1945 April

12th At Braves Field, the Red Sox stagger to a 12-11 win over the Braves in a game that features 8 errors and 15 walks. Tomorrow’s exhibition game is cancelled because of the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

16th Under pressure from local politicians, the Boston Red Sox allow 3 blacks—Marvin Williams, Sam Jethroe, and Jackie Robinson—to work out at Fenway Park. None is signed.

17th Cincinnati opens the season with an 11-inning, 7–6 victory over the Pirates. The Reds offense was sparked by CF Dain Clay, who cracks a 5th inning grand slam: it will be his only HR this year in 645 at bats. Also in the 5th, with the Pirates leading 2–0 with 2 runners on, the Bucs runner at 2B, Frankie Zak, calls time to tie his shoe lace. The ump Ziggy Sears waves his arms, but Reds pitcher Bucky Walters doesn’t see him and fires a pitch that Jim Russell hits for an apparent HR. The hit is disallowed, and the Bucs fail to score in the frame. Forty-six-year old Hod Lisenbee, who had not appeared in the majors in 9 years, works two innings of hitless relief to earn the win, the 37th and last of his career. Hod will get into 31 games this year, the most in his career since 1931.

Steady rain holds the crowd at Yankee Stadium to 13,923 as Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia throws out the first ball for the Opener against the Red Sox. The Yanks’ lone score until the 7th inning is a homer by rookie Russ Derry in the 3rd off Rex Cecil. Meanwhile the Red Sox jump on Atley Donald for three runs in the 1st inning and another in the 7th on Ben Steiner’s solo homer. But helped by four Boston errors, and another homer by Russ Derry—this one a grand slam, New York scores seven runs in the 7th inning to finish the scoring at 8–4. Sox first baseman George Metkovich makes a ML record 3 errors in the frame on a missed tag, bad throw, and fumble. Forty-one-year old Jim Turner pitches the last two innings for New York.

In Brooklyn, the Dodgers win the Opener, 8–2, over the Phils. The Phils have 18-year-old Granny Hamner, in his 2nd season, at shortstop, with older brother Garvin Hamner, in his only season, at second base. Playing second base for Da Bums is manager Leo Durocher, who has a hit—his last—and 2 RBIs. He hit .247 in 17 seasons.

In Philadelphia, the Senators drub the Athletics, 14-8. For the Nats, it will be their highest score of the year.

At Cleveland, Thornton Lee is the winning pitcher in the White Sox 5–2 victory over the Indians. Tony Cuccinello helps with a successful hidden ball trick in the 6th on Lou Boudreau at 3B. For Cooch, it is at least his 4th successful use of the ploy, the first coming in 1929. As historian Bill Deane notes, this is the first time the trick has worked on Opening Day.

Pete Gray, the one-armed OF, plays his ML debut game with the St. Louis Browns. He singles once, off Les Mueller, in four at bats, and handles no chances in the outfield. St. Louis beats the Tigers 7–1, for their 9th straight Opening Day win, a ML record that the 1975-83 Mets will tie.

In Boston, Giants player-manager Mel Ott has a field day by setting six ML records in his team’s 11–6 win. Ott collects a double, two walks and three runs. His records for a player with one team include 1,026 extra-base hits, 2076 total bases, 1,778 RBIs, 1,787 runs, 1,631 walks, and 20 years with one team.

19th Joe Cronin of the Red Sox, catches his spikes at 2B and fractures his right leg in a 4–3 loss to the Yankees. The 39-year-old will retire but will continue as manager. Mike Ryba decides the game by hitting Johnny Lindell on the wrist with the bases full in the 9th.

In a doubleheader in Boston, the Giants do all their scoring in just two innings (8th inning of game 1; the 3rd inning of game 2) as they split with the Braves, winning 4-3 and losing 13-5. Ernie Lombardi drills a grand slam for New York.

20th In the delayed presidential opener in Washington, tribute is paid to the late FDR before Speaker Sam Rayburn tosses out the first ball. The Yankees win their 4th straight, pounding 3 pitchers for a 6–3 win.

At the Polo Grounds, the Giants score 3 in the 1st, lose the lead in the 3rd, and come back to beat the Dodgers, 10-6. Phil Weintraub belts 2 homers to drive in 4 runs and winning pitcher Harry Feldman hits a homer. For the Dodgers, shortstop Mike Sandlock hits his first ML homer, off Feldman. Later this year he’ll hit is second and last ML homer, also off Feldman. Sandlock will finish his career as a catcher.

Mickey Grasso, future ML catcher, escapes from a German prisoner-of-war camp. He was captured in North Africa in February 1943 during Operation Torch.

21st The Red Sox go to 0-5 as the A’s club the Sox at Fenway, 8-2. Ford Garrison has a 3-run homer and Frank Hayes a grand slam to back Buck Newsom and keep Bosox interim manager Del Baker winless. The A’s will win tomorrow as well.

22nd The Cardinals and Reds split a pair, with the Birds winning the opener, 2-0, behind Ted Wilks. Cincinnati rebounds in game 2 to win, 9-7, in 10 innings. Guy Bush allows a run but picks up the save. Bush pitches 2 scoreless innings in the opener; he last pitched in the majors in 1938. Steve Mesner has 3 triples for the Reds, while Al Libke strikes out his first 4 times up, then hits a 3-run double in the 10th.

