50 years ago today, one of baseball’s most prestigious clubs gained a new member. On July 13, 1963, Indians pitcher Early Wynn finally notched his 300th win.
Finally indeed, as he’d been stuck on No. 299 for a little over 10 months.
On Sept. 8, 1962, then-White Sox Early Wynn defeated the Senators for his 299th career win, putting him on the verge of this massive milestone. But things stalled from there.
Wynn had three more starts in 1962, and he couldn’t get that elusive big win. He didn’t start for 10 days after Sept. 9, and when he did he was terrible, allowing eight runs (six earned) on a dozen hits in just five innings.
But the next time it looked like Wynn had a chance. On Sept. 23, 1962, he held the Yankees to one run in nine innings—but unfortunately the Yankees held Wynn’s Sox teammates to one run as well. Wynn stayed in the game as it hit extra innings, only to allow four runs in the 10th to get the loss.
Five days later, Wynn faced the Yankees again, and this time got killed. New York jumped on him for seven in eight innings. So Wynn couldn’t get over the hill before the season ended. Then the Sox cut him in the off-season, making it possible he’d never get that last legacy triumph.
And there wasn’t much demand for the aged pitcher. In the off-season, no one signed. In spring training, no one signed him. In April and May, no one signed him. Finally, with the season approach its midpoint, the Indians signed Wynn on June 21, 1963.
And the Indians gave him the start that very day. Making it even better, it was against the team that just dumped him: Chicago. Wynn pitched great—allowing just two runs. But Chicago shutout Cleveland. So it was another loss.
Wynn’s next two starts were six inning outings. He allowed three runs the first time and got a no decision. On July 4, 1963, Wynn pitched six shutout innings and left the game leading, 1-0. But a one-run lead isn’t much and sure enough the bullpen blew it. Cleveland won the game, but Wynn wasn’t the pitcher of record.
Wynn pitched two innings in relief at the end of a game a few days later, but had no chance to get the win.
So Wynn had seven outings since his 299th win and still was looking for No. 300. Enter July 13, 1963.
Early on, it was a close affair as Wynn faced the A’s in Kansas City. But in the top of the fifth, Wynn finally got his break, as the Indians scored four runs to break the game opened. Wynn played a key role, leading the inning off with a single and then scoring the go-ahead run.
Wynn nearly blew it in the bottom of the fifth, though, giving three runs right back. (Two of the players scoring runs were men with long futures ahead of them: White Sox announcer Ken Harrelson, and legendary manager Tony LaRussa).
But Wynn held on, and the bullpen came on, blanking the A’s for the last four innings. It was over—Wynn had done it, win No. 300. And it was 50 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.
3,000 days since Alex Rodriguez has probably the best game of his career, hitting three homers and driving in 10 runs. That’s the most RBIs in one game by a third baseman.
4,000 days since the White Sox trade Bob Howry to Boston.
4,000 days since the Mets and Padres engage in a five-player trade that sends Jason Bay to San Diego.
4,000 days since the Royals all-time cumulative franchise record hits .500 (2,657-2,657). It will fall under and has been there ever since.
5,000 days since Larry Dolan agrees to purchase the Cleveland Indians for $320 million, pending league approval.
5,000 days since the Brewers name Davey Lopes their new manager.
6,000 days since the White Sox sign free agent pitcher Danny Darwin, who will last a half-season for them.
7,000 days since Dave Winfield has the last of his 30 career multi-home run games.
7,000 days since Indians pitcher Paul Shuey fans four batters in one inning. Not bad – especially since it’s just his second career appearance.
7,000 days since the Royals retire No. 5 for George Brett.
8,000 days since Ryne Sandberg hits his 200th home run.
9,000 days since Hall of Fame pitcher Carl Hubbell dies.
15,000 days since Oakland hosts Mustache Day. Fans with facial hair are allowed in for free and players are awarded a bonus if they grow a mustache for the game.
1850 Tom York, star left fielder in the 1870s, is born.
1885 The Pittsburgh Pirates purchase Pud Galvin from Buffalo. Galvin will be the first pitcher to win 300 games.
1888 It’s the first doubleheader double-shutout in history as Pirates pitchers Harry Staley and Pud Galvin both blank Boston, 4-0 and 6-0.
