100 years ago today, Rube Marquard did something that no other pitcher has ever done, before or since.
On July 3, 1912, the New York Giants pitcher notched his 19th win of the season, giving him a record of 19-0. It’s the most wins any pitcher has ever had in a year with zero loses.
As you might expect, to achieve this mark several factors had to break in his favor.
First, Marquard was pitching well. Exact gamelogs for 1912 aren’t up at Retrosheet (yet), but here’s what can be said: Marquard had 18 starts from Opening Day to July 3 (the other win must’ve come in relief), and opposing teams scored just 44 runs in them. That’s 2.44 runs per game, well under the NL’s seasonal average of 4.62. So Marquard has that going for him.
Also – and beyond Marquard’s control – his teammates helped him tremendously. The Giants scored 123 runs in those 18 starts, 6.83 runs/game, which of course greatly exceeds average offensive support.
Between his pitching and their hitting, there weren’t any close games until June. All of Marquard’s first dozen starts were decided by at least three runs.
Then luck started to break for him. Towards the end of the streak, there were a number of close games, but Marquard managed to win all of them. Four of his last six starts were one-run wins, and the Giants won a fifth by two runs.
When Marquard had a bad day and allowed six runs, the Giants would score eight, as happened on June 29 for his 18th win. Four days later the hitters didn’t show up, but Marquard did, winning 2-1 a century ago today to bring the streak to 19 straight wins to begin the year.
Finally, Marquard had a bad day the same day his teammates did, and on July 8, Marquard lost 7-2 to the Cubs. He lost his next decision, too. (As a result, the only 20-1 pitcher of all-time is Roger Clemens, who did it in 2001 before finishing the season 20-3).
In fact, Marquard wasn’t very good in the second half of the year. After starting the year 19-0, he was 7-11 the rest of the way. Marquard and his relievers allowed 93 runs in his final 20 starts, twice as much as they surrendered earlier in the season.
Marquard’s streak would not last, but he’s still the only person to begin the season 19-0, and he did it 100 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that occurred X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim things.
3,000 days since Matt Holliday makes his big league debut.
4,000 days since Gary Sheffield belts his 300th career home run.
8,000 days since Garry Templeton gets his 2,000th hit. It comes exactly 14 years after his first base hit.
9,000 days since Houston releases an aging Davey Lopes.
15,000 days since Ed Farmer makes his big league debut.
1849 The Knickerbockers become the first team to wear uniforms for a game. They wear white shirts, blue trousers, and straw hats.
1891 Paul Hines, starter of the early NL, plays in his last game.
1893 Dickie Kerr, Clean Sox pitcher who won two games in the 1919 World Series, is born.
1903 Brooklyn trades Hughie Jennings and three others to the Eastern League’s Baltimore club. This marks the end of Jennings’ effective playing career.
1906 As a form of protest about having to play in a drizzling rain, Germany Schaefer takes the field in a raincoat in the sixth inning.
1909 The Cardinals commit 17 errors in a doubleheader, losing both games to the Reds, 10-2 and 13-7.
1910 Chief Wilson hits for the cycle.
1913 The Red Sox tag Senators ace Walter Johnson for 15 hits – but never score. Washington wins in 15 innings, 1-0.
1913 Phillies ace Pete Alexander loses his third game in a four game series to the Giants. It was a very different game back then.
1918 Former friends turned bitter enemies John McGraw and Walter Johnson manage their 100th game against each other. They’ll end up facing off 376 times – the most by any pair of managers in NL history – and split their lifetimes series: 186-186-4.
1922 Bob Meusel hits for his second career cycle.
1923 Babe Ruth smashes the fifth of his 12 career walk-off home runs.
1926 At age 39, Ty Cobb steals second, third, and home in one inning.
1928 George Sisler, Hall of Fame first baseman who had originally been a pitcher, last takes the mound.
1929 The Cubs and Reds combine for nine double plays in one game.
1932 For the first time in franchise history, the Red Sox play a Sunday game in Fenway Park.
1935 The Cubs release Hall of Fame outfielder Kiki Cuyler.
1937 Arky Vaughan, one of the greatest shortstops in history, gets hit No. 1,000.
1939 Johnny Mize gets a double, triple, and two home runs – but never gets that elusive single to complete the cycle. His 13 total bases are a personal best.
