This day in baseball: Haas walks too many

On June 23, 1915, Bruno Haas of the Philadelphia Athletics pitched a complete game against the Yankees at Shibe Park. Haas lost the contest 15-7, however, giving up 16 walks over those 9 innings. It is a post-1900 record for a 9-inning game that stands to this day.

Records for most walks in a game are shown below, courtesy of Baseball Almanac.

Walks records - Baseball Almanac


This day in baseball: Waner turns down his 3,000th hit

On June 17, 1942, Braves right fielder Paul Waner stood on first base during the second game of a double-header against the Cincinnati Reds and gestured at the official scorer not to credit him with a hit. Waner had just reached base on a ground ball in the hole that was knocked down by Reds shortstop Eddie Joost.

Waner had entered the game at Braves Field batting just .263 for the year, but he was nearing a major milestone — his 3,000th career hit. When the ground ball knocked down by Joost was initially scored a hit, Waner grew furious. “No, no. Don’t give me a hit on that. I won’t take it,” he yelled. Waner didn’t want a questionable roller to be his historic 3,000th hit.

Jerry Moore, who was acting as official scorer for the game, relented, and he changed the scoring on the play to an error by Joost. (I haven’t been able to find anything depicting Joost’s reaction to this decision, however.)

Two days later, against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Waner laced an RBI single off Rip Sewell, his former teammate on the Pirates. In doing so, he became just the seventh player in major league history to hit the 3,000 mark.

paul waner boxscore - sporting news

Box score for Waner’s 3,000th hit game (The Sporting News)


R.I.P. Jim “Mudcat” Grant

James Timothy “Mudcat” Grant was born on August 13, 1935 in Lacoochee, Florida. He was one of seven children of James Sr. and Viola Grant.

Grant was signed as an amateur free agent by the Cleveland Indians prior to the 1954 season. After four seasons in the minor leagues, from 1954 to 1957, he made his MLB debut on April 17, 1958, at the age of 22, winning a complete game against the Kansas City Athletics. In June 1964, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins, then in 1965, he went 21–7 for the Twins, helping to lead the team to the 1965 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Unfortunately, the Twins lost the series in seven games.

During the 1965 season, Grant became the first black pitcher in the American League to win 20 games, leading the American League in victories with a 21-7 record, also posting a 3.30 ERA in 270 1/3 innings, and starting 39 games. He started three World Series games, winning two. In Game 6 at Metropolitan Stadium, he gave up only one run in a complete game, and even hit a three-run homer en route to a 5-1 victory.

Grant pitched for seven teams during his 14-year big league career and was with the Twins for four of those seasons. Over the course of that career, he had a 145–119 record in 571 games, while starting in 293 of them and throwing 89 complete games. His resumé also includes 18 shutouts, 53 saves, with 2,442 innings pitched on a 3.63 ERA.

Grant was named to the All-Star team in 1963 and 1965. He received his catfish-inspired nickname when a minor league teammate thought he was from Mississippi.

Mudcat Grant died on June 12, 2021 at the age of 85.

Rest in peace.

See the source image

Branch Rickey’s scouting report of Hank Aaron

Here’s an interesting find from the Library of Congress. Dated May 2, 1963, Branch Rickey wrote up a scouting report of Hammerin’ Hank Aaron.

Branch Rickey scouting report on Hank Aaron

Cincinnati, Ohio
May 2, 1963
Cincinnati vs Milwaukee

 

AARON, HANK

Surely one of the greatest hitters in baseball today. Can hit late with power, – good wrists. But in spite of his hitting record and admitted power ability, one cannot help think that Aaron is frequently a guess hitter. Will take three strikes down the middle and in fact frequently acts frozen on pitches. For years I have believed and I still believe that Aaron has more trouble with the breaking stuff. He stands close enough to the plate to pull the outside ball and does pull it. However, he is a foot length further from the plate than Frank Robinson of Cincinnati.

BRANCH RICKEY

[Transcribed and reviewed by volunteers participating in the By The People project at crowd.loc.gov.]

It’s an interesting review of Aaron’s hitting, pretty much right in the middle of his MLB career.  Looking at the box score, Aaron went 2-for-4 with a homer and 2 RBIs in this game, but also struck out twice.

While I am too young to have ever watched Aaron’s hitting, what limited knowledge I have makes me think Rickey might not have been alone in his perception of him as a “guess hitter.”  At the same time, I would also wager that Aaron might have read pitches better than he sometimes let on.

If you’re interested, you can find the digital document on the Library of Congress website here.


This day in baseball: King and Robinson given honorary degrees

On June 7, 1957, Howard University awarded honorary Doctor of Law degrees to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to recently-retired Dodgers infielder Jackie Robinson. In the years that followed, the former baseball great and the Baptist minister frequently appeared together at Civil Rights rallies, fundraising events, and demonstrations.

MLK-Jackie-Robinson


This day in baseball: Joe Niekro’s home run

On May 29, 1976, Joe Niekro hit the only home run of his big league career, and he hit it off his older brother, Phil. Joe Niekro had a total of 973 at-bats in his career, and his one round-tripper contributed to a 4-3 win for the Astros over the Braves.

Joe_Niekro_-_Houston_Astros_-_1976 - Wikipedia

Joe Niekro in 1976 (Wikipedia)


Infographic: Triple Play Art

This graphic is really, really cool. Created via Tableau by Jacob Olsufka and Rody Zakovich, you can access the original, interactive version of the graphic here or by clicking the image below. Created in July 2017, the images take a unique look at the triple plays that had been turned in Major League Baseball history up to that point, and some pretty cool art results from that analysis.

Triple Play Art


This day in baseball: Boston’s losing streak ends

Boston Americans pitcher Jesse Tannehill notched a 3-0 victory over the White Sox on May 25, 1906, thus ending a 20-game losing streak for the Americans. The streak began with a 0-8 loss to the New York Highlanders on May 1, 1906 and included 19 losses at home. The Americans would end the 1906 season with a 49-105 record.

1900_Jesse_Tannehill - Wikipedia

Jesse Tannehill in 1900 (Wikipedia)


The Battle of Chavez Ravine

The move of the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles was before my time, and I sheepishly have to confess that I was not aware of this bit of history before I came across this short documentary by Vox. While these sorts of events are certainly not unique to Los Angeles, I do think it is important to ensure that episodes like this stay at the forefront of the public consciousness (or get introduced to folks who, like me, are not aware of these kinds of details).


This day in baseball: Dinneen’s no-hitters

On May 12, 1910, Athletics right-hander Chief Bender threw a 4-0 no-hitter at Shibe Park against the Cleveland Naps (Indians). Bender issued just one walk, spoiling his shot at a perfect game.

The home plate umpire for the game was Bill Dinneen, who tossed a no-hit game of his own against the White Sox while playing with the Pilgrims (Red Sox) on September 27, 1905. This performance by Chief Bender made Dinneen the only person in big league history to both throw a no-hitter and call one as an umpire. Dinneen served as home plate umpire for five total no-hitters in his career as an umpire.

1900_Bill_Dinneen.jpeg

Bill Dinneen (The Sporting News)