Some bonus September 27 baseball trivial history for today’s offday from baseball-reference.com. My favorite one is from 1963…
1917 – The Red Sox play a benefit game against an American League all-star team and Babe Ruth and Rube Foster combine for a 2 – 0 shutout. The AL squad features Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, and Joe Jackson in the outfield. More than $14,000 is raised for the family of sports writer Tim Murnane, who died February 13th. Murnane had played and managed in Boston in the 19th century. Actress Fanny Brice helps sell programs and former heavyweight champ John L. Sullivan coaches 3B for the Sox. Ruth wins the fungo hitting contest with a drive of 402 feet, while Joe Jackson has the longest throw at an impressive 396 feet
1928: With the Giants just a half game behind the Cardinals, New York loses the 1st game of a doubleheader to the Cubs 3 – 2. On a controversial play at the plate in the 6th inning, New York’s Shanty Hogan hits a ball back to pitcher Art Nehf who throws to third to get the runner. But the runner, Randy Reese, was off with the crack of the bat and bowls over catcher Gabby Hartnett. Hartnett grabs the runner to keep from falling. and as Hartnett holds him, Reese is tagged out by the Cubs 3B. The Giants bench erupts, but umpire Bill Klem rules Reese is out. The subsequent protest will be disallowed, despite a photo clearly showing Hartnett up the line holding Reese. The Giants win the nitecap 2 – 0, but a loss tomorrow clinches the pennant for St. Louis.
1930: In Yankee Stadium, Josh Gibson of the Homestead Grays hits what his biographer John Holway will call “perhaps the longest home run ever hit in the House that Ruth Built,” and Gibson himself describes as hit “on a line into the bullpen in deep left field.” The Pittsburgh Courier’s guess-timate is 430 feet while the Amsterdam News says 460. The bullpen in question extends quite a long way, and could easily accommodate anything from a 415-footer to a 500-plus-foot blast.
1931: The most desperately contested battle for individual honors takes place in the race for the National League batting title. Chick Hafey, who reported late due to a contract dispute, goes into the final doubleheader with the Reds batting .353, four points over Bill Terry, last year’s champ. Hafey gets only two hits in eight times at bat to drop to .349. Bill Terry’s Giants are playing archenemy Brooklyn at Ebbets Field. Brooklyn, in their last game as the Robins, wins 12 – 3, behind Clark. Terry gets only one hit in four times at bat. The title goes to Hafey, who batted .3488 to Terry’s .3486. Jim Bottomley, Hafey’s Cardinal teammate, goes 4-for-8 and finishes at .3481. The Cards win 6 – 2 and 5 – 3, to win 20 of 22 with the Reds.
1936: Replacing Johnny Mize, who is tossed by an ump for arguing, Cardinal rookie first baseman Walter Alston makes an error in handling two chances and is fanned by Lon Warneke in his only major league at-bat. ‘Smokey’ will, however, win seven pennants and four World Series in his 23-year Hall of Fame career as Dodger manager from 1954 to 1976.
1941: You won’t find the name of George Pfister in the NL records, though he appears as C for the Dodgers. The NL rules Pfister, who never signed a Brooklyn contract, is the property of Montreal (IL), and his name is removed from the box score.
1963: Using a lineup of nine rookies the Colt .45s lose 10 – 3 to the Mets. The lineup includes P Jay Dahl, 17 (debut); C Jerry Grote, 20; 1B Rusty Staub, 19; 2B Joe Morgan, 20; 3B Glenn Vaughan, 19; SS Sonny Jackson, 19 (debut); and outfielders Brock Davis, 19, Aaron Pointer, 21, and Jim Wynn, 21. Dahl loses his only ML game at 17 and will die in an auto accident at 19. Houston 2B Joe Morgan will play 22 years, and 1B Rusty Staub, 23. Aaron Pointer singles for his only hit this year: his sisters will do better with a top-10 hit of “Fire,” by Bruce Springsteen. Joe Hoerner and Danny Coombs follow Dahl to the mound in their ML debuts. 20-year-old P Larry Yellen debuted the day before and 18-year-old OF Ivan Murrell will make his debut the following day.
1996: After being ejected for arguing a strike call in the 1st inning of Baltimore’s game against the Blue Jays, Orioles’ 2B Roberto Alomar spits in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck. Alomar claims he was provoked by Hirschbeck, but the incident will set off a national debate. After the game, Alomar remarks: “I used to respect him a lot. He had problems with his family when his son died – I know that’s something real tough in life – but after that he just changed, personality-wise. He just got real bitter.” When the ump hears about the remarks tomorrow he will charge into the Orioles’ locker room and have to be restrained by fellow ump Jim Joyce.