A hundred years ago, the earth split apart underneath the city of Cleveland and swallowed it whole, deservedly sending the city full of sinners to the hellfire below.
What’s that? You mean it didn’t happen. Huh. Well, it was supposed to anyway—or at least that’s what some of the righteous good people of the earth thought.
You see, 100 years ago today, May 14, 1911, was a Sunday. It was a very special Sunday, because that was the first time the city allowed the Naps (as the Indians were called back then) to defile the Lord’s day and play a home game in the city, as they clubbed the Yankees into submission, 14-3.
Cleveland wasn’t alone in banning Sunday ball. Pennsylvania and Boston had similar bans stretch on for decades. Heck, until the 1890s the entire National League banned Sunday ball, but 1911 was when the 20th century came to Cleveland. From now on, leisure activities would be allowed, even if some got paid for it, like the major league baseball players.
Many other events also celebrate their anniversary and “day-versary” (which is an event happening X-thousand days ago) today as well. Here they are, starting with day-versaries first. I’ll bold the better ones for those you only want to skim.
1,000 days since Houston retires Craig Biggio‘s number
6,000 days since the Rangers trade Jose Canseco to the Red Sox
8,000 days since the Phillies make a pair of trades. In one, they send Juan Samuel and a player to be named later to the Mets for Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell. In the other, they trade Steve Bedrosian to the Giants for Terry Mulholland.
9,000 days since Tony Perez hit his 500th double.
9,000 days since the smallest major league crowd of the entire year (1985) witnesses a really great game. With 2,419 people in paid attendance, the Braves recover from deficits of 3-0, 7-3 and 8-7 to top the Padres 9-8 as a run in the bottom of the ninth gave them their only lead of the day.
10,000 days since Cole Hamels born
1878 James L. Wilkinson, Hall of Fame owner of Negro Leagues’ Kansas City Monarchs, born
1881 Ed Walsh, Hall of Fame iron man White Sox pitcher, born
1886 Charles Comiskey breaks up a double play by running full tilt into Cincinnati second baseman Bid McPhee. The Reds are furious, but the play stands.
1890 Hall of Fame Negro League scout Alex Pompez born.
1896 Jacob Stenzel becomes first Pirate to ever tally six hits in one game.
1899 Earle Combs, Hall of Famer who played center field for the 1927 Murders Row Yankees, born.
1912 Major league debut: Herb Pennock, arguably the worst Hall of Famer ever voted in by the BBWAA.
1913 Walter Johnson runs his scoreless inning streak to a then-record 56 innings before a run in the fourth inning ends it.
1914 White Sox hurler Jim Scott tosses no-hitter through nine innings, but allows two hits and a run, losing the game 1-0 to Washington in the 10th frame.
1916 Rogers Hornsby hits his first home run, an inside the park shot.
1918 Sunday baseball legalized in Washington DC.
1920 Walter Johnson wins his 300th game. He’s the 10th member of the club, with a record of 300-194 at the moment.
1920 Hall of Fame spitballer Burleigh Grimes has probably the best game of his career, setting personal bests in Game Score (102) and innings pitched. His line: 14 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K in complete game victory as Dodgers beat Cardinals, 5-1 (14). Opposing pitcher Marv Goodwin also goes the distance, though his line isn’t as good (though three of the runs allowed are unearned).
1922 Philadelphia Phillies all-time record falls to .500, and has been under it ever since (2,728-2,728). They’d hit .500 several times in 1922, but this was the last time.
1924 Babe Ruth day at Yankee Stadium: he gets the AL MVP Award, the team’s first World Championship banner is unfurled. But the Browns win the game.
1927 An entire section of the Baker Bowl’s right field stands in Philadelphia collapses. Only one dies but scores are injured.
1928 John McGraw hit by car outside Wrigley Field while trying to hail a cab. He takes responsibility for it and doesn’t try to get the driver’s name.
1933 Al Simmons bangs out his 100th career triple.
1933 Hack Wilson lashes out a walk-off grand slam—a pinch-hit one, too. Dodgers 8, Phillies 6.
1936 Dick Howser, late Royals manager, born
1938 The second career home run for a young Enos Slaughter is a walk-off home run.
1939 Charlie Gehringer hits his 500th double.
1939 On Mother’s Day, Mother and Father Feller come watch their son pitch. They get more than they bargained for when a foul ball off the bat of Marv Owen catches Mother Feller flush in the face. She needs six stitches over her right eye.
1940 Jimmie Foxx hits arguably the longest home run in the history of Comiskey Park, as it clears the left field roof.
1941 Dizzy Dean retires. Technically he pitches once more in 1947, but that’s just a gimmick. (As broadcaster he criticized the Browns saying he could do better, so the team gave him a chance to prove it)>
1942 Tony Perez born
1944 Stan Musial loses the ball in the sun and it conks him on the head. Pepper Martin runs over ask him if he’s okay and then asks if it’s okay that he laughs at Musial. Then he bursts out laughing. Can’t blame the guy, really.
