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
1994 | BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – One of the most unusual events in baseball occurs so quickly you could miss it if you’re not paying attention – the unassisted triple play. Boston Red Sox shortstop John Valentin turned one on this date in 1994. It was just the 10th unassisted triple in major league baseball history (there have been 5 since).
Here’s how it happened… in the top of the sixth inning at Boston’s Fenway Park, Seattle Mariner Mike Blowers singles. Keith Mitchell walks. It looks like the start of a big inning for the Mariners. Two on, nobody out. Mariner DH Mark Newfield is at bat. It’s a 1 – 1 count. Red Sox pitcher Dave Fleming fires, the runners go. Newfield hits a line shot right to shortstop Valentin, who steps on second to double off Blowers who was almost to third, and tags Mitchell who’s almost at second. Three outs, just like that with the ball never leaving Valentin’s hands.
The drama doesn’t end there. Guess who leads off the bottom of the 6th, hero John Valentin. He homers. The Red Sox come from behind to win 4-3.
Unassisted triple plays almost always unfold the same way; all 15 started with runners on first and second and the batter hitting a line drive with the runners going. Eight were hit to the shortstop. Five were hit to the second baseman. Two were hit to the first baseman. When it’s hit to the shortstop he grabs the line drive steps on second and tags the runner coming from first. When it’s hit to the second or first baseman they tag the runner coming from first and then step on second.
If you want to see an unassisted triple play, wait for runners on first and second, and no outs. If the batter hits a line drive don’t blink.
July 8, 1994 box score/play-by-play
Unassisted triple plays
1914 | BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – The Boston Red Sox were not the only team to let George Herman Ruth get away. Philadelphia A’s (today’s Oakland A’s) owner Connie Mack turned down Babe Ruth on this date in 1914.
Ruth wasn’t the Great Bambino yet. In fact, he wasn’t even a major leaguer. He was a promising minor league pitcher, but the team he played for, the Baltimore Orioles of the International League was in financial trouble and needed cash. Orioles owner Jack Dunn offered Ruth and a couple other players to Philadelphia A’s owner Connie Mack for $10,000. Mack had his own money problems so he said no.
A couple days later the 19-year old Ruth and two other players were sold to the Boston Red Sox for $25,000. It was with the Red Sox that Ruth made his major league debut, mainly as a pitcher. He won two and lost one in 1914. The next year Ruth went 18 and 8, but it was his hitting that began to open people’s eyes. In 92 at-bats, Ruth hit .315 with 4 home runs and 21 runs batted in.
Ruth started to play the outfield, and therefore hit more often. By 1919 he was playing the outfield more than he was pitching. The owner of the Yankees needed cash to fund a Broadway play a transaction the Red Sox have never been able to live down. The first year Ruth was exclusively an outfielder – 1920 – he hit .376 with 54 home runs and 135 RBIs.
- TIBfact: Babe Ruth pitched in 5 games during his Yankee career and won all 5.
Connie Mack refuses Babe Ruth
1939 | NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK – 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 Ted Wlliams’ 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 – interrupted twice by military duty. He amassed some of the greatest offensive numbers of all time:
• .344 lifetime batting average
• 521 home runs
• 1,839 RBI
• 2-time Triple Crown winner (1942, 1947)
• 2-time MVP (1946, 1949)
… this despite missing three full seasons – 1943 to 45 – to serve in World War II, and playing only 43 games during the 1952 and 1953 seasons because of the Korean War.
Take a close look at the stats above. Williams’ 2 MVP years and 2 Triple Crown years do not overlap. They’re 4 separate seasons. How he could win the Triple Crown and not be MVP is a mystery, but it is what it is.
And consider this; there was a 45-year stretch (1967-Carl Yastrzemski to 2012-Miguel Cabrera) where no one won the Triple Crown (lead either league in home runs, runs batted in and batting average). Williams won it twice in five 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.
The Boston Globe, New York, New York, April 21, 1939
The Triple Crown
1923 | NEW YORK, NEW YORK – ‘The house that Ruth built’ opened on this date in 1923. That’s what Yankee Stadium quickly became known as.
Babe Ruth came to the Yankees in 1920, the result of an infamous purchase from the Boston Red Sox. He went on to become the biggest drawing card in all of sports.
Yankee Stadium, in effect, disappeared in the mid-1970’s when it was completely overhauled.
Yankee Stadium was baseball’s first triple deck structure. It was also the first baseball venue to be called a “stadium.” Others were usually called “Parks” or “Fields.”
It had some interesting dimensions that changed from time to time. For most of the original stadium’s history the fences down the foul lines were quite inviting: 301 down the left and 296 down the right. Left quickly ballooned out to over 400 feet. Straight-away center-field was 461 feet from home plate. Yankee Stadium, in effect, disappeared in the mid-1970’s when it was completely overhauled.
Before Yankee Stadium, beginning in 1913, the Bronx Bombers were tenants of the New York Giants, but tenant and landlord had a falling out in 1920. The Yankees were told to leave as soon as possible. The discord was partly due to the Yankees Bronx Bombers doubling their attendance that season to almost 1.3 million fans, 100,000 more than the Giants. Babe Ruth, with his prodigious home runs, was the main attraction. So Yankee Stadium was built a quarter mile from the Polo Grounds.
The Yankees won the first of many World Championships in that inaugural year of 1923. The victim – their former landlord, the New York Giants.