100 years ago today, a bit of baseball history was made. Red Sox outfielder Harry Hooper hit a home run leading off the game against the Senators. Twice.
In a Boston-Washington doubleheader, Harry Hooper made history by smashing lead off home runs in both games. That was something no one else had ever done before. And it would be quite some time until it was ever done again. Not until 1993, a full 80 years later, would any other.
July 5, 1993, Rickey Henderson did it. In other words, a baby born the day Harry Hooper performed this feat was likely dead by the time it happened again.
It’s amazing anyone would do this in 1913. The entire AL combined for 159 homers. Last year, 10 AL teams had more than 159 homers. The 1912 AL averaged 20 homers per team, with only one man in the league cracking double-digits.
And if someone were going to hit home runs leading off both ends of a doubleheader, you wouldn’t expect it to be Hooper. Even by the standards of the day, Hooper wasn’t much of a power threat. He belted two homers the year before, and would launch just one the next year. In 1914, he had all of four—half of which came leading off this doubleheader. Prior to today, Hooper had just nine homers in four-plus seasons; but seven of those homers were inside the park shots. Both his leadoff homers left the yard, doubling his career outside-the-park home run total.
At least it came against the right opposing team. Washington’s pitching staff surrendered a leading-worst 35 homers on the year. Even there, however, it’s odd. Sure that’s the club most likely to allow this unlikely achievement—but a league leading 35 homers allowed is still just 35 homers. It’s not even a homer every fourth game. Washington played 155 games that year, but surrendered three leadoff home runs, two by Hooper on that day.
An unlikely hitter achieving an unlikely feat in a seemingly impossible era. You’d never expect something like this to happen. You could never dream that Harry Hooper would belt lead off homers in both ends of a doubleheader at the height of the deadball era. But it happened—and it happened 100 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something happening X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to just skim.
7,000 days since the White Sox assign Michael Jordan to the Birmingham Barons minor league squad.
8,000 days since Gary Carter gets his 2,000th career hit.
8,000 days since Baltimore signs free agent Mark McLemore.
8,000 days since the Angels release Fernando Valenzuela.
20,000 days since Senators owner Clark Griffith says he’ll accept an offer from Minnesota to relocate they make a good one.
20,000 days since Hank Aaron gets five hits in a game for the third and final time in his career.
1871 Hall of Fame pitcher Amos Rusie, the strikeout king of his day, is born.
1878 Star outfielder Turkey Mike Donlin is born.
1883 The Reds do something rather rare—they play two games in two towns versus two opponents. In the morning they lose to the Giants, but in the afternoon top the Phillies.
1884 Chicago’s Ned Williamson becomes the first person to ever hit three home runs in one game. He’s aided by Chicago’s comically small field. It’s so small that in all other seasons aside from 1884, balls hit over the shortest fence will count as ground rule doubles, but this year they’re homers and it’s over that fence Williamson keeps going deep.
1894 Bobby Lowe of Boston knocks out four home runs in one game. He’s the first ever to do that.
1896 Bill Joyce hits for the cycle.
1898 Volatile shortstop Kid Elberfeld makes his big league debut.
1902 The Indians’ all-time franchise record bottoms out at 41 games under .500: 64-105. Despite their non-stellar reputation through much of recent decades, the Indians have been over .500 for virtually all their franchise history.
1904 Frank Chance has a painful day, getting hit by a pitch five times in a doubleheader.
1904 Pirates skipper Fred Clarke helms his 1,000th big league game. His record: 559-425. (There were a lot of ties back then). Though no one thinks of him as a manager nowadays, Clarke at one point was the winningest manager in baseball history.
1914 The Browns and Tigers combine for an all-time low sum of 11 hits in a doubleheader. Ty Cobb has to miss both games with a broken rib.
