25th anniversary: Hershiser’s streak begins

25 years ago today, one of the most incredible achievements in baseball history began.

On Aug. 30, 2013, Orel Hershiser began his record 59 scoreless inning streak. That streak broke the old record of 58 scoreless innings held by Don Drysdale.

While records are broken every year, Drysdale’s mark looked like one of the least likely ones to fall. For one thing, Drysdale broke a half-century old record when he had his streak. Well, sometimes a record falls by the bunches, but not in this case. No one in the 1970s or 1980s had seriously threatened his mark. Drysdale had the advantage of having his best year in 1968, the year of the pitcher, the season when run scoring was at it’s lowest mark since the Deadball Era.

By 1988, scoring was higher. It wasn’t incredibly high, but it was normal, which put it far higher than the 1968 NL.

Hershiser was a star pitcher, though. He emerged in 1985, posting a 19-3 record and a 2.03 ERA. Though he had a middling 1986 as his arm acclimated to the big league workload, in 1987 he led the league in innings while posting a 3.06 ERA.

So far, 1988 had been another nice year for Hershiser. On Aug. 19, he’s thrown a complete game shutout, dropping his ERA under 3.00, and though he’d lost his following start on Aug. 24, that had more to do with poor run support than anything Hershiser himself did. He surrendered just two runs in a tough luck 2-1 loss to the Mets.

In today’s game against the Expos, things got off to a nice start with LA taking an early 3-0 lead. The big blow came from the bat of Hershiser himself, a two-run double in the second inning.

That lead was enough, and it allowed Hershiser to overcome his one problem frame. In the fifth, with one out and a runner on third, Tim Raines bopped a double to left that let a run in. Moment later, Raines scored on a single by teammate Dave Martinez. Well, sort of.

Martinez singles and Raines rounded third to score, but the Dodgers might’ve had him at the plate had it not been an error by the relay man. As it happens, the relay man was Hershiser himself. OK, the Dodgers still had a 4-2 lead, and that ended up being the final score.

In the last four innings, Hershiser allowed two walks and a scratch single, and no one advanced beyond first base. It wasn’t anything worth paying attention to—and wouldn’t be, if it wasn’t for the fact that Hershiser then went the next 55 innings without allowing a run. Hershiser’s streak was a magnificent achievement, and it was an achievement that began 25 years ago today.

Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that happened X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.

Day-versaries

2,000 days since the Brewers release former stud Dodgers closer Eric Gagne.

3,000 days since LA’s Hee Seop Choi belts three home runs in one game.

5,000 days since Atlanta trades Bret Boone, Ryan Klesko and a third player to San Diego for Wally Joyner, Reggie Sanders, and Quilvio Veras.

5,000 days since Sports Illustrated publishes their John Rocker interview that offends many and makes the Atlanta reliever a pariah.

6,000 days since Atlanta trades young Jermaine Dye to Kansas City.

7,000 days since the Orioles and Angels combine for 11 homers. Baltimore triumphs in the slugfest, 14-7.

8,000 days since the Cardinals go 0-for-5 in stolen base attempts against the Cubs, and lose 3-2.

8,000 days since former Tigers pitcher Dan Petry appears in his last game.

8,000 days since veteran shortstop Garry Templeton appears in his last game.

10,000 days since Tony Gwynn fans three times in one game for the only time in his career.

10,000 days since fans keep running on the field during the Toronto home opener. Supposedly 2,000 make it on the field at some point, 126 of whom are ejected and 35 of whom are arrested.

15,000 days since the Royals sign amateur free agent U L Washington, who will be a fixture on their late-1970s, early 1980s squads.

20,000 days since Mike Scioscia is born.

30,000 days since 23 doubles are hit in a Cubs-Cardinals game. There is an overflow crowd, some of whom stand in a roped off section on the field, and all balls hit there are ground rule doubles. The Cardinals win the game, 17-13.