1939 Cleveland’s Ben Chapman gets three triples in one game.
1940 Cesar Tovar is born.
1943 Leon Culberson hits for the cycle.
1945 Cubs third baseman Stan Hack scores five runs for the only time in his career, as the Cubs clobber the Dodgers, 24-2.
1947 The Indians purchase Larry Doby from the Newark Eagles.
1948 In the Central League, Dick Lane homers five times in one game—all off the same pitcher (Boom Boom Beck).
1950 Casey Stengel shuffles the lineup and decides to put Joe DiMaggio at first base. It’s the only time he’ll play there.
1951 In a Class D minor league game, Bill DeBenedetto walks 21. Shockingly, he never makes the majors.
1951 Former Dodger reliever Hugh Casey shoots himself with a shotgun. He’d been depressed over marital problems.
1952 Turn of the century first baseman Fred Tenney dies.
1956 Orioles pitcher Bill Wight picks off four runners in one game against the Yankees.
1957 Former Reds ace pitcher Dolf Luque dies.
1957 Yogi Berra drives in a personal best eight runs, going 3-for-5 with a home run.
1959 Whitey Ford balks for the last time in his career. Not bad for someone who will last another eight seasons.
1960 Hank Aaron belts his 200th home run. He’s the 49th member of the club. (Random comparison: nowadays you need about 400 homers to be 49th all-time).
1960 Ron Santo hits his first career home run.
1963 Twins shortstop Zoilo Versalles has a bad day, committing five errors in a doubleheader versus Baltimore.
1963 For the only time in his career, Joe Torre starts a game in the outfield. After five frames, he moves from left to first base.
1965 It’s one of the most famous controversies in the controversy-filled career of Dick Allen. He gets in an altercation before the game with teammate Frank Thomas, who swings a bat at Allen in pre-game warm ups. The Phillies will release Thomas, but Allen will draw a lot of the ire from fans. Oh, not that anyone remembers it but in the game that day Dick Allen legs out two triples for the only time in his career.
1965 Slugger Greg Vaughn is born.
1966 Moises Alou is born.
1966 Tony Cloninger slugs two grand slams in one game. Folks, Cloninger is a pitcher.
1967 A huge Cardinals-Reds brawl results in 20 cops on the field to break things up. Fighting even spills into both dugouts.
1967 Yankees GM Brian Cashman is born.
1968 Luis Tiant posts a career best Game Score of 99. His line; 10 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, and 19 Ks. His 19 Ks is easily a career best. He picks up a complete game shutout in the 1-0 win.
1969 Rod Carew experiences possibly the worst game of his career, going 0-for-4 with four Ks. He has one other four-K game, but at least he drew a walk in it.
1970 Angels pitcher Clyde Wright throws a no-hitter, walking three while fanning one in a 4-0 win over the A’s.
1970 Atlanta’s Mike Lum hits three homers in one game.
1970 It’s a windy day at Wrigley Field as the Pirates top the Cubs 16-14.
1971 Steve Carlton sets a personal worst by issuing 10 free passes in one game.
1972 Hank Aaron drives in his 2,000th run.
1972 Willie Stargell hits his best home run according to WPA. It’s a walk-off shot with one on and one out in the bottom of the ninth to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 Pirates win.
1973 Tommy John loses his 100th decision. His career W-L record is a pedestrian 103-100 so far. He’ll be 185-131 the rest of his career.
1973 For the first time in nearly seven years, Milt Pappas walks in a run.
1973 Tony Oliva slugs three home runs in one game.
1973 Willie Stargell smashes his only career pinch-hit grand slam.
1974 Gaylord Perry becomes 15-1 thanks to his 15th straight win on the year. His numbers during his winning streak: 17 GS, 158.1 IP, 87 H, 25 R, 19 ER, 46 BB, 110 K, and a 1.08 ERA. WOW!
