April 1901

rd  Connie Mack accuses Christy Mathewson of reneging on a Philadelphia contact signed in January. The young pitcher had accepted advance money from Mack, but jumped back to the Giants in March. Mack considers going to court, but eventually accepts the loss of the pitcher.

18th  At Baker Bowl, Brooklyn’s Jimmy Sheckard has 3 triples against the host Phils to lead his team to a 12–7 Opening Day win. The loser is Jack Dunn, who will have more success in the 20s as the owner of the Baltimore Orioles. Three other NL openers are rained out.

19th At the Polo Grounds, the Giants open a day late, losing 7–0 to Boston. Dummy Taylor is hit hard and takes the loss.

In an exhibition game in Detroit, the Tigers beat Grand Rapids, 8–0. It is the first game ever between a National Agreement club and an American League team.

20th Under new manager Bid McPhee, the Reds open at home with a 4–2 loss to Pittsburgh, with Sam Leever winning over Noodles Hahn. The game was originally scheduled for the 18th.

24th Three rainouts give Chicago the honor of hosting the new AL’s first opener. Cleveland 2B Erve Beck hits the first HR in AL history, off Chicago’s Roy Patterson, and adds a double. But the White Sox prevail, 7–2. Veteran Tommy Connally is the lone umpire of the game.

With a partially flooded outfield at League Park, the Reds edge Chicago, 10-9, scoring 6 in the 2nd inning. Improvised ground rules are put into effect and any ball hit into the pond in flooded left center or center is a ground-rule double. Nine doubles are splashed. The New York Times reports, “Batting was terrific, the water catching more ball than the fielders. The locals were more familiar with the wet conditions and excelled at aquatic fielding by which they won easily.” The Reds score a run in the last of the 9th to win easily. Tomorrow’s scheduled game is called off and the Cubs leave town for Chicago.

At St. Louis, Cowboy Jones weakens in the 9th inning and serves up a 2-run homer to Ginger Beaumont as Pittsburgh beats the Cardinals, 5-4.

25th  In its AL debut before 10,023, Detroit scores the greatest Opening Day rally ever with 10 runs in the bottom of the 9th for a 14–13 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Detroit spots the Brewers a 13–3 lead—7–0 after 3 innings—by making 7 errors, including three by SS Kid Elberfeld. No team this century will score 10 runs in the bottom of the 9th to win; the Indians will score 9 runs in the bottom of the 9th next month to win and Rockies in 2010 will come close with a 9-run winning rally. Tiger 1B Pop Dillon hits 4 doubles, tying the ML record, including a pair in the record 9th inning, the last is the game-winning 2-run double off reliever Bert Husting. Dillon’s four doubles is an opening day record that will be matched by Jim Greengrass in 1954.

26th  Eight days after the Phillies’ opener before 4,593, the Athletics twice delayed home opener at Columbus Park draws 10,547 for a 5–1 loss to the Washington Nationals. Chick Fraser is the winner as the A’s help with 7 errors on the waterlogged field. Nap Lajoie has a groundout then 3 hits for the Athletics, and will go 3-for-3 tomorrow on the way to an AL-record .422 batting average.

For the second day in a row, the Tigers beat Milwaukee with a walkoff run in the 9th. Today’s score is a more modest, 6-5. The Tigers won’t open with two walkoff wins again until 2014.

After 6 postponements, the New York Giants down the Brooklyn Superbas 5–3 for their season’s first win and Mathewson’s first ML victory. Matty allows 4 hits and strikes out 8.

The visiting Boston Americans play their first game, losing to Baltimore, 10–6. Iron Joe McGinnity strikes out 9 in the win, and Mike Donlin cracks two triples off losing pitcher Win Kellum.

27th The Cleveland Blues (AL) record their first victory, beating Chicago, 10–4, behind the pitching of Bill Hart. The vet Hart will lose his stuff and finish the season as an AL umpire.

Behind Sam Crawford’s 5 hits, including a triple and a HR, the Reds beat host Chicago, 9–2. Jack Taylor surrenders the hits and loses. Crawford will lead the NL in homers with 16.

At Baltimore, the Orioles jump on Cy Young for 12 runs as the Red Sox fall, 12-6. Jimmy Williams, who jumped from the Pirates to the Orioles last month, has his first two AL hits.

28th  Veteran SS Hugh Jennings, teammate and roommate of John McGraw in Baltimore’s great days, will play for Mack’s Athletics after getting his law degree at Cornell. McGraw persuades him to play for Baltimore instead, touching off a battle royal with Connie Mack and Ban Johnson. The result is ill feelings that never heal. Jennings winds up playing for the Phillies.

Cleveland’s rookie pitcher Charles “Bock” Baker gives up an AL record 23 singles in a 13–1 loss to the White Stockings. Bock will pitch only one other game, also a loss, in the ML, and that will be in 2 weeks with the Athletics. Bock’s 23 singles allowed is short of the ML-record of 28, set by Jack Wadsworth in 1894.

29th  Admiral George Dewey, the Spanish American War hero, throws out the first ball. Then he and other prominent guests watch Washington defeat Baltimore, 5–2, in the AL opener in the nation’s capital. Joe McGinnity is the loser to Bill Carrick.

At Philadelphia, the Athletics beat the Boston Americans, 8–5, behind Nap Lajoie’s continued hot hitting. Nap has 2 singles and 2 triples to run his consecutive hit to 10 straight. He was 3-for-3 on the 28th in an 8–5 loss to Washington.

30th At Baker Bowl, the Giants edge the Phils, 3–2, behind Mathewson’s 3-hitter.

At Philadelphia’s Columbus Park The Boston Americans beat the Athletics, 8–6, in 10 innings, the AL’s first extra-inning game. Nap Lajoie grounds out in his first at bat, ending his consecutive hitting streak of 10-for-10. Tris Speaker will top this AL record in 1920 (as noted by Trent McCotter).

Thomas “Dude” Esterbrook, a star in the 1880s with the Mets, dies in a fall from a moving train. Esterbrook is on his way to a mental hospital in Middlebrook, NY, when he squeezes through a lavatory window and falls to the rail bed below.