This Day in Baseball March 4
– includes Major League baseball players born that day of the year, Major League baseball players who died on that date, baseball players who made their Major League debut on that date, and Major League baseball players who appeared in their final game that date.
With the shanties torn down and the garbage pits filled in the Pigtown section in Brooklyn, Charles Ebbets breaks ground for his team’s new Bedford Avenue ballpark. The Dodgers’ Flatbush facility, which will serve as the team’s beloved home for 44 years, will be named for its owner after a reporter at the ceremony suggested the idea to Charley.
1925 – John Montgomery (Monte) Ward dies in Augusta, Georgia, just a day after his 65th birthday. During his illustrious career in the majors, Ward hit for a .371 batting average twice, won 40-plus games as a pitcher twice, including the second perfect game in history, and was be the captain and manager of the first and original New York Giants. Ward will gain election to the Hall of Fame in 1964.
1943 – The woeful Philadelphia Phillies announce their new nickname – the Blue Jays. The winning entry in the contest was submitted by a Mrs. Elizabeth Crooks, and was chosen over a number of names ranging from Daisies to Stinkers. Team president Bob Carpenter says he hopes to have the farm system identified by the same blue color, with the Wilmington club called the Blue Rocks and possibly the new Bradford team as the Blue Wings. The Blue Jays will be the official team name in 1943 and 1944, but will be abandoned in 1945, though the team will still occasionally be referred to in newspaper accounts as the Blue Jays through 1949. Ms. Crooks wins a $100 war bond and a season ticket to the Blue Jays.
Cardinals outfielder Stan Musial ends his holdout, signing a contract for $31,000, the same salary he made last season. ‘Stan the Man,’ after being assured by new owners Robert Hannegan and Fred Saigh that his salary will be increased based on his performance, gets a pay raise of $5,000 when he is hitting .403 at the All-Star break, en route to being named the National League’s MVP.
1956 – “Clemente Wows Bucs; Outfielder Amazes New Boss, Crowd With Fly-Chasing.” Pittsburgh’s sophomore star-in-waiting blows away both his rookie manager and the Fort Myers, FL faithful in this spring’s first intra-squad game. “Bobby Bragan didn’t hesitate when he picked out Roberto Clemente’s spectacular fielding as the most impressive thing he saw in yesterday’s game,” reports Pittsburgh Press writer Les Biederman. “Until yesterday, Bragan never had seen Clemente play and was amazed at the way he runs down fly balls and turns them into tumbling catches. ‘I know he doesn’t do that all the time because even Willie Mays doesn’t, but I thought for sure he’d drop a couple of those he lunged for,’ Bragan added. ‘He seems to have sure hands.’ Clemente also contributed a single that scored a run, but his best work was saved for the field. He was all over the premises in right field, came in, went back, and to either side to spear fly balls that might have been base hits. He threw out one runner at third and almost nipped another. The fans in the stands ate it up too and when Clemente came to bat for the last time, they applauded him. He was the only Pirate who drew applause from the free-loaders.”
1967 – Bullet Joe Rogan dies in Kansas City, Missouri, at age 77. One of the greatest pitchers in Negro league baseball, Rogan threw a devastating fastball which he complemented it with a dizzying array of other pitches. He also played the outfield when he wasn’t pitching, and in 1922 led the Negro National League with 16 home runs. Rogan will receive Hall of Fame honors in 1998.
1994 – Michael Jordan comes to bat for the first time in a Chicago White Sox uniform. Playing in a spring training game, Jordan taps back to Texas Rangers pitcher Darren Oliver, who tags out the former National Basketball Association star. Jordan will eventually give up baseball after one season in the minor leagues and return to the NBA.
2002 – Cleveland Indians center fielder Alex Escobar will have reconstructive knee surgery, after he crashes into an outfield wall, and will miss the entire season. Escobar, who was acquired in the Roberto Alomar trade, was once a highly touted Mets prospect. His stock has fallen considerably in recent years, due to injury problems.
Commissioner Bud Selig announces major league baseball will celebrate “Jackie Robinson Day” in every ballpark on April 15, the anniversary of the debut of the first black player in the major leagues. Jackie’s number (42) was retired for all time in a ceremony at Shea Stadium in April of 1997 to mark the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s achievement.
Commissioner Bud Selig announces that Major League Baseball will celebrate “Jackie Robinson Day” in every ballpark on April 15th, the anniversary of the debut the first black player in major league history. Robinson’s uniform number “42” was retired for all time in a ceremony at Shea Stadium in April of 1997 to mark the 50th anniversary of his achievement.
At the Tokyo Dome, South Korea beats China, 10 – 1, in the inaugural World Baseball Classic and advances to the second round of the 16-nation tournament. Seung Yeop Lee homers twice, drives in five runs and finishes with four hits for South Korea. Lee, who holds the Asian record of 56 home runs in a season, signed with the Yomiuri Giants of the Central League after spending two seasons with the Chiba Lotte Marines.
Meanwhile, Japan mauls Taiwan, 14 – 3, behind Hitoshi Tamura’s slugging, giving the Asian hosts a spot in the next round of the World Baseball Classic. Tamura hits a three-run home run (his second homer of the series) and Tsuyoshi Nishioka drives in two runs. Taiwan and China are both 0-2 and will face each other tomorrow. Then Japan will play South Korea, although both teams are guaranteed to advance.
Major League Baseball organizes a symposium on “Science Behind Anti-Doping” at its New York City headquarters. The meeting shares information about the latest developments in testing and involves both leading scientists and officials responsible for labor policy from the United States Olympic Committee, the NHL, the NFL, the NBA, the PGA and the NCAA, as well as the US Anti-Doping Agency, all of which are members of the “Partnership for Clean Competition”. MLB President Bob DuPuy gives the keynote address. The conference puts a particular focus on developments in the detection of human growth hormone.
At the 2013 World Baseball Classic, one of the favored teams in Pool A finally breezes through. Cuba routs China, 12 – 0, as Danny Betancourt and three relievers combine on a three-hitter. José Dariel Abreu hits a grand slam and José Miguel Fernández scores four times. The game ends early due to the mercy rule. In the other match today, South Korea gets back on track, as Seung Song and five relievers shut out Australia, 6 – 0. Seung-yeop Lee and Dae-ho Lee collect three hits apiece.
With the Yankees struck by a number of key players either injured, or trying to return from serious injuries, GM Brian Cashman joins the fray. He breaks his fibula and dislocates his right ankle while making a charity parachute jump with the U.S. Army’s skydiving team, the Golden Knights, at Homestead Air Force Base.
2015 – The College Baseball Hall of Fame inducts eight new members. They are Joe Arnold (MVP of the 1966 NJCAA Baseball World Series and successful coach), Lance Berkman (Dick Howser Trophy winner in 1997 after leading NCAA Division I with 41 HR), Larry Hays (fifth coach to 1,400 wins), Al Holland (national ERA leader at both the NAIA and NCAA levels), Bill Holowaty (coach of four national champions in NCAA Division III), Mike Kelly (consensus Player of the Year in 1990 and three-time All-American), Rick Reichardt (.443 in 1964) and Frank Viola (26-2 at St. John’s).