st The PCL institutes a new rule that prohibits players from leaving their mitts on the field between innings. They are allowed to drop them in foul territory. The Majors will go to a similar rule in 1954.
2nd Giants slugger Monte Irvin breaks his ankle sliding into 3B in an exhibition game against the Indians in Denver. He will play just 46 games in 1952.
9th The Braves send one-time MVP Bob Elliott to the Giants for P Sheldon Jones and $50,000.
11th In an pre-season game in Columbus, Ohio, the Tigers lose to the Tigers, 5–0, and lose CF Hoot Evers when a pitched ball breaks his right thumb.
A promotional stunt by radio station KVEN in San Francisco gets fowled up. Because of a Western Union strike, the station planned to use homing pigeons to send the inning by inning accounts to the station from Ontario, where Fresno and Ventura (PCL) were playing an exhibition game. The station would then recreate the game. Alas, only the second inning pigeon arrived and by the evening of the 12th, only two more pigeons completed their missions. Hopelessly lost and tired, the first inning pigeon shows up in Santa Monica on the 15th.
15th In the last home opener in Braves Field in Boston, 4,694 fans watch Warren Spahn lose 3–2 to Brooklyn’s Preacher Roe. Campanella’s bases-loaded single in the 5th gives the Dodgers the go-ahead run.
Led by Hank Sauer’s grand slam, the Cubs beat the host Reds, 6–5 in 10 innings It is the only opening day slam in Cubs history.
Shibe Park, Hank Bauer and Mickey Mantle lead a 14-hit attack against Alex Kellner and Carl Scheib as the Yankees beat the A’s, 8–1. Vic Raschi allows two hits in 8 innings and wins his 2nd opener in a row. Bauer had two hits and a homer, while Mantle has three hits, two RBIs, and a stolen base.
16th The Dodgers Duke Snider goes 5-for-6 in a 14–8 win over the Boston Braves. Campy drives in 5 runs with a double and homer as the Dodgers amass 20 hits.
Rain postpones two openers today, but at Washington, Mel Parnell, batting 7th ahead of Lepcio and Niarhos, pitches a 3–0 win, allowing 3 hits.
17th Umpire Bill Summers turns in 7 members of the White Sox and Indians for “fraternizing” before a game, won by the Indians 7–3. The AL fines the unnamed players $5 each for violating the 1951 rule.
At Washington, the Red Sox take a 7-0 lead with a 6-run 6th inning and top the Senators, 9-2. Faye Throneberry hits his first ML homer, a grand slam off the Nats’ Don Johnson, in the 6th.
18th In their home Opener before 29,874, Pittsburgh’s Bob Friend shuts out the Reds, 5–0, on 5 hits. It is the 2nd win in a row for the Pirates, and they won’t have a win streak longer than two games all season, a 20th century ML record low.
19th Eddie Mathews of the Boston Braves hits his first ML homer, off Ken Heintzelman of the Phillies in Philadelphia. The Braves win 4–0.
Against the Pirates Mel Queen, the first two Reds batters– and Bobby Adams—belt homers, the 5th time in history it’s happened. The Reds go on to win, 9–3, behind Herm Wehmeier.
At Ebbets Field, the Dodgers (5-0) belt the Giants, 11-6. Carl Furillo has a grand slam for Da Bums.
In a Patriot’s Day twinbill at Fenway, the Red Sox take 2 from the A’s, 11–2 and 6–1, to sweep the series. The A.M. game draws 8,598 who see Don Lenhardt footsie his way around for an inside-the-park grand slam, after hitting a ball off the fence in left CF against Dick Fowler. It is the first IP grand slam at Fenway. Harry Taylor is the winner, notching his only victory of the year for Boston. Maury McDermott is the winner over Morrie Martin in the nightcap, which draws 23,541. A’s 3B Hank Majeski ties the AL mark with 10 assists in game 2. Ferris Fain, the AL bat champ last season, is hitless so far, going 0-for-19.
20th Ted Kluszewski leads the Reds as Cincy turns back the Pirates, 8–6 and 12–2. Klu has a two-run homer in the opener, off Murry Dickson, and then knocks in 7 runs in the nightcap with a grand slam and two triples. Joe Adcock belts a pair of homers to back Harry Perkowski’s complete game. The Reds are now a game in back of Brooklyn.
Sal Maglie allows two hits and the Giants top the Dodgers, 6–0. The shutout is the first by a visiting pitcher at Ebbets since 1949. The Brooks last shutout anywhere was on June 26, 1951 when Maglie beat them at the Polo Grounds. Davey Williams and Hank Thompson belt homers for New York.
21st In New York, Mantle’s first-inning homer off Bobby Shantz starts the Yankees to a 5–1 win over the A’s. The Yanks tie a ML mark when they pull off their 12th double play in 3 games; tomorrow they go to 14 in 4 games, tying a mark set by the White Sox last year.
22nd A federal grand jury cites Cardinal owner Fred Saigh with income tax evasion.
23rd Future Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm of the New York Giants wins his first ML game pitching 5 1/3 innings in relief in a 9–5 win. In his first at bat he cleans a pitch from the Braves’ Dick Hoover for a homer. It will be Wilhelm’s only ML HR in 1,070 games. He’s one of three Hall of Famers to hit a homer in his first ML at bat: Cleveland’s Earl Averill and the A’s Ace Parker, who will go into the Football HOF. The loser is rookie Gene Conley.
Vinegar Bend Mizell, the Cards highly touted rookie, allows just 5 hits in his ML debut, but he is shaded by the Reds Ken Raffensberger, who wins, 2–1. The game was marred by ejections of Stanky, Hemus and Brazle. Stanky’s banishment, his first as a manager, follows a strike call by ump Scotty Robb. The NL will fine and reprimand Robb for pushing Stanky. Stanky and Hemus also receive fines.
Bob Cain of the Browns and Bob Feller of the Indians each pitch a one-hitter, with the Browns prevailing 1–0 and moving into first place. The game ties a ML record for the fewest hits by two teams (last done in 1915) and sets the AL record. The last double one-hitter was July 4, 1906. The Browns Bobby Young hits a triple in the first inning and scores the lone run on an Al Rosen error on Marty Marion’s grounder. The Indians only hit is a single by Luke Easter. For Feller, it is the 4th time he’s tossed a one-hitter against the Brownies and his 11th career one-hitter. It’ll be 35 years before another Tribe tosser, Tom Candiotti, pitches a one-hit loss.
24th Leo Durocher charges that the umpires are ignoring the “quick pitch” rule.
Shades of Harvey Haddix. Elmer Singleton of San Francisco (PCL) pitches a no-hitter for 12 innings against Sacramento. A tired Singleton is touched for 3 hits in the 13th and loses, 1–0.
University of Arizona SS Hugh McMullan throws a ball a record 427 feet ¼ inch as part of the Helms Athletic Foundation of LA competition (as noted by J.G. Preston).
26th Leave it to the catcher, Art. Detroit’s Art Houtteman easily wins, 13–0, against Cleveland and almost pitches a no-hitter in the process. He gives up a hit to Suitcase Simpson with 2 outs in the 9th on the only pitch he calls all day.
28th The St. Louis Browns lend 2 black minor league players, 3B John Britton and P Jim Newberry, to the Hankyu Braves of the Japanese Pacific League, making them the first team to send players outside of the U.S. Abe Saperstein, owner and coach of the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters, negotiates this special example in “lend-lease” for both sides.
29th Cleveland OF “Big Jim” Fridley goes a (20th c) record-tying 6-for-6 in a 21–9 romp over the host Philadelphia A’s. Al Rosen chips in with 3 HRs and 7 RBI, as both teams total 43 hits, 2 hits short of the AL mark. The Indian outfield collects 12 hits to tie the AL record, last tied in 1917. The two teams combine for an AL record 96 at bats (Cleveland 51: Phil 45) in the 9-inning game. The Indians had been shut out in 3 out of their past 4 games, and held to a single hit in 2 of them. Starter Bob Feller records the win over Alex Kellner who gets jumped for 6 runs in the 1st inning.
30th Before 24,767 at Ted Williams Day at Fenway Park, the Red Sox slugger plays in his final game before going to Korea as a Marine fighter pilot. It is also his first start since pulling a muscle on opening day. In his last at bat, Williams hits a game-winning two-run HR in the 7th against Detroit’s Dizzy Trout to give the Red Sox a 5–3 win.
After an AL-record 7 straight postponements, the refreshed Senators drop a pair to the White Sox losing 7–4 and 4–3 in 11 innings. In the nightcap, Bobo Newsom, making his 2nd appearance, loses his first in relief. Bobo was signed before the season for a record 5th tour of duty with the Nationals. He’ll even his record, then be waived to the Browns.
At Sportsman’s Park, Gerry Staley coasts to a 14-2 victory over the Dodgers. Red Schoendienst backs him with a grand slam, off Bud Podbielan.
In the first of two at Yankee Stadium, Bob Cain (3-0) gives up a single, double and homer to Mickey Mantle but the Browns lefty beats the Yanks, 9–4. Marty Marion has a pair of doubles and Leo Thomas 3 RBIs. Satchel Paige pitches 3 innings of scoreless ball in relief of Cain. New York’s Allie Reynolds wins game 2, 4-1. Jerry Coleman has 2 hits in each for New York, his final games this season. The WW2 air force vet leaves for the Korean War where he will fly 63 missions in a single seat Chance Vought F4U Corsair. He tells the New York Times, “Speaking only for myself, the reasons seem pretty simple. For an experienced flier, it takes only about two months to get back in harness. Starting with a youngster who has not flown before, it would take about two years before he would be ready for combat duty.” Coleman played 11 games this year and his 1953 season will consist of 8 games in September when he returns from the Marines.