Ten years ago today, Red Sox third baseman Bill Mueller had a game for the ages, the sort of game that most men—even most great sluggers—only dream of. On July 29, 2013, Mueller connected for two grand slams in one game, something just 11 people ever had done previously in a major league game. Not bad for a guy hitting eighth in the order.
It looked like a good day for Mueller early on in this game against the Texas Rangers. He first came up leading off the top of the third with the Rangers staked to an early 2-0 lead. Facing Mueller was a rookie making just his third big league start, future Cy Young Award winning knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.
Well, that Cy Young was still years away, as Mueller connected on the first pitch Dickey sent his way for a solo home run. That was a nice way to start the day, but it’s all the damage Mueller would do against Dickey. He retired Mueller on a grounder in the fourth and then left the game after five innings with the Rangers up, 3-2.
With four innings to go, this put the Rangers in a bad situation. While they had some solid core relievers in Francisco Cordero and Brian Shouse, overall the Texas bullpen was one of the worst in baseball. Its 4.92 ERA was second-worst in the AL. Well, today Mueller would help those relievers earn that rotten reputation.
Things went haywire for Texas in the seventh as six of the first seven Boston batters reached base. Boston’s rally had already plated three runs to give them their first lead on the day, 5-4, and left the bases loaded for Mueller. Facing Aaron Fultz, the third Texas pitcher of the inning, Mueller worked the count to two balls and two strikes, looking for a pitch to pounce on. He found it, pushing it over the fence for his third career grand slam and his first in a Red Sox uniform.
Well, Texas mercifully limped out of that inning without allowing any more runs, only to face a fresh round of carnage in the following frame. With Boston now on top, 10-4, Mueller again came to the plate with the based loaded. It was a new pitcher this time, mop-up man Jay Powell. As you might expect from a hurler handling garbage time for a garbage pen, Powell’s pitching was pitiful this year, as he surrendered 58 runs in 58.1 innings with nearly as many walks as strikeouts.
Well, there’s no point in building up any false suspense. Mueller swung and did it, hitting another grand slam home run. If Boston staged a third straight big inning in the top of the ninth, Muller would have a distant chance for four homers in the game. However, he’d already had his day and left for a backup. It made no difference, as Boston went down 1-2-3 in the ninth. But it was all over.
Mueller had his day: three home runs, nine RBIs, and two grand slams. Few batters ever have a day like that, but Bill Mueller did, 10 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versay” (which is something that happened X-thousand days ago. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.
1,000 days since the Brewers hire Ron Roenicke as their manager.
3,000 days since Bobby Abreu homers in his fifth straight game.
4,000 days since catcher Jason Kendall gets his 1,000th hit.
4,000 days since Johnny Roseboro dies.
4,000 days since Pedro Martinez’ scoreless-inning streak ends at 35 innings.
4,000 days since the Players Association votes 57-0 to set Aug. 30, 2002, as its strike date.
7,000 days since Dan Pasqua appears in his last game.
7,000 days since Tony Gwynn drives in five runs in one game, his personal best.
8,000 days since Brewers second baseman Jim Gantner ends a 1,762 at-bat streak without a homer by hitting a dinger.
8,000 days since longtime catcher Ron Hassey appears in his last game.
8,000 days since Pat Hentgen makes his big league debut.
8,000 days since Robin Yount hits his sixth and last walk-off home run.
9,000 days since the Phillies cut longtime reliever Kent Tekulve.
9,000 days since the Mariners sign free agent outfielder “Penitentiary Face” Jeffrey Leonard.
9,000 days since the Ranges sign free agent pitcher/legend Nolan Ryan.
1877 Earl Moore, early AL pitcher, is born.
1884 Dave Foutz, a pitcher/outfielder, makes his big league debut.
1889 Matt Kilroy, baseball’s all-time single-season strikeout record holder (seriously, look it up), throws a shortened-game no-hitter (seven innings).
1890 The Cleveland Spiders National League team purchases the contract of a pitcher from Canton, Ohio in the Tri-State League, a young hurler named Cy Young.
