Wednesday, 23 April 2008

The Hammer, two slams, and the win that started it all

Nothing to say on last night's series opener at Disney because, well, I haven't seen it yet. I'm planning to watch it after work this evening, so don't tell me what happened in the meantime. It has to be said that the best part of following baseball from over here is that it is really easy to avoid seeing the scores when you want to! Though I do have to be careful when opening my own blog, thanks to the Rays news widget on the sidebar...

Anyway, in lieu of that, and thanks to my iGoogle 'Today in history', I thought I'd jot down a little on this day in baseball history.

Its pretty unusual for something sporting to come up on the today in history panel, but there it is today, April 23rd 1954 - Hank Aaron hits his first home run. He went deep off of Vic Raschi in the 6th, and finished the day 3-7 in a 14-inning 7-5 victory for the Braves over the Cardinals.

Anyway, being the history geek that I am, I immediately wanted to know what else this day has brung through the years. Which led me to Today in Baseball history, a site that is immediately being added to my bookmarks. And so now I can also tell you that April 23 is the day that in 1999 Fernando Tatis became the first player ever to hit two grand slams in a single inning. The day that in 1939 Ted Williams hit his first major league homerun. The day that in 1952 Hoyt Wilhelm won his first major league game, and hit the only homerun of his 1070-game career. And the day that in 1964 Houston's Ken Johnson became the first pitcher ever to lose a 9-inning no-hitter.

But of more interest to me are two other firsts. In 1962, a first ever win for the New York Mets. And, 105 years ago, on this day in 1903, a first win for the newly-relocated New York Highlanders. The first of 9275 and counting (if my maths is right) was a 7-2 victory over the Washington Senators. The winning pitcher was Harry Howell, who helped his cause with a triple and a run. And if you ever find yourself wondering about the quality of modern sports reporting, I present to you this offering from the New York Times, of how it used to be done:

It has to be said that I love baseball history, so maybe I'm a little biased, but how can you read that and not wish that you were there to see it? Old style baseball fascinates me, as does the old writing style. When was the last time you heard reference to a fielder making bungles? That is a phrase that ought to make a comeback. Just in case any of you are interested in reading the last paragraph of the report, or seeing the awesome old-style box score, I've uploaded it here. Enjoy!

Just as a quick by the way, I feel that I should mention that April 23rd is also St George's Day, the national day of England. So get your St George's cross flag out, and have yourself a pint of ale on me. NB. You will have to pay for the ale yourself...

6 comments:

Russell said...

"there were fielding features that were pleasant to look at" -THAT'S how you write about baseball. Excellent site by the way, although I find the idea of a baseball blog written from the UK to be a risible idea.

Tracy said...

Hey, very nice site. Mind if I link to you?

I remember Tatis, being a bit of a Cardinal fan genetically. And I LOVE baseball history. Thanks for the tip.

And Happy St George's Day, by the way. I never need a reason to head off to my favorite English pub, but this sounds like a good one to linger there a little longer. :-)

John said...

Russell - I love reading old baseball reports, their turn of phrase was just so much better than nowadays. New York Times archives are a great source of reading when you're at work and bored!

Tracy - please do add a link, and I hope you enjoyed your St George's Day drink. Your blog is very cool too, and I dig that static background!

And thank you both for the kind words :)

Matt said...

I imagine a bunch of us bloggers share your fascination with baseball history, but for one reason or another dont write about it as often as we like. This was fun to read.

And I'm definitely stealing "bungles"!

Michael Norton said...

That ale was $3.75... oh, fine print...

Michael Norton - Some Clubhouse
http://www.someclubhouse.com

John said...

Its all about the bungles Matt!

And Michael, I shall pay you back by buying myself a drink on July 4... um, I think that should make it all-squared! ;)