1889 Hall of Fame starting pitcher Stan Coveleski is born.
1894 The Cleveland Spiders release Hall of Fame catcher Buck Ewing.
1895 Jack Glasscock, star infielder, plays in his last big league game.
1896 Ed Delahanty has one of the greatest games by any batter, belting four homers in one game, two of which are inside-the-park shots.
1896 Ned Garvin, one of the hardest luck starting pitchers of all-time, makes his big league debut.
1900 Buck Ewing resigns as Giants manager. He’s done with major league baseball and will be dead in a few years.
1900 Harry Wolverton legs out three triples in one game, and has five hits in all.
1901 Doc Nance becomes the first player in Tigers history to get six hits in one game.
1904 Herman Long, star shortstop in the 1890s, plays in his final game.
1904 Hall of Fame second baseman Nap Lajoie gets three triples in one game.
1907 Christy Mathewson surrenders 11 hits, but gets the complete game shutout anyway in a 4-0 Giants win over the Reds.
1908 Aging Giants pitcher Iron Man Joe McGinnity allows three inside-the-park home runs in one game, including two in one inning versus Pirates. This will be the final season for the Hall of Fame hurler.
1909 In the American Association, minor leaguer Irv Young has a great day pitching for Milwaukee. He throws two complete game shutouts, allowing five hits in all, and belting a home run himself. He wins 1-0 (on his own home run) and 5-0—in a one-hitter that was a no-hitter entering the ninth inning.
1915 George Stallings manages his 1,000th game. His record: 495-485.
1916 Tigers pitcher Bill James fans seven straight in a game against the Senators.
1917 Former quality Cubs pitcher Ed Reulbach appears in his last game.
1922 Veteran pitcher Bill Doak makes a fielding mistake that costs. He fails to cover first on a grounder—and that leads to the only hit he allows all game.
1922 The Red Sox top the Browns 2-0 before 68 fans, the smallest crowd in the history of Fenway Park.
1923 Rogers Hornsby has his only known five-hit game. He goes 5-for-5 with a double and a triple.
1926 Jack Fournier hits three home runs in one game for the Dodgers.
1927 Chicago White Sox fans give Cocky Eddie Collins a new automobile, even though he’s now on the A’s again.
1927 Ruben Gomez, pitcher, is born.
1927 Sam Gibson of the Tigers walks 12 but gets the win anyway.
1933 The Reds release 50-year-old pitcher Jack Quinn, the oldest real player in baseball history.
1934 Babe Ruth hits his 700th career home run.
1934 Lou Gehrig singles, stumbles, and gets picked off. He then requests a replacement player after playing one inning.
1935 Doc Cramer of the A’s gets six hits in a game for the second time in his career.
1936 Carl Hubbell loses 1-0 to the Cubs. He won’t lose again until May 31, 1937 after 24 straight wins.
1937 Hall of Fame Heinie Manush hits his last career home run, which is also his sole walk-off home run.
1938 Joe DiMaggio hits his second of four career walk-off home runs. The Yankees top the Browns 15-12 in 10 innings.
1938 Johnny Mize hits three home runs in one game for the first times. He’ll do it six times, which is still the record.
1940 Bobo Newsom wins his 13th consecutive decision, the longest win streak for him. His line in that time: 17 G, 17 GS, 13 CG, 135.2 IP, 102 H, 42 R, 34 ER, 42 BB, 84 K, and 2.26 ERA.
1940 Johnny Mize hits for the cycle.
1941 Joe Cronin goes 5-for-5. It’s the third decade in which he’s done that (Sept. 2, 1929, and May 22, 1930 were the other times).
1943 Due to World War II, baseball has its first night All-Star game. The AL wins, 5-3.
1945 Cleveland’s Pat Seerey hits three home runs in one game.
1946 Al Zarilla of the Browns hits two triples in one innings versus the A’s.
1950 After 75 minutes of surgery, Ted Williams’ elbow has chips removed.
1952 Nellie Fox has one of the best games of his life, going 5-for-5 with three doubles, setting personal highs in hits, doubles and extra-base hits in one game.
1954 Famous sportswriter Grantland Rice dies at age 73.
1962 The A’s top the Red Sox 11-10 in 15 innings. In the slugfest, both teams get 20 hits: 21 for the A’s and 20 for Boston.
1962 Though he’ll become a great hitting coach, Charlie Lau really isn’t much of a hitter in his career – except for today. On this day, Lau bashes four doubles.
