Terra’s Take: This Week in Baseball History (July 13th-19th)
– (1934) Babe Ruth hits his 700th home run of his career in a game that helped the Yankees reclaim first place in the league. Ruth became the first person to hit 700 home runs, and is more than double that of second place Lou Gehrig who left this game due to lower back pain. Ruth would remain the only person in this prestigious club for another 38 years until Hank Aaron joins.
– (1999) In a memorable All-Star game in Boston, the nominees for the All-Century team are revealed before the game. Also before the game, a tribute to Red Sox hall of famer Ted Williams is held in which players past and present gather around the aging slugger. In the actual game itself, Pedro Martinez strikes out five of the first six batters, Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Jeff Bagwell. Bagwell’s strikeout leads to the end of the inning as Matt Williams is thrown out at second trying to steal.
– (1970) In what would be called one of the most controversial plays in an All-Star game, Pete Rose runs over Indians catcher Ray Fosse in the 12th inning of the game. Rose would defend himself saying he was just trying to win the game and Fosse moved out of position and gave him no choice. Fosse wouldn’t be the same after recovering from the injury although no serious damage was caused to his shoulder.
– (2008) Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton breaks the record for most home runs in the Home Run Derby by hitting 53 total home runs. Hamilton broke Bobby Abreu’s single round record, which was set three years earlier, by hitting 28 in the first round. The Derby this year took place at the original Yankee Stadium, seeing as the new one would open the following year.
– (1985) In what has now become a tradition, the MLB recognizes the first organized Home Run Derby with a set format. Although there have been other hitting exhibitions, the fans at the Metrodome in Minnesota are treated to a show when Cincinnati Red Dave Parker wins by hitting six home runs although the AL beats the NL with a combined home run tally of 17-16 thanks to 4 HR by Jim Rice, Eddie Murray, Carlton Fisk and Tom Brunansky.
– (2007) In a weird celebration, the Phillies fans cheer as the team becomes the first in major league history to lose 10,000 games. The club which has been around for 125 years, drop the game against the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 10-2. The game is sold out with a maximum attendance of 44,872.
– (2009) With a solo home run off of Florida Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard becomes the fastest player to reach 200 HR. It takes Howard 658 games to reach the mark which is 48 less games than the previous record held by Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Ralph Kiner.
– (2013) In his last All-Star game, Mariano Rivera is voted the game’s MVP as the American League beat the National League 3-0. The all-time leader in saves is the first pitcher to win the MVP award since Pedro Martinez in 1999 and the first Yankee to win it since Derek Jeter in 2000. This game set the record for attendance at Citi Field in Queens, New York.
– (1969) In what could be one of the best fantasy days for a player, Braves All-Star first baseman Lee May hits 4 HR and 10 RBI in a double header against the Cincinnati Reds. May splits his performance evenly as he ends each game with 2 HR and 5 RBI. Despite this, the Braves lose the first game 9-8, but come back to win the second game 10-4.
– (1990) The Minnesota Twins become the first team to turn two triple plays in a single game. Both go around the horn from third, to second to first. Despite being the first team to accomplish this feat, the Twins fall to the Boston Red Sox by a score of 1-0 at Fenway Park.
– (1927) In a 5-3 loss to the Tigers, Philadelphia A’s outfielder Ty Cobb becomes the first player to collect 4,000 career hits. The 40 year old Georgia Peach, hits a double in front of the hometown fans at Shibe Park. Cobb was the only player to collect 4,000 until Pete Rose joined him in 1984. The two are the only players to get this many.
– (1966) The first ever major league game is played on a completely artificial field. Houston beats the Philadelphia Phillies 8-2 at the Houston Astrodome. Up until this point, the games with painted dirt on the outfield while a new substance, late named Astroturf, covered the infield. The substance would later be used in a number of stadiums.
– (1973) In an effort to appease outraged fans and disappointed players, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn gives permission to each league to add another player to the All-Star roster for the game the following week. The National League chooses aging superstar Willie Mays while the American League chooses Angels pitcher Nolan Ryan.
July 13th: Ryan Ludwick (36), Shin-Soo Choo and Yadier Molina (32)
July 14th: Robin Ventura (47), Tim Hudson (39)
July 15th: Donn Clendenon (would be 79), Miguel Olivo (36)
July 16th: “Shoeless” Joe Jackson (would be 117), Terry Pendleton (54)
July 17th: Lou Boudreau (would be 97), Don Kessinger (72), Adam Lind (31)
July 18th: Joe Torre (74), Torii Hunter (39), Ben Sheets (36), Allen Craig (30)
July 19th: Phil Cavarretta (would be 98), Rick Ankiel (35), Phil Coke (32)
July 17th: The only two noticeable names who have passed away this week, and both happened on July 17th. In 1961, The Georgia Peach, Ty Cobb, passed away at the age of 74. Cobb was an MVP, Triple Crown winner and a 12 time batting champion. Cobb has the highest career batting average, ending his career with an astonishing .366.
On this day in 1974, Jay “Dizzy” Dean passed away due to a heart attack. Dean was a four time All-Star and played a big role in the St. Louis Cardinals championship in 1934 a year in which the pitcher won the MVP as well. Dean will go down as one of the great pitchers in Cardinals history, he currently is 3rd in the organization in strikeouts and fifth in shutouts.