20 years ago today, a great milestone was achieved. One of the game’s most prestigious clubs gained a new member when Robin Yount laced an infield single against Cleveland’s Jose Mesa. It was career hit No. 3,000 for the veteran Brewer. He was the 17th member of the club.
What makes Robin Yount’s membership especially noteworthy and impressive is how young he was. On Sept. 9, 2012, he was exactly a week shy of being 37 years old.
You might notice the all-time hit leader absent from that list. Pete Rose didn’t get to 3,000 until 21 days after turning 37. That’s actually the fifth oldest person to do it. Just last year Derek Jeter joined the exclusive fraternity at the age of 37 years and 13 days—just a tad younger than Rose.
The all-time youngest man to join the club is, naturally, Cobb. He was just 34 years old when he did it, easily topping Aaron, who was 19 months older than Cobb when he did it.
But most of these have something else in common. They had far, far more than 3,000 hits when their careers ended. Rose, Cobb and Aaron are 1-2-3 on the all-time hit leader board. Jeter’s 12th in hits and still going strong. As I write this, he’s leading AL in hits in 2012. Not bad for a 38-year-old.
Yount? He’s back in 18th place, with “only” 3,142 career safeties. What happened? Simple—Yount’s key factor was how extremely young he was when he started. He got his starting job as Brewers shortstop at age 18. He was healthy, played every day, often at the top of the lineup, and didn’t draw many walks. Thus, even in his early years when he still learning the game, he got a respectable number of hits.
The other guys started young, too, but for Aaron, Jeter and Rose, starting young meant starting in their early 20s. Yount had a few years and a couple hundred hit head start on them, and most of the other guys in the 1,000 hit club. Yount had about 1,000 hits before he really hit his stride at age 26.
By 1992, Yount was still decent, but certainly past his prime. After one more year he decided he’d had enough. He probably could’ve lasted a little longer if he’d wanted to, but he opted to retire. And 3,142 certainly is nothing to sneeze at. But the biggest one of all is the one that came 20 years ago: No. 3,000.
Aside from that, many other events have their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that occurred X-thousand days ago) today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to just skim through things.
4,000 days since the first Cubs home game since 9/11 sees Sammy Sosa homer in his first at-bat in the first inning. The first base coach gives Sosa a U.S. flag to carry while rounding the bases.
4,000 days since Harold Baines plays in his final game.
4,000 days since Kevin Tapani pitches in his last game.
6,000 days since Chan Ho Park becomes the first Korean-born pitcher to record a win in the North American major leagues.
6,000 days since Randy Johnson posts his 100th career win.
1857 Abner Dalrymple, leading 1880s slugger, is born.
1876 Frank Chance, Hall of Fame first baseman, is born.
1880 Buck Ewing, Hall of Fame catcher, makes his big league debut.
1898 Frankie Frisch, Hall of Fame second baseman, is born.
1899 Waite Hoyt, Hall of Fame pitcher, is born.
1902 Reds owner John Brush sells the team to Garry Hermman, George B. Cox and Julius and Max Fleischmann for $150,000. Then Brush buys control of the Giants from Andrew Freeman.
1908 The Giants steal nine bases off Brooklyn catcher Billy Maloney, who quits baseball as a result.
1909 Eddie Collins hits a home run for the second straight day. He’ll end the year with three home runs.
1909 Pirates catches George Gibson catches his 112th consecutive game, setting a record. His streak will end at 140 consecutive games caught.
1913 Hugh Mulcahy, nicknamed “Losing Pitcher” during his days with Philadelphia Phillies, is born.
1914 George Davis throws a no-hitter in a 7-0 Braves win over the Phillies.
1915 Hall of Fame pitcher Al Spalding dies. He also founded a sporting goods company—named Spalding, naturally—that is still around. Oh, and he was also the driving force behind the committee that created the fictional story of Abner Doubleday inventing baseball.
1917 Cleveland forfeits when the Indians players throw their gloves and roll on their ground after a 10-minute argument over an interference call. The White Sox win.
1918 Finners Quinlan, an outfielder who played as recently as 1915, is wounded in a battle in the Argonne Forest. He loses an eye and his right leg.
1921 The White Sox top the Tigers 20-15 in a game in which both teams get 20 hits.
1922 The Browns enjoy their biggest win in their history, 16-0 over the Tigers. Keying the effort is a three-triple performance by outfielder Baby Doll Jacobson.