1893 Harry Stovey, the all-time home run king at one point, plays in his final game.
1903 Cy Young loses a game that isn’t quite a pitchers’ duel: New York 15, Boston 14.
1904 Hall of Fame skipper Ned Hanlon manages his 2,000th game. He’s 1,111-847 for his career. Yes, baseball did have lots of ties back then.
1908 John McFarland of the Helena team in the Arkansas State League loses his perfect game by the most bizarre way possible. After retiring the first 26 batters, No. 27 refuses to bat, so the umpire forfeits the game. But since McFarland didn’t face 27 batters, it’s not officially considered a perfect game.
1908 Rube Waddell of the St. Louis Browns faces his old team, the Philadelphia A’s, and strikes out 16 batters.
1911 Cy Young allows two inside-the-park home runs in one game.
1911 Smokey Joe Wood hurls a no-hitter while fanning 12. This is nearly his second straight no-hitter. In his previous start, he didn’t allow any hits until the ninth inning.
1913 Orval Overall, a pretty good pitcher for the Tinker-Evers-Chance Cubs who possessed quite possibly my mom’s favorite name in all baseball history, plays his last game.
1915 Never mind that he’s 41 years old, Honus Wagner legs out an inside-the-park grand slam.
1919 Babe Ruth ties an AL record by bashing his ninth homer of the month.
1919 The Red Sox trade controversial starter Carl Mays to the Yankees for two players and $40,000. Americna League President Ban Johnson tries to blockn the Mays trade. He doesn’t actually have the authority to overrule the trade, so he tells the umpires not to let Mays take the field for the Yankees. The team will take Johnson to court over this and win.
1921 The state rests in the Black Sox trial in Chicago, and the defense begins to make its case.
1922 Jake Daubert collects his 2,000th career hit.
1925 Hall of Fame skipper Miller Huggins wins his 1,000th game (1,000-883).
1928 Johnny Hodapp of the Indians ties a baseball record by collecting two hits in one inning twice in the same game. He does it in the first and second innings, in which the Indians score eight and nine runs, respectively.
1929 Hall of Fame shortstop Rabbit Maranville, not normally known for his bat, makes the 2,000-hit-club in style, going 5-for-5. The fifth hit is No. 2,000.
1931 Wes Ferrell of the Indians defeats Washington, 6-0, as the Senators leave 15 runners on base.
1934 Chuck Dressen manages his first big league game. He’ll manage on and off for the next 30 years before dying.
1934 Flint Rhem of the Braves nearly throws a no-hitter. The only hit allowed is a lazily fielded bunt single to third base.
1951 Jimmie Dykes loses his 1,000th game as manager. His record is 936-1,000 and counting. He’s a decent enough managers, but he runs terrible clubs.
1951 Greg Minton, a hard man to hit a home run against, is born.
1951 Dan Driessen, Reds batter, is born.
1951 Joe DiMaggio enjoys the last of his 35 multi-home run games.
1951 Willie Mays steals his first base.
1952 Luke Sewell, the only manager to deliver a pennant for the St. Louis Browns, manages his last game.
1952 WPA’s favorite Mickey Mantle home run: 0.737 WPA. It’s a grand slam with two outs in the top of the ninth and New York trailing, 7-6, to the White Sox.
1953 Ken Burns, filmmaker who made the Baseball documentary for PBS, is born.
1955 Smoky Burgess uncorks three home runs in one game.
1957 Tommy Thevenow, former infielder who hit just two homers in 15 seasons, dies at age 53. Both of his homers were inside-the-park home runs, and they came in the same week.
1958 Ted Williams hits his 17th and final grand slam. In belting it, Williams passes Ruth for second-most slams ever (though Williams since has been passed by multiple players).
1960 Cleveland purchases former Dodgers ace pitcher Don Newcombe from the Reds.
1961 The Phillies begin their infamous 23-game losing streak by losing to the Cubs, 11-5.
1962 Kindly Old Burt Shotton, former Phillies and Dodgers manager, dies at age 77.
1963 Joe Horlen of the White Sox is two outs from a no-hitter, but he then allows a single and a home run and loses, 2-1, to Washington.
1963 Robin Roberts walks the first batter of the game. This is the only time he does it in any of his final 215 career starts.
