1917 April

10th  The U.S. entry into WW I and a cold, wet spring combine to put a damper on the start of the season; 48 NL games will be postponed in the first month. Half the ML clubs will show losses this year, and 8 of the 20 minor leagues will fold before the season is over. The AL gets the Army to assign drill sergeants to each team for daily pregame drills. A final contest will be held for a $500 prize. The St. Louis Browns will take the money.

11th In pregame drills before the Yankees Opening Day at the Polo Grounds, the Yankees impress General Leonard Wood by marching in drills. The Sox, having not practiced, decline, but then drill New York 10–3 in the game. Boston breaks a 3-3 tie with four runs in the 7th, three coming home on round tripper by Dick Hoblitzell. Tilly Walker adds a double, two triples and 4 RBIs for Boston, while Babe Ruth allows just three hits, all singles, in beating Ray Caldwell.

In Philadelphia, Walter Johnson and the Nationals shut out the A’s, 3–0. Johnson strikes out 11 in outgunning Bullet Joe Bush.

12th Before a near-capacity crowd of 24,000, the visiting Cardinals beat the Reds 5–1 behind Bill Doak.

14th  In St. Louis, Chicago’s Eddie Cicotte pitches a no-hitter over the Browns, winning easily, 11–0. Cicotte faces just 30 batters, with the only near-hit a line drive by Jimmy Austin that Chick Gandil fumbles. “And not without cause, for Jimmy’s drive had whiskers like a German who was trapped for ten days on Vimy Ridge.” (Chicago Tribune). Cicotte’s 28 wins and 1.53 ERA will top the AL.

16th  At Shibe Park, the Red Sox win, 6-1, over the A’s as Babe Ruth (2-0) goes the distance allowing 8 hits. Boston manages 8 hits off three A’s hurlers. Jack Nabors allows 2 runs in relief in his final ML appearance as he finishes his career at 1-25.

19th  At Philadelphia, the A’s edge the Red Sox, 4-3, when Ping Bodie drives in the winning run in the 9th inning with an apparent homerun. Ping is awarded .a triple (as noted in Retrosheet).

21st At Washington’s home opener, President Wilson is absent, but Veep Thomas Marshall does the tossing of the first ball. Walter Johnson rolls to a 3–0 win over the A’s, beating Joe Bush. Johnson allows just three hits and strikes out 11.

In Boston’s Opener, Mayor James Curley tosses out the first ball and Babe Ruth then beats the Yankees again, 6–4, on 9 hits. At bat, the Babe is 3-for-3 with a triple and two doubles.

Brooklyn sells veteran first sacker Fred Merkle to the Cubs for $3500. Merkle was acquired from the Giants last August during the Robins pennant drive.

22nd In his first game as a Cub, Fred Merkle has 2 hits and a walk but Chicago falls to the Reds, 7-4. Phil Douglas gives up the 7 runs, but only 2 are earned as he makes 3 errors on the mound.

24th  In front of 3,219 fans, Yankee lefty George Mogridge pitches a no-hitter in Fenway Park for a 2–1 New York win. It is the second of what will be an AL record five no-hitters this season. The Yankees score on 2 walks, an error, and a sacrifice fly off Dutch Leonard. Not until Righetti’s no-hitter in 1983 will another Yankee lefty toss a no-hitter.

The Reds purchase Jim Thorpe from the Giants, but will return the Olympic star to New York in August.

29th  At Robison Field, the Cubs edge the Cardinals, 6-5, in 11 innings, although the Birds fight to the finish. Claude Hendrix pitches 6 innings of relief for the win, giving up run on a game-tying homer to Bob Bescher in the 9th. Bescher reaches base 5 times. Jack Smith has a pinch single for St. Louis, his fifth straight pinch hit, which will earn him a start. He’ll single in his first at bat on May 1st.

30th Pete Alexander and the Phils edge the Braves, 3–2. Philadelphia scores all its runs in the 3rd.

The Browns pull off the first triple play of ’17 in downing the Indians, 4-2, for the third straight time. The Sporting Newsquotes an unnamed St. Louis scribe who has interviewed players on the topic and “the team that makes the first triple play of the season wins the pennant.” Pass the black cat, please.

At Boston, Babe Ruth wins his 5th straight, beating the A’s, 6-3. In batting practice before the game, Whitey Witt becomes incensed with teammate Elmer Myers, accusing the pitcher of throwing beanballs. Witt throws his bat at Myers and the pitcher runs to the plate and starts swinging. The two are separated and Connie Mack sends Myers to the clubhouse.