RHP Emmet Sheehan (3-1, 5.31 ERA) takes the mound for the visiting Dodgers and LHP MacKenzie Gore (7-10, 4.28 ERA) does so for the Nationals.
Have you noticed how high the uniform numbers worn by some of the Dodgers’ young pitchers are? Bryan Hudson (#93) is the highest of them all, then Dustin May (#85). Sheehan’s wearing #80, Michael Grove has #78 and Bobby Miller’s got #70.
1955 The Dodgers clinch their eighth National League pennant with a 10-2 victory over the Braves at Milwaukee’s County Stadium. Brooklyn’s 17-game lead makes it the earliest date that a team has captured a flag in baseball history.
1957 Before their departure to play on the West Coast for next season, the Dodgers and Giants face one another for the final time in New York. The Jints beat the Bums at the Polo Grounds, 3-2, to finish the intense 68 year-old storied rivalry with a 656-606 advantage over Brooklyn in the battle between the boroughs.
1967 The Mets, at the urging of their fans, honor former Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax, who retired last season when arthritis ended his career prematurely at the age of 30. The Brooklyn-born southpaw, who threw a no-hitter against New York in 1962, started twenty games against the Amazin’s, compiling a 17-2 record that included 14 complete games and 5 shutouts.
2007 Alex Rodriguez, hitting his 50th and 51st home runs, joins Babe Ruth (1920-54, 1921-59, 1927-60, 1928-54), Roger Maris (1961-61), and Mickey Mantle (1956-52, 1961-54) to become only the fourth player in Yankee history to hit 50 or more homers in a single season. The Yankee infielder’s second homer breaks the major league mark of 49 homers hit by a third baseman, shared with Mike Schmidt (Phillies-1980) and Adrian Beltre (Dodgers-2004).
2017 The Dodgers, who just a couple of months ago seemed poised to challenge the major league record of 116 wins in a season, lose again, their 8th straight defeat and 13th in 14 games, as they bow to the Rockies, 5 – 4. They blow an early 4 – 1 lead as D.J. LeMahieu hits a two-run double in the 5th to put Colorado ahead to stay. On a positive note, Yu Darvish records the 1000th strikeout of his career, punching out Carlos Gonzalez in the 5th, becoming the fastest starting pitcher to reach the mark, in 812 innings over 128 games.
One of the most important inventions in all of baseball history was officially introduced on this day in 1885 when George H. Rawlings patented a close-fitting baseball glove that features padding made of felt and rubber in the fingers, thumb, and palm. The owner of a St. Louis sporting goods store invented the padded piece of equipment to prevent players from bruising their hands when catching a ball.
1947 At Forbes Field, Hank Greenberg asks Jackie Robinson if the Dodger infielder was hurt in a collision with him at first base earlier in the game and then tells the embattled Brooklyn rookie, “Stick in there. You’re doing fine. Keep your chin up.” Jackie will remark to the writers a few days later that his “diamond hero” is Hank Greenberg, knowing that the Pirates’ first baseman, who due to the bigotry endured as a Jew, can appreciate his difficulty of facing racial injustice every day as the first black player in the major leagues this century.
1978 Pinch-hitting for Davey Lopes in the Los Angeles 10-1 rout of the Pirates, Lee Lacy goes deep in the bottom of the eighth inning off Will McEnaney at Dodger Stadium. The utility player becomes the first player in major league history to homer in three consecutive at-bats as a pinch hitter.
1992 Using only 21 dates, the Blue Jays reach the one-million mark in attendance sooner than any team in major league history. The 1991 Blue Jays and the 1981 Dodgers shared the previous record.
1956 At Ebbets Field, Carl Erskine tosses his second career no-hitter when he holds the crosstown rival Giants hitless in the Dodgers’ 3-0 victory. The right-handed ‘Oisk’ also threw a no-no against the Cubs in 1952.
1958 In a 12-3 rout of their West Coast rival, Willie Mays homers twice against the Dodgers in the LA Memorial Coliseum contest. The ‘Say Hey Kid’s’ second round-tripper, a fifth-inning shot off Ed Roebuck, is the first grand slam ever hit by a San Francisco Giant.
1979 Bill Murray, anchorman on Saturday Night Live Weekend Update reports 42 year-old Chico Escuela (a fictional baseball player portrayed by Garrett Morris) has informed the Mets that he is quitting baseball. Although baseball has been “berra berra good…” to him, a crushing blow off the bat of Dodger first baseman Steve Garvey into the Dominican’s infielder’s crotch ends an inspiring comeback.
1990 Blanking the Dodgers at Shea Stadium, 7-0, Frank Viola gets his seventh consecutive win from the start of the season. The Mets southpaw sets a franchise record of nine straight victories, dating back to his past two decisions last season.
2004 In one of the most remarkable at-bats in big league history, Alex Cora fouls off 14 consecutive pitches and then hits the 18th thrown to him by the Cubs’ Matt Clement over the right-field fence for a two-run home run which doubles LA’s lead to 4-0. The Dodger Stadium crowd cheered each foul ball, watching the increasing total displayed on the scoreboard.
