This day in baseball: 1957 NL pennant

Thanks to Hank Aaron’s 11th inning home run, the Milwaukee Braves defeated the Cardinals 4-2 to clinch the 1957 National League pennant.  It was the first time since the 1950 season that a team not from New York state finished first in the National League.  From 1951 to 1956, NL pennants were split between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants.

 

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Hank Aaron (Baseball Digest)

 


This day in baseball

Jim ‘Nixey’ Callahan threw the White Sox’s first no-hitter in franchise history on September 20, 1902, defeating the Tigers, 2-0.  In addition to pitching in eight out of his thirteen Major League seasons, Callahan was a utility player who also played left field.

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Nixey Callahan (Library of Congress)


The Pride of the Yankees

I was a teenager when I first watched this movie and came across a copy while browsing around the library this weekend.  Feeling like I was overdue to re-watch it, I decided to check it out.

The Pride of the Yankees was released in 1942 and is subtitled “The Life of Lou Gehrig.”  Starring Gary Cooper as Gehrig, Teresa Wright as his wife Eleanor, and Babe Ruth as himself, it chronicles events of Gehrig’s life, from boyhood to his iconic speech at Yankee Stadium at the end of his career.  The movie is much more touchy-feely and relationship-focused than it is a baseball biography.  There is certainly baseball in the movie — after all, how could there not be? — but emphasis falls more on Gehrig’s relationships with his parents and with his wife.

The complete turnaround in Gehrig’s mother’s attitude towards baseball is certainly one of my favorite aspects of the plot.  In the beginning, Mrs. Gehrig is determined that her son will become an engineer, only wishing for him a better life than she had.  When Gehrig signs with the Yankees out of Columbia, she is naturally disappointed.  However, Gehrig’s solid play and eventual stardom win her over, and by the end, she insists that anybody can be an engineer, but there is only one Lou Gehrig.

Gehrig’s “luckiest man” speech, both the original and the movie version, is so moving that anybody with a heart can’t help but be moved to tears.  The movie as a whole revolves around the pulling of heart strings, from Gehrig’s too-good-to-be-true relationship with Eleanor, to the story of hitting two home runs for little Billy in the hospital, to the speech at the end.  Certainly it was intended much more as a feel-good tale than a baseball movie.  The movie ran a bit longer than I remembered it going (a little over two hours), but as a whole, was definitely worth watching once again.

Pride of the Yankees


This day in baseball: Doubleheader streak

On September 15, 1928, the Boston Braves played their ninth consecutive doubleheader.  During the streak, which began on September 4th, the Braves lost five in a row, including four to the Giants.

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Boston Braves 1928 cap logo (sportslogos.net)


This day in baseball

In the first game of a double-header on September 10, 1919, Cleveland right-hander Ray Caldwell no-hit the New York Yankees, 3-0.  After having been released by the Red Sox in July of that year, Caldwell won five of his six starts with the Indians, posting an ERA of 1.71.

 

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Ray Caldwell (sabr.org)

 


This day in baseball

Elmer Smith of the Indians collected seven extra-base hits in just two days, establishing a Major League record on September 5, 1921.  The streak of hits included four home runs and three doubles in the two days.

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Elmer Smith (Library of Congress)

 


This day in baseball

Chicago pitcher Ed Walsh, Sr. no-hit the Red Sox, 5-0, on August 27, 1911 at Comiskey Park.  Walsh was particularly known for his use of the spitball.  According to Hall of Famer Sam Crawford: “Big Ed Walsh. Great big, strong, good-looking fellow. He threw a spitball. I think that ball disintegrated on the way to the plate, and the catcher put it back together again. I swear, when it went past the plate, it was just the spit went by.”

 

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Wikipedia