1916 The Old Fox Clark Griffith loses his 1,000th game as skipper. His record: 1,169-1,000.
1916 Hall of Fame pitcher Stan Coveleski gets his only home run when he legs out an inside the park shot.
1917 Harry Davis, once upon a time the AL’s all-time career home run leader, plays in his final year. He effectively ended his career years ago, but made occasional emergency appearances for the A’s while serving as a coach.
1921 New York City’s Polo Grounds are dedicated to Eddie Grant, a player who died in World War I.
1922 It’s a novel trade. The Cubs and Cardinals in the middle of a doubleheader when they swap players. Cliff Heathcote goes to the Cardinals while Max Bishop becomes a Cub. They can play for one team in the first game and the other in the nightcap.
1924 Herb Pennock, Hall of Fame pitcher, achieves a nice milestone in style. He wins his 100th game by belting a home run and pitching a complete game shutout to become 100-82 in his career.
1925 Branch Rickey manages his last game, as Cardinals team owner Sam Beardon will make him exclusively a front office figure. Rickey won’t like that, but he’ll go along with it and ultimately it’s a great move.
1925 A Dodgers win puts Hall of Fame manager Wilbert Robinson 48 games over .500 (906-858), his all-time best. He’ll tie it once later in this season, but never better it. He’ll retire just one game over .500.
1927 Cubs shortstop Jimmy Cooney achieves the rare unassisted triple play.
1927 Lefty Grove allows a personal worst seven doubles in one game.
1927 Walter Johnson hurls his 110th and final career shutout. No one else has more than 90.
1928 Former friends turned bitter rivals John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson manage their 300th game against each other. They faced each other more than any other pair of NL managers ever.
1928 Urban Shocker appears in his last game. He’s a fantastic pitcher, but, sadly, he is dying.
1929 Hall of Famer Al Simmons gets to 1,000 hits in just 710 games.
1929 Hall of Fame third baseman Pie Traynor appears in his 54th straight game without a strikeout. He’s 67-for-230 in that span—but no Ks. He’ll whiff in his next one, though.
1930 Al Simmons bashes the only pinch-hit home run of his career. Impressively, it’s a pinch-hit grand slam. In the same game (which lasts 13 innings) teammate Jimmie Foxx gets six hits.
1931 Two Hall of Fame outfielders have their longest career hitting streaks peak on this day. Al Simmons’ best career hit streak maxes out at 27 games. He’s 53-for-117 with a dozen doubles, five triples, and eight triples in that span. His AVG/OBP/SLG is .453/.488/.846. Earle Combs’ best hitting streak peaks at 29 games. He’s 52-for-140 for a .371/.417/.486 stat line.
1931 Brooklyn’s Wally Gilbert connects for six hits in one contest.
1932 The Yankees unveil a monument to late manager Miller Huggins. Then they sweep the Red Sox in a doubleheader.
1932 Umpire George Moriarty challenges the entire White Sox team to a fight—one at a time. He decks one before three guys jump him.
1934 Indians star first baseman Hal Trosky hits three home runs in one game.
1935 Lou Gehrig joins the 2,000 hit club.
1935 It’s the last game for baseball’s most iconic player: Babe Ruth.
1937 Hank Greenberg enjoys the only five-hit game of his career. He’s 5-for-5 with a walk, four runs, two homers, and five RBIs.
1938 The Yankees host their largest crowd ever: 81,841 in Yankee Stadium. Starting pitcher Red Ruffing leads the team to a win, putting his career record to 178-178. It’ll never be under .500 again. There’s a fight in the game as well, as New York’s Jake Powell goes after Boston’s Archie McKain after a HBP. Powell later fights Boston player-manager Joe Cronin under the stands.
1943 Hall of Fame pitcher Lefty Gomez appears in his final game.
1944 Tigers pitcher Dizzy Trout does something quite rare for a hurler: Belt a walk-off home run.
1945 Rubber-armed Bobo Newsom loses, dropping his career record to 173-174. It’ll be under .500 for the rest of his career, which ends with a mark of 211-222.
