Submitted by BTGrimes on Sun, 04/20/2014 - 9:00am
Ted Williams' career begins
NEW YORK, NEW YORK | APRIL 20, 1939 - A skinny 20-year old kid from San Diego by the name of Theodore Samuel Williams played his first major league game for the Boston Red Sox on this date in 1939. The first of the Spendid Splinter's 2,654 hits was a 400-foot double in the vast outfield of Yankee Stadium as the Red Sox lost 2-0.
Ted Williams' career spanned 19 seasons and 4 decades. He amassed some of the greatest offensive numbers of all time, despite missing three full seasons - 1943, '44 & '45 - to serve in World War II, and playing only 43 games during the 1952 and 1953 seasons because of the Korean War.
And consider this; until Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown in 2012, no one in either league had won it since Carl Yaztrzemski in 1967 (a 45 year span), Williams won it twice in three years. In addition, "Teddy Ballgame" won the batting crown at the age of 40.
Williams was truly larger than life; a Hall of Famer, a decorated fighter pilot, a tireless champion of charity and the loudest guy in the room almost until his death July 5, 2002.
This baseball history story about Ted Williams is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.
Submitted by BTGrimes on Sat, 04/19/2014 - 10:00am
Rangers - Orioles score 33 runs
ARLINGTON, TEXAS | APRIL 18, 1996 - On this day in 1996 the Texas Rangers ran up a heck of a score against the Baltimore Orioles - both teams happened to be in first place in their respective divisions at the time. The host Rangers showed no mercy in beating the Orioles 26 to 7.
The game was relatively close into the bottom of the eighth, the Rangers last at bat if they were ahead, which they were; 10 - 7. But the Rangers scored an astounding 16 runs in an 8th inning that lasted almost an hour. No team ever scored that many runs in an 8th inning. The inning consisted of a grand slam home run and an Oriole reliever walking four - three with the bases loaded.
That was not the only time Texas and Baltimore were involved in a massive slugfest. Texas set a new record for the most runs scored in an American League game by beating Baltimore 30 to 3 August 22, 2007.
This baseball history story about a 33-run game is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.
Submitted by BTGrimes on Fri, 04/18/2014 - 9:00am
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS | APRIL 18, 1991 - The Chicago White Sox opened New Comiskey Park (now called U-S Cellular) on this date in 1991 and got clobbered. The Detroit Tigers were not polite guests. Before the Sox came to bat in the third they were down 6-0. That was nothin'. Before Carlton Fisk, Frank Thomas and company came to bat in the fourth they were down 16-0, which how the game ended.
White Sox ace starter Jack McDowell didn't make it out of the second inning. Thirty-seven year old Tiger starter Frank Tanana pitched a complete game shutout. The Tigers had 19 hits. Alan Trammel, Tony Phillips and Lou Whitaker had 11 hits between them.
The White Sox had a better year than that first game hinted, going 87-75. Jack McDowell had a record of 17-10. The Tigers went 84-78, with Frank Tanana finishing 13-12. Neither team made the playoffs that year.
This story is brought to you by TODAYinBASEBALL.com.
Submitted by BTGrimes on Thu, 04/17/2014 - 10:00am
"Ground control to Major Tom"
Mantle wasn't a superstar yet. At this stage of his career, he was a young, inconsistent ‘can miss' switch-hitter from Commerce, Oklahoma.
Yogi Berra had walked just before Mantle came to bat with two outs in the 5th. The switch hitter was batting right-handed. On a 1 and 0 pitch, Mantle crushed the ball. According to those present, it not only cleared the regular fence, it sailed over a 55 foot wall 70 feet behind the left center field fence! No one had ever done that before.
It hit off a scoreboard on top of the back wall, and sailed out of view. A ten-year old boy found it in a back yard 105 feet further back. Baseball-Almanac.com is skeptical of the 565 foot estimate. It believes the actual distance is more like 510 feet, still, an awesome display of power.
This baseball history story about Mickey Mantle is brought to
Submitted by BTGrimes on Wed, 04/16/2014 - 10:00am
Off on the right foot
DETROIT, MICHIGAN | APRIL 16, 2014 - What a way to start a career. On this date in 1929 Cleveland Indians outfielder Earl Averill hit a home run in his first major league at bat. He hit an 0-2 pitch off Detroit's Earl Whitehill to help the Indians beat the Detroit Tigers 5 to 4 in 11 innings.
That first at bat turned out to be an indicator of a stellar career for Averill. He had 18 home runs and 96 RBIs that first year, ended up with 238 career home runs, was 6 time all-star, and ended up in the Hall of Fame.
As spectacular as it is to hit a home run in your first major league at-bat, it has not been a great omen for everyone who's done it. According to Baseball-Almanac, 113 rookies got the ultimate hit in their first at bat (26 of them on the first pitch), but 21 never hit another major league home run.
Then there is Tommy Milone. He homered in his first at-bat for the Washington Nationals in 2011, but it's unlikely he'll hit many more. Milone is a pitcher, and is now in in the American League (Oakland A's) where pitchers only bat in interleague play.
The first American League player to hit a home run in his first at bat, Luke Stuart of the St. Louis Browns, not only never hit another, he only had two more major league at bats.
This basdbal history story about first pitch home run hitters is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.