Fifty years ago today, a star was born. Though the player’s career ultimately didn’t pan out as hoped due to injuries, his pure talent was something for all to see.
Maloney made it to the majors in 1960 barely out of his teens, but at first he was just a background pitcher. From 1960-62, he made just 38 starts and 22 relief appearances, posting a 17-20 record.
But he had talent, and 1963 was his year to prove it. Maloney was already off to a nice start, with a record of 5-1 and a 2.60 ERA prior to this game. But May 21, 1963 would take him to a whole other level.
On this day Maloney and the Reds would be in Milwaukee to take on the Braves, a club on the downswing but still with a formidable lineup. In fact, the Braves would finish third in runs scored, behind big hitters Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews. Today they wouldn’t have much success.
In the first, Maloney fanned two batters, including Mathews to end the inning. Then Maloney struck out the side in the second inning. And then he did it again in the third. That was seven straight Ks, a nice achievement nowadays, and fantastic for 1963.
In the fourth, Maloney fanned Lee Maye to run the streak to eight in a row. He needed just one more to go through the entire lineup. Unfortunately for him, that last man left was Hank Aaron, who grounded out. Well, it was a moral victory for Milwaukee, I guess. No matter—Maloney then fanned Mathews to end the inning.
Through four frames, he’d allowed just one hit—and fanned nine. He was on pace for a record-setting performance. The one-game record for a game (not including extra-inning games) was 18 Ks. Maloney was already halfway there, with most of the game left.
Maloney fanned two more in the fifth, giving him 12 strikeouts. He whiffed just one in the sixth, but a baker’s dozen still put him on pace to break the record. In the seventh he fanned two more, including Eddie Mathews again, keeping Maloney stay on pace with 15. The young fireballer looked unstoppable.
However, it takes just one inning to mess it up, and Maloney didn’t strike out anyone in the eighth. In the ninth he finally fanned Hank Aaron, but he walked the other two batters he faced, and with just a 2-0 lead, manager Fred Hutchinson decided to pull him.
Still, Maloney struck out 16 batters, including an amazing eight in a row at one point. A star had been born. He’d go on to win 23 games that year, and two years later post another 20-win season. Twice in 1965 he’d throw nine no-hit innings—but both games went into extra innings. He preserved the no-hitter for a 1-0 win in one of them, but lost the other game 1-0 when someone finally got a hit off of him. Maloney would throw another no-hitter in 1969.
He remained a solid pitcher for the rest of the 1960s, but by 1969 he was wearing out. He fanned just 102 batters in 178 innings. Something was wrong with his arm, and in fact he never won another game, going 0-4 in 1970-71. It’s a shame, because the Reds had their Big Red Machine lineup just starting to take shape, with pennants in 1970 and 1972. If they had had a genuine ace—someone like Maloney—that awesome Reds team could’ve been even better. Born in 1940, he could’ve been around for their 1970s pennants, but life doesn’t always work out like storybooks.
But Maloney did have a storybook day 50 years ago today, the day he fanned eight in a row and flirted with the one-game strikeout record.
Aside from that, many other events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that happened X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better items in bold if you’d rather just skim.
1,000 days since a great day for baseball comebacks. The Rockies rally from a 10-1 deficit to defeat the Braves, 11-10. That same day, the Reds blow a 9-1 lead against the Giants, but manage to persevere anyway, topping San Francisco 12-11 in 12 innings.
2,000 days since Tampa signs free agent reliever Troy Percival.
4,000 days since Curt Schilling posts his 10th straight victory, his longest winning streak.
8,000 days since the Angels set an AL record with their 13th consecutive errorless game.
8,000 days since Mickey Tettleton hits the ball out of Tiger Stadium.
8,000 days since the Cardinals have their first eight batters of the game combine for zero at bats. Six walk and the other two hit sacrifice flies.
9,000 days since the Cubs trade All-Star catcher Jody Davis to the Braves.
15,000 days since the first of seven career walk-off home runs hit by Bobby Bonds.
1859 Fred Dunlap, great 19th-century second baseman, is born.
1880 Lip Pike hits a ball over the wall into the river at Albany’s Riverside Park. The right fielder tries to get it in a boat as there is no rule that a ball into the river at the park is an automatic home run.
