1954 April

th The Orioles pick up veteran Dave Koslo from the Giants.

9th In Milwaukee, Warren Spahn and the Braves beat the Red Sox, 3-1.

In a Southern Association game at Mobile, pinch hitter Nat Peeples of Atlanta makes his league debut. Peeples is the first black player ever to appear in a league game. He grounds out in the fifth inning and after 2 games is sent to Jacksonville (South Atlantic League).

11th  To make room for promising rookie OF Wally Moon, the Cardinals trade long-time great Enos Slaughter to the Yankees for Mel Wright and 4 players to be named. In what turns out to be a good deal for both teams, the Cardinals get CF Bill Virdon, P Mel Wright, and OF Emil Tellinger in return. Virdon will become the NL Rookie of the Year in 1955, following Wally Moon, and Slaughter will help the Yankees to win 103 games.

At Indianapolis, the Giants and Indians conclude their spring competition with New York winning, 5-4, in 10 innings on Mays’s triple. The Giants win the 21-game spring series, 13-8, in what will be a prelude to the World Series.

The Phillies top the A’s, 1-0, in the Philadelphia city series.

At Wrigley Field, the Cubs whip the White Sox 12-9, as the Sox help with 4 errors. Hank Sauer has a 3-run homer.

13th  Henry Aaron of the Braves makes his ML debut, going hitless in 5 trips to the plate in a 9–8 loss to the Redlegs. Cincy LF Jim Greengrass bangs 4 doubles to tie an opening day record. Andy Pafko takes a hit when he’s beaned by Joe Nuxhall. Because of the extra seats set up to accommodate the overflow crowd, 12 of the 13 doubles hit in the game are of the ground rule variety. With the rule change, players take their mitts with them at the end of each inning, rather than leaving them on the playing field.

In the presidential opener in Washington, President Dwight D. Eisenhower is thrilled by Mickey Vernon’s 10th inning 2-run game-ending homer off Allie Reynolds which beats the Yankees 5–3. Chuck Stobbs and Whitey Ford start the game, but the winning Nats pitcher is reliever Sonny Dixon. Hank Bauer, with two singles, drives in all three Yankee runs. Ike skipped last year’s opener, which was rained out, and the political hue and cry was so great he made sure he tossed out the first ball today, exchanging a few throws with Senators’ catcher Gonzalo “Cholly” Naranjo. Naranjo will appear tomorrow on “I’ve Got a Secret” after which the Senators will reveal their secret: you’re going to the minors.

The Giants, fresh from a Cactus League season where they beat the Indians 13 out of 21 meetings, trip the Dodgers, 4–3. Back in CF after 2 years in the army, Willie Mays of the Giants hits a 2-run shot that beats Brooklyn.

Hitting against the Cubs Paul Minner, Cardinal rookie Wally Moon homers in his first ML AB. But Minner homers to back his own pitching, as the Cubs win 13–4. Tom Alston becomes the first black to play for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Pittsburgh opens at home for the first time in 61 years and defeats the Phils, 4–2, before 32,294. Curt Roberts, the Bucs’ first black player, hits a triple against Robin Roberts in the first inning.

The brand new Baltimore Orioles open in Detroit and lose, 3–0. Don Larsen takes the loss against Steve Gromek. The Tigers start fast and will win 12 of their first 18 games.

Rookie Spook Jacobs, in his first ML game, gets 4 hits while Bill Renna and Gus Zernial bang homers in the A’s 6–4 victory over the Red Sox. Bobby Shantz is the winner, but leaves in the 6th because of a pulled muscle which will take several years to completely heal. He won’t pitch again this year ending the season today at 1–0. Mel Parnell goes 6 innings for the loss.

In Boston, Braves Field is renamed BU Field by its new owners, Boston University.

14th The Baltimore Orioles win their first game, tipping the Tigers, 3–2 behind pitcher Duane Pillette.

Don Newcombe, back from the army and starting his first game since his playoff with the Giants in 1951, stops the Polo Grounders on 6 hits. The Dodgers win, 6–4, and Newk has 2 RBIs in going 9 innings.

15th  The Orioles Clint Courtney hits the first HR in Memorial Stadium. Following a 90-minute parade, they draw an Opening Day record crowd of 46,354 in a 3–1 afternoon win against the White Sox. Bob Turley strikes out nine in besting Virgil Trucks. Vern Stephens and Clint Courtney homer for the O’s.

At Wrigley Field, Gus Bell hits a 3-run homer and Jim Greengrass blasts a grand slam, off Turk Lown, as the Reds roll by the Cubs, 11-5. Johnny Temple has 3 RBIs for the Reds.

Vic Raschi makes his NL debut but the host Braves knock the Cardinal vet out of the game. Harvey Haddix, in relief, takes the loss, 7–6, with Warren Spahn the winner for the Braves. Hank Aaron has his first hit as he goes 2-for-5.

17th  The wind is blowing out at Wrigley, as the Cards lose 23–13 to the Cubs in a NL record 3 hour and 43 minute game. The two teams combine for 35 hits, including five homers. Bruce Edwards walks twice in the 5th, when the Cubs score 10 runs. Cubs 3B Randy Jackson has 4 hits, including a HR that hits an apartment building on Waveland Avenue. Jim Brosnan is the winner over Gerry Staley in the highest scoring game ever between these two rivals.

Joe Coleman of the Orioles loses a 3-hitter to the Tigers 1–0. Ned Garver allows 5 hits in winning.

