1919 April

4th In Tampa, the Red Sox begin Grapefruit League play at their new spring training site and edge the Giants 5–3 behind Babe Ruth’s 4 RBIs. The Babe clouts a nearly 600-foot homer along with 2 singles. Decades later, a plaque will be erected where the homer lands, on the present site of the University of Tampa.

10th Pitcher Fred Toney announces that he is retiring from baseball and will not rejoin the Giants when he is released from jail at the end of the month. Toney is serving 4 months in Tennessee for violation of the Mann Act. Toney will reconsider his retirement.

18th  The Reds send OF Lee Magee to Brooklyn for cash.

In an exhibition game against the Orioles (International League), home town boy Babe Ruth slugs four homers in four at bats as the Red Sox win 12–3. Babe is intentionally walked his other 2 times up.

19th  Pushed through the legislature by future New York City mayor Jimmy Walker, a bill legalizing Sunday baseball in the state is signed by Governor Al Smith. The bill was voted on by the lower house on April 8.

Babe starts on the mound and bats 9th, but takes up where he left off yesterday, slugging two homers his first two at bats against the Orioles in an exhibition game. Striking out his 3rd at bat, Ruth exits as the Red Sox go on to win 16–2.

23rd  Anticipating a poor season at the gate, the major leagues open a reduced 140-game season. Despite the lack of close races, attendance remains high all year and every club will show a profit, a complete reverse of the previous year.

The season opens in Washington with General Peyton C. March, Army Chief of Staff, throwing out the first ball. Walter Johnson wins a magnificent 1–0, 13-inning duel with the A’s Scott Perry, scattering 9 hits and striking out 6. Johnson will beat the A’s three times this year by a 1–0 score, tying the AL and ML record. For the second time in his career he’ll win a total of five 1–0 games, tying the ML mark.

Before a capacity crowd at Redland Field in Cincinnati, Cuban righty Dolf Luque tops the Cardinals 6–2. Wee Willie Sherdel takes the loss.

At the Polo Grounds, 30,000 fans watch the Red Sox roll over the Yankees, 10–0, behind Carl Mays. Babe Ruth bounces a ball over Lewis’s head for an inside-the-park homer in his first at bat and drives in 2 runs, while Wally Schang has three doubles and a single. Former Sox star Duffy Lewis, who missed the 1918 season while serving in the military, is hitless in his Yankee debut. George Mogridge takes the loss, allowing six runs in the 9th inning when SS Roger Peckinpaugh makes his 2nd and 3rderrors of the game.

24th Helped by a baserunning error by Redbird rookie Cliff Heathcote, the Reds top St. Louis 3–1. Heathcote is on 1B when Hornsby smashes a long line-drive hit, but a pantomime catch by the Reds 2B makes Heathcote hold up and Hornsby passes him for the out.

In their home opener, the Cubs Hippo Vaughn tops the Pirates and Wilbur Cooper, 5–1.

26th In St. Louis, rookie Art Reinhart makes his first appearance for the Cardinals in the third inning with St. Louis trailing the Reds, 4-0. The first batter he faces is Heinie Groh and Reinhart hits him on the hand with his first pitch. Manager Branch Rickey then yanks him and Reinhart will not be back in the majors until 1925. Dolf Luque is the winner over Bill Doaks.

27th Red Sox P Sam Jones shuts out the Senators, 8–0. Left fielder Babe Ruth triples and scores 3 runs.

28th Behind Carl Mays the Red Sox edge Washington and Walter Johnson, 6–5. Ruth doubles, triples and takes an intentional pass in 5 appearances.

At the Polo Grounds, the Yankees edge the A’s, 3-2 in 12 innings. Bob Shawkey picks up the win in relief. Scott Perry goes the distance for the A’s and ties the AL record by striking out all 5 times he is at bat.

30th  Like kissing your sister. Joe Oeschger goes 20 innings for the Phils in a 9–9 marathon against Brooklyn’s Burleigh Grimes. Both teams score three runs in the 19th. Oeschger walks 5, gives up 22 hits, while Grimes walks 5, and allows up 15 hits. Brooklyn’s Hy Meyers hits the game’s only HR, connecting in the 19th.