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)


Phil Rizzuto’s Hall of Fame induction speech

Philip Francis Rizzuto was born September 25, 1917, and he spent his entire 13-year major league career (1941-1956) with the New York Yankees. During that time, the Yankees won an astonishing 10 American League pennants and seven World Championships.

From 1943 to 1945, Rizzuto spent some time away from MLB for a stint in the military, serving in the United States Navy during World War II. During those two years, he played on a Navy baseball team, alongside Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese.

In 1950, Rizzuto was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player. He was known as a terrific defensive player, with 1,217 career double plays and a .968 career fielding average.

After his playing career, Rizzuto enjoyed a 40-year career as a radio and television sports announcer for the Yankees. He was particularly known for his trademark expression, “Holy cow!”

Phil Rizzuto was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994. He died in his sleep on August 13, 2007.

Rizzuto’s induction speech is a hoot. Enjoy!


This day in baseball: The first American League shutout

On May 15, 1901, Washington Senators pitcher Watty Lee threw the first shutout in American League history, blanking the Boston Americans, 4-0. Lee, a 21-year-old southpaw, would finish the season with a 16-16 record and would be responsible for two of the eight shutouts to occur in the AL’s opening season.

The game’s complete box score can be found here.

Watty Lee with Newark Indians in 1911

Watty Lee with Newark Indians, 1911 (Library of Congress)


This day in baseball: Bock Baker gives up 23 singles

In a game against the Chicago White Stockings on April 28, 1901, Cleveland Blues pitcher Bock Baker gave up 23 singles, which allowed Chicago to cruise to a 13-1 victory over the Blues. As a result, Baker was tagged with the dubious record for giving up the most singles by an American League pitcher in a game, a record that still stands to this day.

Cleveland Blues 1901 logo - sportslogos.net

Cleveland Blues, 1901 logo (sportslogos.net)


This day in baseball: The New York Highlanders join the American League

At a conference held on March 12, 1903, Ban Johnson requested that an American League team be placed in New York to play alongside the National League’s Giants. 15 of the 16 major league owners agreed to the request to move the Baltimore team to the Big Apple, with the one dissenting vote coming from Giants owner John T. Brush. The Orioles’ new owners, Frank J. Farrell and William S. Devery, moved the team to New York that year, where they became known as the New York Highlanders.

Hilltop park 1903

Hilltop Park, 1903, home of the Highlanders (Wikipedia)


This day in baseball: A DH proposal

In an effort to speed up the game and add more offense, on December 11, 1928, National League president John Heydler proposed instituting a designated batter for the pitcher. The American League oppose the idea, however, and the NL withdrew the proposal before it could get to Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis to break the deadlock.

John Heydler 1918 - The Sporting News

John Heydler, 1918 (The Sporting News)


This day in baseball: Joe Mauer named AL MVP

Joe Mauer was named Most Valuable Player for the American League on November 23, 2009. In spite of missing the first month of the season with a back injury, Mauer received 27 of 28 first place votes from the BBWAA to become the fifth Twin in history to earn MVP honors.

Joe Mauer in 2008 - Wikipedia

Joe Mauer in 2008 (Wikipedia)


This day in baseball: Addie Joss’s perfect game

On October 2, 1908, Addie Joss of the Cleveland Naps pitched a perfect game against the Chicago White Sox. Joss’s performance was the fourth perfect game in Major League Baseball history, and the second in American League history. Joss pitched in front of a crowd of 10,598 at League Park, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Addie Joss - LoC

Addie Joss (Library of Congress)


“Vida Blue,” Albert Jones

Vida Blue was a left-handed pitcher who is primarily known as a vital member of the Oakland Athletics dynasty that won three consecutive World Series championships from 1972 to 1974. Blue won the American League Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player Award in 1971, and he was the first pitcher ever to  start the All-Star Game for both the American League (1971) and the National League (1978).

This tribute by Albert Jones was released in 1971.


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