On July 20, 1926, outfielder Al Simmons of the A’s established an American League record by playing in 394 consecutive games to start his career. The record held until Hideki Matsui played in 518 straight games after signing as a Japanese free agent with the Yankees, surpassing Simmons’s mark in 2005.
In August 1976, the Chicago White Sox wore shorts for three games. A friend shared this video with me, wondering if I had known this little tidbit, which I did not (learn something new every day!).
1976 marked the return of owner Bill Veeck, who had previously served as Sox owner from 1959-61. Keeping in line with his reputation as a promoter with wild ideas, on March 9, 1976, Veeck unveiled the new White Sox uniforms. They featured a long pullover top with a garish faux collar. But what really got people’s attentions were the shorts.
About the shorts, Veeck insisted, “They are not garish. Like my wife Mary Frances said, they have understated elegance. … Players should not worry about their vanity, but their comfort. If it’s 95 degrees out, an athlete should be glad to put on short pants and forget his bony knees. Hell, I’ve got a worse looking knee than any of my players. It’s solid wood.”
The shorts debuted on August 8th, in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Royals at Comiskey Park. The White Sox collected seven hits — all singles — and won the game 5-2. They switched back to regular pants for Game 2 of the doubleheader and lost 7-1. The shorts would not appear again until later that month, on August 21-22 against the Orioles. In total, the White Sox won 2 out of 3 games played in the shorts.
The video below shows footage from the game against the Royals, in which the shorts made their infamous debut.
Here’s an interesting, even amusing, ad that I stumbled across from the June 1940 issue of Popular Science. The ad features an image of Joe DiMaggio kissing a Louisville Slugger baseball bat, the bat itself bearing a replica of DiMaggio’s signature. The text in the ad reads:
“A ballplayer and his Louisville Slugger are like a man and his dog —INSEPARABLE PALS”— says Joe DiMaggio, Famous Yankee home run slugger and A.L. Champion last season.
Go to your dealer’s and look over the 1940 Genuine Autographed Louisville Sluggers. Your favorite ballplayer’s personally autographed bat is among them!
Free 1940 FAMOUS SLUGGER YEAR BOOK
from your dealer or send 5c in stamps or coin to Dept. Z-34
Hillerich & Bradsby Co., Louisville, Ky.
GENUINE Autographed LOUISVILLE SLUGGER BATS
Hillerich & Bradsby Co.
On July 8, 1939, prior to the first game of a doubleheader with the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, a horde of Japanese beetles formed a wall in front of the home dugout. Over 5,000 insects were captured in the process of fending off the insects, however, the problem would return later in that same month.
On July 2, 1930, Carl Reynolds became just the second player in major league history to homer in three consecutive innings. Reynolds went deep in the first three innings of a contest against the Yankees, leading the White Sox to a 15-4 victory. The Chicago outfielder’s performance included two inside-the-park homers, and he collected 8 RBIs in the game.
The box score for the game can be found here.
Here’s a fun documentary short about Dusty Baker. I had never stopped to think about the origins of the high five before. It’s one of those things that I always took for granted, but I guess that, like all things, it had to start somewhere.
According to the description for this video, this song was transferred from a 45 RPM record from the 1960s. Listening to it certainly makes me feel like I’ve stepped back in time. I get this mental image of men in colorful jackets and women in knee-length skirts walking excitedly towards Cleveland Stadium.
On June 25, 1904, the Concord Marines of the Class B New England League brought their nine-year-old mascot into the game after the ejection of the team’s centerfielder and their second baseman becoming ill. Diggins thus became the youngest professional player in the history of the game. However, the youngster did not have an opportunity to field any balls playing right field, and he struck out in his only at-bat in the contest played at Alumni Field (also known as Spalding Park).
Diggins may not have had the opportunity to impress, but his appearance in the game did earn him a sparsely populated Baseball Reference page.
On June 23, 1915, Bruno Haas of the Philadelphia Athletics pitched a complete game against the Yankees at Shibe Park. Haas lost the contest 15-7, however, giving up 16 walks over those 9 innings. It is a post-1900 record for a 9-inning game that stands to this day.
Records for most walks in a game are shown below, courtesy of Baseball Almanac.
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.