1947 April

1st Branch Rickey deflects pressure on Jackie Robinson by keeping him in Montreal, although it is clear the contending Dodgers can use the 1946 International League batting king.

4th The adoption of a ML pension plan is effective immediately.

8th Giants OF Whitey Lockman, in his 2nd year, breaks his leg sliding into 2B on a DP in an exhibition game against the Indians in Sheffield, AL. Lockman will miss all of the season, except for 2 pinch hitting appearances.

9th Commissioner Happy Chandler suspends manager Leo Durocher of the Brooklyn Dodgers for the entire season for incidents detrimental to baseball. Larry MacPhail and the Dodger organization are fined $2,000 each, and Yankee coach Charley Dressen is set down for 30 days. A feud involving Durocher, MacPhail, and Dodger officials rocked the training season. The Yankees’ signing of Dressen and Red Corriden, longtime Brooklyn coaches, charges of consorting with Cuban gamblers against MacPhail, and charges and counter charges that Durocher had sought—or been offered—the Yankee managerial post were included in the hearing before Chandler.

10th  During the 6th inning of the Dodgers-Royals exhibition game at Ebbets Field, the Dodgers announce that they have purchased the contract of Jackie Roosevelt Robinson from Montreal and that “he will report immediately.” Rickey says after the game that he reached a definite decision just five minutes before he made the announcement.

14th The Yankees release two veterans, relief ace Johnny Murphy and first baseman Nick Etten. Murphy will be signed by the Red Sox while Etten, the AL home run leader in 1944 and RBI leader in 1945, will catch on briefly with the Phillies.

15th Facing Johnny Sain, Jackie Robinson goes hitless in 3 trips in his debut but handles 11 chances at 1B, a new position for him, in a 5–3 Brooklyn win over the Braves. Coach Clyde Sukeforth, interim manager and the man credited with first scouting Robinson, guides the team to 2 wins and a loss before he steps down. The Dodgers also announce the release of Ed Head, who threw a no-hitter last year, to Ft. Worth.

The Pirates sign veteran catcher Billy Sullivan, who last played in 1942, for the Dodgers. He’ll be used mostly as a pinch hitter.

In his NL debut, Hank Greenberg doubles home the only run in the 6th as the Pirates Rip Sewell wins the opener in Chicago 1–0. Hank Borowy takes the loss. Greenberg also handles 16 putouts and an assist at 1B.

With yesterday’s opener in Washington rained out, the A’s open at Yankee Stadium before 39,344. Under new manager Bucky Harris, the Yanks manage just six hits off Phil Marchildon as the A’s win, 6–1. Eddie Joost and Elmer Valo pull off a double steal in the 5th when the A’s increase their lead to 3–0. Joost scores on the swipe of home. Former A’s vet George McQuillan, playing 1B for Nick Etten, scores New York’s only run. Spud Chandler takes the loss. One switch is noted by the crowd: the Yankees move their dugout from the third base side to the first base side. This is one the changes made after the new ownership bought the team in ‘45. Others include a new press room, stadium club, redesigned locker rooms, and the move to the 1B side because that was where the new clubhouse was constructed. MacPhail commissioned the top hat logo and set up oldtimers days (according to historian Marty Appel).

In St. Louis, the Browns open as usual against Hal Newhouser and the Tigers, losing, 7–0. For Newhouser, it is his 13th straight win against St. Louis (as noted by historian Lyle Spatz). The streak will be stopped at 15 games on August 12.

16th The Cubs buy veteran Lonnie Frey from the Reds, but will keep him just 9 weeks before selling him to the Yankees.

17th The Dodgers win 12–6 over the Braves at home, as Jackie Robinson gets his first ML hit—a bunt single, off Glenn Elliot. Robinson will bunt 42 times, collecting 19 hits, during the year. The Brooklyn offense is led by fellow rookie Johnny “Spider” Jorgensen, who drives in 6 runs.

Dutch Leonard stops the Giants and the Phillies win, 11-5. Skeeter Newsome drives in 4 runs and Frank McCormick has 3 hits to drive in 3. Larry Jansen, a 30-game winner last year in the PCL, makes his debut in relief for the Giants. He’ll win 21 for New York this season.

Hank Greenberg belts his first NL homer in the 2nd, and the Pirates score 6 more in the 7th to beat the host Cubs, 7–1. Preacher Roe doesn’t allow a hit until the 7th.

18th  The Giants shell the Dodgers, 10–4, with Jackie Robinson hitting his first home run, off Dave Koslo, in the loss. In a sign of things to come this year, the Giants counter with 6 homers—2 apiece by Bobby Thomson and Bill Rigney, and one apiece by Johnny Mize and Willard Marshall. One of Rigney’s is a grand slam. Scout Burt Shotton is the surprise choice to replace Leo Durocher: he participates in the pre-game flag raising and then manages the team.

Sacramento’s Tony Freitas, 39, wins his 200th PCL game, beating Oakland, 4–2. Freitas, who set a PCL record with 6 straight 20-win seasons, will finish his career in 1950 (0-1) with 342 minor league wins and 25 in the majors. Retroactively, SABR will name him the minor league’s greatest pitcher.

19th New skipper Shotton manages the Dodgers from the dugout in street clothes, à la Connie Mack. Since he does not wear a uniform he is not allowed on the field. Johnny Mize and Bill Rigney hit homers to help the Giants edge the Dodgers, 4–3.

