This day in baseball: Carl Mays beans Tris Speaker

On May 20, 1918, Indians outfielder Tris Speaker was hit in the head by a pitch thrown by Red Sox hurler Carl Mays.  A right-handed submarine pitcher, Mays denied Speaker’s allegation that the beanball pitch was intentional.  Mays pitched a complete game, winning 11-1 that day.  The beanball would prove a precursor to the pitch that would kill Ray Chapman two years later.

Carl Mays

Carl Mays (SABR)


Road grays

When you turn on a Major League Baseball game, you can often tell within moments which team is the home team and which is the away team.  The common practice by teams in the MLB is to wear white (or mostly white) uniforms at home and to wear gray (or mostly gray) unis when on the road.

While this is a regular exercise now, baseball legend has it that this tradition began due to the fact that visiting teams had no access to laundry facilities, and so the players were not able to clean their uniforms. The darker uniforms, or the “road grays,” could conceal the dirt and grass stains better than white uniforms.

Not every team does this today, of course.  And given better access to laundry facilities, they don’t need to.  But it’s an interesting story and practice, all the same.

Road jerseys gray


Quote of the day

To give one can of beer to a thousand people is not nearly as much fun as to give 1,000 cans of beer to one guy. You give a thousand people a can of beer and each of them will drink it, smack his lips and go back to watching the game. You give 1,000 cans to one guy, and there is always the outside possibility that 50,000 people will talk about it.

~Bill Veeck

bill veeck


This day in baseball: First presidential pass

Though he wasn’t exactly the game’s biggest fan, on May 16, 1907, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues issued the first presidential lifetime pass to President Theodore Roosevelt.  Roosevelt preferred sports that were “more vigorous,” though he later admitted that he enjoyed watching his son Quentin participate in baseball.  Nevertheless, Roosevelt never attended a major league baseball game.

Roosevelt Presidential Pass

Baseball Almanac


Kicking dust

I sometimes have wondered if the “brawls” that happen in baseball are merely the players’ way of breaking up the routine of daily games and keeping things interesting.  Calvin and Hobbes certainly seem to enjoy the novelty.

Calvin Hobbes kicking dust

Bill Watterson


This day in baseball: Philadelphia’s first win

The Philadelphia Quakers (later known as the Phillies) won their first game in franchise history on May 14, 1883 again the Chicago White Stockings (later known as the Cubs).  The Quakers had lost their first eight games of the season, but then proceeded to pound the White Stockings 12-0 at Chicago’s Lake Front Park.  The Quakers would finish the season with a depressing 17-81 (.173) record, putting them in last place in the National League.

lake front park chicago

Lake Front Park (projectballpark.org)


Quote of the day

If you don’t think too good, don’t think too much.

~Ted Williams

800px-Ted_Williams

Wikimedia Commons