This Week in History: July 9-15
On July 9,1940, for instance, five NL pitchers combined to throw the first shutout in All-Star Game history, tossing a three-hitter to blank the AL 4-0.
A pair of Cy Young moments also happened on this date; in 1956, the Baseball Writers Association of America voted by a narrow 14-12 margin to establish the Cy Young Award, and in 1988, Nolan Ryan earned his 100th win with the Houston Astros to become just the second pitcher (behind Cy himself) to reach the century mark in both leagues.
Oh, yeah, and July 9 happens to be the anniversary of one famous Yankees home run, that being Derek Jeter’s solo shot that was career hit No. 3,000 for the Captain.
July 10, 1917 saw a Yankees pitcher throw a no-hitter…kind of. Ray Calwell pitched 9 2/3 innings of no-hit relief for the Bombers that day, who ended up beating the St. Louis Browns 7-5 in 17 innings.
Seventeen years later, another New York hurler made some waves in the 1934 All-Star Game. That day, Giants pitcher Carl Hubbell faced an AL starting lineup comprised of nine eventual Hall of Famers…and struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin in succession to open the game.
Five decades later, however, on the 50th anniversary of that feat, the Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela and Mets fireballer Dwight Gooden topped Hubbell by striking out six consecutive AL hitters to open the 1984 All-Star Game…which was held in San Francisco, the new home of the Giants.
July 11 is a day of The Babe, The Ryan Express, and Trevor Time.
On 7/11/1914, Babe Ruth made his Major League debut, pitching the Red Sox past the Indians 4-3, and on this date in 1985, Nolan Ryan fanned Mets outfielder Danny Heep to record his 4000th career strikeout.
As for Hoffman, July 11, 1998 saw him close out the Padres 4-1 victory over the Dodgers, who were managed by his brother Glenn – marking the first time in MLB history that a player has faced his brother as a manager.
July 12 is also a pitcher’s day, one that is perhaps capped by the fact that it was on this date in 1901 that Cy Young won his 300th career game.
A handful of famed no-hitters have occurred on July 12, including the Yankees’ Allie Reynolds gem in 1951 and then-White Sox hurler Melido Perez’ six-inning rain-shortened no-no against his future Bombers teammates in 1990 – but perhaps the most satisfying came in 1997 on Jackie Robinson Day in Pittsburgh.
That day, Pirates pitchers Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon combined to toss the first extra inning combined no-hitter in big league history, with Cordova going nine hitless innings and Rincon throwing a no-hit tenth before Mark Smith hit a pinch-hit walk-off homer to cement the milestone.
July 13 has also seen a 300th win (Early Wynn’s 300th and final victory in 1963), a combined no-hitter (thrown by four Orioles pitchers against the Athletics in 1991), and some All-Star strikeout heroics (courtesy of Pedro Martinez fanning five of the first six NL batters in the 1999 All-Star Game)…but it’s also seen the rare feat of a pitcher winning a game without ever throwing a pitch.
That happened in the 1954 All-Star Game, when Senators hurler Dean Stone got the victory in the AL’s 11-9 win over the NL. The southpaw entered the game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and the NL leading 9-8, but before he could throw an official pitch, Stone threw out Red Schoendienst trying to steal home to end the frame. The AL then scored three runs in the top of the ninth, making Stone the pitcher of record on the winning side, and Virgil Trucks pitched the ninth to seal the win.
This date in 1984 also saw the Yankees add two new heroes to Monument Park, as both Roger Maris (No. 9) and Elston Howard (No. 32) had their numbers retired and plaques dedicated in their honor.
July 14, 1916 saw Browns pitcher Ernie Koob and Red Sox hurler Carl Mays toss a combined 32 innings in a 0-0 tie between the teams. Koob went the distance in the 17-inning contest, while Mays went 15 for the Sox before ceding to Dutch Leonard.
The date also saw a pair of top-flight pitchers become part of home run history; on July 14, 1967, the legendary Juan Marichal gave up the gopher ball that was Eddie Matthews’ 500th career home run, and one year later, Hank Aaron hammered a Mike McCormick offering over the fence to reach that same milestone.
Two no-hitters have also occurred on this date, with the Red Sox’ Mel Parnell no-hitting the White Sox in 1956 and the Dodgers’ Ramon Martinez throwing a no-no against the Marlins in 1995.
Rounding out the week, July 15 has continued the no-hitter craze; Christy Mathewson became the first modern rookie to throw a no-no when he blanked the Cardinals on this date in 1901, while then-Angel Nolan Ryan tossed his second no-hitter of the season against the Tigers on 7/15/73.
On this date in 1990, Bobby Thigpen made history when he closed out the White Sox’ 8-5 win over the Yankees to earn his 30th save. That made him the quickest player to reach 30 saves in a season, and he would eventually set the single-season record by finishing the campaign with 57.
And finally, on this date in 1999, Oakland’s Brad Rigby made history when he intentionally walked Barry Bonds in the fifth inning of the Athletics’ 11-9 win over the Giants. That marked the 294th time in his career that Bonds had been intentionally walked, pushing him past Hank Aaron as baseball’s all-time leader.
And that’s the week that was, for the week that is.
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES