1968 April

2nd  Tony Conigliaro returns to Boston with vision trouble. He will miss the 1968 season.

9th  Opening Day is postponed because of the funeral today for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., assassinated on April 4th. Six games are affected over two days.

10th  In Washington, Hubert Humphrey throws out the first ball to start the Senators–Twins game, while soldiers patrol the streets around D.C. Stadium to prevent rioting in the wake of the King funeral. Bob Allison and Harmon Killebrew hit homers off Camilo Pascual and the Twins win, 2-0. Dean Chance pitches a 4-hitter. Humphrey is the seventh vice president to toss out the first ball and the last to do so this century.

      At Detroit, Dick Ellsworth pitches the Red Sox to a 7-3 win over the Tigers. Carl Yastrzemski clubs a pair of homers, one of them inside-the-park. There won’t be another opening day inside-the-park homerun for 41 years. The last was hit by Bill Skowron, in 1962.

      In Chicago, Cleveland whitewashes the White Sox, 9-0, behind Sonny Siebert’s two-hitter.  Batterymate Duke Sims scores 3 runs and drives in 3 on a pair of homers. Max Alvis adds a solo shot.

      In New York, just 15,744 show up for the opener at the Stadium between the Yanks and California.  Poet Marian Moore tosses out the first ball and rookie catcher Frank Fernandez catches it. Fernandez then belts a home run off George Brunet and Mel Stottlemyre wins, 1–0.  Fernandez has one of three hits off Brunet, while Stottlemyre allows just four hits. This is one of four shutouts (out of ten games) pitched on Opening Day.

      In Baltimore, the Orioles open against the Oakland Athletics with Tom Phoebus winning over Catfish Hunter, 3–1. Hunter, at age 20, is the youngest opening day starter ever. Reggie Jackson homers for the A’s only run, while Brooks Robinson homers for Baltimore.

14th  New York suffers a 4–3 loss to Minnesota and loses OF Joe Pepitone with a fractured left elbow.

      Jim Bunning’s first win with Pittsburgh, 3–0 at Los Angeles, is his 40th career shutout and includes his 1,000th NL strikeout, making him the first pitcher since Cy Young with 1,000 in each league.

15th  Three records are smashed when the Astros score an unearned run in the 24th inning to squeeze by the Mets 1–0 after 6 hours and 6 minutes. It is the longest NL game played to completion, the longest ML night game, and the first 23 innings are the longest ML scoreless game. Oddly, the records erased for longest night and scoreless games are less than a year old (June 12 and September 1, 1967). The game ties the AL’s longest complete game: A’s 4, Red Sox 1, on September 1, 1906.

17th  With a 13–1 rout of the Senators, the Twins are 6-0 and lead the AL.

      The A’s debut at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum by losing 4–1 to Baltimore. Dave McNally fires a two-hitter to beat Lew Krausse. During the game, the dirt covering a shallow metal dome under the pitching mound, is kicked aside exposing the steel frame, so the mound is covered between innings.

       Boston, Carl Yastrzemski hits his 4th homer and Dick Ellsworth stops the White Sox, 2–0. After Yaz’s homer, Chicago pitchers give him 3 straight intentional walks.

19th  The NL owners approve expansion, pending unanimous approval of 2 new teams.

Nolan Ryan of the Mets becomes the 6th pitcher in NL history to strike out the side on 9 pitches. But Los Angeles wins 3–2 at Shea Stadium.

20th  In a match-up of future Hall of Famers, the Cubs Fergie Jenkins three-hits the Cardinals to beat Bob Gibson, 5–1.

      At Pittsburgh, Willie Mays cracks a 2nd inning triple and then scores on a balk by Bob Veale.  It is the only run as San Francisco wins, 1-0, behind Ray Sadecki. On July 17, another balk will result in a 1-0 game.

21st Behind complete-game wins by Earl Wilson and Denny McLain, the Tigers beat the White Sox, 4–1 and 2–1, to stretch their win victory streak to 9 games.  The Sox have yet to win.

      The Dodgers win a pair from the Mets behind reliever Phil Regan, who picks up both wins. It’ll earn him a trip to Chicago in two days.

23rd  Jim Davenport starts the scoring with a 6th-inning grand slam and he drives in 5 runs in the Giants 7-1 road victory against the Phillies. Juan Marichal (3-0) is the victor.

      The Cubs make a canny trade acquiring P Phil Regan and OF Jim Hickman from the Dodgers for OF Ted Savage and P Jim Ellis.

24th Steve Hargan wins his first of the year as Cleveland beats Detroit, 2-0. Detroit manages just one hit off Hargan, a 3rd-inning single by Jim Northrup.

25th After losing their first ten games, the White Sox finally win, topping Minnesota in the Dome, 3–2.

      At Chicago, the Cubs are 5–2 winner over the Braves, with Ferguson Jenkins beating Ken Johnson. Felipe Alou homers for the Braves.

27th  Tom Phoebus, the Orioles’ top pitcher last year, throws a 6–0 no-hitter against the Red Sox. Brooks Robinson drives in 3 runs and makes a great stab to rob Rico Petrocelli of a hit in the 8th. Behind the plate is Curt Blefary, catching his fourth game.

29th  The Giants Jim Davenport plays his 97th consecutive errorless game at 3B in a 7-2 loss to the Braves. Ron Reed pitches a three-hitter for his first win of the year. The Braves score 7 runs and 12 hits against Marichal, who exits after giving up a leadoff homer in the 8th to Terry Francona, his 4th hit of the game.

      In Houston, the Astros get swamped by the Reds, 17–2. Led by Pete Rose’s 4 hits and 4 runs, every Cincy position player has at least 2 hits as they score in every inning except the 8th. Perez has a triple and homer to go with his 5 RBI.  Jim Maloney is an easy winner and exits after 5 innings.