6th In San Antonio, Vern Stephens rejoins the Browns, having jumped back from the Mexican League. Vern says he hated many things in Mexico, from the time the games start, the altitude in Mexico City, the Pasquels brothers, to gun-toting individuals. “Why the fans don’t even boo,” complains Stephen, “A good boo might make a fellow feel at home, like he was in a regular ball game. But down there when the fans see something they don’t like, they whistle.”
7th In a 10–7 exhibition loss to the Cubs, Browns pitcher Bob Muncrief breaks his toe when hit by a line drive off the bat of Al Glossup. Muncrief, 13-4 in 1945, will reverse it to 3-12 this season. Vern Stephens, who just jumped back from the Mexican League, hits a 3-run homer. The Browns also announce the release of one-time NL star Ducky Medwick.
13th Eddie Klepp, a white pitcher signed by the defending Negro League champion Cleveland Buckeyes, is barred from the field in Birmingham, AL.
The Browns edge the Cardinals, 3–2, before 16,855 in the opener of their city series. Joe Grace’s homer in the 8th is the difference. The Cardinals will win tomorrow, 4–3.
16th The Tigers, Cubs, Reds, Athletics, and Phillies retain their 1945 ticket prices. Other clubs increase admission costs. Typical: $2 to $2.50 for boxes, general admission $1.25, bleachers 60 cents. The fans respond with the 2nd highest opening day attendance to date: 236,730. Only in 1931 (249,010) was the number exceeded.
Harry Truman attends in the official Opener in Washington, resuming the tradition discontinued by Roosevelt in 1942. The Red Sox break a 3–3 tie in the 7th by pushing across three runs against starter Roger Wolff, to give Tex Hughson a 6–3 win. Ted Williams has just one hit, but it’s a 440 foot line drive HR to dead center, one of the longest shots in Griffith history. After the game, it’s revealed that 10 of the Washington players are temporarily living in the Senators clubhouse, a sign of the tight housing shortage.
In New York, UN Secretary General Trygve Lie attends his first baseball game and sees manager Mel Ott hits the last HR of his career, off Oscar Judd. The Giants defeat the Phillies (now back to their original nickname), 8–4. In the next game, Ott will injure his knee diving for a fly ball, and his playing is curtailed. Of Ott’s 511 home runs, 323 are hit at the Polo Grounds, the most any player has hit in one park. When he retires in 1947, he will have failed to hit a HR in Philadelphia after the Baker Bowl was abandoned in 1938.
At Boston, the Braves open with a 5–3 win over the Dodgers, but the win doesn’t sit well with some 5,000 fans (of 18,261) who go home with green paint on their clothes. The stadium seats were freshly painted, but the cold weather prevented all of the seats from drying completely. The Braves will run an advertisement apologizing to fans and offering to reimburse for any cleaning bills. Claims pour in from around the country and the offer will cost the Braves more than $6,000.
In Detroit, a crowd of more than 52,000 cheer as Hal Newhouser stops the Browns, 2–1, striking out 8. Hank Greenberg’s homer into the LF stands is the margin of victory.
The White Sox open at home and manage just 3 hits and no runs in losing, 1–0, to Bob Feller and the Indians. Feller strikes out 10 and his shutout is saved in the 9th when CF Bob Lemon makes a diving catch and doubles the runner off 2B. Bill Dietrich takes the tough loss.
At Shibe Park, Spud Chandler, 38, allows just 5 hits as the Yankees beat the A’s, 5–0. Chandler spent most of 1944-45 in the Army and appeared in just 5 games in two years. Joe DiMaggio has a two-run homer and Tommy Henrich a two-run double to pace the offense. A’s starter Russ Christopher allows all the runs in his six innings of work.
18th Before an Opening Day crowd of 29,825 at Ebbets Field, the Dodgers celebrate their homecoming with an 8–1 win over the Giants. Vic Lombardi is the winner, losing his shutout in the 9th. The Bums score 5 in the 3rd and 2 in the 5th when they steal 4 bases with Reiser stealing 2B and home.
