Today in baseball history:
- 1901 - John W. (Jack) Taylor goes the distance but takes the loss when the Orphans are defeated by the Beaneaters at Boston’s South End Grounds. The right-hander’s start begins a stunning streak of 187 consecutive complete games that ends in August of 1906 when he is relieved by another pitcher, after amassing an amazing 1,727 innings of work that includes finishing up 15 games in relief. (1)
The Orphans (soon to be the Cubs) were a bad team that year. They won 53 games and lost 86. A young Frank Chance helped patrol the outfield, but even he did not have a good year. The Beaneaters ended up 69-69 and had the original Billy Hamilton in their outfield.
- 1983 - Yankee outfielder Bobby Murcer retires as an active player, ending his 17 year major league career with a .277 lifetime batting average and 252 home runs. The popular outfielder, who also played for the Giants and Cubs, will become a mainstay in the broadcast booth until he succumbs to a brain tumor in 2008. (1)
- 1986 - Collegiate football standout Bo Jackson, who will eventually spend four seasons with the Oakland Raiders, signs to play baseball with the Royals, the defending World Champions. The Auburn running back had been drafted first overall in the 1986 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the Heisman trophy winner turns down the Buccaneers’ more lucrative offer when the team refuses to let him play two sports. (1)
If he had only stayed healthy...what an athlete.
I actually knew Bo — he was a customer at a car wash I helped to manage for a while. Great with kids, very soft-spoken, would sign autographs while watching his Mercedes go through the tunnel, talk baseball and football with people. This was not long after he retired. He knew Diddly ;)
- 2007 - Connecting on a fifth inning hanging breaking ball thrown by Cubs’ hurler Jason Marquis, Sammy Sosa becomes the fifth major league player to hit 600 career home runs. The Rangers’ designated hitter, who missed the entire season last year, joins Hank Aaron (755), Barry Bonds (748), Babe Ruth (714), and Willie Mays (660) in reaching the milestone. (1)
Box score. This was a game that Koyie Hill tied with a rare homer in the top of the seventh, but Frank Catalanatto’s two-out rbi off a Michael Wuertz offering in the bottom of the inning was the winning tally.
- 2009 - A major league oddity happens when two games end on walk-off wild pitches in extra innings on the same day. Jason Jennings’ errant throw allows Nate Schierholtz to score the winning run for the Giants with two outs in the 11th inning to beat Texas, 2-1, and Andres Blanco comes home on Kerry Wood’s miscue, giving the Cubs a 6-5 victory over the Indians in 13 innings. (1)
- Cubs birthdays: Jim Delahanty, Rip Hagerman, Wayland Dean, Art Schult, Cuno Barragan, Ray Newman, Gary Varsho, Paul Bako, Kevin Gregg, Cole Gillespie.
- (1) — The National Pastime.
- (2) — Today in Baseball History.
- (3) — Baseball Reference.
- (4) — Society for American Baseball Research.
Thanks for reading.