20th At St. Louis, Bill Nicholson clubs 2 homers, including a grand slam, and drives in 6 runs to lead the Cubs, 7–4, over the Cards. Swish’s first RBI comes in the first inning when he’s hit by a Howie Pollet pitch with the bases loaded. His slam in the 5th finishes Pollet’s pitching. Johnny Schmitz is the winner.

Pitching for Portland (PCL), former Tiger ace Tommy Bridges pitches a no-hitter against SF, winning 2–0.

22nd At Ebbets Field, the Phils test Robinson by yelling racial slurs and invectives from the dugout. Jackie keeps his cool, singles, and scores in the 8th inning. Hal Gregg allows just one hit, a double by Del Ennis, and the Dodgers win, 1–0.

Al Zarilla’s single in the 7th inning is the only hit off Bob Feller as the Indians beat the Browns, 5–0.

23rd Rudy York’s 2 hits are it for Boston as the Yankees Allie Reynolds shuts out the Hubmen, 3–0. Boo Ferriss is the loser.

In St. Louis, the Pirates improve to 6-1 as they clip the Cardinals, 8-5. The Bucs start their scoring with a 5-run 3rd inning, featuring a grand slam by Billy Cox.

At Detroit, the Tigers use consecutive solo homers in the 8th from Roy Cullenbine, Dick Wakefield, and Hoot Evers to beat the White Sox, 7–4. Cullenbine adds an earlier homer and Eddie Lake adds a 5th Bengal blast to back Fred Hutchinson’s win over Eddie Lopat.

The Yankees release veteran reliever Johnny Murphy who will sign with the Red Sox.

24th Johnny Mize of the New York Giants hits 3 successive HRs in a 14–5 loss in Boston. It is a ML-record 5th time in his career that Mize has hit 3 HRs in one game; he will do it a 6th time with the Yankees in 1950. But the Braves collect 22 hits, with Danny Litwhiler having a HR, triple and 2 singles in the attack. Winning hurler Johnny Sain is 2-for-4 with 3 RBI, as he strings together a hitting streak of 14 games as a pitcher. Sain will hit .346 this season, striking out only once in 107 at bats.

The Red Sox collect just 3 hits off Frank Shea but beat the Yankees, 1–0, on Tex Hughson’s 2-hitter.

Pat Seerey hits a homer off Johnny Rigney for the game’s only run as the Indians trip the White Sox, 1–0. Don Black is the winning pitcher.

26th Bob Feller shuts out the Tigers to give the Tribe a 6–0 win. Hal Newhouser takes the loss.

27th Today is Babe Ruth Day at all ML parks. A crowd of 58,339 at Yankee Stadium honors the ailing slugger. A frail Babe, choking back tears, tells the “kids of America” that, “the only real game in the world is baseball. In this game you have to come up from youth. You’ve got to start way down at the bottom, if you’re going to be successful like those boys over there.” pointing to the Yankee dugout. “There’s so many lovely things said about me, I’m glad I had the opportunity to thank everybody.” The program was broadcast nationwide and piped into all the ball parks. Ruth receives a bronze plaque with his image on it from the AL: the NL’s gift is a leather book with signatures of all the players in the league. The Yankees lose to Sid Hudson and the Washington Senators 1–0, but move into first place as the White Sox lose two. Hudson scores the only run after singling.

The White Sox lose the first game to the Browns, 4–2. Al Zarilla snaps a tie with a 2-run homer in the 8th. Vern Stephens wins the nitecap, 4–3, by belting a three-run homer in the 8th. In the opener, the Browns have runners on 1B (Judnich) and 3B (Witte) when the Sox turn a Berardino grounder into an unusual triple play—all 3 runners being retired on rundowns. Witte is caught between 3B and home, Judnich between 2B and 3B, and Berardino between 1B and 2B.

The cellar-dwelling Cards drop their 5th straight losing the Cubs, 3–0. The Redbirds manage just 4 hits off Johnny Schmitz.

The Reds attract their largest recorded attendance—36,961 at Crosley Field, and reward the faithful with a sweep of the Pirates, winning 6–1 and 2–1.

The Dodgers top the Giants, 9–8, for their 5th straight win. Trailing 8–4 in the 7th, the Brooks score two runs on Carl Furillo’s homer, add two more in the 8th on Cookie Lavagetto’s pinch homer and Reiser’s double, and win it in the 9th on Eddie Stanky’s squeeze bunt. Johnny Mize hits his 6th homer for the Giants.

30th In Brooklyn, the Cubs trip the Dodgers, 3–1. Jackie Robinson, nursing a sore right arm, is hitless and is 0-for-20 since April 23rd. He’ll double tomorrow in his first at bat.

In St. Louis, the Browns swamp the Yankees, 15-5, as New York manages just 5 hits off Denny Galehouse. Jeff Heath connects for a grand slam for St. Louis in the 1st and Vern Stephens has a homerun among his 4 hits. Reynolds gives up 3 homers and the 4th is served up by Italian-born Rugger Ardizoia, who mops up in the 8th and 9th. It is the only ML appearance for Ardizoia. Rugger later has the distinction of being the oldest Yankee for a while.

The Red Sox pick up their first win of the year in a 7-1 victory over the Tigers. Hal Newhouser (0-3) is the loser as rookie Mel Parnell wins his first ML game.