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Baseball history unpacked, April 16

Babe Ruth, Dizzy Dean, WGN is on the air, three no-hitters, and more

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Welcome to Baseball History unpacked. I and my ever-filled iced mocha invite you to read our last episode, or any previous installments, which are available in this handy story-stream. Enjoy immoderately.

Please remember that these articles are for infotainment purposes only and are not intended to be the last word on anything.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1928 - Braves’ pitcher Charlie Robertson has his glove removed from the game by umpire Charley Moran after the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) complain the ball is acting strangely. The Boston hurler still manages to win, 3-2. (1)
  • 1929 - On Opening Day, the Indians become the first team to wear numbers on the back of their jerseys on a permanent basis when they edge Detroit at League Park, 5-4. The Tribe beat the Yankees in becoming the first team team to regularly don digits when the earlier-scheduled Bronx Bombers’ contest against Boston is washed out in New York. (1)
  • 1935 - Babe Ruth’s N.L. debut draws 25,000 to Braves Field. The Babe’s two-hit debut includes a 430-foot home run off Carl Hubbell, as Boston beats New York 4-2. The Babe’s contract includes a share in the team’s profits. (2)

Here’s the skinny from Scott Ferkovich of SABR. Here’s the box score.

Retrosimba has unpacked this. “Renewed trouble with manager Frankie Frisch … finally moved Sam Breadon and Branch Rickey to sell their star of stars.”

The 1938 Cubs stats.

  • 1940 - Working in 47-degree weather, Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians throws an Opening Day no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox, winning 1-0 at Comiskey Park. It’s the first Opening Day no-hitter since Leon “Red” Ames pitched one for the Giants in 1909. (2) has the details. Here’s the box score.

  • 1946 - As the result of the newly painted grandstand seats having not yet completely dried, about 5,000 fans attending the Boston’s home opener against the Dodgers left Braves Field with green paint covering much of their clothing. The team take out newspaper ads to apologize to the affected patrons, agreeing to reimburse any expense caused by the mishap, an offer that will cost the team $6,000, after it generates nearly 13,000 claims, including some from as far away as California and Nebraska. (1)
  • 1948 - The future super station WGN-TV televises a baseball game for the first time. With Jack Brickhouse doing the play-by-play, the White Sox beat the Cubs 4-1 in the first game of the Windy City Classic played at Wrigley Field. (1)

David Funk wrote a nice piece on this, reposted on the SABR website.

Al will have more on this coming up at 9:30 a.m. CT.

  • 1972 - On the second day of the season, Burt Hooton, making his fourth career start, no-hits the Phillies at Wrigley Field, 4-0. The Cubs hurler becomes the 12th rookie to throw a no-hitter. (1)

WGN Sports article. Dave Hoekstra’s good piece on Hooton. Chris Jaffe (Fangraphs) chimes in.

“A players’ strike delayed the start of the 1972 season, so this Sunday game, played in 40-degree temperatures with drizzle, was the second game of the year. Hooton, who was the Cubs’ No. 1 draft pick the previous year, was making his fourth major-league start. He walked seven and struck out seven in his no-no.” — Al Yellon.

  • 1978 - Cardinal Bob Forsch no-hits the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0. Less than a year later, Bob’s brother Ken of the Houston Astros will pitch a no-hitter against Atlanta, making the siblings the first brothers to throw no-hitters in the big leagues. (1)
  • 1997 - The Cubs set the record for worst start in National League history when they extend their losing streak to 12 games with a 4-0 loss to Colorado at Wrigley Field. Chicago surpasses the overall Senior Circuit mark of 0-11 established in 1884 by the Detroit Wolverines. (1)
  • (1) — The National Pastime.
  • (2) — Today in Baseball History.
  • (3) — Baseball Reference.