1950 Billy Martin farmed out to the minors by the Yankees, but not before first arguing with team boss George Weiss about it.
1955 Dennis Martinez born. Has a great nickname: El Presidente.
1958 A’s purchase Whitey Herzog from Senators.
1959 Worst known WPA game for Stan Musial: 0-for-3 with an RBI, two walks, a K, a sacrifice hit, and a GDIP. WPA: -0.578 as Braves beat Cardinals 8-7.
1961 Indians win a great pitchers duel over the Orioles, 1-0 (15). The only run scores on a throwing error by Baltimore shortstop Jerry Adair.
1965 Carl Yastrzemski hits for the cycle, going 5-for-5 with two home runs. He sets personal bests for total bases (14) and extra base hits (4). He also gets five RBI.
1968 Don Drysdale begins his streak: first of six consecutive complete game shutouts.
1972 Willie Mays first plays with the Mets.
1973 According to WPA, the best game any player for the WAS/TEX franchise ever had comes today when Toby Harrah goes 2-for-4 with two runs, a homer, three RBI, and a walk for a 1.011 WPA. Texas 7, Twins 6.
1973 Yaz gets his first sacrifice hit in over six years, and won’t have another for more than three seasons.
1977 Jim Colborn of the Royals tosses no-hitter versus the Ranges.
1977 Roy Halladay born
1978 Dave Kingman of the Cubs hits three home runs in one game and gets eight RBI on the day. A three-run blast in the 15th is the highlight. Or rather, it’s the highlight of the game. After the game, the real highlight takes place when a reporter asks Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda what he thought of Kingman’s performance on the day. His response (which can be heard here at the 1:25 mark in all its profanity-laced, not-safe-for-work glory):
What’s my opinion of Kingman’s performance!? What the BLEEP do you think is my opinion of it? I think it was BLEEPING BLEEP. Put that in, I don’t BLEEP. Opinion of his performance!!? BLEEP, he beat us with three BLEEPING home runs! What the BLEEP do you mean, “What is my opinion of his performance?” How could you ask me a question like that, “What is my opinion of his performance?” BLEEP, he hit three home runs! BLEEP. I’m BLEEPING pissed off to lose that BLEEPING game. And you ask me my opinion of his performance! BLEEP. That’s a tough question to ask me, isn’t it? “What is my opinion of his performance?”
1980 Best WPA game Alan Trammell ever had: 0.924 WPA. 4-for-5, one double, three runs, and two RBI. Tigers 6, A’s 5.
1981 George Brett injures his ankle in game and whaps reporter on the head with a crutch afterwards. (He apologies the next day).
1983 Ben Oglivie hits three home runs in one game for the third time in his career as Brewers beat Red Sox 8-7 in 10 innings. His third homer tied it 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth.
1988 The best WPA for a relief stint in Braves history: Rick Mahler gets a 0.943 WPA courtesy this line: 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K. It’s also one of the last time a pitcher tosses eight innings in relief.
1988 Don Sutton wins his last game.
1993 Wally Backman plays his last game
1993 MLB debut: Woody Williams
1994 30th/final multi-homer performance for Dave Winfield
1994 In only his second major league appearance, relief pitcher Paul Shuey fans four in the ninth inning.
1994 Royals retire George Brett’s number
1995 Sammy Sosa belts out his 100th home run
1997 Jim Thome laces out his 100th home run.
1999 MLB debut: Ted Lilly
2000 Wild game: Expos 16, Cubs 15. The Cubs lead 6-2 early, but blow it. They rally to lead 11-9 in the middle of the eighth, but that’s when things get really ridiculous. First, Montreal scores four in the bottom of the eighth for a 13-11 lead. Then the Cubs oame back for four of theirs immediately after for a 15-13 lead, but Montreal scores thrice more in the bottom of the ninth. It’s not too often you see 11 runs scored in the last inning and a half and neither team’s lead is ever more than two runs.
2000 Jim Fregosi manages his 2,000th game: 966-1,034 in his career.
2002 Jimmy Carter throws out the first pitch in Cuban League All-Stars game. Fidel Castro coaches him as he warms up.
2006 A month after reaching .500 for the first time in 44 years, the Astros franchise record falls back to .500 (3,519-3,519) and it’s never been that high ever since
2006 Andy Pettitte ties his personal high Game Score: 87. His line: 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K.
2008 Cubs sign Jim Edmonds
2010 Ron Gardenhire orders his team to issue an intentional walk to Mark Teixeira in order to face Alex Rodriquez with the bases loaded. This highly questionable strategy immediately backfires, as A-Rod launches his 19th career grand slam.