1883 Eddie Grant, ball player who will die fighting in World War I, is born.
1891 Jim Whitney, star pitcher of 1880, dies at age 33.
1892 Pud Galvin, baseball’s first 300-game winner, loses a tough one. He holds the opposing Cubs hitless until the eighth and surrenders only two safties all game, but that’s all it takes as Chicago triumphs, 1-0, for its 13th consecutive win.
1892 28-year-old outfielder Hub Collins dies of typhoid fever.
1896 Louisville pitcher Mike McDermott pitches a two-hitter in a 2-0, complete-game shutout. In the other 56 innings he pitches this year, he allows 85 hits.
1901 Giants owner Andrew Freeman accuses umpire Billy Nash of incompetence and bars him from the Polo Grounds.
1901 Christy Mathewson allows a run, ending a 39-inning scoreless streak. The run is unearned.
1902 Hall of Fame center fielder Earl Averill is born.
1904 Red Sox shortstop Bill O’Neill commits six errors in a 13-inning game. He muffed three balls in the first inning alone.
1909 Mace Brown is born. He’ll be one of the first prominent relief pitchers in NL history.
1912 AL President Ban Johnson fines each Tiger between $50 and $100 for their one-day strike on behalf of the suspended Ty Cobb. The suspension remains in place.
1919 Giants trade Jim Thorpe, arguably the greatest athlete of all time, to the Braves.
1920 Hughie Jennings manages his 2,000th game in the majors, all with the Tigers.
1923 Formal transfer of T.L. Huston’s interest in Yankee ownership to Jake Ruppert completed for $1.5 million. Ruppert becomes famous as New York’s owner in their first glory stretch.
1925 Mickey Cochrane hits three home runs in one game. He gets three homers total in his other 133 games on the year.
1926 Earl Sheely, White Sox, hits three double and a homer in today’s game. Combined with a trio of doubles in his last three at-bats the previous game, that’s a record seven consecutive at-bats resulting in extra base hits.
1927 Pie Traynor, who hit only 58 home runs in his career, launches his third one in four days.
1930 Babe Ruth hits three home runs in one game. It’s the first time he’s done it in the regular season, but third time overall, as he twice did it in the World Series. He’s the first player to do this three times in all. In his final at-bat of the game, the left-handed Ruth tries to bat righty to gain a platoon advantage over relief pitcher Jack Quinn. After two strikes, he goes back to batting left-handed but fans anyway.
1930 In the same game Ruth homered three times, Max Bishop of the opposing Philadelphia A’s walks five times. It’s the second time in his career he’s done that, something no one else can claim.
1930 The Giants trade pitcher Larry Benton to the Reds for infielder Hughie Critz. Just two years ago, Benton was a star, with a 25-win season in 1928. But he went 11-17 in 1929 and is 1-3 with a 7.80 ERA in early 1930.
1931 One out from the end of the game, Dodgers pitcher Dazzy Vance gets knocked out cold by a line drive. He gets the win when teammates Jack Quinn records the last out.
1932 Tony Lazzeri has a nice doubleheader, going 6-for-7 with a home run, two doubles, and a triple. One of those hits is his 1,000th career base knock.
1934 Giants starting pitcher Fat Freddie Fitzsimmons is struck in the back by a fungo bat while warming up. He’s injured and will miss several starts.
1935 Senators purchase durable starting pitcher Bobo Newsom from the Browns for $40,000.
1935 Willie Kamm, former star third baseman, appears in his last game.
1937 The Red Sox all-time franchise record hits its nadir, 228 games under .500 (2,600-2,828). They’ll tie this mark two games later, but never be worse than this.
1938 Spud Chandler doesn’t need any teammates, as he combines pitching a complete-game shutout with hitting a home run in New York’s 1-0 win over the White Sox.
1938 Silver King, great 1880s phenom pitcher, dies at age 70.
1939 Buddy Myer joins the 2,000 hit club.
1940 For the second straight day, Jimmie Foxx swats a grand slam.
1941 Bob Feller has his worst day at the plate: 0-for-5 with four strikeouts.
1942 Ted Williams launches his 100th home run.
1943 It’s the fastest night game in AL history: CWS 1, WAS 0 in only 89 minutes.
1943 Hal Newhouser endures his longest outing: 13 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 10 K.
1948 New York Giant Les Layton hits a pinch-hit home run in his first big league at-bat. He has just one more home run left in his bat, though, before his 63-game career ends.
