Rogers Hornsby was traded from the New York Giants to the Boston Braves on January 10, 1928. Giants owner Charles Stoneham had grown weary of Hornsby’s abrasive manner and gambling habits, and opted to trade Hornsby for catching prospect Shanty Hogan and outfielder Jimmy Welsh. During Hornsby’s season in Boston, he led the major leagues in hitting with a .387 batting average plus a .498 on-base-percentage, all while managing the club.
On September 20, 1907 at Exposition Park, Pittsburgh pitcher Nick Maddox tossed a no-hitter against the Brooklyn Superbas (Dodgers) to win, 2-1. At the age of 20 years and ten months, the Pirates hurler was the youngest pitcher and only the second rookie to throw a no-hitter. Maddox’s feat would also be the last no-hitter thrown by a Pittsburgh pitcher until 1951, when Cliff Chambers threw one against the Braves.
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.
On February 20, 1923, Christy Mathewson and Giants attorney Emil Fuchs put together a syndicate to buy the Boston Braves for $300,000. Mathewson would become the principal owner and team president. However, the future Hall of Famer’s deteriorating health reduced him little more than a figurehead, and the presidency would be turned over to Fuchs at the end of the season.
Cy Young pitched his final game on October 6, 1911 at the age of 44 years, 191 days. Unfortunately, Young’s final appearance did not prove fitting in light of the rest of his illustrious career. Young and the Braves lost to the Brooklyn Dodgers, 13-3. The game was the 906th of Cy Young’s career.
On July 6, 1945, Braves outfielder Tommy Holmes hit safely in his 34th consecutive game, surpassing Rogers Hornsby’s modern National League record set in 1922. Holmes would extend the streak to 37 consecutive games, with this mark lasting until Pete Rose surpassed it 33 years later in 1978 with a 44-game streak.
While this is far from a comprehensive collection of “lost” teams in baseball history, this short clip provides an interesting look at the St. Louis Browns, Boston Braves, and Philadelphia Athletics. Being the number two team in your own city is never an easy position to overcome.
The New York Giants hit four inside-the-park home runs at Braves Field on April 29, 1922, en route to a 15-4 victory over Boston. George Kelly collected a pair of inside-the-parkers, and Ross Youngs and Dave Bancroft contributed the other two scoring dashes around the bases. You can find the box score and play-by-play recap of the game here.
After swearing at umpire Mal Eason on September 10, 1914, Braves shortstop Johnny Evers wound up with a three-day suspension from baseball. Evers, however, insisted that he had been talking to the ball and not the umpire.
On June 15, 1938, Johnny Vander Meer of the Cincinnati Reds became the only pitcher in major league history to pitch two consecutive no-hitters. Four days earlier, the left-handed Vander Meer held the Braves hitless at Crosley Field, leading the Reds to a 3-0 victory. Then, on June 15th, he defeated the Dodgers at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, 6-0.