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Baseball history unpacked, May 18

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The sunset walk of Kid K, Bill North’s grudge, and other bullets

A tip of the cap to you
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

When last we met, it was a beautiful day for a brawl game, Big Daddy’s birthday, and other momentous events occurred. On this date, Kerry Wood threw his last strike, Bill North threw punches, and recently-called-up Randy Rosario was born. Maybe Randy can pitch on his birthday. Please enjoy immoderately.

Here’s a handy Cubs timeline.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1929 - In the doubleheader played at Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl, the teams combine to score a record fifty runs when the Dodgers outlast the Phillies, 20-16, before dropping the nightcap to the home team 8-6. In the opener, Brooklyn’s Johnny Frederick crosses the plate five times, giving him the major league mark of scoring eight runs in two consecutive games. (1)

Box score. Frederick was a pretty good player, very fast initially, amassing 15.4 WAR over a six-year career with the Bums that was shortened by injury and a long apprenticeship in the minor leagues (3,421 hits between MLB and the minors — he was a 27-year-old rookie in 1929). He was the NL MVP his rookie year (1929). BBRef has him compared favorably to Hall-of-Famer Earl Averill and the Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon. He is known for saying that “Dazzy Vance could throw a cream puff through a battleship.”

Here’s some info about the Baker Bowl. This is what it looked like from the air:

Baker Bowl
  • 1931 - Dodgers’ outfielder Babe Herman hits for the cycle for the first of two times this season. In 1933, as a member of the Cubs, he will again hit for the cycle, making him and Bob Meusel the only major leaguers to have accomplished the feat three times since 1900. (1)

Box score. Herman was a good player (4 top-20 finishes in the MVP voting) who was known for his antics. “There are some who contend these kept him out of the Hall of Fame.” Meusel wasn’t bad, either, with three MVPs in his 11-year career. He was known for his excellent arm.

  • 1957 - Dick Williams of the Orioles hit a ninth-inning, game-tying solo home run against Chicago’s Paul LaPalme seconds before 10:20 p.m. — a time set as a curfew so the White Sox could catch a train out of Baltimore. If Williams had done anything else, Chicago would have won. The game was replayed from the beginning and Baltimore won. (2)

Box score.

  • 1973 - Bill North’s bat sails onto the infield when he swings and misses the first pitch thrown by Royals rookie reliever Doug Bird, who will be shocked when the A’s center fielder, retrieving his bat, unexpectedly goes to the mound and begins to pummel him. The Oakland outfielder, who will be ejected, suspended for three days, and receive a $100 fine for initiating the brawl, was retaliating against the 23-year-old K.C. right-hander for an incident that occurred in a Class A game played in Waterloo (IA) three seasons earlier. (1)

Former Cub North (he was traded for Bob Locker in 1972) also fought Reggie Jackson while a member of the A’s. This excellent article from Tim Herlich of SABR has details.

  • 1990 - Cubs’ second baseman Ryne Sandberg’s errorless game streak comes to an end after 123 games and 584 chances. Joe Morgan had held the previous record of 91 games. (1)
  • 2012 - Kerry Wood ends his major league career on his own terms when he strikes out the one batter he faces before walking off the mound into an embrace from his six year-old son in front of the Wrigley Field dugout. The 34-year-old much-injured Cubs’ right-hander, an All-Star as both a starter and closer, believes today’s final strikeout to be the most significant and the most memorable moment of his 14-year career. (1)


Thanks for reading.