This Day In Baseball May 15
Debuts, Milestones, No Hitters, Rule Changes, Events, Birthdays, Deaths, and more on This Day In Baseball.
Events for May 15
After tagging out St. Louis Browns OF Steve Brodie in a collision at the plate, Cincinnati Reds C Harry “Farmer” Vaughn throws a bat at Brodie, hitting him on the shoulder. Vaughn is ejected and fined $25 as St. Louis wins, 10 – 6, and moves past the Cleveland Spiders and the Pittsburgh Pirates into first place.
In the aftermath of a fierce fight between Baltimore’s John McGraw and Boston’s Tommy Tucker in the 3rd inning, a devastating fire starts in the RF stands at Boston’s South End Grounds. The fire destroys $70,000 worth of equipment as well as the park, the only truly double-decked grandstand Boston would ever have. The fire spreads to adjacent blocks and eventually destroys or severely damages 170 buildings. The team moves to the Congress Street ballpark for several months before returning to the rebuilt Walpole Street park.
Watty Lee throws the first shutout in American League history when the visiting Washington Senators blank the Americans at Boston’s Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds, 4-0. The 21 year-old southpaw, who will finish the season with a 16-16 record, will be the author of two of the eight shutouts thrown in the Junior Circuit’s inaugural season.
Hooks Wiltse of the Giants becomes the first pitcher of the modern era to fan four batters in a single inning, striking out the side in the 5th inning after the first Cincinnatibatter, Jim Delahanty, reaches base on Roger Bresnahan’s third-strike error. Wiltse also fans the side in the 4th inning to total seven batters punched out in just two innings, the first time this happens. Hooks K’s 12 Reds overall en route to a 4 – 1 victory. However, the Giants suffer a major loss when Turkey Mike Donlin, breaks his leg sliding into second base after getting three hits.
In Cleveland, pitcher Babe Ruth is lifted with one out in the 6th and the Red Sox leading 6 – 5. Dutch Leonard then shuts down the Indians to preserve the victory, and he is awarded the win by the official scorer. The decision is eventually reversed, giving Ruth his 8th straight win. The White Sox will stop his streak on May 18th.
In a game that takes only 2 hours and 47 minutes to play, Senators’ legend Walter Johnson goes the distance in an 18-inning contest, defeating Larry Williams, who also tosses a complete game, and the White Sox at Comiskey Park, 1-0. Eddie Ainsworth, who advances to third base on the ‘Big Train’s’ single, scores the winning run on a wild pitch.
In a 4 – 1 win at New York, Ty Cobb beats out a grounder to SS Everett Scott. Veteran writer Fred Lieb scores it a hit in the boxscore he files with the Associated Press. But official scorer John Kieran of the New York Tribune gives an error to Scott. At the season’s end, the American League official records, based on AP box scores, list Cobb at .401. New York writers complain unsuccessfully, claiming it should be .399, based on the official scorer’s stats. Lieb will reverse himself at the end of the year, but Ban Johnson goes with the hit call.
1B Art Mahan and 2B Ham Schulte establish themselves as regulars at their positions with the Phillies. Fewer than a dozen players have been 120-or-more-game regulars in their only season in the major leagues, and the Phillies, again locked in last place, have two of them in one season. Neither Phillie will hit .250, but Schulte will top second basemen in fielding.
A day after the Reds pitch a one-hitter, Reds reliever Clyde Shoun, making his first start of the season, throws a no-hitter to nip the Boston Braves, 1 – 0. Only 1,014 see the 32-year-old lefty top Jim Tobin, who had thrown a no-hitter of his own back in April. Reds reserve 3B Chuck Aleno accounts for the sole run with his only home run of the season.
Fireworks occur as Brooklyn starter Les Webber brushes back Enos Slaughter in the 1st inning, but the Cardinal outfielder retaliates by bunting up the 1B line and flattening Webber as he tries to field the ball. Slaughter then silences the fans with two catches in the bottom of the inning and a throw to double off Carl Furillo. The Cards move into first place by edging the Dodgers, 1 – 0, behind Howie Pollet.
Boston’s Vern Bickford stops the Dodgers, 4 – 0, allowing just four singles. One is by Gil Hodges, extending his hitting streak to 17 games. Jim Russell switch-hits a homer and double to pin the loss on Morrie Martin. The Braves start Al Lakeman at 1B in place of Earl Torgeson, who separated his shoulder the previous day when he attempted to block Jackie Robinson on a double play. Torgeson will be operated on tomorrow and will be sidelined several months.
