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Baseball history unpacked, April 30

Billy makes it a thousand, Alleghenys and Highlanders, and other highlights

First baseman Billy Williams of the Chicago Cubs swings and watches the flight of his ball during a Major League Baseball game. Williams played for the Cubs from 1959-74 Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Last installment, we discussed South Side Park, the Other Wrigley Field, Curt Flood, and Garry Templeton, with words and pictures and moving pictures. Today we’re going to consider Billy makes it a thousand, Alleghenys and Highlanders, and other highlights and lowlights.

I do hope you’ll join us. You are invited to provide your own concessions. Please enjoy immoderately. Here’s a handy Cubs timeline.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1887 - In front of nearly 10,000, the Alleghenys play their first game in the National League, defeating the defending league-champion Chicago White Stockings at Pittsburgh’s Recreation Park, 6-2. The former American Association team, who will become known as the Pirates in 1891, will post a 55-69 record, finishing in 6th place in the eight-team circuit. (1)

More about Recreation Park.

Recreation of Recreation park from wiki
  • 1903 - The Highlanders (to be renamed the Yankees) beat Washington, 6-2, in the first game ever played at Hilltop Park. The fourth-place club will compile a remarkable 41-26 record at home in their inaugural season in New York. (1)

More about Hilltop Park.

Hilltop Park

Box score.

  • 1939 - At Yankee Stadium, Lou Gehrig’s streak and career come to end as the ‘Iron Horse’ plays his final game, going 0-for-4 in a 3-2 loss to the Senators. (1)
  • 1949 - Rocky Nelson hits an inside-the-glove two-run home run in short left field to turn a ninth inning 3-1 Cubs lead into a 4-3 Cardinals victory. Cubs center fielder Andy Pafko’s catch is ruled a trap by umpire Al Barlick (HoF umpire). As Pafko races in, holding the ball high, runners circle the bases. (2)

Nelson was well-known for his minor-league exploits, not so much for his MLB career. Not so Pafko, who was a bona fide star in the game.

A nice reminiscence.

Box score.

  • 1970 - Billy Williams becomes the first National Leaguer to play in 1,000 consecutive games. (1)
  • 1988 - Reds’ manager Pete Rose will be suspended for thirty days and fined $10,000 for pushing David Pallone, after the umpire makes a delayed call that allows the eventual winning run to score in the team’s 6-5 loss to the Mets at Riverfront Stadium. The Cincinnati skipper shoves the first base ump twice after claiming he was poked in the face, a charge the arbitrator denies, and one never substantiated by major league baseball. (1)
  • 1999 - During a game against the Yankees, a group of Kansas City Royals fans, frustrated with the economic disparity in baseball, throw fake dollar bills onto the field, and turn away from the field each time the opponents take their at-bats. The Kauffman Stadium faithful, carrying signs which clearly blame the problem on the Bronx Bombers, walkout en masse after the fifth inning. (2)

Box score (no juicy parts).

CBS News said. The AP said. The Wall Street Journal updated the ongoing issue, with comments from Brian Cashman about ‘tanking’. This is fun too.

  • 2000 - Diamondback southpaw Randy Johnson beats the Cubs, 6-0, becoming only the third pitcher baseball history to win six games in April. The “Big Unit’ joins A’s hurlers Vida Blue (1971) and Dave Stewart (1988) as the only other pitchers to accomplish the feat.
  • 2002 - Al Leiter becomes the first pitcher in baseball history to record wins over all thirty big league franchises that have been existence since 1901. The Mets southpaw earns the victory as New York routs the Diamondbacks at Bank One Ballpark, 10-1. (2)
  • 2005 - The players are asked by Bud Selig to agree to a 50-game suspension for the first offense, 100-game suspension for the second offense, and a lifelong ban after the third offense for the use of steroids. In addition to the harsher three-strike rule, the commissioner also is seeking a ban on amphetamines. (2)
  • 2008 - The Cardinals and Cubs both set a franchise record for the most victories in April. The Redbirds beat the Reds, 5-2, for their 18th win of the month, and Chicago takes their 17th game, routing the Brewers, 19-5, at Wrigley Field. (2)
  • Cubs birthdays: Dave Eggler, Charley Jones, Tony Murray, Jumbo Brown, Bob Hendley, Joe Strain. (3)


Thanks for reading.