1st After a week of rain, the White Sox finally play an exhibition game in Memphis, beating the minor league team, 3–2. Meanwhile, the Sox “B” team loses to Kansas City, 2–0.
10th Promising Reds rookie John Siegle breaks a small bone directly above his left ankle while sliding into second base in a spring training game. He won’t appear in a game until June 23 (a fruitless pinch-hitting effort, in which he supposedly stepped up to the plate with the aid of a cane), or return to the lineup until July 10. After limping to a .118 average in 22 games, Siegle will disappear from the majors for good (as noted by Bill Deane).
12th Boston (NL) OF Johnny Bates becomes the first modern player to hit a homer in his first ML at bat when he connects in the 2nd inning against the Brooklyn Superbas’ Harry McIntire. Boston hurler Irv Young allows only one hit—a double by Lumley—and wins, 2–0.
With Mathewson sidelined with diphtheria, Red Ames pitches the Opener for the Giants, a 3–2 win over the Phils at Baker Bowl. The loser is 20-year-old Johnny Lush, the youngest ML pitcher so far to start an Opener. Chief Bender was five months older when he won for the A’s last year.
14th Little-used Jack Doscher makes his only start of the year for Brooklyn, but loses to Boston, 1–0. Doscher is the first lefty to start a game for Brooklyn in 4 years. Used mostly for batting practice, Doscher will shortly jump the team in a salary squabble. Jack Doscher, along with his father Herm, are the first father-son duo in the major leagues. The win goes to Vive Lindaman, making his first major league start. Vive better get used to the lack of support; he’ll lose 23 games this year, eight by shutouts. No rookie will have it worse.
At Hilltop Park, former player John Montgomery Ward throws out the first ball before the start of the Highlanders—Boston Americans opener. Veterans Jack Chesbro and Cy Young struggle to a 1–1 standoff through eleven innings before New York pushes across an unearned run in the 12th.
15th Brooklyn plays a Sunday game against Boston, charging no admission. Fans are asked to drop contributions in a box at the gate. Deputy police commissioner Arthur O’Keefe, in referring to last year’s ploy of selling programs as a way around admission charges, states: “If the Sunday games at Washington Park are to be free games, in the literal sense of the word, Mr. Ebbets may be right in assuming that they will not constitute a violation of the law. If, on the other hand, an admission fee is exacted in any manner we will consider the law violated, and act accordingly.” Boston tops Brooklyn, 5–3, with no arrests reported.
Chicago’s Ed Reulbach beats the Reds, 8–5 to start a streak of 16 straight wins over Cincinnati. The streak will conclude August 18, 1909.
16th In Cincinnati, the Cubs lose 3–2 as Johnny Evers and Frank Chance get ejected. Following the game, Joe Tinker gets into a fight with a fan to complete the circuit.
Phillies pitcher John Lush records a double-double, walking 10 batters and striking out 11 in beating the Giants, 4–2.
17th At Detroit, the Tigers drop their home Opener, 5–3, to the White Sox and Frank Owen. A crowd of 13,875 is on hand at Bennett Field, which holds just 7,000. Crowds pack along the foul line.
18th Eleven days after the start of the PCL season, a great 70-second earthquake in San Francisco and the fire which follows destroys Recreation Park, home of the San Francisco Seals as well as the offices of the PCL. The Seals (9-2) are leading the league. Oakland C Pat Donohue reportedly breaks both his legs when he jumps from a hotel window during the quake (Spalding’s PCL Date Book), but he will recover to debut with the Boston Red Sox in May.
LA Angels (PCL) owner James Morley, who had made several unsuccessful attempts to wreck the league, disbands his team without the consent of the league. His lease at Chute Park is up on May 15, and the owners had refused to extend it; he will and up selling the team to local businessmen a day before the expiration. With telegraph service down, PCL president Bert cannot immediately inform the Angels’ players that Morley acted without the consent of the league, and several players leave for the East. Fresno and LA will resume play on April 26 and will play each other in one of two cities for the next three weeks.
19th The Tigers win their 2nd in a row over the White Sox, 3–1, as Sam Crawford homers over the RF fence.
White Sox pitcher Doc White request permission to leave the team until May 15 in order to coach the baseball team at his alma mater, Georgetown. Comiskey reluctantly gives him till May 1st(as noted by Irv Stein).
20th At the Polo Grounds, the Giants win their home opener, 8–2 over the Brooklyn Superbas. Red Ames is the winner for the defending world champions.
The White Sox win their home Opener, 6–1 over the Tigers. Again, Nick Altrock is the winning pitcher.
22nd A new rule puts the umpire in sole charge of all game balls. The home team manager previously had some say as to when a new ball was introduced.
24th Boston makes 20 hits in trouncing the Washington Nationals, 19–2.
26th Immediately following the Giants 4–3 win over Philadelphia, John McGraw slugs a fan who had made a derogatory remark about the Giants. Then the manager proceeds on to the clubhouse. When a policeman arrives he refuses to arrest McGraw on the grounds that he had not witnessed the altercation.
At Brooklyn, the Boston Nationals Johnny Bates hits for the cycle, but his teammates go flat and lose 3–1.
Ivy Tevis of Galveston (South Texas League) pitches a no-hitter and loses, 1-0, against Houston. The one man Tevis walks, Joe Mowry, Sr. (whose son later plays in the Texas League) scores and no one else reaches base. With the game at Houston, Tevis did not pitch in the 9th.
28th It’s the only time two managers steal home on the same day. Cubs pilot Frank Chance steals in the 9th to give Chicago a 1–0 win over the Reds in game 1, and Fred Clarke matches it in the Pirates’ 10–1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. In game 1, Chance is on 2B and Joe Tinker on 1B when Pat Moran hits a DP ball to short, but Tinker blocks the play at 2B preventing the throw. Miller Huggins comes out to argue with umpire Bill Klem alleging interference and, Chance rounding 3B, seizes the opportunity to make it home (as noted by Jan Larson).
In arguably the best pitched game in Texas League history (certainly the best opening day game), Houston (South Texas League) P Peaches Nelson pitches a 1-0 no-hitter over visiting Galveston. Opposing pitcher Ivy Tevis gives up just one hit who comes around to score. Each pitcher walks a batter.
29th The New York ban on Sunday baseball is temporarily lifted and the Highlanders and Philadelphia A’s play a benefit game for the victims of the San Francisco earthquake, raising $5,600. The two teams also work out a deal: the Highlanders get speedster Danny Hoffman in exchange for the rights to OF Dave Fultz, who was injured on September 30th last year. The two finished first and second in stolen bases in ‘05. But the 31-year-old Fultz, his body beat up from playing football as well as still suffering from the September collision, quits to practice law and will stay quit. Hoffman, who lost his job to Bris Lord, will stay with the Highlanders for two seasons.
Harry Lumley hits the first pitch for a leadoff homer and the game’s only score as Brooklyn beats the Phillies, 1–0. Bill Duggleby serves up the homer and takes the loss. Lumley will lead the NL in homers (9) and triples (18), matching the feat of Tommy Leach two years ago. Jim Bottomley, in 1928, will be the next to do it.
In the first game in the Bay area since the earthquake, the Seals beat the Oakland Oaks, 7–3, in a benefit exhibition for the earthquake relief fund. The game is at the Oaks’ Idora Park. The two teams head north and, by May 2, all PCL teams will be in action.
30th Boston C Jack O’Neill, the eldest of the 4 ML O’Neill brothers, suffers through a long day as the Giants rack up 10 stolen bases in beating the Beaneaters, 8–2.