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Unforgettable Moments in Baseball
Baseball's top rookies class of 68
Baseball America's Game
Baseball is full of historic achievements, some have helped shaped the game as we know it today. There's no way you could include all the great events or feats of a game with so much tradition. Every year millions of fans flock to the ball parks to see their favorite teams come to battle their rivals in hopes of their team making the World Series. I grew up just a few miles from Bradenton's spring training park. We would hang out where the players entered the field to get a glimpse of our heros or maybe an autograph. I still love the ballpark, the look on a kids face as they get a stray ball from the stands, the smell of hotdogs and cotton candy. There's no place that makes you feel closer to the boy's of summer. Here's a month by month summary of some of baseballs biggest moments.
April, opening day and the thrill of a new season, has given us several games to remember. Bob Feller back on 4/16/1940 became the first Major League pitcher to throw an opening day no-hitter, in a 1-0 win over the Chicago Whitesox. Another opening day gem came on 4/4/1974, at Riverfront stadium in Cincinnati. Hank Aaron ties Babe Ruth with homer #714 on the first swing of the season off pitcher Jack Billingham. The following season on April 8th, history was made when Frank Robinson, officially became baseball's first black manager.
Some of April's other big moments include Roger Clemens 4/29/1986 performanc. He broke the record of 19 K's, held by Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton by striking out 20 men in 9 innings. On April 17,1953 Mickey Mantle's 565ft blast over the outer wall of Washington's Griffth Stadium is what some call the longest in history. The switch hitting Mantle was batting right handed when he hit the the football scoreboard 460ft away,atop a 50ft outer wall, the ball might have sailed farther had it managed to clear the barrier.
First night game
Baseball lights up- may 24th,1935 was baseball's first night game. The historic game played at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. The game featured Phillies VS Reds but turned into more of a side show, the game was filled with fireworks and multiple pre-game attractions. President FDR pushed a button back in Washington,D.C. to fire up the stadium lights. Another big moment came, May 28,1957, when Major League owners voted to allow baseball to expand to the west coast with the Dodgers and Giants moving to LA, and SF.
Lou Gehrig's legendary streak comes to an end on 5/2/1939. The Iron man's streak of 2130 consecutive games finally is ended. During the streak Gehrig batted .340 BA, 493 HRs, and 1976 RBI's. Cal Ripken Jr., does go on years later to break the consecutive game streak but, his numbers are no where near that of Gehrig's.
On May,1, 1991, Nolan Ryan at 44yrs of age, showed he still had plenty of arm left, throwing the 7th no-hitter of his career. Ryan also has thrown 12, 1 hit games and has 26 games with 15 or more strike outs. I've never seen another pitcher that could dominate like Nolan when his game was on.
June has some of baseball's best pitching feats, along with the retirement of a legend. June,2,1935 marks the retirement of baseball's biggest name, Babe Ruth. After Babe Ruth belted 3 homers at Forbes Field, a park no one had yet hit one out of, including homer #714, he then asked to be placed on baseballs voluntary retirement. The Bambino retired with every conceivable slugging record and went out with a standing ovation.
The greatest relief appearance, happens on June, 23,1917. Starter Babe Ruth is ejected for arguing balls and strikes after walking the first batter. Boston's Ernie Shore, not even expecting to pitch, is perfect in a 27 out relief appearance. Ernie only had 2K's but still managed to handcuff the Washington Senators.
Cincy's Johnny Vander Meer stunned the baseball world on June, 15, 1938 by throwing his second consecutive no-hitter. Before this no one had thrown more than 1 no-hitter in a single season. Talk about shutting down your opponents, Don Drysdale on June 8,1968, set a Major League record pitching 58 scoreless inning in a row.
July is know for baseballs All-Star game, the first one came on 7/6/1933, at Chicago's Comisky Park, billed as " The Game of the Century". The highlights included the Yankee's Bambino belting the first home run to lead the AL to a 4-2 victory. It was typical of Ruth always a showman for the large crowd.
Cleveland's Cy Young, became the first 500 game winner on July,19,1910. Cy Young holder of most records during his era, was a 5 time 30 game winner and 16 time 20 game winner, feats that will never be broken.
July was also the month when Dimaggio's amazing 56 game hit streak came to an end. The Yankee Clipper batted .408 BA, with 15 HR's and 55 RBI's during this 2 month stretch. Since that time Pete Rose was the only series contender to the streak but was stopped at 44games.
August is when some of baseball's best players have been banned from the game for life. On 8/3/1921, 8 members of the 1919 Whitesox were handed a lifetime ban for their part in fixing games during the World Series. Baseball delivered a clear message that no-player that throws a game, no-player that promises to throw a game, or no-player that sits in conference with crooked players and gamblers without promptly telling his club will ever play pro baseball. This was confirmed again on 8/24/89, when Pete Rose, baseballs all-time hits leader was banned. Commissioner Giamatti banned Rose when there was evidence of gambling activities.
August also has some brighter moments, Nolan Ryan became baseballs first 5000 K's pitcher on 8/22/89. Ryan fanned 13 batters at the age of 42, in 101degree heat. Steve Carlton who had retired in 88, ranks second all-time with 4136, at that time.
Baseball's all-time hits leader
September is when teams put together their playoff push.Many players seem to rise to the top in September and October, tryting to secure a playoff spot for their team. One occasion 9/30/1927, Babe Ruth hits home run #60, breaking his own record of 59 dingers, set 6 years earlier. It was typical Bambino style with a 2-2 tie, in the 8th inning he clinched a 4-2 win for the Yankees.
Sandy Koufax became baseball's first pitcher with 4 career no-hitters on 9/27/65. Koufax, 14 strike outs helped him pitch the 8th perfect game in history. Just 3 years later on 9/14/68, Detroit Tigers Denny McClain became the first AL pitcher to win 30 games since Lefty Grove went 31-4 in 1931. With modern day specialist, there will probably never be another 30 game winner.
On 9/26/1971, Jim Palmer became the fourth Oriole hurler to win 20 games. Palmer along with Mike Cuellar, Pat Dobson, and Dave McNally became only the second group to perform this feat. The 1919 Chicago Blacksox pulled this off but later 2 of the 4 pitchers were banned for life.
Pete Rose ending his career long chase of Ty Cobb, collected hit #4192, on September, 11, 1985. Rose the All-Time hits leader with 4256, a record that will probably never be broken may never enter the Hall of Fame due to his ban for gambling.
October is when teams get a chance to clinch pennant and make World Series runs. Perhaps the biggest change in baseball happened on Oct/23/1945, when Branch Rickey announced that Negro League star Jackie Robinson had been signed to play for the dodgers AAA squad. I think breaking the color barrier is probably the biggest change baseball will ever see. There were many great Negro League players that never got a chance to see how they stacked up.
October 13,1903, the first World Series was decided when Boston beat Pittsburgh 3-0 in the 8th game of a nine game series. Bobby Thompson's well know "Shot heard round the world" on 10/3/51 as he homered capping a 4 run ninth in the Giants 5-4 win to clinch the NL pennant. The Dodgers had a 131/2 game lead on August 12 but the Giants won 37 of their final 44 games forcing a tie breaker playoff.
Roger Maris on Oct.1,1961 got his 61st home run, breaking Ruth's record of 60. However they played more games because the schedules had been lengthened to 162 games. He would have only gotten 59 without the added games. Although this record has since been broken every player that has done so used performance enhancing drugs and should not be recognized as anything other than cheating.