1943 April

16th  After beating Boston College at Fenway two days ago by a 17–2 score, the Red Sox take on Harvard. The Bosox avenge a 1–0 loss to the Crimson 27 years ago by winning 21–0.

18th  Before 10,010 at Fenway, the Red Sox beat the Braves, 5–3, as Bobby Doerr hits a homer.

19th  Braves manager Casey Stengel is struck by a taxi, severely fracturing a leg, and will miss several months of the season, returning to the dugout in June. Dave Egan, a Boston sportswriter, nominates the cabdriver as Sportsman of the Year, weary of Stengel’s humor in the face of the Braves’ pitiful record. Whitey Wietelman had a different version of the events (as related by Stan Fischler): “I was sitting in a bar with Casey, having a couple of beers. He had to go across the street to the Miles Standish Hotel. He wore a big black coat and a black hat. He walked into the cab—and that’s what happened.” Tomorrow’s third game in the Boston City Series will be called on account of mud. But the Red Sox will win the final match, 1–0, behind Tex Hughson.

20th The season starts, 2 weeks later than customary. Stalwarts such as Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Enos Slaughter and Johnny Mize are gone, among some 60 players who could have been classified as regulars in the 1942 season. In the “presidential opener” in Washington, the Senators under new manager Ossie Bluege defeat the A’s, 7–5.

21st Travel restrictions limit the crowd to 4,000 in St. Louis as the Browns Al Hollingsworth blanks the White Sox 3–0, the Browns’ 7thconsecutive Opening Day win.

At the home opener at Wrigley, 9,044 fans watch as the Pirates Rip Sewell allows just three hits to beat the Cubs, 6–0. Paul Derringer is outgunned in the loss. It is the 2nd Opener in a row that Sewell has beaten the Cubs, and he will rip off another five wins over them this year. There are just 4 games today, but all of them end in shutouts, a record.

22nd Despite going 4-for-4 in a 5–2 win at Ebbets Field, the Giants’ Mel Ott declares the new baseballs hit like overripe grapefruits. Reds slugger Frank McCormick adds, “It was like hitting a piece of cement.”

After a day’s delay because of rain, the Yankees open at the Stadium with a 5–4 come-from-behind win against the Senators. Johnny Murphy, who relieves starter Ernie Bonham in the 9th and tosses just one pitch, is the victor. Roy Weatherly, filling in for DiMaggio in center field, drives home the tying and winning runs with a double off Owen Sheetz. Mickey Haefner is the losing pitcher. Joe Gordon has the game’s only homer, an 8th-inning shot off starter Early Wynn, that gives the Yankees a 3–2 lead. Because of the meat shortage, no vendors walk among the fans selling hot dogs, though there are hot dogs available at the concession stands.

24th Pitcher Al Gerheauser makes his major league debut as the Phillies’ Opening Day pitcher, starting at Ebbets Field against the Dodgers. Brooklyn pounds him for 7 hits and 5 runs in 4 innings on their way to an 11–4 win. Gerheauser is the last rookie to debut as an Opening Day starter.

A spokesman for A. G. Spalding defends the baseball, saying the 11 shutouts (sic) in the first 29 games are the result of it being “too wet and too cold. In time the new ball will prove to be just as lively as the old one.” A few days later the company admits that the balls contain an inferior grade of rubber cement, which has hardened. The teams agree to use up their stock of balls left over from the 1942 season while a new supply of higher-quality balls is made. In fact, the Dodgers today are the first team to score in double figures this season.

25th Rufe Gentry of Buffalo (International League) wins an 11-inning no-hitter against Newark 1–0. The last IL no-hitter of this length was thrown by Toronto’s Urban Shocker on July 22, 1916.

27th The Braves ship Ernie Lombardi to the Giants for catcher Hugh Poland and infielder Connie Ryan. Lombardi, last year’s top hitter, reportedly wanted a salary increase to $15,000, $2,500 over the Braves allowed wage scale. Under the Treasury Department’s guide lines put in before the start of the 1943 season, no ballplayer could make more than the top 1942 salary paid by his team unless special permission was obtained. The Giants, with a top limit of $17,500 (Billy Jurges’ salary) could accommodate the Schnooze’s salary demands, and the trade was made.

What’s a guy gotta do to win? After allowing 2 hits in a 1-0 loss in the A’s home opener, rookie Jesse Flores pitches 15 2/3 innings in beating host Washington, 2-1. Early Wynn throws 13 scoreless innings for the Nats, before Ray Scarborough relieves.

29th Connie Ryan, a New York Giant two days ago, cracks a 9thinning homer off his old teammate Van Lingle Mungo to give the Braves a 5–2 win. New Giant Ernie Lombardi pinch hits and K’s with the tying run on base in the 9th.

Go the head of the class. After winning just one game for Brooklyn last year, Schoolboy Rowe is sold to the Phillies. Rowe will be in double figures for the Quakers for the next four years.

30th The Phils buy OF Jimmy Wasdell, who will start the next 3 years, from the Pirates.