1898 April

2nd  Famed heavyweight boxer Jim Corbett, whose brother Joe pitches for Baltimore, claims he made $17,000 last year by playing in well-advertised minor league games for a sizable cut of the gate. Sporting Life notes disparagingly that it was “a pretty fair salary for a first baseman of his class.”

6th Pitcher Amos Rusie and OF Mike Tiernan of the Giants are on the sick list. The cold and wet weather while the team has been playing at Lakewood, NY, instead of Hot Springs, Ark, is blamed.

15th At Louisville’s League Park, an estimated 10,000 fans crowd the opener to watch the home team beat Pittsburgh, 10–3. Louisville is led by Fred Clarke’s 3 singles and Honus Wagner’s two singles. Officiating on the bases as the NL introduces a two-umpire system is John Heydler.

The Chicagoes, with Clark Griffith pitching and captain Bill Dahlen hitting a 2B and 3B, spoil Tim Hurst’s managerial debut by beating St. Louis, 2–1.

16th  The league urges official scorers to award hits, rather than automatic errors, on hard-hit balls that handcuff infielders; to be scrupulous in awarding assists to all players handling balls in rundowns; and to cease awarding hits to batters on fielder’s-choice plays.

The Sportsman’s Park grandstand is destroyed by fire in the 2ndinning with the Browns at bat against Chicago. Forty persons are injured as a crowd of 6,000 stampedes to escape. The Browns new manager Tim Hurst and players help workmen remove debris so that the April 17th day game can be played.

17th Chicago lashes 4 triples in the 4th inning on their way to a 14–1 drubbing of St. Louis. Walt Thornton is the winner over Kid Carsey. The Browns will finish last gain with a 39–111 record, but do it all under one manager for a change.

Bobby Mathews, who won the historic first National Association game in 1871, dies of paresis at Baltimore. He was 47. (historian Bob Davids says he was 46).

18th Jim Hughes of Sacramento makes his ML debut with Baltimore, and pitches a 2-hit, 9–0 win over Washington.

20th  John McGraw, Baltimore’s feisty 3B, who will lead the league in runs (143) and walks (112), gets 3 of each in an 18–3 drubbing of Boston.

21st  Phillies pitcher Bill Duggleby hits a bases-full HR in his first ML at bat against Giants lefty Cy Seymour, who later will be a NL homerun leader. Duggleby’s event was the 2nd homer (Mike Griffin, April 16, 1887) hit in a first ML at-bat and his grand slam debut will not be matched until Jeremy Hermida does so in 2005. The host Phillies bat first and win, 13–4, taking advantage of a wild Seymour, who walks 7, hits 3 and balks.

Chicago’s Clark Griffith stops the heavy-hitting Louisville Colonels, 8–2, allowing just two hits—by Honus Wagner and Doc Nance. Bert Cunningham allows 9 hits in the loss, including a homer by Barry McCormick.

22nd  Two no-hitters: Baltimore’s Jim Hughes hurls an 8–0 win against Boston in his 2nd ML start; Cincinnati’s Ted Breitenstein pitches an 11-0 win against Pittsburgh, marking the first time two 9-inning no-hitters are pitched on the same day. For Hughes, it is his second straight shutout.

23rd Today’s issue of The Sporting Life reports that “The latest freak scheme of ball players is to ‘bone’ their bats. This is done by rubbing and polishing their “wagon tongues” with soup bones. There seems to be more superstition in the idea than utility.”

24th Spain declares war on the U.S. and the ensuing conflict will depress baseball attendance. In one week Admiral Dewey will destroy the Spanish fleet in Manila bay.

With Jim Hughey on the mound, the St. Louis Browns beats his old team, the Pirates, 13-1. Hughey scatters 11 hits, starts two DPs, and has a homer and triple at the plate. The Pirates will get back at Hughey on the 27th, beating him, 21-2.

27th  All New York players, including P Cy Seymour, score one or more runs in a 20–6 rout of Washington, which is called after 7 innings. Bill Donovan makes his debut, pitching 3 innings of relief, but he is wild.

28th  The game at Philadelphia is postponed on account of snow.

29th Frank Chance makes his first appearance as Chicago whips visiting Louisville 16–2, scoring 9 runs in the 7th inning. Chance comes in as catcher in the 8th inning, and is allegedly ordered by P Clark Griffith to drop a foul pop fly because the pitcher has a fear of shutouts. Chance does muff a foul popup, but not because Griff orders him to. In fact, the dropped ball is made by 1B Everitt in the 8th after Griffith yells at him to do it. The pitcher gives up 2 runs in the 8th as he lobs the ball in. Griffith got his first whitewash last August 13, and will overcome his calcimine aversion and will to lead the NL and AL in shutouts in consecutive years.

30th  Opening Day at Brooklyn’s new Washington Park attracts 15,000 fans to see a 6–4 Brooklyn loss to Philadelphia. President Charles Ebbets and his young daughter, dressed in red, white, and blue, participate in the elaborate, patriotic pageantry. Veteran Sam Thompson hits the first HR in the new park, his last homer in the ML.