1955 April

11th  After President Eisenhower tosses out the first ball, the Senators open the season with a 12–5 win over the Orioles. Bob Porterfield is the complete-game winner.

12th  In a 4–2 win over the Reds, Milwaukee, rookie Chuck Tanner hits an 8th-inning pinch-homer on the first pitch in his first ML AB. The homer comes off of Gerry Staley and ignites a 3-run rally. A NL record Opening Day crowd of 43,640 watch at Milwaukee’s County Stadium.

     Dee Fondy has 2 hits and 5 RBIs as the Cubs score 11 runs in the first 2 innings to clip the Cardinals, 14-4. Hank Sauer has 4 hits as every Cubs starter except Gene Baker hits safely. Paul Minner is the winner.

After a huge civic parade, the Athletics open their first season in Kansas City with Ex-President Harry Truman throwing out the first ball. Bill Wilson hits the first-ever homer for KC and Bob Wilson for the Tigers answers. Alex Kellner, with relief from Ewell Blackwell, making his first appearance since 1953, picks up the victory in the 6–2 A’s win. Ned Garver is the Tigers’ loser.

13th  The Dodgers open what will be their only World Championship season in Brooklyn by beating Pittsburgh, 6–1. Carl Erskine is the winner.

At Philadelphia, Robin Roberts holds the Giants hitless until, with one out in the 9th, Alvin Dark singles after Rhodes reaches 1B on an error. After Mays strikes out, Irvin doubles in 2 runs. Ashburn and Ennis, injured in an exhibition game collision, sit out the opener. Ashburn’s consecutive-games played streak is stopped at 731.

In the Opener at Yankee Stadium, the Yanks rout the Senators 19–1. Winner Whitey Ford gets 3 hits and only allows 2, as he knocks in 4 runs. Mickey Mantle and Bob Cerv also drive home 4 runs. Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Bill Skowron crack homers, while Cerv and Andy Carey add triples. Mantle has 3 hits and gets hit by a pitch for the first time in his career; he will end up with just 13 HBPs in his 18-year career. Mickey McDermott, in 3+ innings of work, is the loser, as the Yanks register the biggest margin of victory in an opener. The most runs scored in an opener was by the Indians, 21–14 over the Browns in 1925.

The Braves sell pitcher Jim Wilson to the Orioles. Along with Chet Nichols, Wilson is the only man to play for the Boston Red Sox, Boston Braves and the Milwaukee Braves.

14th  In the home opener at St. Louis, Cards reliever Frank Smith pulls a Merkle boner in the 10th inning depriving the Birds of a winning run. With 2 outs, Smith reaches 1B, sending Stephenson to 3B. Moon’s single seemingly scores Stephenson, but Smith turns back without touching 2B. Aaron’s throw to O’Connell forces him for the 3rd out. Virdon takes Smith off the hook in the 11th with a HR off Dave Koslo to win, 8–7. The Cards have 6 homers in the game.

Elston Howard becomes the first black player to wear the Yankee uniform. He singles in his first at bat, against the Red Sox, as the Yanks lose, 8–4.

      Brooklyn P Don Newcombe hits 2 HRs, off Maglie and Wilhelm, in a 10–8 win over the Giants at the Polo Grounds. Newk will have two games this season in which he hits a pair of homers, and another next year to set the NL mark. His 7 homers this season also sets a ML mark.

15th The clouting Cubs beat the Reds, 6–4, when Jackson and Banks hit back-to-back homers in the 10th. Hal Jeffcoat, who hit a HR in the 9th, is the winner.

16th  En route to losing their first 5 games, the Redlegs hit 5 solo HRs but lose to the Braves 9–5. The Braves Johnny Logan goes 5-for-5, and Del Crandall, Johnny Logan, and Joe Adcock slug solo homers for Milwaukee. Cincy’s 5 solo shots—2 by Ray Jablonski—and just 5 runs scored ties a ML record.