1945 Dodgers starter Lee Pfund gets the win despite posting a Game Score of 2. It’s the worst Game Score for a winning pitcher since 1928. His line: 5 IP, 12 H, 10 R, 8 ER, 6 BB, and 1 K. The Dodgers top the Pirates anyway, 14-10.
1950 Duke Snider connects for three homers in one game.
1951 Young rookie Mickey Mantle has a terrible day, fanning five straight times in a doubleheader versus Boston.
1955 Ken Boyer enjoys the first of 18 multi-home run games in his career.
1955 For the second time this year, star Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe belts two home runs in one game.
1956 When the Milwaukee Braves win the first game in a doubleheader, it pushes manager Charlie Grimm’s career record to 232 games over .500 (1,275-1,043). He’ll tie it two games later but never top it in the rest of his managerial career, which just has a few weeks left. The Braves and Cubs combine for 15 home runs in the doubleheader.
1956 Mickey Mantle, in the midst of a Triple Crown season, comes within 18 inches of hitting a home run clear out of Yankee Stadium. It hits the upper deck façade in right field, 117 feet up and 370 feet from the plate.
1956 Star White Sox pitcher Billy Pierce wins his 100th career decision. His record is 100-91 and counting.
1957 Willie Mays legs out the third of six career inside the park home runs.
1958 Walt Moryn of the Cubs connects for three homers in one game.
1959 Cardinals third baseman Ken Boyer hits his first career inside the park home run. He hits just one other in his career, and that’ll come a few weeks after this one.
1960 At the conclusion of a Yankees game, fans try to steal the cap and glove from Yankees star Mickey Mantle—while he’s still wearing them. Mantle is punched, mauled, and robbed on the field, and will need hospital treatment for a bruised jaw.
1962 Dave Giusti becomes the only relief pitcher in Houston history to pitch nine innings in one bullpen outing. It’s the best ever WPA achievement by any Astros reliever: 1.052 WPA as he allows no runs off two walks and three hits in his nine innings. Houston tops the Cubs in 14 innings, 8-6.
1962 Pedro Ramos has one of the greatest games ever by a pitcher. Not only does he hit two home runs while throwing a complete game shutout three-hitter, but one of the home runs is a grand slam.
1965 The Cubs sell veteran pitcher Lew Burdette to the Phillies.
1966 Veteran slugger Frank Thomas plays in his final game.
1967 Jim Bunning launches a home run against Juan Marichal, making him the only pitcher to ever do that against the Dominican Dandy. Even better: Bunning’s homer comes in the top of the ninth to give the Phillies a 5-4 lead, which becomes the final score.
1967 St. Louis’ Phil Gagliano hits into a walk-off triple play versus the Cincinnati Reds.
1967 Whitey Ford, sidelined with an elbow injury, announces his retirement.
1968 Mickey Mantle has perhaps his best day at the plate, going 5-for-5 with a double, and two home runs. He scores thrice and drives in five.
1969 Ralph Houk manages his 1,000th game for a career record of 552-443.
1969 Bob Gibson loses his 100th decision for a record of 153-100.
1969 As recounted in Ball Four, upon being told that tomorrow’s batting practice would be at 10:30 in the morning, backup catcher Jim Pagliaroni says, “10:30? I’m not even done throwing up at that hour.”
1970 All-Star game voting is returned to the fans, as computerized punch card ballots appear in stores and ballparks around the nation.
1971 Lou Brock’s best hitting streak maxes at 26 games. He’s 48-for-112 and a .429/.471/.554 line in that time.
1972 Johnny Bench runs out his only career inside the park home run.
1972 Manny begins being Manny: Manny Ramirez is born.
1976 Hall of Fame center fielder Max Carey dies at age 86.
1976 Bobby Bonds suffers through his worst game according to WPA, going 0-for-7 in a 14-inning contest. His WPA: -0.429.
1978 Third base legend Mike Schmidt steals three bases in one game.
1980 Former star Tigers fireman John Hiller announces his retirement.
1982 Cal Ripken plays third base for Baltimore. He didn’t play the game before, but today starts his all-time consecutive games played streak.
