Twenty-five years ago today, Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt engaged in an impressive bit of heads-up baserunning, scoring all the way from first base on a wild pitch.
On April 18, 1988, Schmidt and his Phillies compadres took on the New York Mets. In the top of the eighth, the Phillies held a comfortable 9-6 lead but were looking for an extra insurance run.
Schmidt led off the inning against a young David Cone. Cone, at the beginning of his big league career, was still a reliever, though he’d earn his slot in the starting rotation in a few weeks. Today, however, he didn’t quite have his command, and he promptly walked Schmidt.
Then Cone’s command got quite a bit worse. With Von Hayes at the plate, Cone threw an offering that was off the mark—well off the mark. Mets catcher Gary Carter couldn’t get to it, and the offering sailed to the backstop. Schmidt naturally enough moved into second.
However, the ball kept ricocheting around and bounced all the way to near the Phillies dugout. Seeing this, Schmidt didn’t let up and galloped over to third. Carter kept having trouble corralling the ball, and that’s when Schmidt made his move.
Schmidt looked to the plate and saw a wonderful sight—there was no one covering home. That should be Cone’s responsibility, but he forgot. After all, how often do you hear of a playing trying to score from first on a wild pitch? But when Schmidt moved into third, he should’ve stayed one base ahead.
At any rate, showing heads up baserunning, Schmidt took off for home. By now Carter finally had managed to corral the runaway ball, but he had no one to throw it to. He ran a few steps toward home, but that was a fruitless effort. Mike Schmidt had done it—running 270 feet on a wild pitch.
Though best remembered as a slugger, and beyond that as a great fielding third baseman, Schmidt had his moments on the bases as well. Perhaps none of those moments was as oddly impressive as his extended dash on Cone’s wild pitch, 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.
1,000 days since Alex Rodriguez has his 10,000th career plate appearance.
1,000 days since Arizona’s Kelly Johnson hits for the cycle.
5,000 days since aging veteran Wade Boggs takes to the mound for the second time in his career. Boggs always had a knuckler he liked to fiddle with. H eallows one run in an inning and a third off thee hits, but he does strike out a victim. It’s a humbled Delino DeShields of the Orioles. Baltimore has the real laugh, though, winning 17-1 over Boggs’ Tampa team.
15,000 days since reliever Steve Karsay is born.
20,000 days since the best known WPA game by a Senators/Twins hitter. Roy Sievers goes 2-for-5 with two homers and four RBIs in a 7-6 Senators win over the Indians.
20,000 days since Baltimore pitcher Jack Harshman belts two homers in a 6-5 win over the White Sox.
30,000 days since Ban Johnson dies at age 67.
40,000 days since the Boston Red Sox become champions in the first ever World Series. Their 3-0 win over the Pirates in Game Eight gives them their fifth win in the best-of-nine series.
At some point today, it’ll be 1,000,000,000 seconds since Cal Ripken Jr. first took the field in his debut big league game.
1880 Sam Crawford, the game’s all-time triples king, is born.
1888 American Association umpire John Gaffney has a new idea. He’ll stay behind the plate whenever no one is on base and otherwise place himself behind the pitcher. This new technique takes off in the old days of the one-man umpiring crew.
1888 Duffy Lewis, star left fielder, is born.
1896 Fielder Jones, terrific glove man whose birth name really was Fielder, plays in his first game.
1901 Jimmy Sheckard connects for three triples on Opening Day for Brooklyn.
1906 Babe Adams, pitcher with terrific control, makes his big league debut.
1908 Gavvy Cravath, maybe the best slugger of the last decade of the Deadball Era, makes his big league debut.
1918 Center fielder Tris Speaker pulls off his fifth career unassisted double play. This one is extra special because he tags both runners. It was a very different time.
1923 A crowd of 74,200 attends the first regular-season game at Yankee Stadium, and another 25,000 are turned away. Ruth homers and the Yankees win, 4-1 over Boston.
1923 Columbia University southpaw Lou Gehrig—yes, that Lou Gehrig—fans 17 batters from Williams College.
1924 Ray Kremer, age 31, makes his big league debut. He turns out to be one of the greatest late bloomers in baseball history. He’ll lead the league in ERA twice, wins twice, and winning percentage twice.
1925 Charles Ebbets, the man for whom the Brooklyn Dodgers’ stadium is named, dies at age 65.
1925 Rogers Hornsby scores five runs in one game for the only time as the Cardinals maul the Cubs, 20-5.
1927 Goose Goslin steals three bases in one game for the second and last time in his career.
1929 Larry French, high-quality pitcher who joined the Navy during WWII, makes his big league debut. He stayed in the Navy after the war, retiring at the rank of captain in 1969.