At St. Louis, Stan Musial doubles and homers to drive in 2 runs as the Cards beat the Pirates, 4–2. A bright spot for the Bucs is Ralph Kiner’s first ML homer, off Howie Pollet, in the 8th. It is the first run Pollet has allowed after 35.2 consecutive scoreless innings: he finished 1943 with 3 shutouts and 28 scoreless innings. The Cards go from white to red at 3B, as Schoendienst, a left fielder last season, replaces Whitey Kurowski, rusty after his holdout.
Robert Murphy, Boston labor relations counsel, announces the formation of the American Baseball Guild, an organization for players. The organization will seek a minimum salary of $6,500, binding arbitration, and a share of any sale of a player.
Jackie Robinson debuts as 2B for the Montreal Royals (International League) and is the first recognized black in organized ball in this century. A homer and 3 singles in a 14–1 win over Jersey City starts off the season, one in which he will win the IL batting championship at .349.
19th The Yankees open at home on Good Friday, a perceived conflict that is strongly protested by the New York chapter of the Catholic War Veterans. Because of their protest Mayor William O’Dwyer (a Dodger fan) passes up the honor of throwing out the first ball. A WW II Medal of Honor winner substitutes, and Joe Page and the Yanks beat Washington, 7–6. In a switch, the Yankees watch from the first base dugout: since the Stadium opened in 1923 until this season, the home dugout was on the third base side.
The Braves send outfielder Max West to the Reds for pitcher Jim Konstanty. Konstanty will pitch just a few games for Boston before going to the International League.
20th The Reds Bucky Walters, in a tight pitching duel with the Pirates Rip Sewell, steals home in the 6th, but Sewell wins the squeaker 2–1 before 28,000 in Pittsburgh.
As a capacity crowd of 40,887 cheer at Wrigley Field, the Cubs raise the 1945 pennant, then lose their first game after 3 victories. Harry Brecheen of the Cards scatters 6 hits to win 2–0. It’s Chicago’s biggest opener since 1929.
21st Cleveland C Frank Hayes catches the last of 1,312 consecutive games as a backstop, a streak begun on October 12, 1943, when he was with the Browns. Virgil Trucks wins, 3–2, for the Tigers.
Johnny Sain and Schoolboy Rowe battle for 11 innings at Shibe before the Braves win, 3-2. Rowe has a pair of hits and in the 9thinning is issued an intentional walk to pitch to veteran Roy Hughes, who grounds out. Rowe is believed to be the first pitcher since 1900 to receive an intentional walk: he’ll get 2 in an August 1947 game, also a first. The Phillies rebound to take the 7-inning nitecap from the Braves, 3–1. It is their first win of the year with Al Jurisch getting the decision over Johnny Hutchings. Hutchings set a club record last year with 57 appearances, but this will be the last of his ML career.
At Fenway, the Red Sox win the first game of a twinbill the hard way, spotting the A’s a 7-run lead after 3 innings, then tying the contest with a 6-run 9th inning. The Hubmen push across a run in the 10th to win, 12-11. Jim Bagby, Jr. starts game 2 with a record-tying effort, walking the first four batters to match Johnny Vander Meer’s start on June 16, 1941. He’s the first AL pitcher to do so. That is the only score in the 1st but the A’s prevail, 3-0, in 6 innings.
Portland’s (PCL) Ad Liska tosses a 7-inning no hitter against Hollywood, winning 1–0. Liska last pitched in the majors in 1933.
22nd Boston’s Eddie Pellagrini homers in his first at bat in the ML, in a 5–4 Red Sox win over Washington.
The Dodgers edge the Braves, 5-4, in 10 innings. Otis Davis pinch runs in the game for Brooklyn, hurts his knee, and will never play in another major league game.
23rd Ed Head of the Brooklyn Dodgers tosses a no-hitter at the Braves, beating Boston’s Mort Cooper, 5–0, before 30,287 at Ebbets Field. It is Head’s first ML appearance since his return from the military. He last pitched in the ML in July 9, 1944, when the Pirates knocked him out in 2 innings. Head was a left-handed pitcher until 1935 when he broke his pitching arm and he was forced to pitch right-handed.
The Permanent Committee of the Hall of Fame announces the selection of 11 old-time players to membership in the Hall of Fame. Eleven former players—Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, Frank Chance, Jess Burkett, Tom McCarthy, Rube Waddell, Eddie Plank, Ed Walsh, Jack Chesbro, Clark Griffith, and Joe McGinnity—are named. At 5’9” Chesbro is the shortest pitcher in the Hall. The committee also reveals the names of 39 others—managers, executives, umpires, and sportswriters—to the new “Honor Rolls of Baseball.”
