after pitching four more scoreless innings in his next appearance will appear to lose his effectiveness when he is struck in the face by a line drive hit by Pittsburgh first baseman Donn Clendenon.
1971 – Ferguson Jenkins wins his 20th, beating Houston, 3 – 2. The win pulls the Cubs to 4 1/2 behind Pittsburgh. But following two losses to Houston, Leo Durocher and the players will square off in a clubhouse meeting on the 23rd. Durocher accuses Ron Santo of demanding that the team give him a day, and the third sacker has to be restrained from going after Leo. Leo will finally lip an “I quit,” but stay on through the season in a frosty relationship with the team.
Dwight Gooden, going the distance in the Mets’ 3-0 victory over San Francisco at Shea Stadium en route to his 13th consecutive win, whiffs 16 batters to become the first National League pitcher to strike out 200 or more batters in each of his first two seasons. The 20 year-old sophomore, who has not lost since May 25, when LA’s Fernando Valenzuela beat him, improves his record to 19-3 with his sixth shutout of the year.
1985 – Houston bloodies the Redbirds, 17-2, at the Dome before fans watch a screening of “Jaws” on the new Diamondvision scoreboard. Mark Bailey belts a grand slam while Dickie Thon homers and drives in four to lead the 19-hit attack. Bailey, Glenn Davis and Terry Puhl each deliver three of those hits.
1999 – Diamondbacks P Todd Stottlemyre makes his first start since tearing the rotator cuff in his right arm on May 17th. Stottlemyre, who eschewed surgery in favor of a strengthening program, gives up seven hits to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings, including a pair of homers by Brian Giles. He will go 2-1 the rest of the year.
The Indians defeat the Mariners, 12 – 4, in a game delayed by a rogue squirrel. The loss is the 7th in a row in which Seattle has surrendered at least nine runs, tying a 99-year-old major-league record set by the New York Giants on September 3-6, 1901. The Giants lost seven in a row allowing 10+ runs in each.
A judge issues a temporary restraining order preventing the sale of Barry Bonds’ 600th career home run ball hit into the Pacific Bell Park stands on August 9th. Jay Arsenault, who allegedly promised friends after being given a game ticket to split any monetary gains if he caught the historic baseball, has been ordered to appear in court for hearing on September 5th along with the prized souvenir.
Losing to the A’s at Oakland’s McAfee Coliseum, 4 – 0, the Royals establish a franchise record losing their 19th consecutive game and tie the club’s mark by dropping their 12th straight road game. The 38-82 squad needs two more defeats to match the American League record of 21 losses accomplished by the 1988 Orioles, and four more will tie the major league mark of 23 endured by 1961 Phillies.
The Houston Astros beat the Florida Marlins, 4 – 1, allowing only 4 hits, thus ending the Marlins’ 15-game streak of at least 10 hits every game, the first streak of that length since the 1937 St. Louis Browns set the record with 18 consecutive such games. Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez retires 15 consecutive batters in getting the win.
The Blue Jays crush the Red Sox at Fenway Park, collecting 20 hits in a 16 – 2 victory. Lyle Overbay hits two homers and has a career-high 7 RBI, John Buck gets 4 hits, John McDonald has 3 hits and a homer and José Bautista also goes long in support of Brett Cecil’s pitching. Jon Lester gives up 9 runs in only 2 innings to be saddled with the loss. The Red Sox get more bad news as they put 2B Dustin Pedroia back on the disabled listafter playing only 2 games since being reactivated from a fractured foot.
The Angels win a wild game over the Orioles, 9 – 8, in 12 innings. The Angels score three runs in the bottom of the 12th inning after the Orioles score two in the top of the frame. The Halos rally against O’s closer Kevin Gregg, as Erick Aybar singles and Mike Trout is hit by a pitch; a first run scores on 3B Josh Bell’s throwing error fielding Hank Conger’s bunt, then Peter Bourjos is safe on an infield hit that loads the bases. Alberto Callaspowalks to tie the game, and with Troy Patton now on the mound, Bobby Abreu hits a sacrifice fly to center for the walk-off win.
After a stint with the AAA Toledo Mud Hens and exactly one month after having been designated for assignment, Brandon Inge is back in the Tigers’ line-up. He homers in his first at-bat and doubles in a run his next time up as Detroit defeats Cleveland, 10 – 1, increasing its lead in the AL Central to 3 games.
The Marlins collect a season-best 20 hits in defeating Arizona, 12 – 3. They tie a club record with 9 runs in the 4th inning, when they roll out half of their hits. Giancarlo Stanton hits a pair of homers for the Fish, and Jose Reyes and John Buck have four hits each. Reyes’ hits includes 3 doubles, while Buck homers, as does Justin Ruggiano, for a team that has struggled finding its offense all season. Mark Buehrle gets the win over Joe Saunders.
The official first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony for the Major League Baseball All-Stars Forever stamps takes place at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY. The very popular philatelic series based on historic photographs honors Yankee Joe DiMaggio, Larry Doby of the Indians, Willie Stargell of the Pirates, and Red Sox legend Ted Williams.
2014 – Major League Baseball upholds a protest filed by the Giants over their rain-shortened 2 – 0 loss to the Cubs on August 19th. The game was called after 4 1/2 innings, but the Giants successfully argue that the Cubs did not properly deploy the tarp at Wrigley Field, dumping accumulated rainwater on the infield and preventing the game from resuming when the rain abated after a few minutes. The game will resume tomorrow in the bottom of the 5th inning, prior to the regularly scheduled game between the two teams. This is the first successful protest in 28 years. When the game resumes, the Cubs will be able to hold on for a 2 – 1 win.
Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer does the same, recording 11 strikeouts in the process, in shutting out the Astros, 1 – 0. His only blemish also comes in the 5th on a single by Colby Rasmus. It’s the first complete game by a Rays pitcher in 154 games, the last having come courtesy of Drew Smyly on August 22, 2014.