1930 Jack Stivetts, terrific-hitting pitcher who won over 200 games in the 1890s, dies at age 62.
1930 Lon Warneke, one of the best NL pitchers of the 1930s, makes his big league debut.
1934 Paul Dean, Dizzy’s talented brother in pitching, makes his big league debut.
1938 Joe Gordon, Hall of Fame second baseman, makes his big league debut.
1939 Leo Durocher manages his first big league game. It’s also the first regular-season Dodgers game broadcast on the radio. Red Barber is on the microphone.
1942 Hank Borowy, pitcher, makes his big league debut.
1942 Steve Blass, pitcher with control problems, is born.
1942 The U.S. military asks the Pacific Coast League to limit crowds to 3,000 due to fear of Japanese attacks.
1945 Leo Durocher plays in his final big league game. The player-manager is just a manager from here on out.
1946 Cincinnati trades Jim Konstanty to the Braves. Four years later as a Phillie, he’ll win the MVP as a relief pitcher.
1946 Jackie Robinson debuts with the Montreal Royals. He grounds out in his first at-bat and then hits a three-run homer the next time up.
1946 A press conference is held to announce the formation of the American Baseball Guild, a players’ union.
1946 Ralph Kiner hits his first home run.
1947 Jackie Robinson knocks out his first home run.
1947 Ted Kluszewski, one of the most muscular sluggers of his day, debuts.
1949 The Yankees release Bill Bevens, who nearly threw a no-hitter for them in the 1947 World Series.
1950 Cleveland releases longtime third baseman Ken Keltner, whom the Red Sox sign that same day.
1950 The Braves become the fifth team to integrate when Sam Jethroe takes the field for them. Previously, the Dodgers, Indians, Browns and Giants integrated.
1951 Doug Flynn, poor-hitting infielder, is born.
1952 Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm makes his big league debut.
1952 The Yankees retire No. 3 for Joe DiMaggio.
1953 Don Larsen makes his big league debut.
1955 Ewell Blackwell, one of the most feared fastball pitchers of his day, plays in his last game.
1955 Roberto Clemente connects for his first home run.
1957 Roger Maris hits his first homer, and it’s a doozy: An 11th-inning grand slam.
1958 The Giants and Dodgers play their first game in LA, and 78,672 see them in the Coliseum.
1959 Frank Robinson hits his 100th home run.
1959 Jim Eisenreich, 15-year major leaguer, is born.
1959 Mike Cuellar, big winner for Earl Weaver’s early 1970s Orioles, debuts.
1960 Cleveland trades Herb Score to the White Sox.
1960 In his first at-bat of the season, Ted Williams hits a 500-foot home run.
1960 Don Mincher makes his big league debut.
1962 Ernie Banks hits his 300th home run.
1962 Young Orioles pitcher Milt Pappas hits a home run for the only offense in a 1-0 win over the dreaded New York Yankees.
1962 Bo Belinsky makes his big league debut.
1964 Rick Wise, a mere 18 years old, makes his big league debut.
1964 In the third inning versus Cincinnati, Dodgers ace Sandy Koufax fans the side on nine pitches. It’s the second time Koufax has done that, making him the first NL pitcher to do so more than once in the 20th century. However, the Reds win the game, 3-0.
1965 Ray Oyler, one of the game’s worst-hitting regulars ever, plays in his first game.
1965 Tug McGraw, long-lasting reliever, makes his big league debut.
1966 In Houston, it’s the first game ever played on an Astroturf infield. The outfield will be added in later. The game is noteworthy for another reason, as young Dodgers starting pitcher Don Sutton records his first big league win as he outduels fellow future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts.
1967 Reggie Smith, in the 12th game of his career, plays second base for the sixth and final time.
1969 Houston’s Joe Morgan starts the game in center field. Today and tomorrow are the only times he ever does that.
1969 Luis Tiant allows 11 hits, but only one single. The other ten hits are evenly divided up as doubles and homers.
1969 The fourth win in Padres history is also the only game that ever ends with Willie Mays fanning for the last out with the bases loaded. San Diego edges San Francisco, 3-1.
1972 Reliever Dick Tidrow makes his big league debut.
1973 Tommy John walks in a run for the only time between July 7, 1966 and April 11, 1977. There are more than 2,000 innings in that stretch.
1973 After 177 games without one, Rod Carew finally connects for a home run.
1977 Eddie Murray goes deep for the first time in his career.
1977 Mexican League pitcher Ricardo Sandate hurls 19 innings in one game, only to lose, 2-0.
1979 Mike Scott, stud pitcher with the 1986 Astros, makes his big league debut as a Met.
1980 Bill Madlock gets his 1,000th career hit.
1981 Pawtucket and Rochester begin an International League game that will go 32 innings and take eight hours and 25 minutes of playing time. It runs into a curfew today and will be completed in June.
