In a spring exhibition game on March 23, 1934, Babe Didrikson pitched the first inning for the St. Louis Cardinals. The female track and field Olympian gave up three runs against the Red Sox in Bradenton, Florida.
I haven’t done the research to determine just how far back the tradition of baseball teams wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day truly goes, but some believe that it may go back quite a ways. The 1899 Philadelphia Phillies introduced their new, green-trimmed uniforms on March 17th, a move that garnered headlines. Considering the Phillies wore these uniforms for the rest of the season, there remains some debate as to whether this could truly be considered a nod to St. Patrick’s Day. The modern tradition of wearing green on this day wouldn’t emerge until 1978, beginning with the Cincinnati Reds.
On March 15, 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the baseball’s first professional team when the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) agreed to allow compensated players to participate. Harry Wright assembled a ten-man team, all of whom were given a salary through November. The Red Stockings finished the season with a 57–0 record, marking the only perfect season in professional baseball history.
During World War II, Philadelphia Athletics catcher Harry O’Neill was killed by a sniper at Iwo Jima on March 6, 1945. O’Neill had only appeared in one game for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1939. O’Neill and Elmer Gedeon were the only two Major League Baseball players killed during World War II.
On the first day of spring training, March 1, 1954, Ted Williams broke his collarbone running after a line drive. Williams would be out for six weeks, and in April he wrote an article with Joe Reichler of the Saturday Evening Post saying that he intended to retire at the end of the season. Williams instead returned to the Red Sox lineup on May 7th, and during the 1954 season he hit .345 with 386 at bats in 117 games.
Shortstop George Wright signed with the Boston Red Caps on February 22, 1880 — his second stint with the team, having previously played with the Red Caps in 1876-1878. The 1880 contract allowed Wright not to travel with the team on western road trips, stipulating that he would participate only in games played in New England and Troy. The arrangement allowed the future Hall of Famer to devote more time to his sporting goods business.
On February 17, 1937, the New York Yankees purchased the contract of Babe Dahlgren from the Boston Red Sox. Dahlgren would go on to replace Lou Gehrig in the Yankees lineup at the end of the Iron Horse’s consecutive game streak in 1939. During his four-year tenure with the Bronx Bombers, Dahlgren would compile a .248 batting average in 1,143 at-bats before being bought by the Boston Braves.
On February 11, 2001 at 8:03 a.m., Three Rivers Stadium was imploded using 4,800 pounds of dynamite in 2,500 spots placed throughout the former home of the Pirates and NFL’s Steelers. Over 20,000 people viewed the implosion from Point State Park, and thousands more watched from various points throughout Pittsburgh. Roberto Clemente’s 3,000th hit and Mike Schmidt’s 500th career home run are part of the historic legacy of the 30-year-old sports venue.
While coaching a high school basketball team on February 9, 1946, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Preacher Roe got into a fight with the referee that resulted in him hitting his head on the floor and fracturing his skull. As a result, the southpaw would report to spring training a month late, and his pitching suffered during the season, with his record falling to 3–8 and posting an ERA of 5.14 in 1946.
On February 4, 1956, Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick introduced the Cy Young Memorial Award in memory of the Hall of Fame pitcher, who died the previous year. The award was established as a way of honoring the outstanding major league pitcher of the year. The first recipient would be Don Newcombe, who posted a 27-7 record and a 3.06 ERA for the Dodgers during the 1956 season.