30,000 days since Hall of Fame shortstop Travis Jackson goes 5-for-5 for the only time in his career.

Anniversaries

1849 Cal McVey, early baseball star, is born.

1883 Charlie Comiskey manages his first game. He’ll be one of the game’s most successful managers over the next decade.

1892 Tip O’Neill, 1880s star hitter, appears in his last game.

1894 Bing Miller, outfielder for Connie Mack’s second dynasty, is born.

1898 Hall of Fame speedy outfielder Kiki Cuyler is born.

1900 Shortstop Bill Dahlen hits two triples in one inning.

1905 Georgia Peach Ty Cobb makes his big league debut. He gets his first hit, a double off of star New York pitcher Happy Jack Chesbro.

1906 The Red Sox suspend manager Jimmy Collins for leaving on a holiday without permission. The team is 35-79 at the time.

1906 Judd “Slow Joe” Doyle hurls a complete game shutout in his second start, just as he had in his first start. It’s all downhill from here for him, though.

1910 Tom Hughes allows no-hits through nine innings, but the game keeps going. He allows a hit in the 10th, and then five runs in the 11th to get stuck with the loss.

1912 The Cubs win, putting manager Peerless Leader Frank Chance 385 games over .500 (756-371), his peak.

1912 Browns pitcher Earl Hamilton no-hits the Tigers in a 5-1 win.

1912 Ray Chapman makes his big league debut. He’ll be a star shortstop for eight years before becoming the only player in big league history to die after being hit by a pitch.

1916 Red Sox pitcher Dutch Leonard no-hits the Browns. The day before Leonard was knocked out in the first inning by this very same Browns lineup.

1918 Carl Mays beats the A’s, beginning a 24-game winning streak he’ll enjoy against them over the next five years.

1918 The Giants and Dodgers play the fastest nine-inning game ever: 57 minutes.

1918 Ted Williams is born.

1921 In a rarity, there are two triple plays in one day. The Cubs do it to the Giants and the Braves do it to Cincinnati. The Giants and Reds get the last laughs, though—they both win.

1921 Dave Robertson hits for the cycle.

1922 Babe Ruth heads into the stands to assault a heckler. He’ll earn his fifth suspension of the year for this. (Yes, he was suspended five times in one season).

1924 Pitcher Wilbur Cooper, still the winningest pitcher in Pirates history, notches his 200th career triumph. He’s 200-156 in his career.

1928 Tris Speaker, legendary Hall of Famer, appears in his last game.

1930 The Giants lose 1-0 to the Dodgers in a heart breaker. It’s 0-0 in the ninth with a Dodger on third, so John McGraw tells young Carl Hubbell to issue two intentional walks to set up the force play at every base. However, this plan backfires when Hubbell walks in the game’s only run.

1938 The Pirates purchase Hall of Fame outfielder Heinie Manush from the International League’s Toronto club. Manush is well past his prime, though.

1938 Lou Boudreau has his worst day at the plate, going 0-for-5 with three Ks and a GIDP.

1939 Yankees rookie hurler Atley Donald sets a new record when a pitch of his is clocked at 94.7 miles per hour.

1942 The Dodgers purchase rubber-armed starter Bobo Newsom from the Senators for $25,000.

1944 Tug McGraw, relief pitcher, is born.

1950 Eddie Stanky ties an obscure record, with his seventh straight game with multiple walks. Previously Mel Ott and Billy Rogell had done it.

1952 Former star shortstop Arky Vaughan dies far too young. He drowns.

1953 Star White Sox pitcher Billy Pierce enjoys his 11th straight complete game, his personal best. He’s just 6-5 in the span, but has five shutouts and a 1.30 ERA.

1953 The Braves bats come alive in today’s doubleheader against the Pirates. They smash eight homers in the first game and four more in the night cap. Jim Pendleton hits three homers in one game for them.

1959 Pirates reliever Elroy Face wins his 22nd straight decision. He is 17-0 on the year after winning his last five in 1958.