1962 Lou Clinton hits for the cycle.
1964 Willie Mays lays down a sacrifice bunt, something he last did on June 6, 1951 (which was his 13th career game). That’s over 7,600 plate appearances without doing it.
1966 The Cubs sign aging pitcher Robin Roberts.
1966 The Reds hire Dave Bristol to manage them.
1971 The AL wins an All-Star game, something it hasn’t done in a while and won’t do again for over a decade. The 6-4 win is most famous for Reggie Jackson’s monster home run in Tiger Stadium.
1973 Fergie Jenkins loses his 100th decision, giving him a career record of 144-100.
1973 For the second time in his career, Bobby Murcer hits three home runs in one contest.
1973 Hal Breeden becomes the first NL player to connect for two pinch-hit home runs in one doubleheader.
1974 Mike Schmidt hits two triples in one game. He’ll do that two more times in his career.
1977 New York City suffers its city-wide power outage, which happens as Lenny Randle comes to bat in Shea Stadium. The players drive cars on the field and perform in headlights.
1977 Al Downing, pitcher, appears in his last game.
1978 George Steinbrenner tells his Yankees, “I’m not going to lie down and die like a dog and neither are you.”
1978 Late-blooming slugger Ryan Ludwick is born.
1979 Second baseman Tony Bernazard is born.
1979 Two no-hitters are lost in the ninth inning today: Nolan Ryan of the Angels and Steve Renko of the Red Sox both settle for one-hitters in separate games. The Angels top the Yankees, 6-1. Renko’s Boston team shuts out Oakland, 2-0.
1980 Bobby Grich hits one of the best games of his career, going 5-for-7 with a double and home run as the Angels top the A’s, 5-4 in 14 innings.
1980 Bob Ojeda makes hid big league debut.
1982 Big league catcher Yadier Molina is born.
1983 George Brett hits his 100th triple.
1984 Nolan Ryan loses his 200th decision, giving him a record of 226-200.
1984 Don Robinson has the best-known WPA relief stint in Pirates history. He pitches seven shutout innings for a WPA of 0.901.
1985 The White Sox nearly blow a 9-0 lead, but top Baltimore 10-8.
1985 The Angels get three pinch hits in the ninth to top Toronto, 4-3.
1989 Gary Sheffield plays shortstop for the last time in his career.
1991 The Mets franchise comes as close as it ever has to digging itself out of the pit the 1960s Mets created. A win gives them an overall cumulative franchise record of 284 games under .500 (2,213-2,497).
1993 Union chief Donald Fehr threatens to strike this year if negotiations don’t start soon.
1995 Ivan Rodriguez enjoys his first multi-home run game.
1996 Danny Graves, relief pitcher, makes his big league debut.
1997 Dennys Reyes becomes the first southpaw in nearly five years to start a game for the Dodgers.
1998 Tony Fernandez gets his 2,000th hit.
2001 Mike Piazza smashes career home run No. 300.
2001 Colorado trades Chone Figgins to the Angels.
2002 David Littlefield takes over as Pirates GM.
2002 Barry Bonds hits his 500th double.
2002 Ichiro Suzuki has his first multi-home run game.
2003 In back-to-back innings, Yankees slugger Jason Giambi draws a bases loaded walk against the Blue Jays.
2005 Mickey Owen, former catcher, dies at age 89.
2006 Albert Pujols hits his seventh career walk-off home run. It’s in the bottom of the 14th inning.
2006 Mark Teixeira hits three home runs in one game for Texas.
2007 Phil Garner manages his 2,000th game. His record: 966-1,032.
2008 CC Sabathia homers for the Brewers in a 3-2 win over the Reds. Earlier this year he homered for Cleveland in a game, thus becoming the first pitcher to homer for two teams in one season since Earl Wilson in 1970.
2008 Mark Redman plays in his last game.
2009 The Nationals fire their manager, Manny Acta.
2010 George Steinbrenner dies.
2012 In an odd fluke, Zack Greinke is Milwaukee’s starting pitcher for their third straight game. He was weirdly ejected after one inning in the first game, and thus was plenty well rested to start the second game, which is the last game before the All-Star break. Today is the first game after it.
2012 At Turner Field in Atlanta, there is a 16 minute power outage in the second inning that halts the Braves-Mets game.