1st Future Hall of Famer Rube Waddell, weakened by a heroic effort to help contain a winter flood in Kentucky, dies at 37 of tuberculosis in a San Antonio sanitarium.
8th An attempt to legalize Sunday baseball in Massachusetts is defeated.
13th After building 8 new ballparks in 3 months, the Federal League opens with the Baltimore Terrapins beating Buffalo, 3–2, before 27,140. Winning P Jack Quinn will win 26 and lose 14. Indianapolis will win the pennant, led by rookie Benny Kauff’s league-leading .370 batting average. Ex-Pirate Claude Hendrix will be 29–11.
14th At Fenway Park, 24,741 fans are on hand as the Red Sox open the season against Washington. Walter Johnson doesn’t allow a hit till the 6th inning as he shuts out the Sox 3–0. Johnson walks none and strikes out 8. Ray Collins takes the loss.
At Brooklyn, Wilbert Robinson wins his first game as manager of the Dodgers, defeating the Braves, 8–2. According to the Brooklyn Eagle, the Braves lose “in spite of the luck-inviting Swastika emblem in red that adorns the cap of each member of the Boston team.”
At Philadelphia, the Giants open the season with the Phillies, losing, 10–1, to Pete Alexander. Rube Marquard takes the loss. The Phils are led by Sherry Magee, who clubs 2 homers and driving in 6 runs. He is the first player to hit a pair of home runs on Opening Day. It’ll next be done by Earl Webb, in 1927.
Before 22,000 at the Polo Grounds, the Yankees rock the World Champion Athletics, 8–2, driving Joe Bush from the mound after two innings. With only one starter, Roy Hartzell, back from last year’s opening lineup, New York scores 4 in the first and would have scored another in the 2nd inning but Jeff Sweeney falls rounding 3B. When the burly catcher is helped to his feet by coach and manager Frank Chance, he is declared out by Billy Evans: a new rule prohibits coaches from helping runners. Sweeney redeems himself when he and pitcher Marty McHale pull off a double steal. New York has seven steals, including two by Sweeney and Fritz Maisel, who steals 2B and 3B in the 4thinning. Maisel will swipe 74 bases on the year, while Sweeney will pick up 19, tops for Yankee catchers.
In Chicago, the Cleveland Naps lose, 2-1, and lose the services of two players. Losing pitcher Bill Steen is hit on the hand by a line drive and breaks a finger, while player/manager Joe Birmingham wrenches his side during the game and is lifted. The Sox team doctor says he has internal injury that will keep him out of action for months. He’ll return in late May but hang it up for good a few weeks later, the victim, not of a pain in the side, but a .128 batting average with no extra base hits.
Reds pitcher Rube Benton twirls a 2-hitter against visiting Chicago to win, 10–1. Cubs starter Larry Cheney goes into the record book with 4 wild pitches, the most ever on Opening Day.
15th Pitcher Earl Hamilton, who jumped the Browns last month for the Kansas City Packers (FL) jumps back to St. Louis without pitching an inning for the Feds. Tomorrow, the KC team will sue the pitcher for damages of $25,000, alleging the team signed him to a 3-year contract for $21,000 and paid him $500 up front. Earl’s father offers to return the money but the Packers decline. Earl will pitch on the 17th for the Browns, beating the host Tigers, 2-1.
16th At St. Louis, Honus Wagner leads his Pirates to a 4-1 win over the Cardinals with 2 hits, 2 runs and 2 RBIs, and also stars in the field. In the home 7th, Walton Cruise hits an RBI single to right fielder Mike Mitchell whose throw home gets through catcher George Gibson to the backstop. With no Pirate backing up, Cruise might have scored, but as he goes to 2B on the throw home Wagner bluffs taking a throw (forcing Cruise to slide). Wagner cleverly gets into an argument with umpire Emslie while Cruise is on the ground at 2B. Gibson recovers the ball.
17th Pittsburgh rookie Erv Kantlehner makes his first start and beats the Cardinals, 2–0.
In the Federal League, Buffalo’s Ed Porray makes his debut in a 4–2 loss to Baltimore. Porray, born “somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean,” will have one more decision, a loss, before being set adrift.
18th At Ebbets Field, Wilbert Robinson leads his Dodgers to a 9-6 win over John McGraw’s Giants. Brooklyn racks Christy Mathewson for 10 hits and 9 runs in 7 innings. Zack Wheat leads the way with a 3-run homer while driving home 5 runs.
19th The Yankees lose an exhibition game against the Newark Indians, 4-2, behind the pitching of rookie Tom Burr, a recruit from Williams College.
20th In a blow aimed at the Federal League, the 25-player limit is suspended in the AL and NL. With uncertainty over who has signed with what teams, it is almost impossible to know how many players may be on the roster at any one time.
