This Day In Baseball June 15
Debuts, Milestones, No Hitters, Rule Changes, Events, Birthdays, Deaths, and more on This Day In Baseball.
Events for June 15
6/15/1889: Al Maul of the Alleghenys (Pirates) hit a ball over the LF fence for a home run in Indianapolis. Maul stopped at 3B and did not score because he wanted there to be a base runner. This would make the catcher play closer up to the plate. At the time, catchers would stand farther back behind the batter to make it easier to catch pitches.
1938 – Johnny Vander Meer of the Cincinnati Reds stuns the baseball world by pitching his second successive no-hitter in five days, defeating the Brooklyn Dodgers, 6 – 0, as Brooklyn plays the first night game ever at Ebbets Field. In front of 38,748 fans, including spectator Babe Ruth, Vander Meer strikes out seven and walks eight, including three one-out walks in the 9th inning. A force at home and a fly ball end the game. Vander Meer no-hit the Boston Bees, 3 – 0, on June 11th.
Shortly after 1a.m., Ruth Ann Steinhagen shoots Eddie Waitkus in the chest with a rifle at Chicago’s Edgewater Beach Hotel, after luring him to her room with an urgent note delivered by the bellhop. The obsessed fan, who had become infatuated with the first baseman when he played with the Cubs, apparently is upset and agitated because the All-Star infielder was traded to the Phillies
The Cubs trade Andy Pfako along with Johnny Schmitz, Wayne Terwilliger, and Rube Walker to the Dodgers for Bruce Edwards, Joe Hatten, Eddie Miksis, and Gene Hermanski. The deal, which prevents the coveted ‘Handy Andy’ from going to the rival Giants, is the first of many to be made by Buzzy Bavasi, Brooklyn’s new general manager.
In a move that is perceived to be a prelude to a second deal with the Yankees, the A’s trade Woodie Held and Vic Power to the Indians for southpaw Dick Tomanek, utility player Preston Ward, and right fielder Roger Maris. Owner Arnold Johnson, already under pressure for allowing Kansas City to become a farm club for the Bronx Bombers, is warned by American League president Will Harridge not to send the outfield slugger to New York for at least 18 months.
At Candlestick Park, Juan Marichal no-hits Houston, 1-0, to become the first Giants hurler since Carl Hubbell accomplish the feat in 1929, and the first since the franchise moved to San Francisco, to accomplish the feat. The 25 year-old Dominican native outduels Colt .45’s right-hander Dick Drott, who tosses a complete game three-hitter, yielding the game’s only run in the eighth inning, giving up doubles to Chuck Hiller and Jimmy Davenport. (Our thanks to Richard J. Drake, who attended the game as a nine year-old with his grandfather, for reminding us about this outstanding achievement).
1965 – Detroit Tigers pitcher Denny McLain makes a 1st-inning relief appearance and strikes out the first seven batters he faces, setting a major league record. He records 14 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings as Detroit rallies to beat the Boston Red Sox, 6 – 5. Bill Freehan has a record-tying 19 putouts at catcher.
The Phillies fire manager Gene Mauch and replace him with Bob Skinner, skipper of the team’s farm club in San Diego. ‘The Little General’, who is best remembered for being at the helm during the club’s infamous collapse in 1964, compiled a 646-684 (.486) record during his 8+year tenure with Philadelphia.
1969 – The New York Mets help their power needs by adding first baseman Donn Clendenon. Clendenon had refused a January trade that would have sent him from Montreal to Houston, but he agrees to go to New York. In exchange, Montreal receives Steve Renko, Kevin Collins, and two minor leaguers, and also acquires pitcher Dick Radatz from Detroit in a separate deal.
En route to setting the National League record of playing in 1,117 consecutive games, Billy Williams, after fouling a pitch off his foot in yesterday’s contest, hobbles to the plate as a pinch hitter in the Cubs’ 7-6 loss to Cincinnati at Crosley Field. The contest marks the first time “Sweet Swingin’ Billy” has not been in the starting lineup during the 878 games of the streak.
