This day in baseball: Connor’s switch-hit debut

Though he had been hitting as a lefty throughout his career, on August 7, 1893, New York Giants first baseman Roger Connor stepped up to the plate right-handed for the first time against a left-handed Brooklyn Bridegrooms pitcher.  The right side of the plate turned out to be lucky for Connor that day, as he belted two homers and a single en route to a 10-3 win.

I did a small bit of poking around regarding Connor’s switch-hitting, and while specific details seem hard to find, I notice that some sites have him listed as a left-handed hitter while others list him as a switch-hitter.  A case can be made either way, it seems.

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Roger Connor (sabr.org)


This day in baseball: Yellow baseballs

For the first game of a doubleheader played on August 2, 1938, Larry MacPhail had official baseballs dyed dandelion yellow, and the balls were used in the matchup between the Dodgers and Cardinals at Ebbets Field.  The inspiration for this yellow ball came from a New York color engineer named Frederic H. Rahr, who developed it after Mickey Cochrane was severely beaned at the plate the previous year.

“My primary object is to give the hitter more safety and there’s no question that this will be achieved,” said Rahr. “That’s simply because the batter will be striking at a ball he can see instead of at a white object that blurs with the background.”

The Dodgers won that opening game with the yellow baseballs by a score of 6-2.  The Dodgers went on to use up their yellow balls in three more games in 1939, but the yellow balls would not get used again after that season.

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National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum


This day in baseball: Horton’s walk-off blast

In the bottom of the 12th inning on July 28, 1967, Tony Horton hit a walk-off homer to break up a scoreless pitching duel between Indians pitcher Steve Hargan and Orioles’ right-hander Moe Drabowsky.  Drabowsky had allowed only six hits in the extra-inning contest at Cleveland Stadium.  Horton’s dinger helped the Indians to break a five-game losing streak.

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Horton with the Red Sox in 1966 (Public Domain)


This day in baseball: Slim steals home

Slim Sallee became the first pitcher in Cardinal history to steal home on July 22, 1913 in a game against the Brooklyn Superbas.  The Redbird lefty  performed the feat in the game’s third inning, scoring the first run in St. Louis’s 3-1 victory over Brooklyn at Ebbets Field.

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Slim Sallee in 1911 (Library of Congress)


This day in baseball: Thompson’s MLB debut

Less than two weeks after Larry Doby’s debut with the Indians, Hank Thompson became the second black player to debut in the American League on July 17, 1947.  In the game, Thompson went 0-for-4 as the Browns suffered a 16-2 loss to Philadelphia at Sportsman’s Park.  Thompson would play in only 27 games for St. Louis because his presence did not significantly raise attendance.

Hank Thompson

Hank Thompson (nlbm.mlbblogs.com)


This day in baseball: 1939 All-Star Game

The 1939 All-Star Game was held on July 11th at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, where the American League defeated the National League, 3-1.  Two of the three AL runs were driven in by Yankees players (the third was an unearned run scored on an error), including a DiMaggio home run.  Indians pitcher Bob Feller, only twenty years old at the time, threw 3.2 scoreless innings to earn the save.

The box score for the game can be found here.

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Bob Feller (Wikimedia Commons)


This day in baseball: Holmes’s hit streak continues

On July 6, 1945, Braves outfielder Tommy Holmes hit safely in his 34th consecutive game, surpassing Rogers Hornsby’s modern National League record set in 1922.  Holmes would extend the streak to 37 consecutive games, with this mark lasting until Pete Rose surpassed it 33 years later in 1978 with a 44-game streak.

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Holmes in 1952 (Public Domain)


This day in baseball: Cy Young dominates again

In a game against the White Sox at Chicago’s South Side Park on July 1, 1902, Boston Americans pitcher Cy Young drove in the only run of the game.  Young’s shutout performance from the mound is his fourth consecutive complete game without allowing a run and is also the right-hander’s third 1-0 victory in nine days.

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Cy Young (Bain News Service)


This day in baseball: Ironman’s double loss

Boston Beaneaters pitcher Wiley Piatt lost both games of a doubleheader to the St. Louis Cardinals on June 25, 1903.  Piatt pitched a complete game in each contest, making him the first pitcher in the 20th century to pitch two complete games in one day and lose them both.  Fittingly, Piatt was known as “Ironman” to his teammates.

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Wiley Piatt (public domain)


This day in baseball: Rhoden starts as DH

On June 11, 1988, New York Yankees manager Billy Martin decided to use starting pitcher Rick Rhoden as the Yankees’ starting designated hitter. Rhoden went 0–1 with an RBI on a sacrifice fly in his lone plate appearance, batting seventh in the lineup. He was the first pitcher to start a game at DH since the American League’s adoption of the DH rule in 1973. José Cruz would later pinch hit for Rhoden as the Yankees went on to an 8–6 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Rick_Rhoden_New_York_Yankees

Public domain