On October 10, 1904, 41-game winner Jack Chesbro of the Highlanders let loose a wild pitch in the ninth inning of the final game of the season. This snapped a 2-2 tie, allowing Pilgrims right-hander Bill Dinneen to claim victory as the Boston team claimed the AL pennant. Dinneen finished the year having completed every game he started during the season, throwing 337.2 consecutive innings without relief during his streak of 37 consecutive complete games.
Ken Williams of the St. Louis Browns homered in his sixth consecutive game on August 2, 1922, setting what was at the time an American League record. However, the Browns still lost to the Athletics, 8-4, at Sportsman’s Park.
On July 21, 1921, the Yankees and the Indians hit a collective total of 21 doubles, establishing an American League record. Cleveland collected nine of the two-baggers, defeating New York 17-8 at League Park.
Cy Young threw the first perfect game in American League history on May 5, 1904. In the game, Young led the Red Sox to a 3-0 victory over Rube Waddell and the Philadelphia A’s. It also marked the first perfect game in the majors since 1893, when the distance from the mound to the plate was changed from 45 feet to 60 feet, 6 inches.
While the American League is known for its use of the designated hitter, they weren’t the first ones to ever have an interest in utilizing it. The Pacific Coast League once expressed an interest in implementing the allowance of a designated hitter even before the AL started using it. However, the PCL’s proposal to use the DH got rejected on March 31, 1961 by the Professional Baseball Rules Committee. The American League would begin using the DH in 1973.
Orioles infielder Cal Ripken, Jr. was awarded the American League Rookie of the Year on November 24, 1982. Ripken’s consecutive game streak had already begun at this point, sitting at 118 games at this point.
This piece was written by former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim ‘Mudcat’ Grant. In 1965, Grant became the first black pitcher to win 20 games in a season in the American League and the first black pitcher to win a World Series game for the American League, throwing two complete game World Series victories.
Life is like a game of baseball,
You play it every day.
It isn’t just the breaks you get,
But the kind of game you play.
So stop and look your whole team over,
And you’ll find dedication there.
You’re bound to be a winner,
With men who really care.
Your pitcher’s name is Courage,
You need him in the game.
For faith and trust your keystone men,
The grounders they will tame.
Your center fielder is very fast,
Though small and hard to see.
So watch him, son, when he gets,
The ball. He’s Opportunity.
In left field there’s Ambition,
Never let him shirk.
For in right field there’s a husky man,
I’m told his name is Work.
At first base there’s Religion,
He’s stood the test of time.
At third base there’s brotherhood,
The stalwart of the nine.
Your catcher’s name is Humor,
He’s important to the scheme.
For with honor warming in the bull pen,
The game is always clean.
With Love on the bench,
You’ve perfection no less.
With a winning team,
And joy and happiness.
Your other team is Strong, son,
Greed, Hatred, Envy and Defeat.
Are four strong infielders,
You’ll have to buck to make your game complete.
Deceitfulness and a man called Waste,
Are always playing hard.
Selfishness and jealousy,
None can you disregard.
Carelessness and Falsehood,
Are the big boys in the pen.
You’ll have to swing hard, son,
When you come up to them.
There’s one more man you’ll have to watch,
He’s always very near.
He’s the pitcher on that team,
And I’m told his name is Fear.
This game will not be easy,
There’ll be trouble, there’ll be strife.
To make the winning runs, my boy,
For this game is played on the field of life.
So stand behind your team, my boy,
There’ll be many who’ll applaud.
Just remember that you’re the player,
And the umpire here is God.