15,000 days ago, baseball quietly entered a new era.
15,000 days ago, baseball quietly entered a new era. On that day, the Seattle Pilots franchise—after just one year of existence—ceased to exist. They were declared bankrupt.
The franchise is dead, long live the franchise!
You see, that same day, purchasing the club was a man who operated car dealerships in Wisconsin: Bud Selig, AKA the long time commissioner. And the former Seattle Pilots thus became the Milwaukee Brewers, and have remained so for over 40 seasons.
I don’t know if it happened before or after the sale, but the club also cut starting pitcher Steve Barber that day. If you’ve read Ball Four this fact won’t come as too much of a shock as arm injury addled Barber all 1969. It was either the last act of the Pilots or the first for the Brew Crew.
At any rate, that’s not the only “day-versary” on the day. And there are plenty of good ol’ fashioned anniversaries—the kind normal people track even. Here they are, day-versaries first.
1,000 days since Tigers traded Ivan Rodriguez to Yankees for Kyle Farnsworth. I don’t care what their ages were, that doesn’t sound like an even trade at all.
4,000 days since WPA’s favorite Ken Griffey Jr. game: 1.011 WPA. He went 3-for-4 with a double and two homer runs, scored three runs, drove in four, plus stole a base and got hit by a pitch in Cincinnati’s 8-7 win over Houston.
4,000 days since the Mets released Rickey Henderson.
4,000 days since Mike Trombley of the Orioles allowed three homers without recording a single out. It’s only the fourth time since 1920 that happened (and probably only the fourth time overall).
8,000 days since John Wetteland’s MLB debut.
9,000 days since Hank Greenberg died.
Since there are so many, I’ll put the more interesting ones in bold (defined as more interesting to me, so careful about my judgment).
1872 Jim O’Rourke, Hall of Famer, born.
1884 Joe Quinn, member of 1899 Cleveland Spiders (20-134) makes his MLB career. He actually had a good career, but I only know of him from his final, sad season in the saddest of all teams.
1888 Last game for leading slugger of the 1880s, Charley Jones. He’s the best player whose death date is completely unaware to us.
1892 MLB debut: Brickyard Kennedy, a pretty good pitcher for Brooklyn in the 1890s. He’s still among their career leaders in wins.
1900 Hack Wilson, Hall of Famer who had a mighty nice age-30 season, born.
1902 One day after blowing a 13-4 lead in the bottom of the ninth against Detroit, Milwaukee blows another one. They led 6-2 in the middle of the eighth but lost 6-5 in regulation.
1904 Ty Cobb’s pro ball debut; he plays for Augusta, Georgia team at age 17.
1905 Cub outfielder Jack McCarthy tosses out three guys at the plate in one game, each completing a double play as Cubs triumph over Pirates 2-1.
1906 Hall of Fame manager Ned Hanlon loses his 1,000th game: 1,184-1,000.
1912 Hugh Bradley becomes the first player to homer over Fenway’s Green Monster (which isn’t yet all-green yet, but nevermind that).
1917 Sal Maglie born.
1917 Virgil Trucks born.
1927 Jimmy Dykes gets his 1,000th hit in his 1,004 game. In exactly 1,004 more games, he’ll get No. 2,000. Seriously.
1931 Lou Gehrig loses a home run in odd fashion. He hits the ball out of park, it bounces back to outfielder Sam Rice, and the Yankee runner on base thinks it’s caught so he goes to the dugout instead of scoring. Ultimately, Gehrig is credited with an outside-the-park triple.
1932 Babe Herman, never known for his wits in the stadium, outdoes himself. He takes his seven-year-old son to the park and forgets to bring him home. The team secretary saw the urchin and brought him home for Herman.
1934 Al Simmons gets his 2,000th hit in only his 1,393th game. No one else has ever done it in under 1,400 games.
1935 Dolf Luque’s last game.
1936 Ben Garaghty gets on base twice in one game via catcher’s interference, something that has only happened six times in the last 90 years.
1940 Senators purchase Zeke Bonura from Giants for $20,000.
1941 Wrigley Field becomes first ballpark with an organ. Cubs lose, 6-2.
1944 Bucky Walters’ best Game Score: 94. His line: 13 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K in complete game 1-0 win over Cardinals. I’m not sure which is less likely these days: a pitcher throwing 13 innings or a team fanning only three times in 13 innings.
1945 Paul Waner’s last game.
1947 Famous Amos Otis born.
1948 Indians and White Sox engage in a wild slugfest, won 12-11 by Cleveland in 14 innings. Lou Boudreau was the star that day, going 5-for-6 with a pair of doubles and a pair of homers. He scored two runs and drove in four. He also had two walks—but was caught stealing once.
1951 The Yankee franchise record hits 1,000 games over .500: 4,275-3,275. This includes the 1901-02 years in Baltimore. They’ve been over 1,000 games over .500 ever since.
1953 Bob Lemon, age 32, steals his first career base. He’ll get his second, and last, stolen base four months later.
1955 Al Kaline hits the first of six walkoff homers.
1955 Bob Turley ties the record for most walks in a regular season complete game one-hitter: 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R/ER, 9 BB, 10 K. And yes, I have to say “regular season” as a qualifier because Bill Bevens walked 10 in his 1947 World Series one hitter.
1955 A’s sign Vic Raschi as free agent.
1955 Mike Scott, pitcher, born.
1959 Probably Billy Pierce’s best day at the plate: 3-for-4 with a double and triple (and this from a man who only had 17 extra-base hits in his career). He also had a GIDP.