1985 Johnnie LeMaster, the former Giants shortstop once nicknamed Johnnie DiSaster, is traded by the Indians to the Pirates. He’s been with three teams this month (beginning the season in San Francisco) and all will finish the year in last place.
1986 One of the greatest and most controversial players of all-time debuts: Barry Bonds.
1986 Future Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek debuts. He’s with the Yankees, but they’ll let him go in the 1986-87 off-season.
1986 The Expos top the Astros 1-0 in one of the best pitchers duels of the decade. The teams combine for exactly five hits, with Montreal getting only two—but one is a Mike Fitzgerald home run off Houston’s Mike Scott.
1986 Texas signs amateur free agent Juan Gonzalez.
1987 Eric Davis becomes the first NL player to bop three grand slams in one month.
1988 Tim Raines has his best game ever according to WPA: 0.773. He’s two-for-five with two RBIs. The big blast is a two-run bases loaded single with two out in the bottom of the ninth to reverse a 2-1 Giants lead into a 3-2 Expos triumph.
1989 Ken Griffey Jr. enjoys the first of his 55 career multi-home run games.
1989 The Yankees release Tommy John, ending his lengthy career.
1990 Longtime first baseman Bill Buckner plays in his final game.
1992 In two straight at-bats, Rob Deer hits a ball off the Metrordome roof for fly outs that are anything but routine.
1992 Scott Sanderson becomes the 10th pitcher to beat all 26 franchises, joining: Rick Wise, Mike Torrez, Gaylord Perry, Doyle Alexander, Tommy John, Don Sutton, Nolan Ryan, Rich Gossage and Rick Sutcliffe.
1994 Dan Pasqua plays in his last game.
1994 Tony Gwynn drives in a personal best five runs in one game. He’s 2-for-4 with a double and home run.
1995 The Reds announce that they will explore the possibility of constructing a new ballpark next to where Riverfront Stadium now sits.
1995 Glenn Burke, baseball’s first openly gay player (at least open after his playing days, though he wasn’t really in the closet when he played) dies at age 42 from AIDS complications.
1997 Mike Mussina retires the first 25 batters he faces before allowing a single, which will be the only base runner for the opponents in the game. Four year later, he’ll come one out from perfection before allowing a single.
1997 For the second time in his career, Mo Vaughn slams three home runs in one game.
1999 Melvin Mora makes his big league debut.
2000 Starting pitcher Adam Eaton makes his big league debut. He actually had a lot of talent, but messed up his arm and then survived for a while as a lousy pitcher.
2006 Vernon Wells mashes three home runs in one game.
2007 Johnny Damon gets his 2,000th career hit.
2008 Cliff Floyd hits a walk-off home run for Tampa against the White Sox for a 2-1 win. There’s a photo taken of a joyous crowd of Rays as Floyd approaches the plate that is arguably the most famous image in Tampa team history.
2008 Though he isn’t a spring chicken any more, Bobby Abreu has enough life left in his feet to race out two triples in one game.
2009 The University of Texas and Boston College meet up for the longest game in NCAA history. Texas triumphs, 3-2 in 25 innings.
2010 Jaime Moyer loses his 200th game to become 263-200 for his career.
2010 For the third time in his career, Albert Pujols homers three times in one game.
2011 Authorities arrest Arizona Diamondbacks announcer Mark Grace for a DUI. Due to his drinking and driving problems, Mark Grace will eventually end up serving time in jail.
2012 Colorado star Carlos Gomez hits three home runs in one game.
2012 The Rays and White Sox have a bit of a bean ball war going on. The day before Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski spiked Tampa star Ben Zobrist. Today both Pierzynski and Chicago infielder Gordon Beckham get hit by a pitch. Later, the Sox throw one behind Zobrist, leading to an ejection.
2012 The Mariners top the Rangers 21-8, which is Seattle’s first 20-run game in over a decade. They have a pair of eight-run innings along the way.