BASEBALL

Important Dates in Major League Baseball for the Month of April

“I have never known a day when I didn’t learn something new about this game.” — Connie Mack

These notes were assembled by the late Robert Lookup, a street person whom my wife and I befriended for the last 10 years of his life. We’d nicknamed him Train Man because of his passion for trains.

At the time I was introduced to him he had watched every movie in the Duluth Public Library and rated each on the basis of their train scenes, for accuracy and interest value. All his notes were collected on 4 x 6 index cards, written in a crimped handwriting style similar to the handwritten lyrics of Bob Dylan’s Desolation Row.

Robert was a man quite passionate about his obsessions. One of these was birthdays. He knew everyone by their birthday. He was a savant in that way, not dissimilar from Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. He was also passionate about baseball. He loved the stats, and baseball has them in abundance. But, like his other passion, every player has a birthday, and I’m willing to guess that he knew the birthday of every famous player as well as many of the lesser known.

He loved underdogs, identifying with the world’s nobodies. Hence he loved learning as much as he could about the forgotten parts of baseball. He once had me do research to identify how many minor league baseball stadiums there were in the 1930s and how many were still active.

All this is backstory for where these lists come from: Important Dates in Major League Baseball. In sharing them here (this is the first) I have added a date or detail a couple of times, but overall the decisions regarding what to include or leave out are all Robert’s.

IMPORTANT DATES — APRIL

April 2, 1876
First official National League baseball game. Boston 6, Philadelphia 5

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April 8, 1974
Hank Aaron hits Home Run # 715

April 8, 1975
Frank Robinson of Cleveland debuts as first black manager in Major League Baseball

April 13, 1914
First Federal League game played in Baltimore. Baltimore 3, Buffalo 2

April 15, 1947
Jackie Robinson becomes first black Major League ballplayer in 20th century.

April 16, 1940
Bob Feller beats the White Sox 1–0 in Chicago. Only opening day no-hitter in Major League history.

April 17, 1976
Mike Schmidt hits four consecutive home runs for the Phillies to erase a 15–2 deficit to the Cubs of Chicago. Phillies go on to win 18–16 in ten innings.

April 20, 1916
Cubs played their first game at Weedhman Park, beating Cincinnati 7–6. Re-named Wrigley Field in 1926.

April 23, 1999
Fernando Tatis hits 2 Grand Slam Home Runs in one inning, first player ever to do this. His eight RBIs in one inning is a Major League record.

April 26, 1905
Jack McCarthy of the Cubs becomes the only outfielder in Major League history to throw out three at the plate in a single game. Final score: Pittsburgh 2, Cubs 1.

April 30, 1919
Joe Oeschgen of the Phillies and Brooklyn’s Burleigh Grimes pitch a 9–9 tie in 20 innings. (FWIW: Burleigh Grimes was the last player permitted to legally throw a spitball. He ended his career with 270 wins and was selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame.)

Related Links

Top MLB Offseason Storylines for 2020.
Remembering the 100th Anniversary of the Negro Leagues
A Day in the Life of Robert Lookup

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An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y3l9sfpj

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