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This week in baseball history, volume 1

a baseball history unpacked presentation

Chicago White Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Imagine, if you will, Mel Allen reading this. If you’ve got plenty of imagination, think of Mel Blanc instead. Or Mel Cooley. Or Mel Sharples. Or even Mel Ott, who is in an item below.


This week in baseball history: a baseball history unpacked presentation

for infotainment purposes only

enjoy immoderately

The previous episode: April 11, 2018. Any previous installments are available in this handy story-stream.

Today featuring:

The first-ever radio broadcast of major-league baseball, starring the Chicago Cubs.

Kingman does property damage, long-distance-style.

Randy Bush hits a homer 200 miles.

Hiram Bithorn and Jackie Robinson debut.

Today in baseball history (4/14):

  • 1910 - At American League Park in Washington, D.C., William Taft becomes the first president to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The Chief Executive stays to see a great game when Senator legend Walter Johnson one-hits the A’s in the season opener, 3-0. (1)
  • 1917 - Eddie Cicotte of the Chicago White Sox pitched an 11-0 no-hitter against the St. Louis Browns. (2)
  • 1925 - WGN broadcasts the first fully-live regular season baseball game, detailing Grover Alexander and the Cubs’ defeat of the Pirates on a chilly Opening Day, 8-2. Quin Ryan is behind the microphone doing play-by-play from a perch on the Wrigley Field roof. (1)
  • 1930 - President Herbert Hoover, continuing the tradition started by William Taft in 1910, throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the Red Sox edge the hometown Senators, 4-3. (1)
  • 1946 - Manager Mel Ott of the Giants hits his 511th and final home run on Opening Day, an 8-4 home victory over the Phillies. The next day Ott will injure his knee diving for a ball and play only occasionally thereafter. (2)
  • 1968 - Jim Bunning becomes the first pitcher since Cy Young to collect a thousand strikeouts in both leagues when he whiffs eight Dodgers during his first win for the Pirates, a 3-0 complete-game victory in Chavez Ravine. (1)
  • 1969 - In the first regular season game played outside the United States, the Expos play their first home game, treating 29,184 fans at Jarry Park to an 8-7 win over St. Louis. Montreal moundsman Larry Jaster throws baseball’s first international pitch to Cardinal left fielder Lou Brock. (1)
  • 1976 - On the north side of Chicago, Dave Kingman launches a homer down the left field line that hits a house 530 feet from home plate. The Cubs, as well as the home, survive the right-fielder’s blast, defeating the Mets in the Wrigley Field contest, 6-5. (1)

Good article from the Tribune.

  • 1978 - The largest Opening Day crowd ever, 45,777, attends the Wrigley Field opener against Pittsburgh. Although the team gives up an early 3-0 lead, the hometown fans will not go home disappointed when Larry Biittner, leading off in the bottom of the ninth inning, homers giving the Cubs a 4-3 walk-off victory. (2)
  • 1982 - At Watt Powell Park, the home of the International League’s Charleston Charlies, Toledo’s Randy Bush hits a home run that travels over 200 miles. The Mudhens’ utility player, not known for his power, hits a ball over the right field wall that lands on a moving coal train. (2)
  • Cubs birthdays: Ben Tincup, Marty Keough, Greg Maddux, Kyle Farnsworth, (3)

Today in baseball history (4/15):

  • 1911 - At the age of 24, Grover Cleveland Alexander makes his major league debut, losing a 5-4 decision to the Rustlers on an unearned run in the tenth inning at Boston’s South End Grounds. (1)
  • 1942 - At Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, Hiram ‘Hi’ Bithorn becomes the first Puerto Rican to play major league baseball. The Cubs’ right-hander from Santurce makes a relief appearance, allowing no runs or hits during his two innings of work in Chicago’s 4-2 loss to the Redbirds. (1)
  • 1947 - Jackie Robinson debuts for the Dodgers, becoming the first black player to participate in a major league game this century. In front of 25,623 Ebbets Field fans, the 28 year-old first baseman is hitless in three at-bats, but scores a run in the 5-3 Opening Day victory over the Braves. (1)
  • 1957 - Prior to the Senators’ 7-6 loss to Baltimore in 11 innings at Griffith Stadium, President Dwight Eisenhower throws the traditional ceremonial first pitch of the season. (1)
  • 1997 - Commissioner Bud Selig announces Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 will be retired throughout Major League Baseball, an unprecedented tribute to the player who broke the color barrier fifty years ago on this date. (1)
  • 2004 - Major league baseball begins the tradition of Jackie Robinson Day, an annual celebration commemorating the day the color line was broken in 1947.
  • Cubs birthdays: Sy Sutcliffe, King Cole, Ed Bailey, Ted Sizemore, Mike Diaz, Jeromy Burnitz.
  • (1) — The National Pastime.
  • (2) — Today in Baseball History.
  • (3) — Baseball Reference.