1949 Jackie Robinson drives in a career-high six runs despite hitting no home runs. Most guys have at least one homer in their best RBI game. He was 3-for-5 with two doubles and a stolen base. In related news, Robinson’s teammate Pee Wee Reese scores a personal-best five runs in a game.
1950 Joe DiMaggio clubs his 13th and final grand slam.
1952 Minor league phenom Ron Neccai, who fanned 27 in a no-hitter just eight days earlier, fans 24 today.
1952 Brooklyn has record-setting 15 runs in first inning versus Reds en route to a 19-1 win. It could’ve been even worse: only two Brooklyn outs came at the plate in the first; the other was a caught stealing. Cincinnati starter Ewell Blackwell gets the first guy out, but then the next 19 batters in a row reach base. According to the 1980s book, The Baseball Hall of Shame, after leaving the game, Blackwell showered, changed, left the park, and went to the bar—and saw the first inning was still going on. By the time it ended, the guy who relieved Blackwell made it to the bar, as well. That’s a pretty bad inning.
1953 Red Sox catcher Del Wilber hits a pinch-hit home run in third straight pinch-hit opportunity.
1955 The White Sox sign amateur free agent Norm Cash. They’ll later trade him away in the 1959-60 offseason, in which they also dump Don Mincher, Johnny Callison, Earl Battey and John Romano, all of whom will become All-Stars.
1956 The White Sox trade George Kell to the Orioles in a six-player trade.
1957 Jim Bunning has his longest career outing: 13 IP, 10 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, but it results in a no-decision as his Tigers prevail, 2-1, over the Orioles in 16 innings.
1957 Boston writers reaffirm their decision to ban women from the press box.
1957 Yankees outfielder Hank Bauer is arraigned for his involvement in the Copacabana Incident, a brawl in which he and several other Yankees were involved. Bauer will later be cleared and threatens to sue Edward Jones, a man pressing charges against him.
1959 Major league owners opt against expansion. This position won’t last much longer.
1960 Kent Hrbek, Twins slugger, is born
1961 Joe Torre knocks out the first home run of his career.
1962 The Yankees release veteran pitcher Robin Roberts, whom the Orioles sign later the same day. He never actually pitched for the Yankees, but he was theirs from October 1961 until this day.
1966 Harmon Killebrew hits his 300th home run.
1966 Roberto Clemente strikes out four times in one game, the only time he ever does that. He’s 1-for-6. LA 5, PIT 4 (12).
1967 Hall of Fame Yankees hurler Whitey Ford pitches in his last game.
1968 Billy Williams plays in his 695th straight game, setting a record for outfielders.
1968 The A’s cumulative all-time franchise record bottoms out at 763 games under .500 (4,730-5,493). Only the Phillies and Browns/Orioles have ever been lower.
1969 Reggie Jackson hits an inside-the-park home run, the third of four in his career.
1970 The Cardinals’ Steve Carlton fans 16 Phillies, but St. Louis loses 4-3.
1970 Yankee Mel Stottlemyre walks 11 in 8.1 innings vs. the Senators, but New York wins anyway, 2-0.
1971 Hard-throwing but control-impaired Nolan Ryan sets a personal high with three HBP in one game. Those batters must’ve had some mighty sore ribs.
1972 Montreal signs amateur free agent Larry Parrish, who will have a nice little career for himself.
1973 Former NL pitcher Herm Wehmeier dies at age 46.
1975 Reds enter today 20-20, but a win propels them on an 88-34 streak the rest of the season.
1976 When umpires refuse to cross a vendors’ picket line at Three Rivers Stadium, an amateur crew works the game.
1976 Dave Winfield hits his first career grand slam.
1977 According to WPA, Rick Sawyer has the best relief stint in Padres history: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K for a 0.963 WPA. Padres win 11-8 over the Expos in 21 innings. The teams combine for a record nine intentional walks.