1974 Dodgers iron man reliever Mike Marshall pitches in his 13th consecutive game.
1975 For the first time in over 1,900 innings, Jim Kaat balks.
1977 Angels young ace Frank Tanana completes his 14th consecutive start, all of which are quality starts. His line in this span: 126 IP, 81 H, 20 R, 19 ER, 27 BB, 105 K, and a 1.36 ERA. Happy 24th birthday, Frank.
1977 Mike Schmidt hits the second of his career two inside the par home runs.
1978 Jack Clark homers in his fifth consecutive game.
1983 The Rangers score 12 runs in the 15th inning for a 16-4 (15) win over the A’s.
1985 According to WPA, Reggie Jackson has the worst game of his career. He’s 0-for-4 with a K, and two GIDP for a –0.445 WPA. At least his Angels team wins, 3-2 over the Rangers.
1987 Cleveland Indian Brook Jacoby belts three home runs in one game.
1987 The Royals retire Dick Howser’s number. The former manager died of brain cancer.
1987 Shortstop Dickie Thon bolts the team. The Astros put him on the disqualified list as a result, ending his season.
1988 Jose Canseco smashes three home runs in one game.
1989 Montreal signs 12-fingered amateur free agent Antonio Alfonseca.
1991 Ernie Whitt plays in his last game.
1992 Lou Whitaker hits his 200th home run.
1992 Pedro Astacio makes the most of his unexpected big league debut. He throws a three-hit complete game shutout in a win over the Phillies in a rare doubleheader in Dodger Stadium. This is part of a group of twin-billings the Dodgers are playing due to some cancelled games during the Rodney King Riots. If it hadn’t been for that, Astacio would’ve remained in the minors a bit longer.
1993 Ryne Sandberg collects career hit No. 2,000.
1993 Don Drysdale dies rather suddenly at age 56.
1994 Bobby Witt tosses his third consecutive complete game shutout.
1994 Cleveland retires No. 14 for Larry Doby.
1994 Jim Thome lays down the only sacrifice bunt of his career.
1996 Alex Ochoa hits for the cycle.
1996 Toronto signs amateur free agent Cesar Izturis.
1998 Placido Polanco makes his big league debut.
1999 Jim Riggleman manages his 1,000th game, but it’s not a fun one, as his Cubs lose 21-8. The day before they lost 14-1. The day before that they fell 19-12. This is not a fun stretch for the Cubs, obviously.
1999 The Cubs sign amateur free agent Carlos Marmol.
1999 The Dodgers try to break a slump by burning the white caps they adopted in spring training. It fails to work, as they fall to the Giants, 9-1.
2001 Chipper Jones comes to the plate five times and scores five runs. He walks, singles, doubles, and twice homers.
2001 Colorado trades Ron Gant to the A’s.
2001 For the only time in his career, Roberto Alomar gets five hits in one game. He’s 5-for-5 with a double and two stolen bases.
2002 Ivan Rodriguez gets his 200th home run. He later gets a walk-off blast for career home run No. 201.
2002 Jim Thome homers for the seventh straight game.
2005 A fireworks display in Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium goes haywire, launches two shells into the stands. Four or five employees are injured with minor burns.
2006 Buddy Bell manages his 1,000th game, giving him a record of 415-585.
2006 Felipe Alou wins his 1,000 game as skipper. His record: 1,000-976.
2007 Texas Ranger Brad Wilkerson hits three home runs in one game.
2008 Ouch. The Brewers enter the bottom of the ninth leading the Diamondbacks 5-0, but end up losing 6-5. They didn’t record a single out in that frame.
2009 Ramon Vazquez hits the 10,000th home run in the history of the Pirates franchise. This includes their time in the 1880s American Association and so might not match up with the team’s own claims, but this is true.
2009 Albert Pujols launches his 10th career grand slam, and fourth of five on this season.
2009 Manny Ramirez returns from his 50 game suspension for steroids.
2010 Arizona breaks in new manager Kirk Gibson, and they have nowhere to go but up as they lose 14-0 to the Dodgers while committing a team record six errors along the way.