This Day In Baseball September 20
Debuts, Milestones, No Hitters, Rule Changes, Events, Birthdays, Deaths, and more on This Day In Baseball.
Events for September 20
In the bottom of the ninth inning at South Side Park, Freddy Parent, while being walked intentionally by Eddie Plank, reaches out and pokes a shallow sac fly to right field. The unexpected sacrifice scores the winning run in the White Sox’ 1-0 walk-off victory over the A’s and gives Frank Smith, who held the A’s hitless, his second career no-hitter.
Bill Bergen ends his major league career with the lowest lifetime batting average for a position player in major league history by hitting an anemic .170 during his 11-year tenure with the Reds and Superbas. The 33 year-old backstop, who had only one year of batting above .200, also holds the records for lowest season batting average for a regular season (.139 in 1909) and the longest streak of at-bats without a hit (46 in 1909).
Smoky Joe Wood, losing to Detroit, 6-4, fails to break Walter Johnson’s record of 16 consecutive victories, established earlier in the season. Joe Lake gets the win, pitching the last five innings after replacing starter Bill Covington, who allowed only one hit through four innings when he was tossed out of the game by the umpire in the fifth.
1960 – Boston Red Sox outfielder Carroll Hardy pinch-hits for Ted Williams, who is forced to leave the game after fouling a ball off his ankle, and grounds into a double play. On May 31, 1961, Hardy will pinch hit for rookie Carl Yastrzemski, making him the only player to go in for both future Hall of Famers. Hardy also hit his first major league home run pinch-hitting for Roger Maris when both were at Cleveland, on May 18, 1958).
In a 13-inning contest, Sandy Koufax goes the distance, beating the Cubs, 3-2, in the last regular season game played at the LA Memorial Coliseum, a venue originally built for the 1932 Olympics. The Dodgers are leaving the only home they have known since moving from Brooklyn four seasons ago to play in a brand new stadium in Chavez Ravine, located a few miles from downtown Los Angeles.
The Mets’ 3-0 victory over Houston, their 63rd win, assures the team will lose less than a hundred games in a season for the first time in the five-year history of the franchise. The Amazins’, who will finish the campaign in ninth place with a 66-95 record, averaged 113 losses a season during their first four years in the National League.
Mickey Mantle hits final home run, finishing his 18-year major league career third on the all-time home run list with 536 round-trippers behind only Babe Ruth and Willie Mays when he retires at the end of the season. The homer is given up by Jim Lonborg in a 4-3 loss to the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
9/20/1972: In the first inning of a game in Anaheim, Kansas City pitcher Steve Busby hit a grand slam homer off Lloyd Allen. Unfortunately, first base umpire John Rice called time as the play started which nullified the blast. John Mayberry had already hit a slam in the inning so the Royals would have been added to the very short list of teams with two grand slams in one inning.
The Pirates miss scoring in the top of the 13th inning when Dave Augustine’s ‘home run’ bounces off the top of the fence into the glove of left fielder Cleon Jones, who relays the ball to Wayne Garrett in time for the third baseman to nail Richie Zisk at the plate. In the bottom of the frame, Mets rookie catcher Ron Hodges ends the Shea Stadium contest, which will become known as the ‘Ball on the Wall Game’, with a one-out single off Bucs’ reliever Dave Giusti, plating John Milner for the 4-3 victory.
A nutty day at Candlestick Park begins when a skydiver misses the stadium and crashes into the parking lot, breaking both feet. Gary Woods is lifted for pinch-hitter Terry Puhl in the top of the first inning. Nolan Ryan’s apparent single to right fails when he is gunned down at first by Jack Clark. Tony Scott, who stars with four hits including a double and a homer, is tagged out at second after advancing on a base on balls. Somehow, Houston wins, 7-3.
Jose Cruz smacks a two-run single and a grand slam to pace a 15-2 demolition of Los Angeles. Alejandro Pena, Burt Hooton and Pat Zachry are torched for 13 runs in the first four innings. Denny Walling chimes in with three hits, including two doubles and three RBIs. Nolan Ryan coasts to his 14th win.
After nearly 16 years of not missing a game, Cal Ripken, quietly and without fanfare, takes himself out of the lineup after playing in a major-league record 2,632 consecutive games. The Orioles shortstop’s consecutive streak ends in Baltimore’s 5-4 loss to the Yankees at Camden Yards in a nationally televised ESPN Sunday night game. “Let’s end it in the same place it started. In my home state. In front of friends and family. In front of the best fans in the world.”- Cal Ripken, Jr., commenting on ending his consecutive streak.
Second baseman Marcus Giles hits a home run off Brad Penny’s 3-2 pitch, as the Atlanta Braves tie the National League record by having six players hit at least 20 home runs in a season. Along with Giles, Javy Lopez, Gary Sheffield, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones and Vinny Castilla equal the mark established by Eddie Mathews (32), Hank Aaron (32), Joe Torre (27), Felipe Alou (23), Mack Jones (31) and Gene Oliver (21) of the 1965 Milwaukee Braves.
Unlike this season when the Montreal Expos played twenty-five percent of their home games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the players vote to play their entire 2004 home schedule in Montreal. The major league owners, who collectively own the franchise, have been considering moving the Expos permanently to Washington D.C., Portland, Oregon or Monterrey, Mexico, or continuing the present format by having the team split home games between different locations. The players’ vote will have no effect, as the team will once again play a number of home games in Puerto Rico in 2004, before moving permanently to Washington in 2005.