At Fenway Park, the Red Sox celebrate the 50th anniversary of their first American League game in Boston. On hand are 29 old-timers who played, managed, or umpired in the AL in that first year including Connie Mack, Dummy Hoy, Cy Young, Hugh Duffy, Clark Griffith, Tom Connolly, Billy Sullivan, Wid Conroy, Bill Bradley and Ollie Pickering. Eight of the 29 participated in the first AL game, played in Chicago on April 24, 1901. The game that follows the ceremony features dramatic home runs as Ted Williams hits the 300th homer of his career in the 4th inning against Chicago’s Howie Judson. With Williams up in the 8th inning, White Sox manager Paul Richards moves reliever Harry Dorish to 3B and brings in Billy Pierce to pitch to Ted. Williams pops up against the lefty, and Dorish then returns to the mound. Boston ties the game against Dorish at 7 – 7, but little Nellie Fox, playing in his 6th season, cracks his first major league homer in the 11th to give Dorish a 9 – 7 victory. Ray Scarborough is the loser. The Sox will win their next 13 games.
At Crosley Field, Braves P Vern Bickford pitches a two-hitter, but Ewell Blackwell bests him by allowing one hit, as the Reds win, 1 – 0. Connie Ryan’s 6th-inning hit is the first off Bickford, and Johnny Pramesa’s homer in the 7th is the other. The only Boston hit is a 5th-inning double by Bob Elliott. The Reds tie the National League record (set in 1911) for nine innings by going to bat just 24 times.
After pitching four no-hitters in the minors, 33-year-old Virgil “Fire” Trucks of Detroit pitches his first in the major leagues, a 1 – 0 blanking of the Senators. Vic Wertz’s dramatic two-out home run in the 9th off Bob Porterfield wins the game at Briggs Stadium. Trucks will throw a second no-hitter later this year.
At Baltimore, the Indians rap Mike Fornieles for five hits and three runs in the 16th to defeat the Orioles, 11 – 8. The Tribe score three in the 8th after an error by Billy Gardner and three more in the 14th after an error by Wayne Causey. Gardner steals home in the 14th for one Bird run and the third run scores on Russ Nixon’s wild throw.
The Alou brothers and Orlando Cepeda lead an 18-hit attack as San Francisco overpowers the Cubs, 14 – 1. Dick Ellsworth gives up six runs in the 1st without retiring a batter. Cepeda hits two homers and a double and drives in five runs, while Felipe Alou hits his first grand slam and brother Matty Alou his first major league homer. Matty will combine with Jesus Alou in 1965 to homer in the same game. Mike McCormick is the easy winner.
The American Basketball League’s Cleveland Pipers, owned by George Steinbrenner, hire John McLendon, Jr. as the franchise’s head coach, making him the first African American to be named to a top leadership position in any major professional sport. The well-respected college coach, leaving the post midway through the 1961-62 ABL season, will become the first of many of the future Yankee owner’s employees to resign over the years due to interference from the front office.
Cubs P Barney Schultz ties Roy Face’s major-league record by relieving in his 9th consecutive game for Chicago. Today’s effort doesn’t help as the Cubs lose, 6 – 5 in 13 innings against the Mets. Roger Craig, en route to a 10-24 year, is the winner, while Tony Balsamo loses to notch his only career decision.
Roberto Clemente clubs three homers to all fields plus a double off the scoreboard in left-center, driving in all seven Pittsburgh runs in the process. All this, alas, in a losing cause as all of Clemente’s contributions can’t quite keep pace with the Pirate pitchers’ even more generous contributions to their opponents’ final tally. After Bob Veale, Pete Mikkelsen and Juan Pizarro combine to give back every one of those seven runs, the 12-time Gold Glover comes up big in the 9th, scaling the right-field fence to prevent a walk-off homer from Reds reliever Gerry Arrigo, against whom Clemente himself has just gone deep. These heroics, however, only prolong the agony: before he can get one more crack at Arrigo, Clemente will watch Tony Perez’s shot to right center carry far beyond his outstretched glove, carrying with it any hope of a Pirate win, as Pete Rose scores easily from first, giving Cincinnati the 10-inning, 8 – 7 decision.
Steve Carlton outduels Steve Blass as St. Louis edges Pittsburgh, 1 – 0, giving the defending World Champs their 4th win in 5 tries and leaving them atop the National League at 20-10, 3 1/2 games ahead of San Francisco. In the next two weeks, the Cards will go into their only significant slump of the season; by May 29th, they’ll have lost 11 of 13 and fallen to 4th place, 3 behind the league-leading Giants.