1983 Miguel Cabrera, Triple Crown hitter, is born.
1984 Dave Stieb wins his 67th game with Toronto, passing Jim Clancy as all-time franchise leader. He still is. (Actually, Clancy will tie Stieb with 67 wins the next day, but Stieb will never fall behind Clancy again).
1985 Super-speedster Vince Coleman debuts in the major leagues.
1986 Tom Seaver suffers his 200th loss.
1986 Bobby Witt has a no-hitter going after five innings but is yanked anyway, as he’s allowed eight walks and thrown wild pitches (though he’s also fanned 10). He doesn’t even get the win, though Texas defeats the Brewers, 7-5.
1986 Steve Carlton sets a personal worst with his seventh straight loss.
1987 Mike Schmidt joins the 500-home run club in style by belting one with two out in the ninth as the Phillies rally to top the Pirates, 8-6.
1991 Robin Yount gets his 500th double.
1991 New Comiskey Park (now called U.S. Cellular Field) opens with a dud, as the White Sox lose, 16-0, to the Tigers. The first standing ovation comes when the Sox record a routine out in the midst of a 10-run Detroit inning.
1992 Will Clark bops his 1,000th career hit.
1992 Jeff Bagwell gets his first ever walk-off home run. He’ll hit another one this year but only one more in the rest of his career.
1993 Barry Bonds joins the 1,000-hit club in style, going 4-for-5 on the day.
1994 Mickey Mantle discusses his problems with booze in Sports Illustrated.
1994 The White Sox’s Tim Raines gets three homers in one game. He’s 4-for-5 with a walk and a career-high-tying five runs scored. Even his non-hit isn’t an out, as he reaches on an error.
1995 California signs free agent pitcher Scott Sanderson.
1995 Jack Morris, the winningest pitcher of the 1980s, announces his retirement.
1996 Alex Rodriguez connects for the first of his 23 (and counting) grand slams.
1996 Bill Mueller makes his big league debut.
1998 In the 10th inning, John Olerud lays down a sacrifice bunt for the first time since June, 1992, a streak of 3,247 plate appearances without one.
2000 Adam Kennedy becomes the first second baseman in 50 years to get eight RBIs in one game. The last second baseman to do that was Red Sox Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr, who did it in June 1950. Kennedy also sets an Angels franchise record for most RBIs by one player in a game.
2000 Mark Mulder makes his big league debut with the A’s. He’ll be fantastic for a brief while.
2003 Craig Biggio hits his 200th home run.
2004 Adrian Gonzalez makes his big league debut.
2004 Sammy Sosa hits his 513th home run as a Cub, passing Ernie Banks as the franchise leader.
2005 For the second time in his career, Alex Rodriguez scores five runs in one game. He’s 5-for-6 with two doubles, two homers, and six RBIs. It’s the only time he gets four extra-base hits in one game.
2005 Manny Ramirez has two homers in a game for the second time in three days.
2006 Luis Gonzalez joins the 500-double club.
2006 For the first time since April of 1962, the Houston Astros’ cumulative franchise record is at .500 (3,507-3,507).
2006 Hanley Ramirez hits his first career home run.
2007 For the first time in nearly seven years and over 1,000 innings, David Wells walks in a run.
2007 Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle throws his first no-hitter.
2009 Cleveland scores 14 runs in the first inning for a 22-5 romp over the Yankees.
2009 Manny Ramirez hits two home runs in a game. It’s his 54th and last multi-home run game.
2010 In Japan, Tomoaki Kanemoto asks to be left out of the lineup for the Hanshin Tigers. He’s hitting .167. He’d not only played in 1,492 consecutive games, but he had been in every inning along the way. He makes a pinch-hit appearance today to keep the games streak alive.
2011 Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake is arrested for shoplifting. He’s accused of cutting tags off shirts and trying to leave Macy’s with them. His salary is $425,000.
2012 It’s one of the best pitching duels of the 21st century, as the two starting pitchers’ Game Scores add up to 171. Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee throws 10 shutout inning, but the club loses, 1-0 in 11 innings, to the Giants. Matt Cain throws nine shutout innings for San Francisco. Cain’s 86 Game Score is one ahead of Lee’s 85.
2012 Bartolo Colon of the A’s sets a record when 38 straight pitches of his are strikes. This has only been tracked since 1988, but the old record was 30, so Colon destroys it. (Tim Wakefield, of all people, was the previous record holder.)