Nine to Know: April 14 in baseball history
1910 – He ain’t heavy, he’s our president – William Howard Taft becomes the first president to throw out the first ball at a baseball opener in Washington. Walter Johnson catches it, then pitches the first of his 14 Opening Day games.
1917 – Eddie Cicotte of the Chicago White Sox pitched an 11-0 no-hitter against the St. Louis Browns. Cicotte was famous for his knuckleball, his “shine ball,” and infamous for his role in the Black Sox scandal that got him banned from baseball.
1955 – Elston Howard becomes the first black to wear a Yankees uniform. He singles in his first at-bat, against the Red Sox. The Red Sox were the last team to break the color barrier – it wasn’t until July 21, 1959 that Pumpsie Green became Boston’s first African-American player. Tomorrow is the anniversary of Jackie Robinson‘s debut with the Dodgers in 1947, which makes the tardiness of the Yankees and Red Sox even more astounding.
1967 – While we are on the topic of these two teams: Red Sox rookie pitcher Billy Rohr, in his MLB debut no-hit the Yankees for 8.2 innings before Elston Howard broke up the no-no with a two-out single in the 9th. Rohr picked up the win and then won only two more games in his big league career. On August 3rd of that season, the Yankees traded Ellie Howard to…you guessed it, the Boston Red Sox where he and Rohr were September teammates
1964 – The Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax threw his ninth complete game without allowing a walk as he beats the St. Louis Cardinals, 4 – 0. Koufax ended his career with 17 complete games without issuing a walk. Now as interesting as that is, what made this game so significant is that it was Koufax’s only career Opening Day start.
1969 – The first major league game outside the United States was played in Montreal’s Jarry Park with the Expos defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 8-7. Montreal remains the only city that once had an MLB team that no longer has an MLB team.
1993 – Put a shrimp on the battery – As long as we’re onto international affairs – The Brewers’ lefty Graeme Lloyd and catcher Dave Nilsson made history on this date by becoming the first all-Aussie battery.
1990 – In 1989, Mark Davis was the Cy Young Award winner in the NL pitching for the Radres and Bret Saberhagen was the CYA winner in the AL for the Royals. On this date in 1990, starter Saberhagen got the win and reliever Mark Davis earned the save as Kansas City beats Toronto. It is the first time ever that two reigning Cy Young Award winners have figured in the same victory.
1941 – And finally, happy birthday wishes go out to Pete Rose who turns 76 today. The most strikeouts Rose ever had in a single season was 76 and he did it in both 1965 and 1968