1951 April

1st  The Browns trade infielder George “Snuffy” Stirnweiss and SS Merrill Combs to Cleveland for 3B Fred Marsh and $35,000.

2nd  Boston slugger Walt Dropo, the 1950 AL Rookie of the Year, breaks his wrist, but will be back in action on the 17th in Yankee Stadium.

12th  Cincinnati President Warren Giles proposes Gen. Douglas MacArthur, recently deposed commander of UN forces in Korea, as the new commissioner.

A UPI poll picks the Red Sox and Giants to win the pennant. An AP poll picks Brooklyn and the Red Sox.

17th  Rain cancels yesterday’s presidential opener in Washington, washing out the debut of rookie Tom Morgan. Morgan would have been the first Yankee rookie ever to start an opener. Clad in an army uniform, Whitey Ford tosses out the first pitch today at Yankee Stadium, and Vic Raschi scatters six singles to shut out the Red Sox, 5–0. Bill Wight gives up all the Yankee runs, including a two-run homer to Jackie Jensen in the 3rd inning. Mickey Mantle, making his debut before 44,860, has one hit and scores a run. Also debuting is public address announcer Bob Sheppard who won’t miss a Yankee opener until 2006.

The Athletics play the first home Opening Day night game in AL history, losing to Washington 6–1. Forty-year-old Connie Marrero is the winner as batterymate Mickey Grasso homers.

18th   At Pittsburgh, the Bucs Murry Dickson goes 6 innings, allowing 3 runs in the first inning, to get the victory, 5–4, over the Cards. Dickson cracks a homer and Wally Westlake also homers for the game winner. Tom Poholsky, the first Cardinal rookie to ever start an opener, pitches 7 innings and takes the loss.

In the pregame ceremonies at Wrigley Field, Sam Snead tees off from home plate and hits a golf ball off the CF scoreboard, the only ball ever to reach the structure. The Cubs follow suit in their home opener, slamming the Reds 8–3 and beating Cub nemesis Ken Raffensberger. Rookie 1B Dee Fondy hits a 2nd-inning bases-loaded triple, off Ken Raffensberger, in his first ML at bat, one of his 3 hits.

Cold weather, including snow in Pittsburgh, holds the opening day attendance for the eight games to 171,678. Last year it was 252,700.

20th The A’s win their first game at Fenway since September 12, 1948, beating the Sox, 6–3, after a string of 22 straight losses. Making it sweeter is besting Mel Parnell, winner of 10 straight over Philadelphia. The A’s break a 3-3 tie in the 8th with 3 runs to make Alex Kellner the winner, just the 3rd lefty since 1948 to go the distance in Fenway.

The Artie Wilson Shift! In the 7th inning against the Giants, manager Chuck Dressen puts on a shift for New York pinch hitter Artie Wilson. Dressen, a former PCL manager, knows the lefty Wilson, the 1949 PCL batting champion (no homers), does not hit to right field and puts Reese and Cox closer to 3B, moves Robinson 10 feet to the 3B side of 2B, and brings Furillo in to play Robbie’s 2B position. Centerfielder Snider plays left center and Don Thompson hugs the LF line with RF empty. Wilson grounds back to Don Newcombe as the Giants lose, 7-3. Wilson will return to the PCL next month.

21st  Gil Coan of the Senators gets two triples in the 6th inning at Washington, the last major leaguer this century to collect 2 triples in an inning. The Senators score 7 runs in the frame, but that’s it as they lose to the Yankees, 8–7. Tom Ferrick is the winner.

22nd Led by Gus Bell, who belts a homer, 3 doubles and a single, the Pirates defeat the Reds, 7–5. The second game of the twinbill is postponed because of a sloppy Crosley Field.

24th  At Fenway, Washington’s Bob Kuzava goes the distance as the Senators beat the Red Sox, 7-5. Irv Noren and Gene Verble each have 3 RBI. Ted Williams has a homer, just one of 31 he hits in his career in the month of April, and the only one off a lefty. Williams will have 521 career homers (as noted by Erv Cope).

25th  Former Braves pitcher 33-year-old Jim Prendergast contests the reserve clause. His lawyer, Frederic Johnson, who was the attorney for Danny Gardella, files a $150,000 suit, alleging that his client’s trade from Syracuse to Beaumont in the Texas League constitutes a breach of the nation’s antitrust laws.

Right fielder Bob Usher of the Reds throws out 2 runners in the 5th inning in a 4–3 win against the Cubs.

In the opening game, a 8–6 win over the Browns, Eddie Robinson becomes the 8th player, but the first White Sox to hit a ball over the RF grandstand, added 26 years ago, at Comiskey. His blast comes off Al Widmar. Also leaving the park are Delsing and Wood for St. Louis, and Zarilla for the Sox. Browns ace Ned Garver beats Marv Rotblatt, 7–4, in the nightcap

26th Connie Marrero of Washington allows just one hit—a homer by the A’s Barney McCosky—in topping Philadelphia, 2–1. Joe Coleman is the loser, serving up solo homers to Mickey Vernon and Gil Coan.

28th  Bob Lemon, who lost his last outing to the Browns, tops host St. Louis, 12-4. Dale Mitchell helps with a 4th inning grand slam.

29th  El Paso owner Jack Corbett seeks a writ to prevent Commissioner Happy Chandler from removing records pending outcome of his antitrust suit.

30th  In a complex 3-way deal, the White Sox get OF/3B Minnie Minoso from the Indians and OF Paul Lehner from the Athletics. Philadelphia sends P Lou Brissie to Cleveland and gets OF Gus Zernial and Dave Philley from Chicago and P Sam Zoldak and C Ray Murray from Cleveland. Hard-luck lefty Lou Brissie, who led the A’s in saves (8) and CG (15) is considered the plum in the proceedings. Rookie Minoso, who hit .339 at San Diego (PCL) last year is leading all Indian hitters with a .461 mark.

The Giants break an 11-game losing streak with an 8–5 win over the Dodgers. New York scores 6 runs in the first inning as Chris Van Cuyk lasts exactly 11 pitches before Earl Mosser, making his ML debut, takes over. After three walks, Mosser leaves for Joe Hatten, the third of six pitchers. Sal Maglie wins, with relief help from Sheldon Jones.

Jim Prendergast, formerly of the Syracuse Chiefs, sues major league baseball for $150,000 to test the legality of the reserve clause. The 33-year-old lefty contends the reserve clause is monopolistic and violates anti-trust laws.