25th Leo Durocher is acquitted of assaulting a baseball fan, John Christian, under the grandstands at Ebbets Field on June 8, 1945. Christian will admit that he received $6,750 from the Dodgers for his injuries.
Despite 5 hits by rookie Marv Rickert, the Cubs lose to the Reds, 7–5. It is Cincy’s first win at Wrigley since September 17, 1944, and just their 2nd in 27 games with the Cubs.
In Boston, the 3rd-place Red Sox hammer the Yankees, 12–5 behind Joe Dobson to start a team-record win streak of 15 games. Yesterday, it was the Yanks winning by the same score.
The Sporting News notes: “A batted ball by Rigney Bueschen of Memphis hit a flying bat during the fourth inning of the April 25 tilt with New Orleans, killing the winged mammal, but the ball was deflected into the waiting hands of Pete Layden, Pel outfielder.[and former All American football star at the University of Texas].” (noted by Willie Runquist)
26th At Fenway, Boston’s Boo Ferriss shuts out the A’s, 7–0. The Sox strand 13 runners.
Giants pitchers Ace Adams and Harry Feldman jump to the Mexican League.
In an Alabama State League slugfest, Brewton edges Ozark 30–29, by scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th inning. The two clubs rack up 46 walks, 35 hits, 6 wild pitches and 4 hit batsmen. The game takes 4:18. (note: many sources incorrectly have this game on April 27)
27th Max Lanier stops the Cubs on 4 hits and St. Louis wins, 4–0. Lanier has given up one unearned run in 27 frames.
The Dodgers sell Goody Rosen and Jack Graham to the Giants. Rosen was a Sporting News all-star last year. According to Alex Tepperman’s account in SABR’s Bioproject, Rosen found out about it on the 28th: “We’ve got two games this day with the Giants at the Polo Grounds. I’m on the subway, headed for the park, and I’m readin’ the old New York Mirror. Sports section always starts on the back page. Right across the top it says I’ve been traded to the Giants. Now, that’s the first I know about it.”
28th A day after buying Goody Rosen and Jack Graham from the Dodgers, the Giants sweep a doubleheader from Brooklyn 7–3 and 10–4 before 56,076. Rosen is the hitting star with 5 hits and, when the Dodgers end the season in a tie with the Cardinals, fans speculate that the Dodgers traded Rosen 2 days too soon. Hal Schumacher wins the opener—his first victory since 1942—and Bob Joyce, a 31-game winner last year in the PCL, takes the nitecap for his 3rd straight win. Pee Wee Reese’s two run homer off Prince Hal does most of the Dodger damage. Jake Pike has a three run homer in the first to rout Joe Hatten. Despite the double loss, Brooklyn remains in first place.
The Red Sox take over the AL lead by sweeping two from the A’s. Tex Hughson wins, 2–1, and Mickey Harris follows suit, 5–1. Sam Chapman’s homer in the opener ruin’s Tex’s shutout.
The largest paid crowd in Detroit history—57,149—watch as Red Embree pitches and bats the Indians to a 3–1 victory over the Tigers. Embree scatters six hits and knocks in two runs in the 12th for the win. Embree had singled in the 11th, one of eight hits allowed by Stubby Overmire.
At Yankee Stadium, the Negro League Homestead Grays take a pair from the New York Black Yankees. Both games are 10–0, with the 2ndending after six innings. Shortstop Sam Bankhead leads the attack with six hits, while Josh Gibson lofts a three-run homer in the opener. Gene Smith and Harold Hairston allow just 7 hits in the two games in winning.
30th Dispelling the rumors that he had lost his fastball after nearly 4 years in the Navy, Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians hurls his second no-hitter, beating the New York Yankees 1–0 on Frankie Hayes’ HR in the 9th inning. It is the first no hitter thrown against the Yankees. For Rapid Bob, it is his second 1-0 win this month.
Joe Dobson shuts out the Tigers, 4–0, and the Red Sox win their 5th in a row.
In his first start since coming out of the Army, Nashville pitcher Dutch McCall strikes out 17.