1981 Josh Hamilton is born.
1981 It just might be the best college pitchers duel of all-time, as Ron Darling of Yale meets Frank Viola of St. John’s. St. John’s wins, 1-0, in 12 innings after Darling throws a no-hitter through the first 11 frames, with 16 strikeouts. In the 12th, a single, a reached on error, and several stolen bases provide the difference.
1985 The Orioles release longtime role player John Lowenstein.
1985 Montreal releases longtime rotation stalwart Steve Rogers, ending his career.
1985 Ryne Sandberg plays an inning at shortstop. It’ll be the last time he takes the field at any place other than second base.
1985 Speedy young Cardinals outfielder Vince Coleman hits a his first home run—which fittingly enough is an inside the park homer.
1986 Matt Wieters, Orioles catcher, is born.
1986 Braves shortstop Rafael Ramirez hits four doubles.
1987 Indians slugger Cory Snyder swats three home runs in one game.
1988 The Red Sox retire No. 1 for Hall of Fame second baseman Bobby Doerr.
1989 Ken Griffey Jr.’s first inside-the-park homer is career homer No. 6.
1990 Barry Bonds bats leadoff for the last time.
1992 The Angels team bus crashes, injuring several players. The worst hurt, though, is manager Buck Rodgers, who suffers from a damaged knee and rib cage, and most of all had a badly broken elbow, which was broken in multiple places.
1993 Dale Murphy plays in his final game.
1993 Rickey Henderson has a career-best five RBIs when he goes 2-for-4 with a triple and home run in Oakland’s 12-11 win over Chicago.
1995 Mark McGwire’s personal-best hitting streak maxes at 18 games. He’s 23-for-69 with six doubles and nine home runs.
1995 Seattle trades young starting pitcher Shawn Estes to the Giants.
1996 Larry Walker gets a double, triple and two home runs but never does get a single to complete the cycle.
1996 Ken Griffey Jr. hits his 200th home run.
1996 There is a 4.8-magnitude earthquake in third inning of a Giants-Expos game. The game proceeds, as it’s just a mild quake, and the Giants win 8-5.
1996 Terry Mulholland, veteran relief pitcher, hits a 407-foot home run. He began the day with the third-worst batting average among anyone with at least 400 at-bats.
1997 Roger Clemens wins his 200th game: 200-111 for his career.
1997 Reliever Keith Foulke makes his big league debut.
1998 Jim Edmonds gets his 100th home run.
1998 Herbert Aaron, father of Hank Aaron, dies at age 89.
1999 Young Braves center fielder Andruw Jones steals three bases in one game.
2000 For the second consecutive game, Rickey Henderson bashes a lead-off home run.
2000 Major league teams combine for six grand slams on this day, a record.
2001 Barry Bonds clubs his eighth homer in five games, tying a record.
2002 Randy Johnson fans his 3,500th batter.
2002 Tampa pitcher Joe Kennedy throws a complete game, ending a 194-game stretch without one for Tampa.
2003 Geoff Jenkins hits three home runs in a game for the second time in his career.
2004 Alex Rodriguez plays his first game in Texas as a Yankee and, predictably, gets booed.
2005 As New York’s Dae-Sung Koo faces Randy Johnson, Mike Piazza, in the Mets dugout, tells his teammate David Wright that he’ll give $1 million to charity if Koo gets a hit. Koo doubles. Piazza sticks to his word, creating a 20-year plan of $50,000 per year to give to charity.
2005 The Giants unveil a statue of former ace starting pitcher Juan Marichal.
2010 Pitcher Brad Penny tears his lat while hitting a grand slam in the third inning versus St. Louis. He’ll be out for the year.
2010 Astros star pitcher Roy Oswalt says he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause.
2010 The Nationals release Willy Taveras.
2010 Edwin Encarnacion of Toronto hits three home runs in one game.
2011 Los Angeles police make an arrest in the case of the Giants fan beaten so badly after a Dodgers game that he was left with severe brain damage.
2011 It’s announced that Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter has brain tumors. He has less than a year to live.
2012 Houston signs free agent pitcher Armando Galarraga, who famously threw a near-perfect game that culminated in umpire Jim Joyce’s terrible call at first base.
2012 Reds fan Caleb Lloyd snags balls on back-to-back home runs. Neat trick.