1953 April

4th At San Diego, Hollywood (PCL) beats San Diego, 6–5, as Ted Beard of Hollywood drives in all the runs with 4 consecutive home runs. Beard spent the past five seasons splitting his time between the Pittsburgh Pirates and AAA.

5th  In the 6th inning of a PCL game against Hollywood, San Diego Padres OF Herb Gorman suffers a heart attack and dies on the way to the hospital. He was 2-for-2, both doubles, in the game before suffering the fatal blood clot. Gorman was 1-for-1 last year with the St. Louis Cards. The 2nd game of the DH is postponed (as noted by Joey Beretta).

9th  August Busch buys Sportsman’s Park for $800,000 from Browns owner Bill Veeck. Busch gives a 5-year lease to the Browns, turning the tables in a manner of speaking, since the Cardinals had been tenants of the Browns since 1920. Busch initially renames the stadium Budweiser Park, but in response to protests about the commercialization of his ballpark, he renames Budweiser Park, Busch Stadium. The following season his company comes out with a new beer, Busch Bavarian Beer.

In an exhibition game at Forbes Field, Mickey Mantle crunches a Bill MacDonald curve and hits it over the RF roof, joining the Babe and Ted Beard as the only hitters to accomplish that since the upper deck was added in 1925. Ruth’s homer over the roof was the 714th and last of his career.

The Cincinnati club officially changes its name from Reds to Redlegs, in response to McCarthy era pressure. The name “Reds” will not appear on the uniforms again until 1956, although fans, announcers and writers will continue to use it interchangeably.

11th  At Fenway the Red Sox top the Milwaukee Braves, 4–1, before 9,000, but the Braves receive more applause than the Sox. In the match tomorrow the Braves will reverse today’s score.

13th  In Cincinnati, over 30,000 see the Milwaukee Braves win their first game, 2–0, behind Max Surkont’s 3-hitter. Rookie Billy Bruton singles, steals 2B, and scores the first run. The Reds won’t be whitewashed in an opener until 2014.

Rain cancels the presidential opener in Washington with the Senators facing the Yankees.

14th  In a 3–2 victory, Braves Billy Bruton, generously listed as 24-years-old, hits the first ML HR in Milwaukee’s County Stadium, in the 10th inning off Gerry Staley of the Cards. Bruton had hit a triple and scored earlier in the game, but the Cards score a pair in the 9th off Spahn to tie. Bruton’s homer tips off Enos Slaughter’s glove and is first ruled a double: Bruton won’t homer again for a year and a half. This is the first game for the home crowd since 1901 when the Milwaukee Brewers were charter members of the AL.

In the opener at Cleveland, Bob Lemon of the Indians one-hits the White Sox, 6–0. Minnie Minoso’s single in the first is the only safety for Chicago. Jim Rivera almost breaks the shutout in the 2nd frame when he walks, steals 2B, reaches 3B on a ground out and is out at home on an attempted steal. Avila homers as does WP Lemon, both off Rogovin, who lasts 4 innings.

In Philadelphia, the A’s Alex Kellner shuts out the Yankees, 5–0, on five singles. Catcher Ray Murray and Allie Clark hit 5th inning HRs for the A’s. Vic Raschi pitches six innings and takes the loss.

In his first start for the Browns, Virgil Trucks fires a 4-hitter to stop his old team, the Tigers, 10–0. The loss goes to former Brownie, Ned Garver. The Opener, seen by 11,804, is the first night opener in Browns history.

16th  Connie Ryan has 6 consecutive hits, but the Phils lose 14–12 to Pittsburgh. The Phillies score 9 runs in the top of the 5th, and the Pirates come back with 6 in the bottom to tie the NL record for runs in the inning. Ryan will be 5-for-5 against the Bucs on the 26th.

In the home opener at Comiskey, lefty Billy Pierce of the White Sox throws a one-hitter against the Browns. Bobby Young’s double in the 7th is the only St. Louis safety in the 1–0 shutout. Young also had the lone hit last year against Feller. In his Browns debut, Harry Brecheen allows the White Sox just 2 hits in losing.

At Washington, President Dwight Eisenhower tosses out the first ball and then watches as the Senators lose, 6–3, to the Yankees in a scheduled day-night DH. The night game is canceled because of cold weather. Sain is the winner over Bob Porterfield.

17th  In New York’s 7–3 win, Mickey Mantle clouts the longest HR in Griffith Stadium history, a 565-feet shot off lefty Chuck Stobbs of the Washington Senators. The 5th inning blow, with Berra on first base, clears the stadium in left center, just ticking off the huge Ballantine scoreboard, standing 60 feet higher than the grand stand bleachers. The ball lands in the backyard of Perry Cool, a block away from the ball park. The Mick adds a stolen base to his day’s total.

The Milwaukee Braves drop their first game, losing 10–9 to the Reds. Rookie Billy Bruton has 3 hits for the Braves, and is 8-for-14 for the short season.

With the temperature at 36 degrees in St. Louis, the Browns chill the White Sox, 6–4.

18th The White Sox collect 4 hits, one more than the Indians, but the 2 teams combine for 26 walks, 4 short of the ML record set on May 9, 1916. Ray Boone leads with 4 walks. Six errors and 2 HBP indicate something was in the air. The Tribe loses 7–6 and also loses slugger Luke Easter who breaks his foot when he is hit by a pitch from starter Lou Kretlow. Lucious will be out until June 18 and will hit just 7 homers in 68 games. The Tribe are just a game behind the Yankees today but will be 11 1/2 out when he returns.