1971 – “If they ever want to rate the 10 greatest catches of all time,” maintains The Sporting News’s correspondent and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports editor Charley Feeney, “Roberto Clemente’s fantastic catch of Bob Watson’s line drive in Houston’s Astrodome will have to be among them.” Most of the 16,307 fans give Clemente a standing ovation for his feat, which deprives Watson of a home run in the 8th inning. It would have put the Astros ahead, 2 – 1. Instead, Steve Blass holds on to a 1 – 0 lead and the Bucs will score twice more for a 3 – 0 win. Joe Morgan is on first base with two out when Watson hits his vicious liner toward the right field corner. Clemente, going full speed, races toward the wall and, in one sudden move, makes a twisting leap for a one-handed grab, back to the plate, just before the ball would have hit above the yellow line on the wall, in home run territory. When Clemente comes down, his body hits the wall and he suffers a bruised left ankle and his left elbow also is swollen. Blood spills from a gash on the left knee. Clemente slumps on both knees, back to the infield. The Houston fans stand up and cheer. A second standing ovation will precede Clemente’s at-bat in the top of the 9th. On the preceding play, Clemente made a skidding shoestring catch of Cesar Cedeno’s Texas Leaguer, then threw perfectly to second base while on his knees to prevent Morgan from advancing.
A game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros is rained out at the Houston Astrodome. Only members of both teams are able to make it to the stadium. The game is postponed when heavy rains and flooding prevent umpires, fans and stadium personnel from arriving at the dome. It is the first rainout in Astrodome history.
Oakland Athletics owner Charlie Finley attempts to sell three of his star players. Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers are sent to the Boston Red Sox for $1 million apiece and Vida Blue to the New York Yankees for $1.5 million. Three days later, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn will void the moves, saying they are “not in the best interests of baseball.”
1977 – In an unpopular move, the New York Mets trade franchise pitcher Tom Seaver just moments before the trading deadline. The Mets send Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for four lesser players: infielder Doug Flynn, outfielders Steve Henderson and Dan Norman, and pitcher Pat Zachry. Seaver will go on to win 75 games for the Reds in five and a half seasons. The same day, New York trades slugger Dave Kingman to the San Diego Padres for utility player Bobby Valentine and a minor league pitcher.
The Cardinals trade former MVP Keith Hernandez to the Mets for a pair of right-handed hurlers, Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey. The righties will compile a 21-22 record for the Redbirds, and the Gold Glove first baseman will spend seven seasons in New York, batting .297, playing an instrumental role in the club’s World Championship in 1986.
The NY-Penn Minor League Erie Sailors beat the Jamestown Expos in 13 innings at College Stadium, 6-5, marking the first ever game played by a team representing the National League’s new expansion team, the Florida Marlins. The first pitch of the franchise is thrown by John Lynch, who will leave baseball to eventually become a safety for the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos.
In the first inning of their 6-2 victory over the Braves, the Dodgers turn their first triple play in forty-seven years. After making a running, back-to-the-plate grab of Chipper Jones’s popup to short left with runners on first and second, Juan Castro throws to second baseman Delino Deshields to double up Marquis Grissom, then the ball is relayed to first baseman Eric Karos to get Mark Lemke, who was also running on the pitch.
1997 – In one of the more surprising developments of the first weekend of interleague play, the Baltimore Orioles complete a sweep of the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, on Lenny Webster’s 10th-inning home run off Mark Wohlers. One byproduct of interleague play that isn’t a surprise is the increase at the turnstiles. Attendance is up nearly 10,000 per game for the weekend, and the Seattle Mariners average 52,074 for their four interleague games in the Kingdome.
Baltimore first baseman Will Clark gets his 2,000th career hit, a 10th-inning single in the team’s 6-5 walk-off victory over the Royals at Camden Yards. The 35 year-old ‘Thrill’ will end his 15-year big league career next season with a .303 batting average, collecting 2,176 hits with the Giants, Rangers, Orioles, and Cardinals.
6/15/2006: David Ortiz of the Red Sox hit a towering fly ball in the top of the sixth inning at the Metrodome. The ball soared toward the upper deck but struck a speaker hanging from the ceiling and fell onto the field. Ortiz only reached first base and was out on a double play. After the game, Boston manager Terry Francona said: “It’s like playing putt-putt golf where you’ve got to go around the windmill. That’s embarrassing. The outcome of the game should never, never hinge on a speaker.” The Twins completed a three-game sweep of the Red Sox, 5-3.
2007 – Julio Franco comes to bat against Roger Clemens. Their combined age is 93 years, 246 days, the oldest pitcher-batter matchup in the major leagues since Rube Walberg and Nick Altrock on October 1, 1933. Franco and Clemens had first faced off on May 15, 1984, 19 months before the Mets’ starting left fielder in this game, Carlos Gomez, was even born.
