JANUARY 14, 1963 | CHICAGO, ILLINOIS • Luis Aparicio was a Hall of Fame shortstop, a 13-time All-Star, a 9-time Gold Glove winner, a fan favorite everywhere he went, so why was he traded so often? “Little Louie” as he was called, was traded on this day in 1963 along with Al Smith, from the Chicago White Sox to the Baltimore Orioles for Hoyt Wilhelm, Dave Nicholson, Pete Ward, and Ron Hansen.
Aparicio was traded three times, but one of those was back to the White Sox, the team he started his career with. There was never a hint of Aparicio being anything but a team player.
When he retired in 1973 Aparicio was the all-time leader in games played, assists and putouts by a shortstop. He was the American League stolen base leader nine years in a row. He helped the White Sox get to the World Series in 1959 and helped the Baltimore Orioles win the World Series in 1966.
In an 18-year big league career the Venezuelan born Aparicio never played any position other than shortstop?
Luis Aparicio was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984. So, why was he traded so often?
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS • The Boston Red Sox had an easier time winning the 2004 World Series than figuring out who would take possession of the ball from the final out.
When Red Sox closer Keith Foulke fielded a grounder by Edgar Renteria and tossed it to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz to end the game it completed a four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals, and gave the Red Sox their first World Series championship since 1918. Well aware of the significance of the ball, Mientkiewicz held on to it.
According to the Associated Press he gave the ball to his wife and eventually put it in a safe deposit box. The Red Sox management also saw the significance of the ball and wanted it in its possession rather than that of a part-time first baseman that had only been with the Red Sox for half a year.
The Associated Press also reported that team owner John Henry and Mientkiewicz talked by phone on this day in baseball history in 2005. Mientkiewicz only said it was a “nice conversation.”
It would be another fifteen months of haggling, which included the filing of a lawsuit, before Mientkiewicz, who had since been traded, and the Red Sox would settle the dispute. In the spring of 2006 both sides agreed to send the ball to the Hall of Fame.
The Lesson of Doug Mientkiewicz, by Wayne Drehs, ESPN, April 20, 2011
Howard Ulman, The Associated Press, January 8, 2005
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