1896 April

7th  Louisville’s Pete Cassidy becomes the first baseball player in history to be X-rayed, as a splinter of bone is removed from his wrist.

13th  Organized baseball celebrates Harry Wright Day in honor of the baseball pioneer who had died last October of pneumonia. Veterans of the 1860s play an exhibition game in Rockford, IL, using 1860s rules. In Cincinnati, the 1896 Reds defeat the 1892 Reds 7–3. Other games are played in New York, Philadelphia, Louisville, Washington, and Indianapolis. The money raised will go to building a monument at a cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

16th  The 12-team NL season opens, with no franchise changes from last year. The largest Opening Day crowd in the 19th century, 24,500, sees the opener in Philadelphia.

Veteran Cincinnati Reds 2B Bid McPhee opens the season wearing a glove for the first time, and survives several weeks of good-natured ribbing by opponents. He is the last to convert.

20th  An overflow crowd of 18,033 at Boston necessitates a ground rule of one base on a hit into the standing crowd. The Beaneaters then pound out 28 singles (and a double) in an 8-inning 21–8 win over Baltimore. This outburst equals the ML record for singles in one game set by Philadelphia against Louisville on August 17, 1894.

23rd In Philadelphia’s 19-8 win over New York, Dan Brouthers scores 5 runs for Philadelphia.

28th  In a mid-afternoon game against the Columbus Senators, the Detroit Tigers (Western League) open their new Bennett Park before an overflow crowd of 8,000. Named after Charlie Bennett, a popular catcher of the ‘80’s who lost his legs in a train accident in 1894, the park is the first at Michigan and Trumbull Avenues. Wayne County treasurer Alex McCloud throws out the first pitch, caught by the wheel-chair bound Bennett, who will catch or toss the ceremonial first pitch every year until his death in 1927. The Tigers, led by player-manager George Stallings, then trounce the Senators, 17–2. Stallings hits a deep fly ball that goes for a home run when CF Dick Butler runs into a spectator crossing the field.

At Baltimore, Washington whips the Orioles, 9–5, with the help of a hidden ball trick applied by 1B Ed Cartwright on Willie Keeler.

29th  The Cleveland Spiders score 2 runs in the 2nd inning to break a 22-inning scoreless streak by Pittsburgh Pirate pitchers, but fail to score again and lose 9–2.