1923 Babe Ruth hits his third of 10 career inside the park home runs.
1923 Atlanta’s Negro League park, Ponce de Leon Park, burns down.
1927 Wes Ferrell makes his big league debut.
1928 Great pitcher Urban Shocker dies of pneumonia dies at age 38.
1930 For the only time in his career, ill-deserving Hall of Fame third baseman Freddie Lindstrom strikes out three times in one game. He normally fans once ever 22 PA. The pitcher, Burleigh Grimes, has just four Ks on the day.
1931 The Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants have agreed to play a series of exhibition games to help the unemployed during the Great Depression—and the first one is today. The Yankees top the Giants, 7-2.
1932 Lou Gehrig hits his 13th (out of 23) grand slams, a total of three home runs and a personal best eight RBIs, but it’s not quite enough as the Yankees fall to the Tigers, 14-13 in 14 innings. Gehrig also gets a walk and lays down a sacrifice bunt.
1933 Charlie Root, the all-time Cubs leader in wins, gets the longest outing of his career: 13 innings.
1933 Jimmie Foxx has the seventh multi-home run game of the year.
1933 Dolph Camilli makes his major league debut.
1936 Bucky Harris wins his 1,000th game as manager. His record is 1,000-971.
1936 The Yankees clinch the pennant, setting a record for the earliest clinching ever. Lou Gehrig smacks his 21st grand slam, too.
1938 Lou Boudreau makes his big league debut.
1939 Jimmie Foxx is out for the season after an appendicitis operation.
1941 Bob Lemon makes his big league debut.
1941 Hank Sauer makes his big league debut.
1945 A’s pitcher Dick Fowler throws a no-hitter against the Browns. He was discharged from the Army just nine days ago. It’s the first no-hitter for the Browns since 1916.
1945 Jimmie Foxx belts his last career home run—and his next-to-last earlier in the day, too.
1946 Bobby Thomson, who will hit one of the most famous home runs in history, makes his big league debut.
1947 Billy Jurges, veteran infielder, plays in his last game.
1948 Rex Barney throws a no-hitter for the Dodgers, beating the Giants, 2-0.
1952 Leo Durocher manages his 2,000th game. His record: 1,118-865.
1952 Stan Musial gets his 2,000th career hit. It has taken him just 1,507 games to do it.
1952 Jerry Mumphrey, outfielder, is born.
1953 Ralph Kiner hits the seventh of his eight career walk-off home runs.
1953 A photograph is taken showing Mickey Mantle blowing bubble gum during a game against the White Sox. Manager Casey Stengel is furious but it gets Mantle an endorsement deal from Bowman Gum Company.
1955 It’s the worst Game Score for a starting pitcher who gets the win in the 1950s. Russ Meyer has a Game Score is 11 with this line: 7 IP, 16 H, 8 R 8 ER, 2 BB, and 0 K. His Dodgers trounce the Cubs, 16-9.
1956 It’s Bob Feller Day in Cleveland and the team gives the veteran star a new car.
1956 Curt Flood makes his big league debut, as a teenager on the Reds.
1958 Ron Fairly makes his big league debut.
1958 Johnny Callison makes his big league debut.
1958 Preston Ward of the Kansas City A’s hits three home runs in one game.
1958 Sandy Koufax uncorks four wild pitches in one game in 5.1 innings. It’s the only time he ever has more than two wild pitches in one game.
1960 Alvin Davis, Mariners first baseman, is born.
1962 Brooks Robinson hits the first of eight career walk-off home runs.
1962 Tony Oliva makes his big league debut.
1964 Don Drysdale walks in a run for the first time since Aug. 23, 1959, 1,456 innings ago.
1964 Mickey Lolich throws his third consecutive complete game shutout. His line: 27 IP, 12 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, and 27 K.
1964 Terrific defensive outfielder Paul Blair makes his big league debut.
1964 Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports the Indians GM Gabe Paul has requested economic surveys of Seattle for a possible franchise move there.
1965 Tony Perez hits the first of 11 career walk-off home runs.
1965 It’s arguably the best pitchers duel of all time as the Dodgers top the Cubs, 1-0. Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax fans 14 in a perfect game while Cubs pitcher Bob Hendley allows just one hit in the entire game. Vin Scully’s call of Koufax working the ninth is likely the greatest bit of baseball broadcasting ever.
1965 Todd Zeile is born.
1966 The White Sox top the Senators 1-0 in 10 innings with the only run coming on a walk-off error.
1966 Mickey Lolich, making a rare relief appearance, issues the only walk-off walk of his career. He walks Rick Monday in the 10th inning for a 2-1 Tigers to the A’s.
1966 Bob Watson makes his big league debut.
1966 Stan Bahnsen makes his big league debut.
1967 Frank Robinson smashes his 400th career home run. He’s just the 13th person to join the club.
1968 Luis Tiant fans 16 batters, tying his personal best in a nine-inning performance.
1970 Alex Johnson of the Angels becomes the third person to homer into the center field bleachers at Comiskey Park in a game against the White Sox.