California’s Nolan Ryan strikes out 12, including the side in the 1st, and hurls his first career no-hitter in beating Kansas City, 3 – 0. For C Jeff Torborg, it is his third no-hitter. SS Rudy Meoli preserves the no-no with a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch in the 8th. It is the first of a record seven no-hitters the “Ryan Express” will throw during his career, including another one in two months.
5/15/1974 – The Giants skipped a batter in the eighth inning. In the sixth inning, Bobby Bonds pinch-hit for the pitcher. He stayed in the game in the ninth spot in the order and the new pitcher batted in the first spot. The next time around the order, Bonds homered and Tito Fuentes hit for the pitcher. Mike Phillips should have batted next but Garry Maddox, the number three hitter, came to the plate instead and made an out. The Reds said nothing in this case and eventually won the game, 4-3.
His 7th-inning, two-run homer moves Willie Stargell past the late Roberto Clemente into sole possession of second place on Pittsburgh’s all-time RBI list, his total of 1,307 now trailing only Honus Wagner’s 1,475. Stargell’s blast takes a page out of his late mentor’s book, going out to the opposite field. It concludes a four-run 7th, giving Pittsburgh starter Bert Blyleven a five-run cushion which proves inadequate as the Dodgers storm back with three-spots in the 7th and 9th, featuring, respectively, Reggie Smith’s two-run home run and walk-off, two-run double.
The Indians’ Len Barker pitches the 9th perfect game in 20th century major league history, 3 – 0 over the Blue Jays before just 7,290 fans on a rainy night at Cleveland Stadium. Last year’s American League strikeoutleader, Barker fans 11. It is the 11th time in major league history the feat has been accomplished, and the first time in 13 years since it’s been done, by Catfish Hunter in 1968.
It’s a day for hitting pitchers. Good-hitting Tim Lollar leads the way by collecting all four RBIs for his team, but his Padres lose, 6 – 4. The Cards win, 9 – 1, over the Braves as Joaquin Andujar, a poor hitter, hits a grand slam. Just before his blast, Andujar looks into the Cards’ dugout, then gestures to the RF stands.
After several well-publicized run-ins with the team’s star, the 12-24 Blue Jays fire manager Jimy Williams, replacing him with hitting coach Cito Gaston. George Bell had made it widely known he did not want to be Toronto’s designated hitter, despite his skipper’s insistence he fill that role for the club.
The Mariners spot the Yankees four runs, then hammer starter Jimmy Key and five other pitchers for 19 hits to win, 10 – 5. Seven Mariners collect two or more hits, and Edgar Martinez drives in four runs. A wild Key takes his 5th straight loss, while Yankee reliever Mariano Rivera records four outs to stretch his runless innings to 21 2/3. The Yanks will place Key on the disabled list.
Denny Neagle, allowing four hits in seven innings, wins his 5th straight game to give Pittsburgh a 3 – 0 win over the Braves. The Braves have now been shut out five times, one more than all of last year. The Braves lose more than the game when OF David Justice dislocates his right shoulder swinging at a pitch in the 2nd inning. The shoulder has never healed from an injury last year, and Justice will undergo surgery that will sideline him for the year.
The Yankees outbid four other American teams and sign Japanese P Katsuhiro Maeda to a $1.5 million contract. The Yanks obtain the fastballer from the Seibu Lions for more than $350,000. Maeda, who has his hair dyed orange, was 0-2 with the Lions from 1993 through 1995, but refused to sign for the 1996 season unless he was traded to a U.S. team.
When SS Alex Arias of the Philadelphia Phillies snags Mike Piazza’s line drive in the 6th inning, he starts the Phillies’ 30th franchise triple play and their 10th against a team from New York City. It is just the second triple play turned in Veterans Stadium. Arias has participated in two triple plays for the Phils; he initiated one last season against the San Francisco Giants. The Mets still win, 9 – 7.
For the first time this season, the White Sox do not lead in a game as they are beaten by the Orioles, 6 – 2. The streak of being ahead in 37 straight games establishes a major league record from the beginning of a season and ties the 1934 Yankees and the 1942 Cardinals for the third-longest span in major league history.