In St. Louis, the Cubs hit 6 homers, including consecutive homers by Randy Jackson, Ernie Banks and Dee Fondy in the 2nd inning, but the Cards win in 14 innings, 12–11. Wally Moon’s bloop single is the winner after Sarni’s bloop double drops when Sauer and Banks do an Alphonse-Gaston number. Jackson has a 2nd HR in the 3rd, and Banks and Fondy hit back-to-back consecutive homers in the 12th, tying a ML record for doing it twice in a game, but Moon’s 2-run HR deadlocks at 11 apiece.

Jim Hearn hits one of five Giants homers while beating the Phillies, 10-3. Davey Williams has a pair of homers, Whitey Lockman adds a 2-run homer, and Don Mueller has a 3-run blast, off Steve Ridzik. Hearn scatters 10 hits while striking out one batter, Jim Westlake, in his only ML appearance. Jim is the brother of Wally.

At Comiskey Park, Walt Dropo hits a grand slam as the White Sox score 6 runs in the 5th inning to defeat the Indians, 9-4.

17th  Twenty-year-old Al Kaline of the Tigers hits 3 homers in Briggs Stadium, including 2 in the 6th inning to drive in 6 runs. The Tigers rout the A’s 16–0, behind Steve Gromek’s pitching. Kaline is the first American Leaguer since DiMaggio in 1936 to hit 2 homers in an inning, and he is the first Tiger to do so.

After the Cubs edge the Cards, 6–5, in the opener, St. Louis scores 10 in the first inning and go on to rout the Cubs, 14–1, in the nightcap.

Roberto Clemente makes his debut for the Pirates and goes 1-for-4 against Johnny Podres. The visiting Dodgers win, 10–3.

18th  In what can be described as a rare “pitcher’s cycle,” Pirate hurler Al Grunwald allows a single, double, triple, and HR for 4 runs in one-third of an inning in his first ML game. Grunwald relieves in the 4th with the Giants ahead 3–0, and gives up a single to Don Mueller, a double to Monte Irvin, a triple to Mays, and a HR to Whitey Lockman. The Giants score 8 runs in the inning, 4 off Grunwald, to win 12–3. A bright spot for the Bucs is Roberto Clemente’s first ML homer, an inside-the-park hit off of Don Liddle that makes the score 11-1.

Mantle’s 2-run homer in the 3rd off Harry Byrd provides all the scoring Whitey Ford needs, as the lefty tosses a 3-hitter against the Orioles. New York tops the O’s, 6–0.

The Orioles release veteran 3B Vern Stephens, who will sign with the White Sox on May 2.

20th  At Wrigley Field, Lew Burdette gives up 13 hits, including a triple and homer to Dee Fondy, but the Braves prevail, 9-5. Bobby Thomson has 5 RBIs, 4 on a grand slam off Sam Jones.

21st  Brooklyn wins its 10th in a row, trouncing Robin Roberts of the Phils, 14–4. This sets a new ML record for consecutive wins to start a season, later topped by Atlanta and Oakland. Don Zimmer has 4 hits, including two doubles and a homer, Carl Furillo collects 4 singles, and three other Dodgers homer.

In Detroit, George Kell belts a 3rd-inning grand slam to lead the White Sox to a 9-1 win over the Tigers. Al Kaline’s homer, off Mike Fornieles (2-0), is the only run for the Bengals.

22nd  Though the Dodgers take a 3–0 lead into the 8th, their streak ends as the Braves’ Max Surkont beats Johnny Podres 5–4. Don Zimmer is called out at home on a squeeze play by Jackie Robinson that would have tied the game. Alston vehemently protests the call and gets sent to the showers for his efforts.

In a rundown play between home and 3rd, Yankee 2B Jerry Coleman breaks his collarbone. The Yanks beat the visiting Red Sox 3–0, but Coleman is out for three months. Ford notches his 2nd straight shutout, while Berra and Bauer hit homers.

In their home debut before a standing-room only crowd of 32,147, the Kansas City A’s beat the Detroit Tigers, 6–2.