2015 Giancarlo Stanton becomes the fourth player to hit a home run out of Dodger Stadium, joining Mark McGwire (1999), Mike Piazza (1997), and Willie Stargell, who accomplished the feat twice (1969, 1973). The jaw-dropping first-inning blast off Mike Bolsinger, estimated to have traveled 475 feet, proves to be the only bright spot in the Marlins’ 11-1 loss to LA at Chavez Ravine.
1937 Dodgers and Giants fans attending afternoon ball games at both the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field are thrilled to have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Hindenburg when the passenger airship appears over New York, nearing the end of its maiden voyage of the season from Germany. A few hours later, the majestic German zeppelin will explode on a landing strip in Lakehurst, N.J., killing 36 of its passengers.
1947 In a small office high up behind home plate at Ebbets Field, National League president Ford Frick meets with seven Cardinal players individually, revealing he is aware of their secret plan to strike as a protest to Jackie Robinson playing for the Dodgers. The usually non-confrontational leader of the Senior Circuit makes his position clear about their planned boycott, telling the Redbird conspirators they will encounter quick retribution from his office that will include suspensions from baseball.
1978 After going deep as a pinch hitter on May 2, Lee Lacy becomes the first major leaguer to pinch-hit home runs in consecutive at-bats. The Dodgers’ super sub will make it three in a row on May 17.
2009 With a 10-3 victory over Washington, the Dodgers break the major league mark for consecutive victories at home to open a season with their 13th straight win in L.A. The previous record of 12 was established in 1911 by the Tigers.
2015 Bob Uecker, along with fellow broadcasters Joe Block and Jeff Levering, longtime engineer Kent Sommerfeld, and his assistant, Mary Burns, become trapped for several innings as the result of a broken lock on the Miller Park’s radio broadcast booth door. A crew of workmen, using a ladder positioned on the loge level, climbed into the booth to remove the door from its hinges, while the announcers’ play-by-play continued to detail the action of Brewers and Dodgers game on the field.
“People who are listening to the ballgame, I know what you’re thinking. He’s ready for the home. He’s cooked. It’s finally happened. He’s seeing ladders and doors without handles.” – BOB UECKER, explaining being trapped for several innings by a broken lock on the radio broadcast booth’s door.
2021 The Angels designated Albert Pujols, hitting .198 with five homers and 12 RBIs in 86 at-bats, for assignment, releasing the aging superstar after he clears waivers. The reigning World Champion Dodgers will sign the 41-year-old future first-ballot Hall of Famer to a one-year deal for the prorated share of the $570,500 league minimum, with the $30-million remaining in his 10-year, $240-million contract the responsibility of the Halos. It worked out well for the Dodgers: Pujols had a slash line of .259/.299/.460 with 12 HRs and 38 RBIs in 85 games with the team.
1922 At Ebbets Field, Lee King drives in seven runs in the Phillies’ 10-7 win over the Robins. The Philadelphia outfielder will collect a total of only 15 RBIs this season playing with Philadelphia and the Giants.
1985 Dodger southpaw Fernando Valenzuela sets an MLB mark with 41 consecutive scoreless innings at the start of a season without allowing an earned run when he blanks the Padres through eight innings. In the top of the ninth, Tony Gwynn snaps the southpaw’s scoreless streak with a solo home run, giving the Friars an eventual 1-0 victory at Chavez Ravine.
2012 Bryce Harper makes his much-anticipated debut in the Nationals’ 4-3 loss to Los Angeles at Chavez Ravine. The 19 year-old rookie center fielder, who drives in the potential go-ahead run in the ninth inning with a sacrifice fly, doubles in the top of the seventh off Chad Billingsley for his first major league hit.
1898 Today marks the first time two no-hitters occur on the same day when Orioles (NL) right-hander Jay Hughes and Reds southpaw Theodore Breitenstein keep their opponents hitless, beating the Beaneaters, 8-0, and the Pirates, 11-0, respectively. A double no-no on the same date will not happen again until June 29, 1990, when A’s Dave Stewart and Dodger Fernando Valenzuela accomplish the feat with gems against the Blue Jays and Cardinals.
2007 The Red Sox become the fifth big-league team to hit four consecutive homers in an inning when Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell, and Jason Varitek go deep with two outs in the third inning at Fenway off Yankee starter Chase Wright. J.D. Drew was also part of the quartet of the 2006 Dodgers, who were the fourth major league team to connect for four straight round-trippers in one frame.
1904 By not charging admission but requiring fans to buy a scorecard, the Superbas find a way to play their first Sunday game at home, beating the Beaneaters, 9-1, at Brooklyn’s Washington Park. The strategy attempts to circumvent legislation, known as the Blue Laws, designed to enforce religious edicts, including the observance of Sunday as a day of worship.
1955 In his first major league at-bat, Roberto Clemente singles off Dodger pitcher Johnny Podres. The Pirates’ rookie, who will die in a plane crash attempting to bring relief aid to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua in 1972, will collect precisely 3,000 hits during his 18-year major league career, all with Pittsburgh.