The Indians beat the Athletics, 4 – 2. The Cleveland starting pitchers have a consecutive scoreless innings streak of 44 1/3 before Aaron Laffey’s throwing error scores Bobby Crosby in the 2nd. It is the longest such streak since the 1974 Orioles starters had 54 straight goose eggs. The most recent Cleveland staff to match the feat was the 1948 Indians, who had 47 in a row.
Ryan Braun, National League’s Rookie of the Year last season, and the Brewers come to terms on a $45 million, eight-year deal, the richest and longest in franchise history. The generous contract for a “zero-plus” player (less than one-year major league service) replaces the $455,000, one-year renewal the team gave him during spring training.
Tampa Bay comes back from a 7 – 0 deficit to beat the Indians, 8 – 7. The Rays start their comeback with three runs in the 4th, tie it on Ben Zobrist’s solo home run in the 8th and seal the win when B.J. Upton hits a walk-offblast to lead off the 9th inning off Luis Vizcaino. It it the biggest comeback in team history.
The LG Twins beat the Seoul Heroes, 22 – 17, to set a new Korea Baseball Organization record for combined runs in a game. Other records set included most hits (40), homers (11) and total bases (84) as well as most runs scored by a losing team. Roberto Petagine hits a grand slam for LG, while Jin-young Lee and Jae-kyun Hwang each hit three-run homers, Lee for the winners and Hwang for Seoul. Ji-man Song drives in 7 for the losers.
The Cincinnati Reds defeat the St. Louis Cardinals, 4 – 3, in the annual Civil Rights Game, which honors those who have worked for racial equality in the country. For the occasion, both teams sport their 1947 uniforms. Skip Schumaker is thrown out at the plate by a relay from LF Chris Heisey to SS Orlando Cabrera to C Ramon Hernandez to end the game. The Reds’ Mike Leake, in his first professional season, is now 4-0.
The Tampa Bay Rays release designated hitter Pat Burrell, after his average falls to .202. A key member of the Phillies’ World Championship team in 2008, Burrell never got his bat going in a season-and-a-half with the Rays, hitting a combined .218 with 16 home runs. To replace him, the Rays promote veteran Hank Blalock from the Durham Bulls.
Owasso High School junior Dylan Bundy, needing his team to win both ends of a doubleheader to stave off his team’s elimination from the state tournament, throws the final five innings of the opener and the first five innings of the nightcap. The future first-round pick (4th) of the Orioles, who will throw 181 pitches over the two games en route to striking out 20 batters in 10 innings, helps the Rams beat Jenks, 10-7 and 5-4, advancing his teammates to the Oklahoma state championship game. (Our thanks to Rick Heaton, sports editor/associate editor of the Owasso Reporter, for his help in providing details of this entry.)
The Red Sox beat the Yankees, 7 – 5, at New Yankee Stadium, to complete a three-game sweep and bring their record to .500 for the first time after starting the year 0-6. Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia homer for the Sox. The Yankees have now lost 9 of their last 12 as the standings in the AL East are completely bunched up, with all five teams within 3 1/2 games of each other.
The White Sox are ahead, 6 – 0, in the top of the 6th inning when the Tigers’ bats get to work. Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Raburn and Austin Jackson all homer in an eight-run frame, as Detroit wins, 10 – 8. The Tigers get a scare in the bottom of the 9th, however, when closer Jose Valverde retires the first two Sox hitters, then begins to feel tightness in his back; he gives up a pair of hits and has to leave the game. Veteran Octavio Dotel steps in, and while he gives up a two-run double to Alexei Ramirez, he retires Dayan Viciedo to end the game and pick up his first save as a Tiger. He has now recorded a save for 9 of the record 13 teams for which he has pitched.
Using his sinker almost exclusively, Derek Lowe records his first shutout in nearly 7 years as he beats the Twins, 5 – 0, on a six-hitter. He is the first pitcher to throw a shutout without recording a strikeout since Scott Erickson in 2002. Now pitching for the Indians, Lowe led the National League in losses last season, but is now reborn at 6-1.
The 2013 Salón de la Fama balloting results are announced. Long-time Mexican League pitching star Jesús Ríos easily takes home the most votes. Joining him in winning entry to the Salón de la Fama are Cornelio García, one of the top contact hitters in LMB history, 1960s-1970s pitchers Juan Suby and Alfredo Mariscal and umpire Jesús Monter.
Royals TV honors longtime broadcaster Fred White, who died today due to complications from melanoma, with a half-inning of silence to start the game. The Homer (IL) native, an employee with the organization for the past 40 years, was the team’s play-by-play announcer for 25 years, covering a span from 1973 to 1998.
Johnny Cueto shuts out the Padres on three hits as the Reds win, 5 – 0. Cueto has now pitched at least 7 innings and given up 2 runs or less in all 9 of his starts this season; to find a pitcher with a longer such streak to start a year, one has to go all the way back to 1909 when Harry Krause did it for 10 games for the Philadelphia Athletics in the heart of the deadball era.
In his first major league outing, Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom does something no other member of the pitching staff has been able to do yet this season: get a hit. His 3rd-inning single off Chase Whitley of the Yankees breaks a record 0-for-64 drought by Mets pitchers at the plate this season. DeGrom, who had been an infielder his first couple of years in college before becoming a pitcher, also pitches very well, allowing 1 run in 7 innings, but is a hard-luck loser, 1 – 0, as Whitley, Dellin Betances, Adam Warren and David Robertson combine on a three-hit shutout. Whitley, who is also making his big league debut, gives up no runs in 4 2/3 innings and also collects his first hit, off deGrom.
At Target Field, Jose Bautista hits home runs in the third, fourth, and sixth innings, contributing to the Blue Jays’ 11-3 victory against Minnesota. The Toronto right-fielder, last season’s homer leader, has clouted four round-trippers in a span of five at-bats, including his last plate appearance in yesterday’s game.
Mariner right-hander Felix Hernandez becomes the fourth-youngest hurler to record his 2,000th career strikeout when he whiffs Sam Fuld in the fifth inning of the team’s 4-3 victory against Oakland at Safeco Field. Bert Blyleven, Walter Johnson, and Sam McDowell are the only three pitchers to reach the milestone faster than King Felix.
Emotions are still running high between the Blue Jays and Rangers, who met in a hard-fought Division Series last year. Today, things boil over in the 8th inning, when after being plunked by Matt Bush, Jose Bautistaslides hard into second baseman Rougned Odor, Odor reacts by punching Bautista in the jaw, triggering a brawl that leads to four ejections: the two main protagonists, the Jays’ Josh Donaldson and Texas coach Steve Buechele. Shortly afterwards, Jays P Jesse Chavez is tossed for throwing at Rangers DH Prince Fielder, leading to the ejection of coach DeMarlo Hale as well (Jays manager John Gibbons and coach Tim Leiper had been thrown out back in the 3rd inning). In the end, Texas wins the game, 7 – 6, with Bush earning his first career victory. On May 17th, MLB will hand out an eight-game suspension and a $5,000 fine to Odor, while Chavez and Gibbons get three-game suspensions, and Bautista, Leiper and Rangers SS Elvis Andrus one game each. Various other protagonists are issued fines.
The Padres remain the only franchise in the majors never to have seen one of their pitchers throw a no-hitter, as the latest bid, by Jordan Lyles, falls short against the Rockies. He retires 22 straight batters, the last being a strikeout of Carlos Gonzalez to open the 8th inning, but sees his dream snapped when Trevor Story follows with a single to left. The Padres win, 4 – 0, and many believe the team has been cursed since July 21, 1970, when manager Preston Gomez took the fateful decision of lifting Clay Kirby for a pinch-hitter after allowing a run but no hits through 8 innings against the Mets, only to see reliever Jack Baldschun allow 2 runs on 3 hits in the 9th to spoil the bid. Only two San Diego pitchers have made it as far as the 9th inning without allowing a hit since that day.
2001 – Tony Eusebio belts a two-run blast in the 12th inning to muzzle the Cubs, 9-7. Vinny Castilla, signed earlier in the day, adds three hits including a homer. Castilla becomes one of the best in-season signings in team history, batting .270 with 23 homers and 82 RBIs while solidifying third base.
1978 – J.R. Richard two-hits Philadelphia in a 5-0 shutout. He fans nine and allows two harmless singles. Bob Watson ‘s two-run homer paces the offense. Phillie catcher Bob Boone has a rough night, committing two errors and suffering five bruises before being tossed in an argument with umpire Bruce Froemming.
1973 – A furious GM Spec Richardson posts a message on the Astrodome scoreboard blaming recent Houston losses on umpires Bruce Froemming and Augie Donatelli. Froemming had negated a key inning-ending double play during a 4-1 defeat to Atlanta, ruling the Astros missed second base. Donatelli’s gaffe, two days earlier, was to rule a Bobby Tolan home run fair after it had landed foul. The league fines Richardson $300.
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