23rd The visiting White Sox erupt for 29 hits in a 29–6 ripping of Kansas City. C Sherm Lollar becomes the only man in the decade to get 2 hits in one inning twice in the same game. Lollar’s feat comes in the 2nd and 6th innings. Chico Carrasquel goes 5-for-6 as the White Sox pound out 7 HRs. Bob Nieman has 7 RBIs to pace the Sox offensive attack with 2 homers; Lollar (2), Walt Dropo, pitcher Jack Harshman, and Minnie Minoso also homer. Chico Carrasquel and Minoso each score 5 runs. The Sox match the Yankees (June 28, 1939) with 7 starters each getting 3 hits or more. Pitcher Jack Harshman has 3, but not Hall of Famers Fox and Kell. KC gets homers from Vic Power and Bill Renna. Bobby Shantz takes the loss.

In a celebrated fight with the Dodgers, Alvin Dark takes on Jackie Robinson after the latter bowls over pitcher Sheldon Jones, covering first on a bunt. Jones injures his back in the incident. Brooklyn wins 3–1.

24th The Giants and Dodgers go at it again, this time with bats. The Giants score 6 runs in the 10th inning to seemingly put the game away, but Brooklyn answers with 5 runs, only to lose, 11–10. Alvin Dark scores the decisive run in the 11th when Carl Furillo catches Thompson’s fly and, thinking it made the 3rd out, he jogs in with the ball. The 11 runs in the 10th is a NL record for the inning and for extra innings.

26th  Bob Turley of the Yanks fires a one-hitter, fanning 10 in beating the White Sox 5–0. Sherm Lollar’s single in the 2nd is the lone hit.

Leave it to the catcher, Art. Detroit’s Art Houtteman easily wins, 13–0, over Cleveland and almost pitches a no-hitter in the process. He gives up a hit with 2 outs in the 9th on the only pitch he calls all day.

27th Hank Bauer and Andy Carey, the first two Yankee hitters, hit homers to deflate White Sox pitcher Virgil Trucks. But the Sox knock the wheels off Ford and 3 relievers for 14 hits to win 13–4 and regain first place in the AL.

Jim Delsing has 3 hits and 3 RBIs and Frank House hits a grand slam as the Tigers claw the Orioles, 11-3.

At Cleveland Stadium, Bobby Avila’s sac fly in the 17th inning gives the Indians a 6-5 win over the Senators. Art Houtteman pitches 4 scoreless innings for the win.

28th  The Kansas City Athletics sign P Vic Raschi, who has just been released by the Cardinals.         The Athletics purchase P Lou Sleater from the Yankees for cash. Neither pitcher is any help today as New York thrashes the A’s, 11–4 at Municipal Stadium. Mantle hits a homer for the 5th run off losing pitcher Charlie Bishop.

29th  White Sox pitcher Dick Donovan, in his 5th trial in the majors, shuts out the Red Sox on 4 hits to win his first big league game, 7–0.

Before a crowd of 33,471 at Kansas City, little Bobby Shantz shuts down the Yankees on three singles, and the A’s win, 6–0.

30th  One-time Cub Russ Meyer of the Dodgers continues his mastery over the Bruins, winning his 17th consecutive game against Chicago, 7–5. Meyer has not lost to the Cubs since July 16, 1950, a Cubs record for consecutive losses to one pitcher. The Dodgers lead 2nd Milwaukee and the Phillies by 5 games.

Bob Lemon (5-0) of the Indians beats the Baltimore Orioles, 5–2. Lemon is the first ML pitcher to ever win 5 games in April.

At New York, the Cards defeat the Giants, 6–2, as Paul LaPalme throws 8 innings of scoreless relief.

Harvey Kuenn of the Tigers goes 5-for-5 in an 11–7 win over the Senators.

The Phillies trade C Smoky Burgess, P Steve Ridzik, and OF Stan Palys to the Redlegs for OF Jimmy Greengrass, C Andy Seminick, and OF Glen Gorbous. Then the Phillies buy SS Roy Smalley from the Braves.