1931 April

1st The Cubs sell Cliff Heathcote to the Reds.

2nd  Miss Jackie Mitchell, a 17-year-old gate attraction for Joe Engel’s Chattanooga Lookouts (Southern Association), pitches against the New York Yankees in an exhibition game in Chattanooga. Babe Ruth waves wildly at two pitches and watches a 3rd strike go by. Lou Gehrig gallantly times his 3 swings to miss the ball, but unsmiling Tony Lazzeri, after first trying to bunt, walks and Miss Mitchell leaves the game. The final score is 14–4 Yankees. In 1933 Mitchell will pitch for the House of David team.

3rd  At Macon, Georgia, the Braves score 3 in the 1st off Dolf Luque and beat the Robins, 5-1. Red Worthington has a triple and homer for Boston. This concludes the two-game series with Brooklyn losing both games.

7th The San Francisco Seals open their new Seals Stadium with an 8-0 win over Portland. The new stadium seats 18,500.

14th  President Herbert Hoover throws out the first ball at Washington. Lefty Grove, in relief, gets the first win of what will be his greatest season. The A’s win 5–3 in 11 innings. Lloyd Brown allows just 2 hits in the first 8 innings for the Senators.

Under new managers—Shano Collins for Boston, and Joe McCarthy for New York—the Yankees open at the Stadium with a 6–3 victory over the Red Sox. Red Ruffing gives up a leadoff triple and a run in the first, but the Yankees respond with two runs in the 2nd off Wilcy Moore. New York’s last score is a 7th-inning solo shot by the Babe, off reliever Ed Durham. Boston threatens in the 8th, getting a two-run pinch homer from Tom Winsett in his first major league at bat. Winsett is the first player to take advantage of the new fair/foul rule regarding HRs. He hits a ball that curves foul after leaving the playing field, but in the judgment of the umps was a fair ball at the time it left the playing field. Then with two on, Red Ruffing induces Earl Webb to ground into a 3rd out.

At Cincinnati, Flint Rhem, who finished the 1930 season for the Cards with 8 straight wins, starts the 1931 season the same way, with a 7–2 win over the Reds. Rhem goes 6 innings before leaving for a pinch hitter with the score 1–0. The Reds score 2 off reliever Jim Lindsey in the bottom of the 6th, but the Cards retake the lead in the 7th to get the win for Rhem.

At Boston, the Dodgers lose 7–4 to the Braves. Tom Zachary and Bill Sherdel do the pitching for the Braves, while Jack Quinn makes his final ML start as the Opening Day pitcher for the Dodgers. His 15 saves will pace the NL this year, and his 8 saves will lead in 1932. At age 47, the spitballing Quinn is the oldest ML Opening Day starter ever.

15th New York Giant Hal Schumacher is less than princely in his ML debut as the Phils rock him for 7 hits and 7 runs in just 1 1/3 innings in a 10–7 loss to Philadelphia. New York reliever Bill Morrell serves up a homer to 32-year-old rookie Buzz Arlett, on his way to the best one-season performance ever. Buzz will hit .313, with 18 homers, and 72 RBIs, before returning to the West Coast and the PCL. In 1984, SABR members will name Arlett the best minor leaguer of all-time.

In a 9–3 loss to Boston, Ernie Lombardi makes his ML debut, replacing Al Lopez. Lombardi goes 2-for-2.

18th Cleveland’s Joe Vosmik leads the Indians to an 11–2 thumping of the White Sox with a single, 3 doubles, and triple. Mel Harder is the winner.

Rip Collins ML debut is less than auspicious. Sent up to pinch hit for Paul Derringer with the bases loaded, the Cubs bring in lefty Bud Teachout. Gabby Street then yanks Collins for Pepper Martin. The Cards win, 7–5.

19th The visiting Cubs take advantage of an unusual call to beat the Cardinals, 4–1, behind Charlie Root. A line drive by the Cards Jim Bottomley is botched by Cubs LF Riggs Stephenson who allows the ball to bound into the crowd. Nevertheless, umpire Charles Evans makes an out call, stating that the fans verbally interfered with the play. The Cards protest the ruling, but NL Prexy John Heydler backs up Evans’ interpretation on the call.

22nd  Babe Ruth collides with Charlie Berry, Red Sox catcher and former pro football player, while trying to score on a sacrifice fly. Ruth is carried off the field at Fenway Park and taken to a hospital. Ruth has 3 hits and 2 runs before being replaced by Myril Hoag. New York wins, 7–5.

24th  Rogers Hornsby, player/manager of the Chicago Cubs, strokes 3 consecutive HRs and drives in 8 runs to beat the Pirates at Forbes Field 10–6. He’s the 7th major leaguer to accomplish the feat, and the 6th in the past 8 years. He is the 2nd Cub to drive in 8 or more runs in a game: Zimmerman knocked in 9 in a 1911 game.

25th Garry Herrmann, chairman of the National Commission, dies in Cincinnati. Herrmann was the past president of the Reds.

With 2 outs in the bottom of the 10th, Boston’s Urbane Pickering swipes home with the winning run against the Yankees to give the Red Sox a 5–4 victory. Playing without Ruth, the Yanks manage just 6 hits, 3 by Gehrig.

26th  Dusty Cooke, Yankee RF, separates his shoulder diving for a fly ball off the bat of Ossie Bluege of Washington, and 1B Gehrig winds up chasing the ball, which becomes an inside-the-park HR. With Babe Ruth still sidelined, the shorthanded Yankees send P Red Ruffing to the outfield. The game’s most significant play comes with Lyn Lary on base when Lou Gehrig’s drive into the CF stands at Washington bounces back and is caught by CF Harry Rice. According to the rules, this is a home run, but when Lary sees Rice catching the ball, he thinks it’s the final out of the inning. Unnoticed by Joe McCarthy, coaching at 3B, Lary heads for the dugout after crossing 3B. Gehrig circles the bases, but he is called out and gets credit for a triple instead of a HR and loses 2 RBI. As a result Gehrig will end the season tied for the HR title with Babe Ruth at 46 and will have “only” 184 RBI. The Yanks also lose the game, 9–7, and McCarthy will do no more coaching at the bases this season. Gehrig’s triple also means that at the year’s end the majors will collect 1,070 triples, one more than the two leagues will total in homers (1,069). It will be the last season that there are more triples than homers. For Cooke, the injury ends his season at 27 games and a .333 batting average. The injury will cut down his effectiveness and after just 3 appearances next year, he’ll be traded to Boston.

27th  Wally Berger, Boston Braves CF, ties the modern mark for the outfield by recording 4 assists, helping Socks Seibold shut out the Phillies, 2–0. Berger is the last outfielder to accomplish this feat.

For the second day in a row the Senators outlast the Yankees to win, 9-8, in 12 innings. Each team scores twice in the 10th. Harry Rice has 4 hits to pace a 20-hit Nat attack, while Roy Spencer has 3 hits and 3 RBIs. Earle Combs has 4 hits for New York while Lou Gehrig cards 3 stolen bases.

29th  Wes Ferrell pitches the AL’s first no-hitter in 5 years, a 9–0 win for Cleveland against the St. Louis Browns. His brother, Rick, almost gets a hit for the Browns when he beats out a grounder that is ruled an error. Ferrell strikes out 8 and bats in 4 runs with a HR, off Sam Gray, and a double.