1926 | WASHINGTON, D.C. – Walter Johnson won his 400th game on this date in 1926. Only one other pitcher has reached that plateau, Cy Young, winner of an astonishing 511 games. You know Cy. They named an award after him.
Walter Johnson came from Humboldt, Kansas. He broke into the majors with the Washington Senators (today’s Minnesota Twins) in 1907 at age 19.
They called him “Night Train,” and he pitched for the next 21 years, finishing with records like 36-7, 33-12, 23-7, 25-13, 20-7, for a team that lost more than it won (The Senators finished under .500 eleven of the twenty-one seasons Johnson pitched for them).
Walter Johnson was said to have the fastest fastball in major league history, of course there were no radar guns in the teens and twenties, so we can’t really be sure.
Here are some figures from the “I didn’t know that” category that we are sure about;
• Johnson pitched 110 shutouts
• He won 38 games 1-0
• Remarkably, 26 of his losses were 1-0
Walter Johnson could hit too. Johnson finished the 1925 season with a .433 batting average, still a major league record for pitchers. His lifetime batting average was .235, not bad for a pitcher.
300 win club
Walter Johnson, Hall of Fame
1977 | PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner became Atlanta Braves manager Ted Turner on this date in 1977. He was fed up with a 16-game losing strike, so he put on the uniform and headed to the dugout himself.
It didn’t help.
The Braves lost their 17th straight. Owner-as-manager also didn’t last long. Turner’s actions were the impetus for a rule change.
National League Commissioner Chub Feeney put the kibosh on the idea of an owner ever taking over managerial authority right away. He also initiated a rule change stating that a team manager cannot own a financial interest in the team (wonder how George Steinbrenner voted).
The Braves won the next game. Molino Leon beat Pittsburgh’s Bruce Kison 2 to 1. It was a long season though. The Braves ended up in last place in the Western Division. Their record was 61 and 101; second worst in baseball to the expansion Toronto Blue Jays.
1967 | PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – On this date in 1967, Henry Aaron hit a home run inside-the-park. It would be the only one of his 755 career home runs that he had to sprint around the bases.
It was the eighth inning when Aaron took Phillies’ ace Jim Bunning (later a United States Senator from Kentucky) deep to center field. Aaron sprinted around the bases, driving in pinch runner Miguel de la Hoz who had been on first, and scored ahead of the relay.
Aaron didn’t have only one inside-the-parker because he was slow; he stole 240 bases in his career. Another irony about Henry Aaron’s accomplishments is that he hit 3 home runs in one game only once. But Aaron’s list of records and accomplishments is set apart from mere mortal ballplayers:
- All-time career home run leader from 1974 to 2001 (755)
- All-time RBI leader: 2,297
- All-time extra-base hits leader: 1,477
- 21 All-Star appearances
- The Sporting News NL Player of the Year: 1956, 1963
- NL batting champion: 1956 (.328), 1959 (.355)
- NL MVP: 1957
- Gold Glove award: 1958, 1959, 1960
- Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame: 1982
Career home run leaders
The Associated Press (AP), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 11, 1967
1984 | CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Every once in a while the baseball Gods decide not to let a game end. The Cubs and Yankees got a sense of that two nights ago – May 7, 2017 – with their 18-inning contest finally won by the Yankees. A game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago White Sox, which ended on this date in 1984, was even longer, in fact the long-EST.
The Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago White Sox‘ 25 inning marathon began at 7:30 p.m. on the 8th of May.
MIL A 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 – 6 20 3
CHI A 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 1 – 7 23 1
It was halted at 12:59 a.m. due to a league curfew, and resumed later on the 9th.
The game was tied at 1 apiece going 9th. The Brewers scored 2 in the top of the inning. The White Sox matched it with 2 in the bottom. The two teams went for the next 11 innings without scoring. In the 22nd inning the Brewers scored 3 runs. The White Sox did the same. Not until Sox slugger Harold Baines’ solo home run in the 25th inning did the game end.
Usually 2 hits in a game is a pretty good day, but not when you bat 10 or 11 times. Cecil Cooper, for example, had eleven at bats for the Brewers and 2 hits for a .181 batting average.
The longest game (by innings) in the National League, and in the Majors, was 26 innings between the Brooklyn Dodgers (today’s Los Angeles Dodgers) the Boston Braves (Today’s Atlanta Braves) in 1920. That game, however, never ended. It was declared a draw.
May 8, 1984 box-score & stats
10 Longest games in baseball history
Game Length Records
MAY 6 | CHICAGO , ILLINOIS – Chicago White Sox slugger Dave Nicholson hit a home run over the roof of old Comiskey Park in Chicago on this day in 1964. Some believe the ball cleared the roof, which would have meant it traveled over 570 feet, but that cannot be confirmed.
Nicholson, a relative unknown, joined a select group that day. Before May 6, 1964, only 10 other players reached Comiskey Park’s roof. They were:
Dave Nicholson had potential written all over him when he broke in with the Baltimore Orioles in 1960 at the age of 20, but the potential never blossomed. His best year was 1963 with the White Sox. He played in 126 games, hit 22 home runs and had 70 RBI. The problem was, he hit only .229 (the highest batting average in his 7 years in major league baseball) and struck out a club record 175 times.
At 6 – 2, 215 pounds, Nicholson is probably more known for something he did off the field as anything he did on it. He became so frustrated after a particularly tough day that he shut off the showers so hard in the Sox locker room none of his teammates could turn them back on. The story is confirmed by former teammate Jim Landis.
Total White Sox: The Definitive Encyclopedia of the World Champion Franchise, by Richard L Lindberg, copyright, 2006
Chicago White Sox records