1891 April

3rd  The Cleveland Spiders beat Pittsburgh 6–3 in St. Augustine in the first spring training game between two ML teams ever played in Florida.

John M. Ward returns from Paris with the announcement that he has reconciled with his wife, actress Helen Dauvray. The stormy marriage between stars of baseball and the stage is one of the most publicized in America.

4th  ”Kelly’s Killers”, as the new Cincinnati AA team managed by King Kelly is called, draw 7,000 for the Fast Day exhibition opener in Boston against the AA Boston Reds.

6th  The International League changes its name to the Eastern Association because it no longer has any Canadian clubs.

8th  Opening Day in the AA with 4 games. In St. Louis, the Cincinnati Kellys walk off the field in the 9th inning after new umpire Billy Gleason makes several questionable decisions in favor of his old Browns teammates. Gleason will be fired in 2 days, and the game will be replayed.

In Denver, the Chicago club beats Denver, 9–8, in a spring training game. Chicago’s last game is on April 12th and they will barnstorm East after that.

9th  Baltimore loses to Boston, 8–7, on 8th-inning errors by C Wilbert Robinson and SS George Van Haltren. Shortstop will be a trouble spot for Baltimore all year, and the lefthanded Van Haltren will play 59 games there.

11th  Clark Griffith, 21 years old, makes his ML debut, pitching the St. Louis Browns to a 13–5 victory over Cincinnati. After spending much of 1892 and 1893 in the minors, Griffith will return to remain active in the majors as a pitcher, manager, and club owner until his death in 1955.

In an unusual move, Louisville AA uses 3 pinch hitters in 7–3 loss to Columbus. Daily, Cook, and Reeder are the pinch hitters, with Cook drawing a walk. (as noted by Cliff Blau with some additional information from David Ball and John Lewis).

13th  The Washington Statesmen (AA) open their new National Park before a crowd of 4,365 as Boston wins, 6–0. This site at 7thStreet and Georgia Avenue, N.W., will serve ML baseball in the nation’s capital through 1961, except for one 4-year period (1900–1903). Initially hewn from a forest, in this first year of play the field is surrounded by overhanging trees that cause many drives that would have been homers to rebound back onto the playing field.

20th  Against Baltimore (AA), Washington 2B Fred Dunlap, once considered the greatest in the game, suffers a career-ending broken left leg. The injury occurs in the 1st inning after Dunlap walks, steals, 2B, and, following a single, circles 3B and attempts to return to the bag when he sees he can’t get home. As noted by Bob Schaefer, it is the 2nd time that Dunlap has broken a leg in a game: the first occurred on July 5, 1887 when he collided with Sam Thompson in the 7th inning.

22nd  Opening Day in the NL. The largest crowd (17,355) is in New York, where the Giants lose to the Boston Beaneaters 4–3 on a 9th-inning muff by CF George Gore. The game is the first NL game in last year’s PL Polo Grounds at 157th St. and 8th Avenue, immediately north of the old NL Polo Grounds. This site will serve the Giants through 1957 and the Mets in 1962-63.

23rd With no outs and the bases loaded in the 9th, Brooklyn’s Darby O’Brien hits into a triple play against Philadelphia’s John Thornton to end the game, a 3-1 loss. New York’s Mickey Welch will match Darby next month.

25th  The Senators blow 3-run leads in both the 9th and 10thinnings and lose to the Athletics, 12–11. Washington manager Sam Trott is fired after the game and replaced by veteran catcher Charley “Pop” Snyder.

In his debut for the Reds, veteran Hoss Radbourn is peppered as Cleveland wins, 23-7. George Davis has 3 triples for the winners, including one in the 7th inning when he adds a homer.

In an AA game, John Carney of Cincinnati hits a 3rd inning grand slam, off John Doran, but Louisville wins, 11-9.

26th  Local Cincinnati authorities allow the Kellys to play their Sunday game, which is won by the Louisville Colonels (AA) 12–6, but then arrest all the players on charges of violating the state’s Blue Laws.

27th  The Bridegrooms play their home opener at Eastern Park in the East New York section of Brooklyn, a 6-5 loss to New York. The park was used by the PL club in 1890, and the NL club will occupy it for 7 years. It is located near a complex of streetcar and suburban railroad lines, forcing fans to “dodge trolleys” to get to the gates. This spawns the name “Trolley Dodger” or “Dodgers” for the ball club.

Chicago pitcher Pat Luby finally loses as Cincinnati beats him, 1–0. Luby finished the 1990 season with a club-record 17 straight wins. He’ll win his next two starts, but will finish the year at 8–11.

28th  The new rule allowing for an unlimited number of substitutions gives managers new flexibility. Today, Beaneater manager Frank Selee gives rookie Jim Sullivan a chance to pitch in the 9th inning with Boston leading, 11-2. But when the youngster walks 5 men and allows 4 runs, Selee brings in Kid Nichols to save the victory.

29th  Baltimore (AA) beats Washington, 19-3, as Sadie McMahon runs his record to 7-0. No other ML pitcher will win 7 games in April.

30th  Although a small grandstand fire was extinguished during the game, the heated action in Cincinnati comes immediately after the Reds lose to Cleveland, 4–3. Reds pitcher Tony Mullane charges umpire Phil Powers and punches him in the face. Mullane will not end up being suspended, and rumors will have it that the NL president will rescind his fine.

The Boston Reds (AA) run rough shod over the host Philadelphia Athletics and win, 22-6, but lose veteran Hardy Richardson for much of the season. Richardson cracks an inside-the-park homer but breaks his right leg sliding home (as noted in David Vincent’s book Home Run). The RBI leader (146) in the Player’s League last year, he appear in just 74 games this year.