Nino Escalera becomes the first black to play for the Cincinnati Redlegs when he hits a pinch single in a 5–1 loss to the Braves. In the 7th, another black rookie, Chuck Harmon, follows, pinch hitting for Corky Valentine and popping out. Art Fowler relieves for the Reds and is the first major leaguer to debut 25 years after his brother’s last appearance: Jesse Fowler pitched briefly Roger Hornsby’s Cardinals. Lou Burdette is the winning pitcher today with the help of two homeruns from Johnny Logan.

18th  The White Sox acquire IF Grady Hatton from the Redlegs.

After Philley pitchers had thrown 32 scoreless innings, P Curt Simmons makes a 6th inning error to allow the Pirates to score, but the Phils win the doubleheader nightcap 7–1. Del Ennis drives in 5 runs with two homers. Robin Roberts throws the first game shutout, winning, 6-0. He’s helped by Earl Torgeson, who hits a 3-run homer.

At Milwaukee, Jim Greengrass drives in 6 runs with 2 singles, double, and a HR to help the Reds sweep a pair from the Braves, 6–4 and 5–3.

19th On Patriot’s Day in Boston, The Yankees sweep both games from the Red Sox. New York wins the morning game, 2–1, on Jim MacDonald’s one hitter. Harry Agganis has Boston’s only hit, a second inning bloop single. In the afternoon game, the Yankees top Mel Parnell, 5–0 behind Jim McDonald, as Mickey Mantle belts his first homer of the year.

Eddie Yost hits a lead off homer in the 9th to give the Senators a 4–3 win over the A’s. The win goes to reliever Camilo Pascual, who matches the ML total of his brother Carlos.

20th  Philadelphia’s Alex Kellner allows only a Wayne Terwilliger 8th-inning single in defeating Washington 7–0.

21st At Yankee Stadium, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle belt back-to-back homers in the 3rd, off Leo Kiely, and Gil McDougald adds a solo blast to key the Yankees to a 5–1 win over the Red Sox.

In the first night game at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, Bob Turley has a no-hitter against Cleveland when, with one out in the 9th, Al Rosen singles and Larry Doby homers. Turley strikes out 14, but loses, 2–1.

23rd  At Sportsman’s Park, Henry Aaron hits the first of his 755 ML HRs, a solo shot off Vic Raschi of St. Louis. The Braves win in 14 innings 7–5 on an error by Hemus. Card rookie Wally Moon is 5-for-5.

Jackie Robinson steals 2B and 3B, then swipes home on the front end of a triple steal with Gil Hodges and Sandy Amoros in the 6th against the Pirates. The Dodgers win 6–5 in 13 innings, when Robinson doubles home Junior Gilliam.

24th  In the 3rd inning of a 6–1 Boston win, Mickey McDermott of the Senators fractures former teammate Boston P Mel Parnell’s left forearm with a pitch. A pinch runner for Parnell, a walk, and then a popped bunt is nabbed by McDermott, who starts a triple play. Parnell will be out till August 1st when he returns to beat the Senators.

At Crosley Field, Wally Post belts a 2-out home run in the 9th inning with a man on to give the Reds a 6–5 win against the Cubs. Kiner and Sauer belt back-to-back HRs for the Cubs in the 7th.

Marv Grissom and the Giants shut out the Phils, 1-0, at the Polo Grounds. Whitey Lockman’s 300-foot HR off Robin Roberts is the only score.

The White Sox spoil Vern Bickford’s AL debut chasing him after 4 innings and winning 14–4. Ferris Fain has 3 hits and 5 RBIs, and Bill Wilson hits his first ML homer. The O’s use 3 relievers including former Negro Leaguer Jay Heard, making his ML debut. Heard is the first black player for the Orioles. He’ll be heard from one more time. On September 10, African-American OF Joe Durham will make his debut as the second black Oriole.

25th  Giants pitchers Sal Maglie and Johnny Antonelli shut out the Phils in a twin bill 3–0 and 5–0. The Giants complete a 3-game sweep of the Phils with all shut outs.

In a 12-inning, 7–6 loss to the Cardinals, Braves rookie Hank Aaron goes 5-for-6. Stan Musial has 4 hits and 3 runs for the Birds.

27th In a slugfest featuring back-to-back homers 3 times, the Reds edge the Pirates, 8–7. Ted Kluszewski bangs a pair of 2-run homers, both off cousin Max Surkont: he’ll make Max mad on June 25, hitting two more off him. Jim Greengrass follows Klu’s first homer with one of his own. Toby Atwell and Jerry Lynch go back-to-back in both the 6th and 8th innings for the Buccos, the only Pirates to accomplish the feat in the 20th century. Corky Valentine, with relief help from Smith, gains his first ML victory.

28th The Reds Jackie Collum allows one hit in 6 /13 innings of shutout relief in an 8–4 win over the visiting Pirates.

PCL outfielder Ted Beard completes a string of 12 straight hits (and a walk) in 13 plate appearances, equaling the PCL record set by Mickey Heath in 1930. Beard’s skein was accomplished over four games (April 24, 25, 26, 28). Beard hit .203 for the Pittsburgh Pirates in brief appearances from 1948 to 1953.

30th  Willie Mays homers in the 14th inning off Cubs lefty Warren Hacker to give Sal Maglie and the Giants a 4–2 victory.

The Cubs purchase 1B Steve Bilko from the Cardinals for $12,500, but will let the slugger go at the end of the year. Bilko will then lead the PCL in homeruns three straight years before returning to the majors.