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)


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)


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)


This day in baseball: The Big Unit’s perfect game

On May 18, 2004, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson threw a perfect game, beating the Atlanta Braves 2-0 at Turner Field in Atlanta before a crowd of 23,381. Johnson, at 40 years old, was the oldest pitcher in MLB history to throw a perfect game, surpassing Cy Young who was 37 when he threw his perfect game in 1904. The game was also Johnson’s second career no-hitter, the first taking place on June 2, 1990 against the Detroit Tigers when Johnson was pitching for the Seattle Mariners.

Randy_Johnson 2008 - Wikipedia

Randy Johnson in 2008 (Wikipedia)


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.

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Bill Dinneen (The Sporting News)


This day in baseball: Raschi balks four times

On May 3, 1950, Vic Raschi of the New York Yankees balked four times in a single game against the Chicago White Sox. Raschi was reportedly bothered by a new rule requiring “a one-second stop before delivery with men on base.” Despite the four balks, not to mention Raschi giving up ten hits and four walks, the Yankees won the game. Raschi somehow kept the White Sox to just three runs, despite all the baserunners. The Yankees scored four runs and won the game 4-3, thanks mostly to three RBIs from Phil Rizzuto.

Raschi’s four balks in one game is part of a seven-way tie for second place. In first place is Bob Shaw, who balked five times in a game in 1963. This one game against the White Sox accounts for four of the eight times Vic Raschi balked in his entire career.

Vic_Raschi_1953 - Wikipedia

Vic Raschi in 1953 (Wikipedia)


This day in baseball: Philadelphia A’s debut in the AL

On April 26, 1901 at Philadelphia’s Columbia Park, 10,547 fans witnessed Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics making their American League debut, losing to the Senators, 5-1. The Western League had been renamed the American League in 1900 by league president Ban Johnson and declared itself the second major league in 1901. Philadelphia’s new franchise, led by Mack, had been created to compete with the National League’s Philadelphia Phillies.

connie mack

National Baseball Hall of Fame Library/Major League Baseball/Getty Images


This day in baseball: First White Sox game

At Schorling’s Park on Chicago’s south side, the minor league White Sox played their first game in franchise history on April 21, 1900. The Sox ended up losing the contest to Milwaukee, 5-4. The small wooden ballpark, located at 39th and Princeton, was also known as South Side Park, and would continue to be the home stadium for the team when they joined the American League the following season.

South_Side_Park_1907 - Wikipedia

South Side Park, 1907 (Chicago Daily News)


This day in baseball: Harding’s first pitch

President Warren G. Harding threw out the ceremonial first pitch before a Washington Senators game held on April 13, 1921, at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. Washington ended up losing to the Red Sox, 6-3, making this the first time in six Opening Days contests the Senators have lost with the President of the United States throwing out the first pitch.

Warren Harding first pitch - LoC

Library of Congress