Scott Baker strikes out four batters in an inning, the first Minnesota Twins hurler to accomplish the feat. In the 3rd inning of a 4 – 2 loss to Milwaukee, Baker fans Ryan Braun. On a strikeout of Prince Fielder, the ball bounces away from backstop Mike Redmond, letting Fielder reach first. Baker strikes out Russell Branyan and then gets Mike Cameron looking to end the frame.
Just called up from AAA Portland, Aaron Cunningham hits a grand slam off Brett Cecil in the Padres’ 8 – 2 win over Toronto. Cunningham was called up to replace the injured Matt Stairs, and the slam is his first hit in a San Diego uniform. Mat Latos is the winner, but all is not rosy for the Friars: catcher Yorvit Torrealba is handed a three-game suspension and is fined an undisclosed amount for bumping umpire Larry Vanover in the previous day’s game.
Unwanted by the Brewers, pitcher Jeff Suppan shows flashes of his old form in his return to the St. Louis Cardinals. One of the heroes of the team’s conquest of the 2006 World Series title, Suppan gives up a run in four innings and hits a double and scores a run; reliever Blake Hawksworth gets credit for the 4 – 2 win over the Mariners.
One day after seeing their 9-game winning streak stopped by James Shields’s shutout, the Red Sox are back at it, getting even with the Rays as Josh Beckett tosses a one-hitter in a 3 – 0 win. Kevin Youkilis hits a three-run homer off Jeremy Hellickson in the 7th for the game’s only runs. Reid Brignac has Tampa Bay’s only hit, a 3rd-inning single.
Rickie Weeks homers and doubles twice as the Brewers defeat the Cubs, 7 – 5, to complete their climb to the top of the NL Central, claiming sole possession of first place after a slow start to the season. Ryan Braun doubles twice, singles and scores three runs and Corey Hart also has three hits as the Brew Crew’s bats are not dampened by rainy conditions at Wrigley Field.
An 8-run explosion by the Rockies in the 10th inning takes them to a 12 – 4 win over the Tigers. For the Rockies, it’s the most runs they have ever scored in an extra inning; the win stops an 8-game losing streak and is their first in 10 interleague games this year. A fielding error by P Jose Valverde on Eric Young’s sacrifice bunt sets up the big inning, and Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer hit back-to-back homers off Luis Marte before the Rox are done.
2013 – The Rockies hit for the cycle in the span of four batters against Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone in the 1st inning, on their way to a 10 – 5 win. After Jordan Pacheco draws a one-out walk off Pettibone, Carlos Gonzalez doubles, Michael Cuddyer singles, Wilin Rosario triples and Tyler Colvin caps things off with a homer. The Rockies add another run before the end of the inning, on their way to getting 18 hits on the night; Tyler Chatwood is the beneficiary of the outburst, improving to 4-1.
The Mets snap the Blue Jays’ 11-game winning streak with a two-run rally in the bottom of the 11th that gives them a 4 – 3 win. Jose Bautista homers twice for Toronto, including a game-tying shot in the top of the 9th, and the Jays take the lead on Dioner Navarro’s sacrifice fly in the 11th, but RBI singles by Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores in the bottom of the inning give the game to the Mets.
Ichiro Suzuki collects a pair of hits in the Marlins’ 6 – 3 loss to the Padres. His 9th-inning double off Fernando Rodney is his 4,257th hit as a major leaguer, counting his time in Japan and the United States. This moves him ahead of Pete Rose for the all-time mark and brings him within 21 hits of the magic 3000 hit club in the U.S.
On the day SS Jose Reyes is eligible for reinstatement from his suspension following an off-season domestic violence incident, the Rockies decide to have him designated for assignment, eating approximately $40 million remaining on his contract. Rookie Trevor Story has emerged as a star during Reyes’ prolonged absence, prompting the Rockies to cut ties with the former All-Star.
“I’m not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, he’s had a Hall of Fame career, but the next thing you know, they’ll be counting his high-school hits.” – PETE ROSE, as quoted in USA Today. Ichiro Suzuki’s ninth-inning double in the Marlins’ 6-3 loss to the Padres at Petco Park raises his professional hit total to 4,257, surpassing Pete Rose’s all-time major league mark. The 42 year-old outfielder’s total includes the 1,278 hits he collected for Orix in Japan’s Pacific League.
1963 – San Francisco’s Juan Marichal spins a 1-0 no-hitter against the Colts at Candlestick Park. For 7-1/2 innings, a scratch single by Willie Mays off Dick Drott is the only hit but Jim Davenport legs out a double in the eighth then Chuck Hiller doubles him home. Marichal strikes out Pete Runnels and Brock Davis to finish the gem.
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