24th At a meeting of owners in Cleveland a list of possible successors to Judge Landis is cut to 6: Ford Frick, president of the NL, and 5 politicians, Jim Farley, Carl Vinson, Robert Patterson, Bob Hannegan, and Frank Lausche. Larry MacPhail suggests adding the name of Albert “Happy” Chandler, a Kentucky senator. The list then narrows to Chandler and Hannegan. On the first ballot Chandler leads 11-5, short of the required three-fourths. One vote switches over, and the owners unanimously approve the selection. Also approved is the Malaney Plan for interleague play, first brought up at the February meeting. Besides the same-city games, Cincinnati will play at Cleveland, Brooklyn at Washington, and Detroit at Pittsburgh. The latter contest will later be scrapped when the ODT refused to grant the Tigers permission to detour 62 miles to get to Pittsburgh. The seven benefit games will held on July 9 and 10.

Hitting a 9th inning HR for the 3rd time in 4 games, Butch Nieman poles a 3-run fourbagger, giving him 5 RBIs as the Braves defeat the Dodgers, 8–6. Nieman’s 3-run HR on April 20 beat the Phils, 6–5, and his 9th inning HR on the 22nd tied the Phils.

25th Baseball writers cannot seem to get any Hall of Fame candidates past the 75 percent requirement, but a committee selected to bring in some old-timers succeeds with a group of turn-of-the-century names: Jimmy Collins, Roger Bresnahan, Fred Clarke, Dan Brouthers, Ed Delahanty, Hugh Jennings, Mike “King” Kelly, Jim O’Rourke, Wilbert Robinson, and Hugh Duffy. Collins, overlooked in 6 HOF elections, was on the all-time teams of Connie Mack and John McGraw.

Claude Passeau leads the Cubs to a 4-0 win over the Reds in Cincinnati. He scatters 5 hits in the shutout and hits a homerun.

27th At the Stadium, George Myatt leads the Senators to a 6–4 win over the Yankees. Myatt has a walk, four hits, three stolen bases, two runs and two RBIs to back Mickey Haefner’s pitching. Frank Crosetti has a pinch homer with two on in the 8th for New York.

The first-place Cubs win their 5th straight, as Paul Derringer shoots down the Pirates, 7–3. Rip Sewell allows 4 hits in 4 innings, but 4 errors hand him the loss.

Behind Ed Heusser’s 4-hit pitching, the Reds edge the visiting Cards, 2–1. In St. Louis, Mort Cooper announces he is willing to pitch tomorrow against the Reds, even though he and his brother Walker are in a pay dispute with the Cards. Walker is awaiting induction into the armed services. The Coopers quit the team two weeks ago after learning that SS Marty Marion had received a new contract for $13,500. The brothers want $15,000 each.

The Giants Bill Voiselle, first citizen of Ninety Six, NC, shuts out the Dodgers, 5–0. Backing him are Mel Ott and Steve Filipowitz, who belt homers in the 6th inning. Filipowitz’s drive, which apparently hits the low screen in front of the LF boxes, is first ruled a double by ump George Magerkurth. Home plate ump Bill Stewart overrules him, calling it a homer.

New Commissioner Happy Chandler says that Cincinnati is under “strong consideration” as the new location for headquarters for organized ball. The current headquarters is in Chicago.

28th The Cubs Hank Wyse tosses a one-hitter over the Pirates, winning, 6-0. The only Pittsburgh hit is by Bill Salkeld in the 8thinning.

Arnold Carter pitches a shutout to give the Reds a 1-0 win over the visiting Cardinals. When the Reds Dick Sipek draws a walk pinchhitting in the 9th, he joins Dummy Hoy and Dummy Taylor as the third deaf player to make it to the major leagues. The Reds score in the 9th when the Cards rookie left fielder Jim Mallory drops a fly ball with two outs and the bases loaded. Starter Blix Donnelly is the losing pitcher.

On April 25th, The New York World Telegram noted that today’s starter for the Braves, “Red Barrett . . .counts his pitches as he goes along and operates almost by the clock. He invariably requests the time of game as soon as it ends and judges his performance in terms of minutes; the shorter the better.” (as noted by Gabriel Schechter) Red isn’t around at the end of today’s 8-7 Braves victory over the Phillies, clocked in at 2 hours: 14 minutes.

The Red Sox end their 8-game losing streak to start the season, by beating the A’s, 8–4.

29th In his first ML appearance, Boo Ferriss of the Red Sox survives a first inning in which he throws 17 balls and loads the bases, to blank the A’s 2–0. At bat, he is 3-for-3. The Sox also take the nitecap in 13 innings, winning 6–3.

The Browns take a pair from the White Sox, winning 3-2 and 11-4. They break open game 2 with 3 runs in the 7th off reliever Clay Touchstone, who last pitched in the majors in 1928 and 1929 for the Braves.

The Yankees split a pair with the Senators, losing the nitecap, 2–1 after winning the lidlifter, 13–4. Russ Derry hits a pair of homers—including his 2nd grand slam of the season—in the opener, and has Joe McCarthy wondering if he has another Ruth.

Between games of a doubleheader, the Tigers swap outfielder-third baseman Don Ross and second sacker Dutch Meyer, signed 9 days ago, to the Indians for Roy Cullenbine, one of the Detroit players freed by Judge Landis in 1940. Landis had specified that none of the new free agents could play for the Tigers for three years. Cleveland wins the opener, 4-0, while Detroit takes the nitecap by the same score. Art Houtteman, 17, pitches a scoreless 9th for the Tigers in game 1.

30th Pitcher Dixie Howell, briefly with Cleveland in 1940, is liberated from a prison camp in Germany.