1960 Red Sox star Pete Runnels gets six hits in a 15-inning game against Detroit. He has nine hits all day in a doubleheader.

1961 Never mind that young Orioles pitcher Jack Fisher walks a dozen batters against the Angels – he gets the win anyway. No one has done that since then.

1964 Move over Bambino here is Mickey Mantle. Today, Mantle fans for the 1,331st time in his career, passing up Ruth as all-time offensive K leader. Nowadays, 1,331 Ks doesn’t even put you in the top 100 of all-time.

1964 A Braves-Giants doubleheader features 15 pinch hitters, which is especially impressive given that neither game went into extra innings. Concessions stands nearly run out of change as the Giants sweep, 15-10 and 7-4.

1965 The Braves purchase Harvey Haddix from Baltimore.

1965 The Mets announce the retirement of manager Casey Stengel, who broke his hip earlier in the summer.

1966 Pete Rose becomes the 12th player to homer from both sides of the plate in a game.

1966 For the 20th time in his career, but first time in over four years, Sandy Koufax walks in a run.

1969 Washington second baseman Tim Cullen has the inning from hell, making three consecutive errors in the eighth inning. Well, at least his team wins, 11-3 over Oakland.

1969 Luis Aparicio enjoys his best game ever according to WPA. He’s 3-for-5 with a double and five RBIs in a 6-5 White Sox win over Cleveland for a 0.784 WPA.

1970 Nine players homer in today’s Indians-Angels record, setting a new record.

1972 Harold Arlin, who became the first play-by-play announcer ever back on Aug.5 , 1921, does a few innings of it for the Pirates while he grandson Steve Arlin pitches against them for San Diego.

1973 After a loss to the Indians and Gaylord Perry, Tigers skipper Billy Martin tells the press he’d ordered his pitcher to throw spitters. This will cost Martin his job.

1973 The Mets fall to 61-71 after a 10-inning 1-0 loss to St. Louis. But they’ll go 21-8 for the rest of the way, win the division, pennant, and push the World Series to seven games against defending champion A’s.

1974 Texas’ Dave Nelson steals second, third, and home in one inning. It’s just the third time that’s happened since 1928.

1974 Keith Hernandez makes his big league debut.

1974 Nolan Ryan enjoys his 11th straight Quality Start, his longest ever streak. He’s just 6-5, but has a 1.83 ERA with 118 Ks and just 62 hits in 98.1 IP. He’s also walked 41 batters.

1976 Bert Blyleven records his 100th career loss, for a 105-100 record.

1976 The A’s purchase longtime star first baseman Willie McCovey from the Padres.

1977 Bert Campaneris records his 2,000th hit in style, going 4-for-5.

1977 Former Sox slugger Beltin’ Bill Melton plays in his last game.

1978 Famous Japanese slugger Sadaharu Oh hits his 800th home run.

1978 Cliff Lee, pitcher, is born.

1981 Adam Wainwright, pitcher, is born.

1981 The Twins trade veteran southpaw Jerry Koosman to the White Sox.

1982 Atlanta releases veteran reliever Al Hrabosky.

1982 Houston trades pitcher Don Sutton to Milwaukee for Kevin Bass, Mike Madden, and Frank DiPino.

1982 Pete Rose lays down two sacrifice bunts in one game for the only time in his career.

1982 Sean Marshall, pitcher, is born.

1983 Carlton Fisk legs out his only inside-the-park home run.

1983 Mike Schmidt, who homered twice in the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader, hits two more homers in the second game of today’s doubleheader.

1984 Mike Schmidt hits the first of two career pinch-hit home runs.

1984 The Expos fire veteran manager Bill Virdon.

1986 The Yankees have pitcher Tommy John and Joe Niekro start for them in a doubleheader. It’s the first time since 1933 both of a team’s pitchers in a doubleheader are over 40 years old.

1987 For the second straight game, Kirby Puckett belts a pair of home runs. He also has two singles and two doubles in today’s game, for 16 hits in all.

