Tuesday, November 15, 2011
30,000 days ago: Miller Huggins diedPosted by Chris Jaffe
30,000 days ago today, baseball had one of its tragedies, as Yankee manager Miller Huggins died.
It happened on Sept. 25, 1929 as the regular season came to an end. The Yankees were in second place, but there was no pennant race as Connie Mack’s A’s were cruising to their first pennant in 15 years.
Huggins was still a young man, just 51 years old, and until recently appeared to be in fine health. He was still helming the Yankees just the week before. In his last game, the Yankees gave an unusually flat performance, falling 7-0 to the woeful White Sox. That was on Sept. 19.
Then Huggins took a fever. The next day medical staff rushed him to St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City with a fever of 105.
With the skipper clinging to life, the Yankees had to keep playing. They finished off the home stand and began a road trip in Boston. On Sept. 24, the Yankees won the first game against the Red Sox, with pitcher Tom Zachary picking up the win to improve his record to 12-0. To this day, that’s still the best record any loss-less pitcher has ever had in a season.
Huggins, though, wasn’t getting better and died the next afternoon. Word reached Boston during the game. Upon hearing the sad news, the Yankees and Red Sox honored Huggins by halting the game in the fifth inning. Fenway Park’s flag went to half-mast and there was a full minute of silence in respect for the fallen manager.
The game went on, and it proved to be quite the game. The Yankees led 5-2 when the dreaded news arrived, and soon expanded to 7-2. However, Boston rallied, scoring one in the bottom of the sixth, and seven in the bottom of the seventh for a 10-7 lead.
New York wasn’t about to back down, though. They tied it 10-10 in the top of the eighth and won it 11-10 in 11 innings. It was an emotional day on and especially off the field.
The next day, all American League announced that all games on Sept. 27 would be cancelled out of respect for Huggins and the Yankee players went to his funeral.
Art Fletcher finished out the season as interim manager, and the next year the club hired Bob Shawkey as the new skipper. He lasted just one year before they hired Joe McCarthy, the second-greatest manager in franchise history. The first, of course, was Huggins, who died 30,000 days ago.
Aside from that, many other baseball events celebrate their “day-versary” (such as the Huggins death) or anniversary today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you just want to skim.
1,000 days since the Mariners signed free agent Ken Griffey Jr.
2,000 days since Houston stole seven bases in an 8-5 loss to the Nationals.
3,000 days since Atlanta claimed Jaret Wright off of waivers from the Padres.
6,000 days since the first day in which fans were able to vote online for who should start in the All-Star Game.
6,000 days since Alex Rodriguez hit his first career home run.
7,000 days since Jeff Bagwell’s only career five-hit game. He went 5-for-6 with a double, homer, three runs, and four RBIs. He also fanned once.
7,000 days since George Brett reached base via catcher’s interference for the only time in his career.
8,000 days since the Red Sox released Bob Stanley.
8,000 days since the Tigers released Willie Hernandez.
8,000 days since the Dodgers traded slugger Mike Marshall and former ERA champion Alejandro Peña to the Mets for Juan Samuel.
10,000 days since the big league debut of Mickey Tettleton.
10,000 days since the Yankees traded Shane Rawley to the Phillies.
25,000 days since Carl Hubbell’s last really great moment, as he pitched a complete-game one-hitter, allowing only a homer to Elbie Fletcher in a 5-1 win for the Giants over the Pirates.
1888 The Kansas City Cowboys leave the American Association.
1908 Star Negro Leaguer pitcher Jose Mendez is one out from a no-hitter in an exhibition game against the Cincinnati Reds when Miller Huggins singles.
1922 Paul Hines, early baseball star, is arrested as a pickpocket at age 69.
1928 Gus Bell is born.
1929 Billy Nash, 19th century infielder, dies.
1933 The Reds trade infielder George Grantham to the Giants.
1933 St. Louis trades Jimmie Wilson to the Phillies for Spud Davis and Eddie Delker.
1943 Judge Landis summons Philadelphia owner William Cox in regard to charges Cox gambles on his team’s games.
1945 Rules for how the BBWAA votes for the Hall of Fame are revised. A runoff election will be introduced. It doesn’t do any good.
1960 The widow of former A’s owner Arnold Johnson sells 52 percent of the team to a group from St. Louis.
1968 Jim Bouton signs a contract to play for the Pilots for $22,000.
1969 Billy Southworth, Hall of Fame manager, dies at age 76.
1979 For the first time, a free agent is elected by the maximum of 13 teams in the first round: Dave Goltz, pitcher.
1980 Braves signs free agent Claudell Washington.
1983 Former Cubs manager Charlie Grimm dies at age 85.
1985 Former Cubs outfielder Riggs Stephenson dies.
1990 MLB fines Roger Clemens $5,000 and suspends him for five days for his outburst in Game Four of the ALCS.
1991 The Expos select Gary Carter off of waivers from the Dodgers.
1994 The Royals sign pitcher Dennis Rasmussen, who didn’t play in the majors in 1994.
1995 Arizona hires Buck Showalter as their manager with a seven-year contract. They won’t play until 1995, but they want Showalter to help start the franchise.
1996 Baltimore signs free agent Jesse Orosco.
2002 Seattle hires Bob Melvin as their new manager.
2003 Earl Battey, catcher, dies.
2004 Arbitrators strike down a lawsuit by former minority owners of the Expos against majority owner Jeff Loria and MLB.
2004 Oakland signs free agent Jack Cust.
2005 Tampa Bay hires Joe Maddon as their new manger.
2007 Longtime Reds announcer Joe Nuxhall dies.
2010 The Phillies sign free agent pitcher Jose Contreras.
2010 The Pirates hire Clint Hurdle as their new manager.
History instructor by day, statnerd by night, Chris Jaffe leads one of the most exciting double lives imaginable; with the exception of every other double life possible to imagine. Despite his lack of comic-book-hero-worthiness, Chris enjoys farting around with this stuff. His new book, Evaluating Baseball's Managers is available for order. Chris welcomes responses to his articles via e-mail. Oh, and now he's on twitter.