2005 – Alex Rodriguez hits his 42nd home run and Robinson Cano erases a four-run deficit with a grand slam, helping Aaron Small and the seven-time defending division winners rally to beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 9 – 5. Small goes to 8-0, becoming the first pitcher to win his first eight decisions with the New York Yankees since Doug Bird in 1980 and 1981.
Although the team bows to the Blue Jays at the Stadium, the Yankees capture their ninth consecutive AL East title thirty minutes later when the Twins defeat second-place Red Sox. The Bronx Bombers become the second team in the Big Apple this week to pop the champagne as their crosstown rivals, the Mets, clinched the NL East Division two days ago.
2010 – After starting his career 0 for 33, Chris Carter hits a single off Chicago’s Scott Linebrink to spark a three-run rally in a 3 – 0 Oakland win. Carter is just two at-bats shy of matching the worst start to a career by a position player in 100 years. Vic Harris went 0 for 35 for the Texas Rangers in 1972, while Lou Camilli took three years to get his first hit after 34 unsuccessful at-bats for the Cleveland Indians between 1969 and 1971. However, pitcher Joey Hamilton’s performance leaves them all in his dust: over two seasons, he went 0 for 57 before getting his first hit in 1995.
A teenage fan, wearing a red spandex suit with a red mask, is subdued by Matt Diaz after the intruder runs onto the field and eludes a security guard during the Braves-Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park. The Braves’ left fielder tackles the costumed 17 year-old, who will be released from juvenile detention tomorrow afternoon with the parents apologizing for their son’s actions.
Ichiro Suzuki continues his hot hitting as he homers off Aaron Laffey in the 3rd to open the Yankees’ account, then hits a two-run double in a seven-run 4th inning, leading the Yankees to a 10 – 7 win over the Blue Jays. Nick Swisher adds a grand slam during the big outburst, as the Bronx Bombers move to one full game ahead of the idle Orioles in the AL East.
With Manager Dusty Baker still hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat, Cincinnati becomes the first major league team to clinch a postseason spot this year, thanks to a 5 – 3 victory over the Cubs. Johnny Cueto improves to 18-9. The Nationals then join them a few hours later, when they defeat the Dodgers, 4 – 1. It will be the first postseason appearance for the franchise since the then-Montreal Expos lost the 1981 NLCS, and the first postseason appearance by a team from Washington since the 1933 World Series.
The Rays need 18 innings to defeat the Orioles, 5 – 4, on David DeJesus’s RBI single after a major league record 21 pitchers are used in the game. The win puts the Rays in sole possession of the first wild card spot in the American League. Cleveland beats Houston, 2 – 1, in a game ended by rain after 6 1/2 innings to move into the second spot, a half-game behind Tampa. Four other teams are still in the hunt: Texas, now one game back of Tampa after a 2 – 1 loss to the Royals, who themselves are tied with Baltimore, three back of the Rays, and the Yankees, who trail those two by a half-game.
Yankee designated hitter Alex Rodriguez establishes a major league record with his 24th career grand slam, going deep off George Kontos in the team’s 5-1 victory over the Giants in the Bronx. The two-out seventh-inning bases-loaded round tripper surpasses the mark established in 1938 by fellow Bronx Bomber Lou Gehrig.
The Royals lose a key home game to the Tigers, 3 – 2, as Max Scherzer defeats James Shields. With the score tied 1 – 1 in the 6th, the Royals have a run taken back when the Tigers make a successful appeal play against Salvador Perez, who fails to retouch third base before going home following a line-out and an error. The Tigers then score twice in the 7th, with a two-out pinch single by Tyler Collins the key blow. The Royals manage to cut the lead by one in the 8th and place two men on with one out in the 9th, but Joe Nathan induces two ground outs to get the save, dealing a serious blow to Kansas City’s postseason hopes.
Oliver Perez records the first four-strikeout inning in Diamondback history when a dropped third strike allows the first batter to reach base in the seventh frame of the team’s 5-1 loss to Colorado at Coors Field. The 33 year-old Arizona southpaw becomes the 69th different major league hurler to accomplish the feat.
Kendrys Morales sets a Royals franchise record with 15 total bases in a 10 – 3 win over Detroit. Morales has the first three-homer game by a Royals player since 1991 and adds a triple as well. Kris Medlen pitches the first five innings for the win, while Danny Duffy goes the last four for his first career save.
2017 – Mike Moustakas sets a new Royals franchise record with his 37th homer of the season when he connects off Carlos Ramirez in the 6th inning of a 15 – 5 win over the Blue Jays. The record had been held by Steve Balboni since 1985 and the Royals are the only major league team never to have had a player with a 40-homer season. Moustakas also hits a single and a double in the game, while teammates Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield homer in support of Jakob Junis’s pitching. For Ramirez, these are the first earned runs he has allowed all season after maintaining a virgin ERA through 37 2/3 innings in the minors and 10 in the majors before giving up 4 in this game.
2018 – With an 11 – 6 win over the Yankees, the Red Sox clinch their third straight division title. But the Yankees still set a couple of records on Luke Voit’s homer in the 2nd inning. It is his 10th since joining the Yanks, giving them a major league record twelve players with 10 or more homers this season, and it is also the team’s 246th, breaking their team record set in 2012.
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