In a Patriots Day twinbill in Boston, the A’s sweep a pair from the Red Sox, winning 8-2 in 10 innings in the morning, and 6-0 in the afternoon. Philadelphia cuffs Hugh Bedient for 5 of the runs in the game’s extra inning. In the p.m. game, the Sox hand Jack Lapp an intentional pass to load the bases and take their chances with Herb Pennock in the 4th. The pitcher triples to notch 3 of his 4 RBIs. He also allows just 4 hits in winning.
21st Pitcher Jack Quinn ends a Federal League match with Brooklyn by clubbing a game ending homer over the RF fence in the 10th to give Baltimore a 3–2 win. An inning earlier, 3B Jimmy Walsh hit a homer in the same spot.
In a 1-1, 13-inning tie with the A’s, Boston CF Tris Speaker pulls off the 3rd unassisted double play of his career. He’ll do it again on August 8. A’s pitcher Bob Shawkey allows no hits between the 3rd and the 10th.
Al Demaree wins his first of the year as the Giants shut out the Dodgers, 6-0. The Dodgers grumble about how hittable Demaree’s slow curves are, but they manage just 4 hits off him. Larry Doyle has a 2-run homer over the RF fence, off Ed Reulbach in the 8th, and scores 3 runs. Milt Stock homers inside the park in the 9th.
Pitcher George “Chief” Johnson jumps the Reds to sign with the Kansas City Feds. The Reds debate what to do about the Winnebago Indian’s contract, and in June a judge grants a permanent injunction against him playing for KC. But he’ll go 9-10 this year for the Packers, and 17-17 in 1915, his last season.
At the Polo Grounds, the Yankees edge the Senators, 3-2, in 10 innings, scoring 2 in the 9th and one in the 10th. New York connects for 11 hits off Joe Boehling. Manager Frank Chance makes a 9th inning appearance as a pinch runner, his last ML appearance, and Tom Burr takes over in center field for an inning. For young Burr, who pitched an exhibition game 2 days ago, it is his only ML appearance. He will play in the minors and then return to Williams College and eventually be sent overseas in WW1. Burr is killed in 1918 in a 2-plane crash in France while training with the U.S. Army Air Service. As noted by historian Rory Costello, Burr has the shortest ML career of any of the 8 major leaguers killed in WW1 [other sources cite 3 as the number of deaths in WW1, possibly using the fact that 3 died in France, ignoring the 5 who died in the U.S. while in the service].
22nd At age 19, Babe Ruth’s first professional game (as a pitcher) is a 6-hit, 6–0 win for Baltimore (International League) over Buffalo. The 2nd batter he faces is Joe McCarthy, the manager he will play for 17 years later with New York. Ruth is 2-for-4. Just 200 fans are on hand.
The Chicago Whales (FL) host the Kansas City Packers at newly built Weeghman Park, on Chicago’s North Side. With 2 homers by Art Wilson, and a 5-hitter by Claude Hendrix, the Chifeds coast to a 9–1 victory before a crowd of 21,000.
25th Browns catcher Frank Crossin throws out Detroit’s Sam Crawford at 2B, and the return throw from Del Pratt nips Ty Cobb at home, for a rare double play on a double steal. The Tigers win anyway, 4–0.
26th Kansas City salvages a win, 12-4, in the final game at Chicago against the Whales. In the first three games at Weeghman Park, eight homers are hit over the short LF brick wall, just 302 feet from home plate. The team tears down the brick wall after today’s match and will erect a temporary LF fence 25 feet further back. After the season a new perimeter wall will be built on the south side of Waveland Avenue. It still stands today. A 10-foot high screen will be added to the RF wall in the middle of the 1916 season (as noted by Ron Selter). The ChiFeds will lead the FL in homers this year, whaling 52.
27th The Giants nip the Phillies, 4–3, with Mathewson taking the decision against George Chalmers. For the first time, hot dogs are sold at the Polo Grounds. [Harry M Stevens, the concessionaire, claimed to have sold hot dogs at the Polo Grounds as early as 1893. Stevens biographer Paul King says it happened on a cold day in 1907 when he sent an associate out to a deli to purchase frankfurters and long buns.]
29th The A’s go down in flames when Jack Barry fails to execute a bunt on a double squeeze play against the Senators. Barry’s pop up bunt is caught by Chick Gandil who starts a triple play. Washington rallies to win, 6-4. Barry successfully pulled off a double squeeze 8 times last year, according to historian Peter Morris.
30th The White Sox manage just one hit—a leadoff double by Demmitt—and almost beat the Tigers, losing 5–4, when Detroit pushes across a run in the 9th.
At St. Louis, Cleveland uses a triple steal in the 9th—Graney, Olson and Carisch—to tie the Browns, 3–3. The game is called after 12 innings due to darkness.