JULY 23, 2009 | CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – MLB’s 18th perfect game was thrown by Mark Buerhle on this date in 2009. To take nothing away from the Chicago White Sox southpaw, another left-hander positioned about 250 feet behind Buerhle’s right shoulder did the unbelievable.
Dewayne Wise had just been put in as a defensive replacement in centerfield in the 9th inning. Defend, he did. Tampa Bay Rays’ right fielder Gabe Kapler hit a 2-2 pitch from Buerhle to the farthest point of left-center field. It was on its way out. The perfect game would be lost. The no-hitter would be lost. The shutout would be lost.
Dewayne Wise would not have it. He ran to the wall like he was the 4th leg of a relay race. Jumped at just the right time to pull the ball back into the field of play. Then the ball slipped out of his glove, but he managed to regain control, holding on to the perfect game as he fell the ground.
The 26th hitter struck out.
The 27th hitter grounded out to short.
Mark Buerhle had MLB’s 18th perfect game. How could he possibly thank Dewayne Wise enough?
July 23, 2009 box score, stats, play-by-play
July 22, 1962 | BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – Floyd Robinson of the Chicago White Sox went 6 for 6, all singles, on this date in 1962. That tied him with about two dozen other American Leaguers for the most hits in a 9-inning game.
The National League record is 7 held by Rennie Stennett of the 1975 Pittsburgh Pirates.
Floyd Robinson had a great year in 1962. He hit .312, drove in 109 runs (on just 11 home runs) and led the league in doubles with 45. But he played for a team that was anemic offensively.
The White Sox team batting average was .257. Robinson was the only regular to hit over .300. The team leader in home runs was Al Smith with 16.
Three years removed from playing the Dodgers in the 1959 World Series, the Sox finished 5th, 11 games out in 1962. Despite their lousy hitting, the Sox contended for the next few years behind the pitching of Gary Peters, Joel Horlen, Juan Pizzaro and others:
Despite 90+ wins the Sox finished second to the New York Yankees each year (this was before divisional play).
When a team’s key offensive statistic is 6-singles by the same player in a game, over-taking the Bronx Bombers becomes a tall order.
JULY 21, 1959 • CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Elijah “Pumpsie” Green was put in as a pinch runner for the Boston Red Sox on this night in 1959. The Red Sox became the last team to have a Black player. It completed what Jackie Robinson started in 1947. Every other major league team had had an African American in the lineup by this time.
It was a bumpy road for Green through the Red Sox system. He was invited to training camp in Scottsdale, Arizona that spring and reportedly had a good one, but was sent to the Red Sox minor league team in Minneapolis to start the season.
The Boston chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) asked for an investigation to determine if Green had been discriminated against as a player and in the housing he was provided. According to a July 22, 1959 United Press International story, the Red Sox said “they would call a Negro player when they developed one of major league caliber in their farm system.” The Red Sox now believed they had “a Negro of major league caliber,” and the team was cleared of discrimination.
Here are the first Black players (in the modern era*) for each team and the season of their first game:
|Brooklyn , 1947
Cleveland , 1947
St. Louis , 1947
New York Giants, 1949
Boston Braves, 1950
Chicago White Sox, 1951
Philadelphia Athletics, 1953
Chicago Cubs 1953
Pittsburgh , 1954
St. Louis Cardinals, 1954
Cincinnati Reds, 1954
Cincinnati Reds, 1954
Washington Senators 1954
New York Yankees, 1955
Philadelphia Phillies, 1957
Detroit Tigers, 1958
Boston Red Sox
*Blacks were not allowed to play in the major leagues from the late 1800s until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947 because of a “gentleman’s agreement” between the owners.
Baseball-Almanac famous firsts
United Press International, July 22, 1959
Cap Anson, instigator of the Gentleman’s Agreement
July 20, 1858 | LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK – It’s not significant by today’s standards, but it was monumental 150 years ago. According to Koppett’s Concise History of Major League Baseball, the first big crowd to watch a baseball game, “no fewer than 1,500″ paying spectators,” came out to a Race Course on Long Island on July 20, 1858 to watch an all-star game.
The best players of New York City took on the best Brooklyn had to offer. Back then they were two separate cities. New York won 22-18, and promoters saw dollar signs. The main reason admission was charged was to defray the cost of converting a field into a baseball diamond – there weren’t too many around back then. The gate receipts added up to over $700 dollars – a big chunk of change before the Civil War.
The event showed that if you put teams together with good players, fans will pay money to watch, and there will be more money to buy better players. The first big crowd had a ripple effect. As Leonard Koppett wrote,
“…those who would travel far and then pay 50 cents to watch a game would undoubtedly pay a penny or two to read about one.”
Newspapers soon found another way to attract readers; baseball scores, eventually box scores. And there were new ones every day.
Koppett’s Concise History of Major League Baseball, 2004, by Leonard Koppett, Carrol & Graf Publishers, New York
July 19, 1946 | Boston, Massachusetts – Fourteen Chicago White Sox players were kicked out of a game against the Red Sox in mass ejections at Fenway Park. It all started when White Sox pitcher Joe Haynes put Red Sox slugger Ted Williams on his fanny, the result of a pitch too far inside.
Umpire Red Jones gave Haynes a warning not to throw at Red Sox hitters. Here’s how the Associated Press described what happened next:
“A chorus of yammering from the Chicago bench resulted in [Umpire] Jones ordering four White Sox players from the bench – Ralph Hodgin, Dario Lodigiani, Ed Smith and Bling Miller.” The “yammerin” didn’t stop.”
Before the game was over 14 White Sox were ordered from the dugout for making derisive comments about Jones’ vision and judgment.
The Red Sox went on to win easily 9-2, and increase their lead against the second place New York Yankees to 11½ games.
A YAMMERING VENTRILOQUIST?
A story surfaced some days after the mass ejections at Fenway that it wasn’t the players doing the yammering. It was, get this, a ventriloquist in the stands. If you read John Branch‘s 2006 story from the New York Times you’ll find that the facts kind of get in the way of a good story.
The Red Sox went on to win the American League pennant in 1946 (this was before division play) before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.
New York Times, July 6, 2006
The Associated Press (AP), July 20, 1946, Boston, MA