Friday, July 17, 2020

Important Dates in MLB Baseball History for August

I read this baseball tell-all when it came out
in 1970.
During the course of my lifetime baseball has experienced more than a few disruptions. In 1972 fans missed 86 games because of a players' strike. I was in college preoccupied with other things and pretty much didn't miss it. I know that many serious fans were more than a little perturbed.

Though there were work stoppages in 1973, '76 and '80, no regular season games were affected. But in 1981 713 games were not payed due to yet another strike. In 1985 and '90 there was a strike and a lockout, but no regular season games interfered with. But in 1994 the entire post-season was lost, including the World Series, due to a strike. I think this was turned a lot of people off.

Despite these player vs. management conflicts and numerous substance abuse scandals, there is still a large swath of fans who love the game, its history and statistics and drama.

Sadly, we've been interrupted yet again. Empty stadiums and sports channels trying to fill the void by re-playing great moments from the past don't seem to cut it.

At last MLB has announced 60 game schedule in which teams will play rivals from their own division and games against the corresponding National League division. I'm not sure how the playoffs will happen, since it appears the primary aim is to avoid airports. (I may be wrong, but am speculating.)

Nevertheless, for the sake of nostalgia...  let's look backward at some forgotten dates from the month of August, courtesy Robert Lookup.

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August 4, 1982
Joel Youngblood becomes the only Major League player to get hits for different teams in different cities on the same day. He got a hit for the Mets in Chicago (a game-winning RBI) and was traded to the Expos. That night he got a hit in Philadelphia against the Phillies.

Mark McGwire hits another homer. (Photo: Rick Dikeman)
August 5, 1999
Mark McGwire becomes the sixteenth member of the 500 home run club, hitting two home runs -- 500 and 501 -- in a loss to San Diego.

August 6, 1961
Roger Maris played both ends of a double header and never had one fielding chance in right field. The ball never came near him.

August 6, 2001
Cleveland ties Major League record and becomes first team in 76 years to overcome a 12 run deficit to win, defeating the Mariners in 11 innings. (4 hours and 11 minutes.)

August 13, 1906
Jack Taylor of the Cards is knocked out of the box after 188 starts with complete games.

August 16, 1948
George Herman "Babe" Ruth passes away, age 53.

August 17, 1933
Lou Gehrig plays 1,308th straight game to break Everett Scott's record of 1307 straight games.

August 18, 1921
At age 34, Ty Cobb becomes the youngest player in Major League history to reach 3000 hits.

August 19, 1951
Eddie Gardel, a midget who played for the St. Louis Browns, appears just once in his entire career, batting against Detroit's Bob Cain, and walked. The strike zone was too small.

August 20, 1908
On this day Al Lopez was born in 1908 to Spanish-American parents in Tampa, Florida. After breaking into the big leagues at age 20 as a catcher, he played for several teams till finishing his career with Cleveland. Lopez went on to become manager of the Cleveland Indians for six years beginning in 1951, a period when the Indians were at the top of their game, including the last time the Tribe reached the World Series (1954).

August 21, 1931
Babe Ruth hits 600th home run as the Yankees beat the Browns 11-7.

August 21, 1883
The Providence Grays beat the Phillies 28-0, the most lopsided shutout in baseball history.

August 22, 1999
Mark McGwire hits his 50th home run, making him the first Major League player to hit fifty homers in four consecutive seasons.

August 31, 1990
The Griffeys make Major League history, leading Seattle to a 5-2 victory over Kansas City. The first father & son to play together in the big leagues.

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"I have never known a day when I didn't learn something new about this game."
--Connie Mack

"It's gonna be a weird season."
--Enny Mann

Related Link
John Updike's poem on Baseball

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