1899 April

1st Hugh Jennings, coaching baseball at Cornell, is only one of several major leaguers so occupied this spring. Ted Lewis is at Harvard; Hugh Duffy at Boston College; Fred Tenney at Dartmouth; and Charles Nichols at Amherst.

7th  John Douglas, University of Texas graduate, pitches for Austin and shuts out San Antonio, 4-0. Douglas is the first Texan college player to play professionally.

8th  Patsy Tebeau, manager of the newly reorganized St. Louis team, will not use the old nickname ‘Browns’: Perfectos is more likely. Crimson stockings will replace brown.

10th  Mike Griffin, formerly captain of the Brooklyn team, has decided to retire and manage a brewery in Utica, NY. He hit .300 in 134 games last year.

11th  Congressman James Sherman makes a quick trip from Washington to his hometown of Utica, NY to participate in the opening of the New York State League season. He returns immediately after the game. A great friend of baseball, he would, upon becoming Vice President in 1909, urge President Taft to join him at the games.

14th  On Opening Day, Chicago gives P Clark Griffith plenty of batting support and the Orphans defeat Louisville 15–1, Chicago’s biggest opening day margin ever. Griffith allows 8 hits, including four to Honus Wagner, and collects a single and a triple. Outfield star Jimmy Ryan is feted before the game, and Chicago fans present Ryan with a gold watch.

At Washington, lefthanded SS Billy Hulen plays his first game with the Senators, but he goes 0-for-5 and makes an error as they lose to his former team, the Phillies. 6-5.

15th  A crowd of 21,000 watches Kid Nichols of Boston outlast Brooklyn’s Brickyard Kennedy 1–0 in 11 innings when Fred Tenney triples in the crucial run.

John McGraw, 26, makes his managerial debut, and leads the Orioles to a 5-3 win over the Giants. Steve Brodie has 5 of the O’s 9 stolen bases. Fewer than 4,000 fans are on hand.

17th  In Cincinnati, the Reds edge the Pirates, 8–7. In 2000, historian Dixie Tourangeau, with help from several SABR members, discovers an unrecorded triple for Pirate rookie Jimmy Williams in this game, upping his ML rookie record for triples from 27 to 28. The ball goes over Smith’s head but no error is charged.

18th At Cincinnati, 19-year-old Noodles Hahn makes his ML debut and beats the Pirates, 7–5.

19th  Visiting Philadelphia buries the futile Nationals, 16-5, with a 24-hit attack. Ed Delahanty is 5-for-6 with a double and HR.

In the home opener at Boston, Kid Nichols again pitches a shutout over Bill Kennedy of Brooklyn. This score is 7-0 thanks to home runs by Hugh Duffy and Herman Long. A crowd of 13,000 spills out onto the field.

22nd Jack Taylor faces Jack Taylor in the Cincinnati-Chicago match at League Park. Chicago’s Jack wins over “Brewery Jack”, 6–4. The Reds Taylor was acquired in the off-season from St. Louis for pitcher Bill Hill and $4,000.

Trading positions as the game progresses, Giants C Mike Grady and 1B Parke Wilson account for 23 putouts in an 8-7 defeat of visiting Baltimore.

24th  Buck Freeman hits the first of his record 25 homeruns for the only Washington score in a 10-1 loss to Boston. The mark will stand until Ruth tops it with 29 in 1919.

The first triple play of the season helps Oriole rookie Joe McGinnity to a 6-0 triumph over the Giants. The 9th-inning tri-killing goes George “Topsy Maggie” Magoon to John “Chewing Gum” O’Brien to Candy LaChance. McGinnity “had the locals guessing throughout using a slow drop curve and a ‘raised ball.’” (The New York Times. In McGinnity’s next outing against Brooklyn, the paper will describe the pitch as being thrown underhand).

Washington trades veteran catcher Duke Farrell and 3B Doc Casey to Brooklyn, receiving in return Pete Cassidy, P Dan McFarlen, C Mike Heydon and $2500. Brooklyn is in need of Casey to fill in for Jennings, who has a sore arm and is not expected to return for a month. Dahlen will move to shortstop to make room for Casey. When this trade is announced Deacon McGuire is part of it, but it is Farrell who ends up in Brooklyn. However, they will acquire McGuire in July.

25th  Louisville 3B Honus Wagner has his second 4-for-4 game in 11 days, as he hits 2 HRs, the 2nd one winning the game the 9th over host Pittsburgh, 2–1. He’ll have another 4-for-4 game on May 3. The Colonels sell Nick Altrock to Grand Rapids and farm out Rube Waddell to Columbus.

27th  A Boston massacre. Fourteen walks and seven errors contribute to a horrible 20-3 loss to host Philadelphia.

Before 3,500 in Brooklyn, the Superbas win their third in a row over Baltimore, winning, 6-2, and beating Joe McGinnity. “McGinnity pitched his so-called ‘raised ball’ but after several of the Brooklyn batters had straightened out a few of these shots, delivered with an underhand motion, McGinnity resorted to slow curves that, at times, were effective.” (New York Times).

President Ebbets of the Superbas announces that he has just returned from Utica where he had convinced Mike Griffin to report to St. Louis, which had secured his contract from Cleveland. According to The New York Times, Griffin had been holding out until he received a piece of the $3,000 sale price. But the dispute will not be settled, and Griff will retire from baseball. He will sue the Brooklyn club for breach of contract and the New York Supreme Court will rule in his favor in the amount of $2266. Griffin ends his career with a .297 average for 12 years, scoring 100 runs or more in ten of those seasons.

28th  The visiting Baltimore Orioles down the Brooklyn Superbas, 12-11, in a game called after 8 innings on account of darkness. The O’s protest when umpire Gaffney starts the 9th inning, but they score 2 runs before the game reverts to the 8th–inning score. Three pitchers, Doc McJames, Jack Dunn and Welcome Gaston are unable to stop the O’s attack in a game that takes nearly three hours. Despite a 2-run double and a HBP in his two plate appearances, it is the only appearance this year for Welcome and it is his goodbye game. Brooklyn will release Gaston to the Tigers on May 17.

Washington trips the visiting Giants, 12-8, as Pete Cassidy hits his first major league home run, a grand slam off Bill Carrick in the 4thinning.

30th  A new ML attendance record is set at Chicago as 27,489 fans watch Nixey Callahan shut out St. Louis, 4–0. The crowd spills into the field causing any hit into the crowd to count for only one base. Nixey gives up 12 hits in the shutout, one short of the current record. The visiting Perfectos expect their share of the gate today will pay for team salaries for the month of May.

At Cincinnati, the visiting Spiders lose to the Reds Jack Taylor, 9-0, as Cleveland utility infielder Sport McCallister is pressed into service as umpire. The versatile Sport will play all nine positions this year, the first major leaguer to do so. And because of his business background, Cleveland will use him to collect tickets during the season, not a burdensome task considering their sparse attendance.