1887 – Grover Cleveland Alexander is born in Elba, Nebraska. Suffering from epilepsy, haunted by his experiences in combat during World War I, and shadowed by alcoholism, Alexander will still be able to win 373 games during a 20-year career, the third highest total in major league baseball history. He will lead the National League in ERA on four occasions, wins on six different seasons, complete games six times, and shutouts during seven seasons. He will also win 30 or more games in three consecutive seasons, and be the only pitcher in major league history to win the Triple Crown three years in a row. Alexander will gain election to the Hall of Fame in 1938.
1901 – National League officials meet with Charles “Chief” Zimmer, Pittsburgh Pirates catcher and the president of the Players Protective Association, and agree to contract concessions granted by the American League for NL players who will agree not to sign with AL clubs. Zimmer promises suspensions for members of the union who jump to the new league.
General Taylor acquires the rights to a parcel of land known as the Dana Lands, a property once owned by a leader of the Sons of Liberty named Francis Dana, at a public auction for $120,000. The Red Sox minority owner’s acquisition will become the site of the team’s new home which will be named Fenway Park.
1935 – The New York Yankees release longtime star outfielder Babe Ruth, freeing him to sign a $20,000 contract with the Boston Braves of the National League. Ruth’s new contract with the Braves also gives him a share of the team’s profits. In 1934, Ruth endured one of his worst seasons with the Yankees – at least by his lofty standards – with a .288 batting average, 22 home runs and 84 RBI. This season, he will play just only 28 games for the Braves before announcing his retirement on June 2nd at the age of 40. Ruth will hit the final three home runs of his major league career on May 25th against the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving him a total of 714. His last home run will clear the right field grandstand at Forbes Field and will travel an estimated 600 feet.
1943 – The Philadelphia Blue Jays hire Bucky Harris as their manager. It is the fourth major league club Harris has led. He also managed the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox, not counting two stints – later three – with the Washington Senators. Clark Griffith, Rogers Hornsby, Donie Bush and Bill McKechnie have also managed four clubs. Harris will compile a record of 38-52 in 92 games before being fired, but will resurface as manager of the 1947 World Champions New York Yankees. He will finish his managing career with Detroit in 1956.
The Giants trade right-hander Hoyt Wilhelm to the Cardinals for their former All-Star first baseman/outfielder Whitey Lockman. The knuckleballer will win only one of five decisions for the Redbirds before being selected off waivers by Cleveland in September, and New York’s newest infielder will spend two seasons with his old club, hitting .246 in 225 games over that span.
1992 – Boston Red Sox owner Jean R. Yawkey dies at the age of 83. For the first time in 59 years, someone other than a Yawkey will own the team. Mrs. Yawkey’s husband, Tom, became president of the Red Sox in 1933, and was the sole owner of the team for 44 seasons, longer than anyone in major league baseball history.
With hundreds of onlookers, including a man covered in ivy, singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game, the foul ball made famous by Steve Bartman in the 2003 NLCS playoffs is blown up at Harry Caray’s restaurant in Chicago. The infamous ball’s demise is executed by Cubs’ die-hard fan Michael Lantieri, an Oscar Award winner who has worked on similar special effects in the movies Jurassic Park and Back to the Future.
2004 – With hundreds of on-lookers, including a man covered in ivy, singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game, the foul ball made famous by Steve Bartman in the 2003 National League Championship Series is blown up at Harry Caray’s restaurant in Chicago. The infamous ball’s demise is executed by Michael Lantieri, a Cubs die-hard fan and Oscar Award winner who has worked on similar special effects in the films Jurassic Park and Back to the Future.
“He’s an idiot. He’s selfish. That’s why we don’t miss him. And we’ve held it in for far too long.” – KENNY WILLIAMS, White Sox general manager, reacting to his former player’s negative comments. Frustrated with the latest comments from former employee Frank Thomas, Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams responds by calling his former superstar selfish as well as being an idiot. The former MVP, who signed with the A’s in January, has been very vocal about feeling unappreciated and mistreated by Chicago after spending 16 years with the organization.
Russell Martin withdraws from Team Canada four days before the start of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Signed by the Pirates as a free agent over the off-season, the veteran catcher had wanted to play shortstop in the tournament, but both the Bucs and the national team brass were cool to the suggestion. He is replaced on the roster by John Suomi, a veteran backstop with 12 minor league seasons of experience.
2019 – The Australian Baseball League has its first joint MVPs; the 2018-2019 honorees were Adelaide Bite hurler Markus Solbach (5-3, 1.10, 74 K in 65 1/3 IP) and Perth Heat outfielder Tim Kennelly (.338/.419/.531, 38 R in 38 G). Kennelly is the first two-time MVP in ABL history, while Solbach is the first pitcher to win MVP in the second edition of the ABL.
1987 – The owner of a Houston sports bar begins a campaign to raise $70,000 for Astros slugger Glenn Davis. That’s what separates the Astros and Davis on a one-year contract, according to his agent Gerry Hunsicker. The two sides would eventually agree to meet roughly halfway. Davis is humbled by the public’s show of support but declines taking their money.