This day in baseball: The Pirates’ last game at Exposition Park

The Pittsburgh Pirates played their final game at Exposition Park against the Chicago Cubs on June 29, 1909. The Pirates won the game 8–1 in front of 5,545 spectators, with George Gibson collecting the final National League hit in the ballpark. The very next day, the Pirates once again played the Cubs, this time with the team opening up Forbes Field.

Exposition Park in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
Exposition Park in 1915 (public domain)

This day in baseball: Jackie Robinson’s first home steal

Jackie Robinson’s first major league steal of home plate came against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 24, 1947. The Brooklyn Dodgers would go on to win that game 4-2 over the Pirates at Forbes Field. Robinson would steal the dish a total of 19 times over the course of his career.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson (Pixabay)

 


This day in baseball: 9th inning scoring frenzy

In the ninth inning of a game played on June 20, 1912, the New York Giants and Boston Braves scored a whopping 17 runs combined. New York scored seven runs in the top of the frame, and the Braves scored ten runs in the bottom of the ninth. Unfortunately for Boston, this wasn’t enough to rally back as they lost the contest, 21-12.

baseball-reference.com

This day in baseball: Christy Mathewson’s second no-hitter

Christy Mathewson threw the second no-hitter of his career on June 13, 1905 to defeat the Chicago Orphans, 1-0. The Giants pitcher threw the no-no at West Side Ground in Chicago, where he and Mordecai Brown actually both had no-hitters going up until the ninth inning. In the top of the ninth, New York finally tapped Brown for two hits, thus stopping his bid for the feat.

Christy Mathewson (ESPN.com)


This day in baseball: Rocky Colavito hits 4 homers

On June 10, 1959, Rocky Colavito of the Indians belted four home runs in a single game, making him the sixth player in major league history to accomplish the feat, and just the second player in American League history to do so. Colavito’s achievement helped Cleveland defeat the Orioles, 11-8, at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.

Rocky Colavito, 1959 (Wikipedia)


This day in baseball: Shibe’s stance on lively baseballs

On June 5, 1920, in the midst of an explosion in the number of home runs being hit around the league, Philadelphia Athletics vice president Tom Shibe insisted that baseballs were not “livelier” that season and that the increase in round trippers could be attributed to the elimination of the spitball. Shibe also happened to be part owner of the Reach Baseball Company, which manufactured the league’s game balls. The only changes, Shibe would insist, consisted only of “improvements in the method of manufacture.”

Later, others would state that while Shibe may have truly believed his stance, it was those basic improvements to the baseball that likely had the unintended side effect of making it more elastic. In 1936, Jim Nasium would state, “The funny thing about it was that Tom Shibe, working only to improve the quality of the ball and make it more durable, never realized the effect that this would have on the playing of the game.”

Reach Baseball Company sign


This day in baseball: The first pinch-hit grand slam

The first pinch-hit grand slam in major league history was hit on June 3, 1902 by Mike O’Neill of the Cardinals. The right-handed pitcher (yes, a pitcher!) hit the blast in the 9th inning off Beaneaters pitcher Togie Pittinger to propel the Redbirds to a 11-9 victory over Boston at South End Grounds.

Mike O’Neill, c. 1925 (Wikipedia)


This day in baseball: President Taft attends a Pirates game

William Howard Taft became the first sitting U.S. President to attend a baseball game outside of Washington, D.C. on May 29, 1909. Taft joined 14,000 fans at Pittsburgh’s Exposition Park to watch the Pirates play the Cubs, though he didn’t bring the Pirates any good luck that day. The Bucs lost the contest, 8-3.

taft


This day in baseball: Intentionally walking Nap Lajoie

Going into the ninth inning against the White Sox on May 23, 1901, the Athletics were trailing 11-7, but managed to load the bases with nobody out. White Sox player-manager Clark Griffith put himself into the game and intentionally walked cleanup hitter Napoleon Lajoie, forcing in a run and cutting the lead to three.  The strategy proved successful when he induced the next three batters to ground out, thereby completing the 11-9 victory at Chicago’s South Side Park.

South_Side_Park_1907 - Wikipedia

South Side Park, 1907 (Chicago Daily News)


This day in baseball: First Sunday game in D.C.

The first Sunday baseball game ever played in the nation’s capital took place on May 19, 1918, five days after Congress voted in favor of lifting the ban in Washington, D.C. The Washington Senators defeated the Cleveland Indians, 1-0, in twelve innings in front of 15,352 fans at Griffith Stadium.

Griffith Stadium between 1909 and 1932 (Library of Congress)