On the mound, he held the opposing team scoreless. That was especially impressive given that the opposing team was the Yankees, defending world champions who would win yet another world title that year. But the lineup anchored by Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris couldn’t score that day.
Perhaps even more impressive is what Pappas did at the plate. He belted a solo home run. Oh, and that solo homer was the game’s only run, as Baltimore triumphed 1-0 over the fearsome Yankees.
Actually, it isn’t quite fair to say Pappas didn’t need any teammates. While the Yankees were shut out, it wasn’t a complete game shutout. The O’s pulled Pappas after six solid innings. There is no clear reason why this happened. He wasn’t coming up to bat—in fact his latest at-bat was the homer, so you definitely wouldn’t want to pull him.
He pitched well in the sixth. In fact he’d retired seven straight batters. Not a single Yankee had made it past second base, and only three times had anyone even reached first through six innings against Pappas. Yet Baltimore pulled him anyway.
Well, to be fair, he wasn’t pulled for just anyone. Baltimore brought in relief ace Hoyt Wilhelm, who celebrated the 10th anniversary of his big league debut that day. Wilhelm would later become the first reliever elected to Cooperstown, and today he safely kept the Yankees at bay for the final three innings.
As it happens, this would not be the only time Pappas homered in a game in which the opposing team scored zero runs. He’d do it five times in all. In baseball history, only Bob Gibson did it more times than that. This, however, was the only time Pappas would ever do it in a 1-0 game. And he did it exactly a half-century ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that happened X-thousand days ago) today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to just skim.
1,000 days since Mark Buehrle throws a perfect game in a 5-0 win for Chicago over Tampa. DeWayne Wise makes one of the greatest catches you’ll ever see in the ninth to preserve the perfecto, no-hitter, and shutout. It’s Buehrle’s second career no-hitter.
2,000 days since Joe Niekro dies.
4,000 days since Mike Mussina picks off a runner for the first time in nearly six years.
4,000 days since Roy Oswalt makes his big league debut.
4,000 days since Chipper Jones hits career home run No. 200.
5,000 days since Luis Gonzalez connects for his 1,000th hit.
5,000 days since the Angels release Cecil Fielder.
7,000 days since baseball owners vote to link a salary cap and revenue sharing in their talk with the Players’ Association.
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 James Samuel Tilden 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.
1925 Charles Ebbetts, 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.
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 is born.
1952 Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm makes his debut.
1952 The Yankees retire Joe DiMaggio’s number.
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 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 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 that 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 out-duels 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 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 loses his 200th decision.
1986 Bobby Witt has a no-hitter going after five innings, but is yanked anyway, as he’s allowed eight walks and two 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 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 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 22 (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 lst 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.
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 1962, the Houston Astros’ all-time 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 Mark Buehrle throws his first no-hitter.
2009 Manny Ramirez hits two runs in a game. It’s his 54th multi-home run game and last one.
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 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.