On October 23, 1951, Associated Press named New York Giants skipper Leo Durocher as the Manager of the Year. Under Durocher’s leadership, the Giants rallied from a 13 1/2-game deficit in mid-August to win the National League pennant. New York’s comeback was capped off against the Dodgers, in a three-game playoff series best remembered for Bobby Thomson’s fabled home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the deciding game at the Polo Grounds.
In spite of a couple delays in the Division Series games, the winners of each series have been determined, and tonight kicks off the American League and National League Championship Series. Here is the schedule for the ALCS and NLCS, all times Eastern.
Tuesday, Oct. 18
NLCS Game 1, Phillies @ Padres, 8:03 p.m., FS1
Wednesday, Oct. 19
NLCS Game 2, Phillies @ Padres, 4:35 p.m., FOX or FS1
ALCS Game 1, Yankees @ Astros, 7:37 p.m., TBS
Thursday, Oct. 20
ALCS Game 2, Yankees @ Astros, 7:37 p.m., TBS
Friday, Oct. 21
NLCS Game 3, Padres @ Phillies, 7:37 p.m., FS1
Saturday, Oct. 22
ALCS Game 3, Astros @ Yankees, 5:07 p.m., TBS
NLCS Game 4, Padres @ Phillies, 7:45 p.m., FOX
Sunday, Oct. 23
NLCS Game 5, Padres @ Phillies, 2:37 p.m., FS1 (if necessary)
ALCS Game 4, Astros @ Yankees, 7:07 p.m., TBS
Monday, Oct. 24
ALCS Game 5, Astros @ Yankees, 4:07 p.m., TBS (if necessary)
NLCS Game 6, Phillies @ San Diego, 8:03 p.m., FS1 (if necessary)
Tuesday, Oct. 25
ALCS Game 6, Yankees @ Astros, 6:07 p.m., TBS (if necessary)
NLCS Game 7, Phillies @ Padres, 8:03 p.m., FOX or FS1 (if necessary)
Wednesday, Oct. 26
ALCS Game 7, Yankees @ Astros, 7:37 p.m., TBS (if necessary)
On September 24, 1922, Cardinals outfielder Rogers Hornsby hit two home runs off Giant hurlers — one each off brothers Jesse Barnes and Virgil Barnes. The blasts enabled Hornsby to set what was, at the time, the National League record for round-trippers in a season with 42.
In baseball’s early days, a batted ball that bounced once before clearing the fence was considered a home run. The last “bounced” home run in major league history was hit by Al Lopez of the Brooklyn Dodgers on September 12, 1930, at Ebbets Field. At the start of the 1931 season, the National League would join the American League, which had enacted the rule change in 1929, awarding a ground-rule double to the player who hits the ball over the fence on a bounce.
You know how the foul poles at a ballfield have those screen extensions sticking out of them? Those screens were born on July 15, 1939. National League president Ford Frick ordered the two-foot screens affixed inside all foul poles following a dispute between Billy Jurges of the Giants and umpire George Magerkurth. It seems that Jurges and Magerkurth spit at each other after a disputed call down the left-field line at the Polo Grounds. The American League would install the screens on the foul poles in their own ballparks shortly thereafter.
Spec Shea became the first rookie pitcher to win an All-Star Game on July 8, 1947, when the American League defeated the National League, 2-1. In the game, Shea pitched the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings in relief for Hal Newhouser. The New York Yankees hurler allowed one earned run and was declared the winning pitcher.
The Pittsburgh Pirates played their final game at Exposition Park against the Chicago Cubs on June 29, 1909. The Pirates won the game 8–1 in front of 5,545 spectators, with George Gibson collecting the final National League hit in the ballpark. The very next day, the Pirates once again played the Cubs, this time with the team opening up Forbes Field.
Mike Schmidt played 18 seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies, and in that time, Schmidt was a 12-time All-Star and a three-time National League MVP. Over the course of his career, Schmidt hit 548 home runs, including 40 or more home runs in three separate seasons and 30 or more home runs in ten other seasons. He also won ten Gold Glove Awards and was named The Sporting News Player of the Decade for the 1980s.
Mike Schmidt was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995. In his induction speech below, I particularly like Schmidt’s discussions on positive encouragement for kids and on the need for baseball to reconnect with its fans.
The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs formed on February 2, 1876 with eight charter teams located in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Hartford, Louisville, New York, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. After playing the 1876 season in Hartford, Connecticut, the Hartford Dark Blues played the 1877 season in Brooklyn as the Brooklyn Hartfords before disbanding at the end of the season.
The National League’s formation meant the end of the old National Association, which lasted only five seasons. The remaining clubs in the NA shut down or reverted to amateur or minor league status.
In the wake of the death of Charles H. Byrne, team secretary Charles Ebbets became president of the Bridegrooms (Dodgers) on January 4, 1898. The team’s future owner also managed the Brooklyn team for the last 110 games of the season, finishing tenth among the twelve teams of the National League.