1964 Vean Gregg, an excellent pitcher way back in the day whose arm wasn’t strong enough to last long, dies at age 79. He went 23-7 with a league-best 1.80 ERA as a rookie for the 1911 Indians and then won 20 games each in 1912 and 1913. And that was pretty much it for him.
1967 The Indians trade Rocky Colavito to the White Sox.
1967 Ray Kolp, swingman pitcher for the 1920s and ’30s Reds, dies at age 72.
1968 Carl Yastrzemski hits three doubles in a game for the only time in his career.
1968 George Culver hurls a no-hitter in a 6-1 Reds win over the Phillies. Five walks and three errors let Philadelphia avoid the shutout at least.
1969 Yankee relief pitcher Jack Aker’s string of scoreless innings ends at 33 as the A’s score against him.
1970 Ron Santo, age 30, steals two bases all season, but they both come in this game. This is the only time in his careerhe steals multiple bases in one game, which features exactly 35 stolen bases. The Cubs team as a team steal six bases today. Neither of Santo’s steals, however, come as the back end of double steals.
1973 Wilbur Wood of the White Sox wins his 20th game of the year. It’s still July, people.
1975 Star second baseman Willie Randolph makes his major league debut. Little known fact: the long-time Yankee debuts with the Pirates. (They’ll trade him for Doc Medich, a terrible move for the Pirates.)
1976 Elmer Myers dies at age 82. He pitched for Connie Mack’s A’s in their horrible 36-117 season in 1916. He led the league in walks allowed (168) and earned runs (128) that year. Still, he went 14-23 for a team that otherwise went 22-94. It’s still the all-time A’s franchise single-season walks allowed record.
1977 Gaylord Perry fans four batters in the sixth inning.
1977 Keith Hernandez belts his first grand slam. He’ll have two more in the next 51 days.
1978 At Old Timers Days, the Yankees (via Bob Shepherd) announce that Billy Martin will return as the team’s manager in 1980. This stuns the players, who were generally happy when the Yankees fired Martin less than a week earlier.
1978 Reliever Ron Davis makes his big league debut.
1983 Steve Garvey plays his 1,207th straight game but injures himself and has to skip the second game of the day’s doubleheader, ending his streak. It’s a problem with his thumb, I believe.
1984 Chad Billingsley is born.
1987 Tim Raines steals his 500th base. He’s been caught only 71 times so far.
1987 Nolan Ryan, who will lead the league in ERA this season, loses his eighth consecutive decision. His line in that stretch: 42.2 IP, 38 H, 25 R, 19 ER, 25 BB, 46 K for a 4.01 ERA and a 5.27 RA/9 IP.
1988 Julio Franco belts his 1,000th hit.
1988 Paul Molitor hits his 100th home run.
1988 Tony Gwynn has the first of two career inside-the-park home runs.
1988 Cubs starting pitcher Rick Sutcliffe steals home. That’s how it’s scored anyway. He’s on third with Mitch Webster on first base when Phillies pitcher Kevin Gross tries to pick off Webster. The official scorer states that Webster steals second and advances to third on an error by the first baseman while Sutcliffe steals home. I vaguely remember watching that play. It looked like the first baseman let the ball get away from him, and all the advances should have been called an error. I do remember Sutcliffe leisurely trotting home uncontested.
1989 One of the most controversial trades in White Sox history occurs: they send fan favorite and frequent All-Star Harold Baines to Texas along with Fred Manrique for infielder Scott Fletcher and a pair of prospects no one had heard of before, Sammy Sosa and Wilson Alvarez. While fan sentiment is initially heavily against the trade, once the kids arrive in Comiskey, people start to see the move’s positives.
1989 Rickey Henderson sets a personal best with five stolen bases in one game and ties another personal best with four runs. That’s a neat trick given that he had zero hits on the day. He walked four times. In all, Henderson’s A’s steal five bases against young fireballer Randy Johnson.
1989 Vince Coleman has a bad day in the field, as umps twice call him out for interference. First he tries to slap a pickoff ball into foul territory, and later he blatantly grabs a second baseman’s shirt.
1989 Veteran second baseman Glenn Hubbard appears in his final game.
1989 Robin Yount’s longest hitting streak peaks at 19 games. He’s 33-for 74 with 10 doubles, two triples, and three homers in that span.
