This day in baseball: High-hit shutout

In the second game of a doubleheader on August 12, 1921, the Phillies’ right-handed pitcher George Smith gave up 12 hits, and yet he still managed to pitch a shutout against the Boston Braves, winning 4-0.  Smith had also started the first game of the doubleheader, but in that game, he gave up three runs on four hits and was taken out in the second inning.

george smith

Baseball Reference


This day in baseball: Johnson’s first win

Walter Johnson won his first major league game on August 7, 1907.  At the age of 19, Johnson led the Senators to a 7-2 victory over the Indians. He would go on to compile a 417-279 (.599) record during his 21-year career, with an ERA of 2.17.

walter johnson


This day in baseball: Twenty-one hits

On July 30, 1917, the Tigers collected twenty-one hits en route to a 16-4 rout of Washington.  Ty Cobb, Bobby Veach, and Ossie Vitt, who were batting second, third, and fourth in the order, respectively, each came up with a 5-for-5 day at the plate.

Bobby_Veach_1925

Bobby Veach (Wikipedia)


Ted Williams documentary on PBS

Ted Williams American Masters

I managed to watch PBS’s documentary on Ted Williams last night: American Masters – Ted Williams: “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived.”  I found the documentary fascinating, even learning a couple things along the way.

The episode opens with Ted Williams’s return to civilian life after the Korean War.  After seriously considering spending the rest of his life fishing after the war, Williams opted to return to baseball.  Ted Williams, the documentary shows, was so obsessed with baseball, and especially with hitting, that his obsession permeated all aspects of his life.  He also was infamous for his temper, often getting into it with reporters and refusing to tip his cap.  These things combined made him, at times, a difficult man to get along with, even within his family.

The episode covered, briefly, some details of Williams’s youth, including his strained relationship with his parents.  It also touches on many of the things you would expect a Ted Williams documentary to cover, including the 1941 season, his service in two wars, comparisons between him and Joe DiMaggio, and the final season — and at-bat — of his career.

Something I learned — which I was glad about, as I’m always happy to learn new things — was that Ted Williams was also quite the fisherman.  According to the documentary, Williams is in two fishing halls of fame (which halls of fame was either not mentioned or I missed it).  He was so meticulously detailed about this hobby that he would cut fish open to see what they ate in order to create baits that mimicked those foods.  He would then keep a log to determine what worked and what did not work.  It was the same kind of obsession and attention to detail that contributed to his success as a hitter.

The documentary includes interviews with Williams’s daughter, Claudia, and other family members, as well as with various baseball personalities: writers, historians, broadcasters, and former and current players.  If there is a shortcoming, it is that the documentary seems to bounce around quite a bit, which made it feel somewhat scattered.  I think part of this was due to the brevity of the show.  One hour is hardly long enough to go into any real depth regarding any one man’s life, especially a man like Ted Williams.


Quote of the day

By any reasonable standard (i.e. he didn’t cheat), Aaron is one of the greatest sluggers in baseball history—and there shouldn’t even be a debate about who is baseball’s true all-time home run champion (again, no cheating).

~Tucker Elliot

Tucker Elliot

Tucker Elliot (tuckerelliot.com)


This day in baseball: Hendrick the hero

On July 21, 1930, Harvey Hendrick of the Brooklyn Robins entered the game as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals.  He hit a three-run homer to give the Robins a dramatic 9-8 come-from-behind victory at Ebbets Field in the first game of a double-header.

Harvey Hendrick

Hendrick (Wikipedia)


Ted Williams: “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” on PBS

I have had a couple of people share this with me, and it certainly seems worth sharing here.  This coming Monday, July 23rd, PBS will be playing a documentary about Ted Williams.  The film is part of the American Masters series being featured by PBS and is scheduled to air at 8 pm Central time on Monday.  It looks fascinating, and I am looking forward to watching it.

The preview trailer is below, and more information about the documentary can be found here.