1956 White Sox shortstop Luis Aparicio, Dodger right-hander Don Drysdale, and Reds outfielder Frank Robinson play in their first major league games. The trio’s debut marks the first time three future Hall of Famers have made their initial appearance on the same day.
1988 The Braves beat the Dodgers, 3-1, after breaking the National League record with ten losses to start the season. The team will drop 27 of its first 39 decisions, costing Chuck Tanner his job as the Atlanta manager.
2013 Clayton Kershaw becomes the second-fastest Dodger to strike out 1,000 batters when he throws a second-inning 93-mph fastball past San Diego first baseman’s Yonder Alonso. The 25-year-old southpaw reaches the milestone in 970 career innings, 15 2/3 more than needed by Hideo Nomo, who established the team mark in 2003.
1912 Rube Marquard begins a nineteen-game consecutive winning streak by beating the Dodgers, 18-3, in a game which features 13 ground rule doubles hit by the visitors because of the overflow crowd being placed in the outfield and along the foul lines. The future Hall of Fame southpaw’s streak will end in July when the Giants lose to Chicago at the West Side Grounds, 7-2.
1961 Robin Roberts, in his twelfth-straight Opening Day start, is tagged with the loss when the Phillies lose to the Dodgers in the LA Memorial Coliseum, 6-2. The right-hander’s effort ties Grover Cleveland Alexander’s National League record for consecutive season openers.
2006 Jeromy Burnitz, Ryan Doumit, Jack Wilson, and Craig Wilson hit solo home runs in the Pirates’ 7-6 victory over the Dodgers at PNC Park. The quartet of round-trippers blasted by the Buc sluggers is each player’s second homer of the season. (Ed. Note: Our thanks to L. Cole for suggesting this entry – LP)
2001 In the home opener at Veterans Stadium, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning’s number 14 jersey is retired. Kentucky’s Republican U.S. senator, who compiled a 224-184 record in his 17-year career pitching for the Tigers, Phillies, Pirates, and Dodgers, joins Richie Ashburn (1), Robin Roberts (36), Steve Carlton (32), and Mike Schmidt (20) as the fifth player to have his number retired by the Phillies.
2004 Adrian Beltre becomes the 36th player in baseball history to hit 100 home runs before the age of 25. The Dodger third baseman joins Cal Ripken Jr. and Lou Gehrig to have exactly 100 homers on their 25th birthday.
2016 The Padres, with their 7-0 loss at Petco Park, become the first team to be shut out in the first three games of the regular season, surpassing the dubious mark set by the Browns, who opened the 1943 campaign with 26 straight scoreless innings. San Diego also dropped their first two decisions of the three-game series against the Dodgers, 15-0 and 3-0.
2021 Oakland’s As begin the season 0-6 when the team drops a 5-1 decision to the Dodgers, matching the 1916 Philadelphia A’s, who posted a 36-117 mark that season for the worse record in franchise history. The club has been outscored 50-13 in their first half-dozen games, losing all six by at least four runs and four times by at least seven runs.
A few years ago this would have been an Opening Day marquee matchup. LHP Madison Bumgarner (2022: 7-15, 4.85 ERA) goes for the D-Backs and LHP Clayton Kershaw (2022: 12-3, 2.28 ERA) goes for the Dodgers. Bumgarner’s 2022 was horrid but his last start of the season might have been his best: he gave up just one hit and one walk while striking out five Dodgers in six innings on Sept. 21. The 2022 edition of Kershaw was his usual impeccable self when healthy; he missed a month between May and June and another 3 weeks in August.
From yesterday’s game:
This is the first time in Dustin May’s career that he has completed seven innings. He hasn’t allowed a run all night.
1937 The Reds sell Babe Herman to the Tigers. The 34 year-old outfielder, batting .300 for his new team, will appear in only 17 contests with Detroit before effectively retiring from the game, although he will return to play briefly for the war-time Dodgers in 1945.
1963 Former Brooklyn Dodger Duke Snider returns to New York when the Mets purchase him from LA for $40,000. The 36 year-old outfielder, who will represent New York in the All-Star Game, will be told at the end of the season by Buzzi Bavasi, his former GM, that the Yankees had asked for him to back up Mickey Mantle before he was dealt to the team the across the river.
2008 On Opening Day in Los Angeles, Juan Pierre’s 434 consecutive game streak, the longest current one in the major leagues, comes to an end when the Dodger outfielder does not play in the 3-2 victory over the Giants. New skipper Joe Torre plays Andre Ethier in left field in place of the highly paid but light-hitting fly chaser.
2013 Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers’ Opening Day pitcher, hits a leadoff home run off San Francisco’s George Kontos in the bottom of the eighth inning to break up a scoreless tie in the team’s eventual 4-0 victory. LA’s 25-year-old southpaw retires the side in the next frame, completing a 4-0 complete-game shutout against the Giants at Chavez Ravine.