1990 The Red Sox bash a dozen doubles in a 13-3 win over the Tigers.
1991 Frank Thomas reaches base due to catcher’s interference for the only time in his career.
1991 Yankees fans bombard right fielder Jose Canseco with paper cups, baseballs, a radio, and an inflatable doll.
1991 The Mariners crack out four consecutive doubles during an 11-4 win over the Orioles.
1993 Cincinnati’s Tom Browning is arrested for possession of marijuana.
1994 Dave Henderson plays in his last game.
1995 Cuban star Osvaldo Fernandez defects in Millington, Tennessee.
1995 Steve Buechele, third baseman, plays his last game.
1996 A broken bat reveals that Chris Sabo used cork to try to help himself at the plate. (And the key point is “try” because science shows it doesn’t actually help.) Regardless, he’ll draw a seven-game suspension.
1996 An ailing Tommy Lasorda announces his retirement from the dugout.
1996 The Indians trade infielder Carlos Baerga alongside Alvaro Espinoza to the Mets for Jeff Kent and Jose Vizcaino. If I recall rightly, Baerga was infuriated by the trade and had some not-so-pleasant things to say as he left, but look at the return. Yeah, getting Kent was a good move on the whole.
1997 Chuck Finley wins his 139th game with the Angels, passing Nolan Ryan as the all-time franchise leader in wins, which he still is.
1997 The White Sox trade Harold Baines to the Orioles for a prospect. This time, there’s no big hue and cry.
1997 Tim Wakefield throws his sixth and final career shutout. He has 355 more starts left, but none will be a complete-game shutout.
1999 13 National League umpires officially lose their jobs over their mid-July resignations.
2000 It’s Bob Wickman Poster Night in Milwaukee. This probably would go better if they hadn’t traded him the day before. It was a good trade (they got a young Richie Sexson), but when the visiting Indians score a bunch of late runs in a 10-2 win off Milwaukee’s bullpen, fans unfurl their posters and hold them up in protest.
2001 Padres pinch runner Rickey Henderson steals a base late in a blowout victory over the Brewers. (Technically, it was defensive interference as no throw was made). The play infuriated Milwaukee manager Davey Lopes, who thought a late swipe in a blowout went against the game’s unwritten rules. Lopes threatened to have Henderson plunked next time he faced San Diego, prompting a public debate over the game’s code.
2002 Forty Hall of Famers sign a joint letter to Donald Fehr and Bud Selig asking them to avoid a work stoppage.
2002 Texas releases veteran starting pitcher Dave Burba.
2003 Andy Pettitte wins his eighth straight decision, a career-best. His numbers in that stretch: 9 GS, 64.1 IP, 64 H, 25 R, 24 ER, 13 BB, 60 K, and a 3.36 ERA. Not bad, but you’d expect better numbers in a career-best winning streak.
2003 The Yankees trade Raul Mondesi to the Diamondbacks.
2004 Eric Valent hits for the cycle.
2005 Kirk Rueter plays his last game.
2006 Milwaukee’s famous sausage race adds a new contestant: Chorizo, a Latino sausage. It won’t become permanent until next year, as major league baseball has a rule against introducing mascots in midseason.
2007 A record: 717,478 attend 17 major games on this day, setting a record.
2007 Reggie Sanders plays his last game.
2007 Kenny Lofton grounds out in the seventh to drop his career batting average under .300: 2,383 hits in 7,957 at-bats for a .299484 career mark.
2008 If you combine his Japanese numbers with his Seattle ones, Ichiro Suzuki collects his 3,000th career hit.
2009 The Nationals release former prized Cubs prospect Corey Patterson.
2009 The Pirates trade Freddy Sanchez to the Giants.
2009 The Indians trade Cliff Lee to the Phillies for prospects.
2010 Houston trades Roy Oswalt to the Phillies.
2010 The Orioles trade Miguel Tejada and cash to the Padres.
2010 The Orioles hire Buck Showalter as their new manager.
2011 Albert Pujols gets his 2,000th hit. It takes his 1,650 games to do it.
2011 Houston trades Hunter Pence to the Phillies.