The Browns sweep a pair from the Tigers, winning 8–7 in 11 innings and 3–2 in Detroit. Vic Wertz ties the opener, 6–6, with a 2-out 2-strike 3-run homer in the 9th. Rookie Don Larsen makes his ML debut in the opener, and at the plate is 2-for-2, without the decision. Larsen will later have a streak of 7 straight hits.

19th Alex Kellner of the A’s blanks the Yankees, 3–0 on 2 hits. Kellner shut out the Bombers on Opening Day and is the first pitcher to shutout New York on consecutive starts since Schoolboy Rowe in 1934.

20th At Boston first baseman Dick Gernert raps 3 homers in a twin sweep of the Senators, 4–2 and 11–4. He hits 2 homers in the a.m. Patriot’s Day game, the home opener in Boston, then another + 3-run double off the CF flagpole in the afternoon game. Parnell runs his record to 19–3 vs. Washington in the opener. McDermott beats Porterfield in the p.m. game.

22nd Making his first start since breaking his finger March 16, Hank Sauer hits a HR, triple and single off Max Surkont, but the Braves still beat the Cubs, 15–6. Eddie Mathews has a double and a pair of homers, good for 6 RBIs. Jack Dittmar homers and Sid Gordon follows Mathews 2nd HR with another round tripper.

The Giants Bobby Hofman, subbing at 3B, hits a single, double and 2 HRs to give Jim Hearn his 12th straight win over the Pirates, 4–2. Hearn last lost to the Bucs, September 7, 1948. Hoyt Wilhelm saves in the 9th.

The Red Sox sell veteran Clyde Vollmer back to the Senators.

23rd At Yankee Stadium, Mantle breaks a 3–3 with a two out 9th-inning three-run homer off Red Sox relief ace Ellis Kinder.

Frank Thomas hits a grand slam, off Dave Koslo, to provide the edge for the Pirates as they beat the visiting Giants, 6-5. Howie Pollet is the winning pitcher.

24th  Jackie Robinson walks twice in the 6th inning as the Dodgers score 6 runs en route to a 12–4 pasting of the Giants.

25th Browns pinch hitter Dick Kryhoski belts a grand slam off Chicago reliever Harry Dorish, but it is not enough as the Browns lose 6–4. Nellie Fox has a 2-run dinger for the Chisox.

26th  Feasting again on Pirates pitching, the Phillies Connie Ryan goes 5-for-5 in a 7–5 win in the first game of a doubleheader. Robin Roberts celebrates his “Day” with a win.   The ace is given a Cadillac and other gifts by Delaware fans. The Phils take the nightcap, 8–1, behind Karl Drews to stretch the league leaders win streak to 8 games.

At Cleveland, the Indians edge the Tigers 2-1 in the first of two games. Taking a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the 8th of game 2 it seems headed for the same conclusion, but the Tribe drops a 9spot on the Tigers to win, 12-3. Al Rosen contributes a grand slam.

28th  A wild fight occurs after Browns Clint “Scrap Iron” Courtney lines a ball off the wall and comes into to 2B spikes high on Phil Rizzuto in the 10th inning in St. Louis. In the brawl, umpire John Stevens dislocates his collarbone. Six players are fined for their actions. Courtney retaliated after being knocked over in the top of the 10th when Gil McDougald scored the go-ahead run in an eventual 7–6 Yankee win. New York took a 5–0 lead on a 3-run homer by Mantle off Bob Cain in the 3rd, a moon shot that cleared the LF wall of the newly renamed Busch Stadium. The Browns tie the game at 6–6 to set the stage for the brawl that ends with a shower of bottles from angry fans. Outside the stadium, the Yankees need a police escort to board their bus. Courtney will be fined $250 for the fisticuffs, with five other players receiving lesser fines. The total of $850 in fines is the most ever for a brawl.

At Philadelphia, Harvey Haddix goes 7 innings as the Cardinals edge the Phils, 6-5. Ed Yuhas relieves in the 8th and gives up 2 runs before being replaced. It is the second ineffective outing for Yuhas, and his last professional appearance, finished at age 28. In his rookie year last season, he won his last ten games.

29th  Joe Adcock becomes the first ML player to homer into the CF bleacher seats in the Polo Grounds, over 475 feet away. His homer in the 3rd, with Pafko on, comes off a Jim Hearn fast ball. Luke Easter, in a 1948 Negro League game, and Schoolboy Rowe, in batting practice before a 1933 exhibition game, also accomplished the feat. Lou Brock and Hank Aaron will match it is as well in 1962. The Braves win the game 3–2 on a 9th-inning knuckler by Hoyt Wilhelm that eludes Sal Yvars for a wild pitch. Billy Bruton’s perfect throw cuts down Monte Irvin for the final out. After the game, manager Charlie Grimm buys Adcock’s homer for $25 from the fan who caught it.

An 11th inning double by Billy Johnson, along with an error, allows the Cards to beat the first-place Phils, 1–0. Curt Simmons is the loser, despite allowing just three hits. Joe Presko pitches 9.1 innings, with Al Brazle the winner.

30th  The Little-Bigger League changes its name to the Babe Ruth League.

At Chicago, the Yankees beat the White Sox, 6–1, as Mantle takes Gene Bearden deep. The ball might not have cleared the fence except for a fan’s interference, and Paul Richards protestations about it earn him a shower. Bill Renna adds his first ML homer, a triple, and single to back Whitey Ford.

At the Polo Grounds, the Giants Sal Maglie stops the Braves, 1–0, as Bobby Thomson’s 9th inning 280-foot homer off Vern Bickford is the only score. Thomson’s clout hits the screen on the LF foul pole.