1970 Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn tells Tigers pitcher Denny McLain that he won’t be allowed to return this year. McLain’s latest problems are carrying a gun and violating probation.
1970 Willie Mays enjoys his 63rd and final career multi-home run game.
1970 Greg Luzinski makes his big league debut.
1971 The Cubs sign amateur free agent Bruce Sutter.
1972 Mike Hampton is born.
1972 Gaylord Perry becomes the sixth pitcher to have a 20-win season in both leagues.
1973 Catfish Hunter loses his 100th game, giving him a record of 133-100.
1973 Willie Mays plays in his last regular season game. He’ll play in the postseason this year for the Mets and that’s it.
1973 Doug DeCinces makes his big league debut.
1973 Frank Tanana makes his big league debut.
1974 Duane Kuiper, weakest home run hitter ever, makes his big league debut.
1975 Rollie Fingers has his best relief stint ever according to WPA: 0.977. He throws six scoreless innings.
1975 Chet Lemon, center fielder, makes his big league debut.
1976 Carlton Fisk‘s longest hitting streak peaks at 18 games. He’s 28-for-74 in that stretch.
1976 Joe Morgan’s longest hitting streak peaks at 19 games. He’s 32-for-76.
1976 Garry Templeton, shortstop, makes his big league debut.
1977 Gaylord Perry suffers his 200th loss. He’s 243-200 for his career at the moment. He’ll be 71-65 for the rest of his career.
1978 The Boston Massacre continues as Ron Guidry shuts down the Red Sox 7-0 for another Yankees win. All runs score in the fourth inning. Guidry allows two hits in the first inning and that’s it.
1979 Bob Montgomery becomes the last big league player to step to the plate without a batting helmet. He’s with the Red Sox against Orioles.
1979 St. Louis retires No. 20 for Lou Brock, who is still active on the team.
1979 Catfish Hunter pitches for the last time.
1979 Bobby Bonds enjoys the second walk-off grand slam of his career. It’s his seventh and final walk-off home run.
1980 The Phillies top the Pirates 5-4 in 14 innings thanks to a walk-off error.
1984 Tom Browning makes his big league debut.
1985 Rickey Henderson gets his 1,000th career hit.
1986 Mark McGwire hits his first pinch-hit home run. It’s his third career homer.
1986 Rafael Palmeiro hits his first big league home run.
1987 Nolan Ryan fans 16 batters despite lasting only eight innings. It’s the most Ks he ever has with the Astros and the most in any game he didn’t last at least nine innings.
1988 Gary Sheffield launches his first home run.
1988 Bruce Sutter, on the anniversary of the day he signed his first professional baseball contract, plays in his last game—and gets save No. 300 in it.
1989 California’s Devon White steals second, third and home in one inning against Boston.
1990 Doc Cramer dies.
1990 Scott Lusader of the Tigers makes three errors in the first inning against the White Sox.
1992 Baseball owners vote to make Bud Selig the temporary commissioner. Well, I guess all commissioners are temporary when you get down to it.
1993 Jim Edmonds makes his big league debut.
1993 Owners vote to divide each league into three divisions, add a wild card and an extra round to the postseason.
1995 Chuck Finley uncorks three wild pitches in one outing.
1997 Richie Ashburn dies of a heart attack.
1998 A.J. Pierzynski makes his big league debut.
1999 Catfish Hunter dies.
1999 Oops! The Padres nearly get a fourth out in the seventh inning when umpires, the scoreboard, and most of the opposing Expos apparently lose track of outs. Finally, the Expos dugout catches on.
2000 The Giants sign amateur free agent Francisco Liriano.
2001 Rafael Palmeiro hits his seventh and final career walk-off home run.
2001 For the third time in his career, Barry Bonds hits three home runs in one game.
2001 Nick Punto makes his big league debut.
2001 The Orioles retire No. 8 for Cal Ripken.
2002 Barry Bonds hits the longest homer ever in Pac Bell Park: 491 feet.
2004 Kansas City’s Joe Randa gets six hits in one game.
2006 Rick Helling plays in his last game.
2007 Phil Dumatrait of the Reds allows three homers in an outing without recording an out, the sixth time that’s happened in big league history.
2007 The Brewers become the first team to start a game with back-to-back-to-back home runs. They go on to win, 10-5 over the Reds.
2008 Taylor Buchholz of the Rockies has the rare walk-off balk, for a 5-4 Atlanta win in 10 innings.