Monday, August 15th, 2005
All my gratitude to The Baseball Page folks.
On August 15, 1916, future Hall of Famers Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox and Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators engage in a memorable pitching duel at Fenway Park. Ruth defeats Johnson, 1-0, in a 13-inning classic.
On August 15, 1911, the Cleveland Naps release future Hall of Famer Cy Young. The legendary righthander will sign a contract with Boston, where he will finish out the season and complete his career with an all-time record of 511 wins.
On August 15, 1965, the San Francisco Giants celebrate ìMasanori Murakami Dayî at Candlestick Park, in honor of the first Japanese-born player to make the major leagues. Usually a relief pitcher, Murakami makes his first and only major league start that day, as the Giants defeat the Philadelphia Phillies, 15-9.
On August 15, 1990, Mark McGwire of the Oakland Athletics becomes the first major league player to hit 30 or more home runs in each of his first four seasons. McGwireís 30th home run – a 10th inning grand slam – gives the Aís a 6-2 win over the Boston Red Sox.
On August 15, 1989, Dave Dravecky of the San Francisco Giants breaks his arm in making his second start after a return from cancer surgery. Although Dravecky earns a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Expos, he will never pitch in the major leagues again.
On August 15, 1945, Commissioner Happy Chandler negotiates a contract to have Gillette become the sponsor of the World Series, replacing Ford Motot Company. The razor company pays a record $150,000 for its affiliation with the Fall Classic, surpassing the $100,000 price tag previously paid by Ford, which had been the World Series sponsor since 1934.
On August 15, 1978, the Oakland Aís trade veteran slugger Willie Horton to the Toronto Blue Jays for another aging hitting star, Rico Carty. As part of the deal, the Blue Jays also receive a minor league pitcher. Horton, who batted .314 in 32 games for the Aís, will join his third team in 1978 after starting the season with the Cleveland Indians.
On August 15, 1965, Washington Senators third baseman Ken McMullen ties a major league record by starting four double plays in one game. McMullenís defensive efficiency helps the Senators defeat the Baltimore Orioles, completing a three-game sweep of their geographic rivals.
On August 15, 1955, future Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle ties a major league mark by switch-hitting home runs for the second time in his career. Mantleís pair of homers help lift the Yankees to a 12-6 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
On August 15, 1958, one of the greatest Cub fans in history is born in a hospital in Auburn, Indiana. He grows up to idolize such greats as Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ryne Sandburg and Mark Grace. His other favorite player is Freddy Patek of the Royals.
Later, much of the joy and magic of the game would be replaced with cynicism and disillusionment. But even the juiced players and the Cubs scalping their own fans wouldn’t totally dampen his spirits. Through it all, he realizes that Baseball remains the greatest game and always will be. At 47, I’m beginning to wonder if the Cubs will ever win it all in my lifetime.
Keep Hope Alive.
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