1959 Sadaharu Oh’s first home run.
1959 Willard Schmidt, Reds pitcher, is hit by a pitch at the plate twice in one inning, a first. Reds beat Braves 11-10.
1961 The first of Roger Maris’ 61 home runs on the year highlights a bizarre Yankees-Tigers game. Yanks led 6-0, but Detroit then stormed to a 11-8 lead, only to falter and allow the Bronx Bombers to win 13-11 in 10 innings. Among other things, it was Mickey Mantle’s favorite WPA game: 0.737 WPA. He went 2-for-6 with three runs, two homers, four RBIs, and a reached on error. Yankee pitcher Whitey Ford wasn’t so fortunate. He set his personal high in runs allowed: 10, though only six were earned, in his 6.1 IP.
1964 MLB debut: Sonny Siebert.
1969 Baseball Record Committee, which had earlier decided to up Babe Ruth’s home run total to No. 715 because of a shot inaccurately listed as a triple, decided to flip back. And its been 14 ever since. I’d love to know the back story on this one.
1970. Bob Gibson fans 15, which is impressive but not his most: 9 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 15 K.
1971 Tom Seaver tosses his 19th straight quality start, the first of two times he did that in his career. His numbers in the stretch: 13-4 W-L, 163.1 IP, 99 H, 21 R, 18 ER, 31 BB, 164 K and a 0.99 ERA. A 0.99 ERA. Yeah, yeah, it’s selective endpoints, but it’s a zero freaking nine-nine ERA over enough innings to qualify for the ERA title. Tom sure was terrific.
1974 MLB debut: Mario Mendoza.
1978 Joe Crede born.
1980 Steve Carlton sets the 20th century NL record by tossing his sixth one-hitter.
1980 The only time Willie Randolph triples twice in a game.
1981 Carlton Fisk plays third base for the last time.
1985 Tony Gwynn ruins Orel Hershiser’s perfect game. Gwynn walks in the first inning and singles in the fourth—and that’s it for San Diego: 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R/ER, 1 BB, 5 K for Hershiser.
1986 Ball Night in Arlington Stadium: fans throw them on the field in the top of the ninth when the home team pitchers do this: BB, WP, PB, 1B, 1B, and HR. Yoikes.
1986 Speaking of bizarre tops of the ninth in the AL West on April 26, 1986, the Twins enter the top of the ninth leading the Angels 6-1, but leave it down 7-6, which is the final. Not only that, but the wind tore a hole in the Metrodome roof earlier, delaying the game for nine minutes. Given how things worked out, I’m sure the Twins wish the problem was worse with the roof.
1987 Rick Reuschel, one of the most underrated pitchers in MLB history, allows his first grand slam in 12 years. It’s the third grand slam Reushel’s ever allowed and the first NOT hit by Mike Jorgensen. Lance Parrish blasted it.
1987 WPA’s least favorite Jim Rice game; 0-for-6, 1 GIDP for a -0.485 WPA in Boston 5-3 loss to Texas in 13 innings.
1990 Nolan Ryan has one of his best games: a complete game shutout one-hitter with 16 strikeouts. The only hit was a second-inning single by Ron Kittle, of all people. It’s Ryan’s 12th one-hitter, tying Bob Feller for the all-time record. Ryan also walked two batters.
1991 Last game for crazy man Tony Bernazard.
1992 Ozzie Guillen, at age 37, steals three bases in one game.
1995 Red Sox signs free agent Tim Wakefield. This works out.
1995 Bruce Bochy manages his first game. He’s been calling the shots in either the San Diego or San Francisco dugout ever since.
1996 Milt Gaston dies at age 100. The former pitcher went 97-164 in his career.
1997 Andruw Jones’ first walk-off home run. He had seven, as of the end of 2010.
1997 MLB debut: Derek Lowe.
1997 Pete Schourek becomes the only pitcher to ever club a homer off Curt Schilling.
1997 Roberto Alomar thrice homers in one game. In all, he’s 4-for-4 with 6 RBIs and a sac fly.
1997 Ryne Sandberg’s 267th homer while playing second base allows him to pass Joe Morgan for most ever at that position.
2000 Vladimir Guerrero’s 100th home run.
2001 Hideo Nomo just misses tossing his second no-hitter of the year—not bad, especially given that it’s still only April. Bloop single by Torii Hunter in the seventh is the only one he allows in 2-0 Boston win over Minnesota.
2001 Dodger general manager Kevin Malone resigns.
2002 MLB debut: Brad Lidge.
2002 Odalis Perez faces 27 batters in one-hitter complete game. Corey Patterson’s bad hop infield single was all Cubs could muster against him in 2-0 LA victory.
2003 Jeff Bagwell’s 2,000th hit.
2005 Alex Rodriguez hits three home runs in one game and gets 10 RBIs. That’s the most RBIs in a game by a third baseman since at least 1920, probably ever. He’s 4-for-5 on the day.
2006 Mike Piazza’s 400th homer.
2006 Tampa walks 14 batters, but still wins 4-2 over Yankees.
2007 Boston win puts Terry Francona’s career managerial record tops .500 (578-577). It’s been over .500 ever since.
2008 2,000 hits: Vladimir Guerrero.
2008 Matt Morris’ last game.
2008 Mark Redman, Colorado, allows 10 runs in the first but keeps on pitching, something that hasn’t happened in over a century. He allows no more runs over the next five innings.
2010 Josh Johnson fans 12 in a three-hitter while getting three hits with 3 RBIs at the plate in 10-1 over Padres.
2010 Brewers win their 22nd straight game over the Pirates. Today’s final: MIL 17, PIT 3
2010 Phillies pay Ryan Howard way to much money: five years for at least $125 million.