1988 Phillies reliever Kent Tekulve becomes the second pitcher to appear in his 1,000th game, joining Hoyt Wilhelm in the club.

1989 The Cardinals lose a game in hellish fashion, falling 2-0 in 13 innings to the Reds while leaving 16 runners stranded on base.

1990 Boston makes one of the worst moves in franchise history, trading Jeff Bagwell to Houston for reliever Larry Anderson.

1990 Houston trades former star second baseman Bill Doran to the Reds.

1990 White Sox catcher Ron Karkovice, of all people, hits an inside the park grand slam against the Twins. He hits it between the gap between two outfielders, and they misplay it badly.

1990 Roger Clemens hurls his 14th straight Quality Start, his longest ever streak. He is 9-2 with a 1.13 ERA in that span.

1991 Mark McGwire smacks the second of five career walk-off home runs.

1991 David Cone strikes out the side against the Reds on the bare minimum of nine pitches.

1991 Ivan Rodriguez hits his first home run.

1991 Texas trades third baseman Steve Buechele to the Pirates.

1992 Boston trades Jeff Reardon to the Braves.

1993 Oops. Rich Gossage breaks his hand by tripping over a ball bag.

1995 Longtime skipper Sparky Anderson manages his 4,000th game. He is 2,181-1,817 with a pair of ties. In that same games, eternal Tigers infielders Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell play their 1,914th game together, tying an AL record.

1996 Second baseman Todd Walker makes his big league debut.

1997 Pitcher John Smiley appears in his last game.

1997 In a heated Yankees clubhouse argument, David Wells threatens to punish team owner George Steinbrenner.

1998 Roger Clemens completes his third straight shutout victory. He’s fanned 31 while allowing just eight hits and five walks in 27 innings.

1998 The Cardinals unveil a statue to longtime voice of the team Jack Buck.

1999 Barry Bonds hits his fifth of 10 career walk-off home runs.

1999 Former baseball player Bill Bean comes out as gay.

1999 Mets infielder Edgardo Alfonzo becomes the first player in franchise history to get six hits in one game. He also bangs out three homer. Only one other person ever had three homers in a six hit game: Ty Cobb.

1999 Vernon Wells makes his big league debut.

2000 A power spike in Atlanta’s Turner Field causes a 12-minute delay in the ninth.

2001 Bobby Valentine manages his 2,000th game. His record: 1,023-977.

2001 Little League orders all games won by Bronx forfeited because star pitcher Danny Almonte is actually 14 years old.

2002 Just hours before a labor strike is set to begin, a new collective bargaining agreement is a agreed to by the union and commissioner. There will be no strike.

2003 Former NL pitcher Claude Passeau dies.

2003 Chad Cordero makes his big league debut.

2004 Dusty Baker wins his 1,000th decision. His record is 1,000-848.

2005 Angels starter Bartolo Colon records 28 outs in a start. He’s the last Angels pitcher to last that long. In fact, he’s the only one to do so since Mark Langston did it in 1992.

2005 Rafael Palmeiro appears in his last game.

2006 Curt Schilling records his 3,000th strikeout.

2006 Troy Tulowitzki makes his big league debut.

2007 Kenny Lofton receives a walk-off walk, the only one of his career.

2008 Manny Ramirez bangs out his 500th double.

2008 Toronto trades the well-traveled Matt Stairs to the Phillies.

2010 Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano hits a homer, becoming the first pitcher to homer in eight straight seasons since Gary Peters did it back in the 1960s.

2010 The White Sox sign Manny Ramirez off waivers from the Dodgers.

2012 The Giants win, pushing manager Bruce Bochy’s record over .500 (1,434-1,433) for the first time since 2002. Only Casey Stengel, Joe Torre, and Jim Leyland spent more games under .500 and emerged back over .500. (However, in less than a year Bochy’s record falls back under .500, as the Giants will suffer during their 2013 campaign.

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