1981 April

1stHouston trades P Ken Forsch to the Angels for INF Dickie Thon. Forsch was 78-81 in 11 seasons with Houston. He’ll win 35 games in 3 seasons in the AL before arm problems curtail his effectiveness. Thon will be the NL All star shortstop in 1983.

      The Angels trade Jason Thompson to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Ed Ott and Mickey Mahler.

5th  Whoops. The Pittsburgh Pirates trade minor-league pitcher Dave Dravecky to the San Diego Padres in exchange for minor-leaguer Bobby D. Mitchell.

9th  Pressed into service on Opening Day when scheduled starter Jerry Reuss pulls a calf muscle, Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela shuts out the Astros, 2–0, on 5 hits in his first ML start.

      Pitcher Rick Reuschel loses his 4th Opener in a row for the Cubs, losing to the Mets, 2–0. With relief help, Pat Zachary is the winner.

      Before 55,123 at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees gun down the Rangers, 10–3.  Bucky Dent and Bobby Murcer hit homers, with Randolph following Murcer’s blow with a triple. Dave Winfield, in his New York debut, has two hits and two walks, and Tommy John scatters 7 hits in 8 innings to win over Jon Matlack.

10th  In his first game for the White Sox, Carlton Fisk belts a 3-run home run in the 8th inning to lead Chicago to a 5–3 win over his former Red Sox teammates at Fenway Park.

11th  After 15 seasons as a Dodger, Don Sutton makes his debut with the Astros and is pounded by his former club for 6 runs in 4 innings. Los Angeles wins 7–4.

12th  The Giants overcome a 3rd-inning grand slam by San Diego’s Randy Bass by tying the game on a 9th-inning pinch homer by Darrell Evans and winning in the 14th on Mike Ivie’s 4th hit of the game. Fred Breining wins the 7-6 contest with 2 shutout innings.

14th  At San Diego, Reds P Bruce Berenyi fires a 2-hitters to beat the Pads, 4–0.

16th  On their way to Texas, the New York Yankees make a stop in Nashville to play an exhibition game against their minor league affiliate, the Sounds. The Yanks win, 10–1, in front of a standing room only crowd of 17,318 fans.

17th  After winning their first 8 games of the season on the road, the Oakland A’s pound Seattle 16–1 in their home opener before a crowd of 50,256. Tony Armas has a pair of homers and 5 RBIs while Cliff Johnson has 4 hits and 4 runs and 3 RBIs.

18th  Reds pitcher Tom Seaver strikes out Keith Hernandez in the 4th inning of a 10–4 loss to the Cardinals, becoming the 5th pitcher in ML history with 3,000 career strikeouts.

      The Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings (International League) play 32 innings before suspending play at 4:07 a.m. on April 19th with the score tied 2–2. The game is already the longest in professional baseball history, surpassing a 29-inning Florida State League contest in 1966, and will be resumed on June 23rd.

19th  In the first game of a doubleheader the Oakland A’s set the ML record for consecutive wins at the start of the season, running their record to 11-0 with a 6–1 win over Seattle. The record will fall in 1987. The Mariners win the nightcap 3–2 on Richie Zisk’s solo home run in the 8th inning.

21st  During the White Sox 2–1 win over the visiting Orioles, O’s pitcher Dennis Martinez is injured when he’s hit by a bottle tossed by a fan. The Sox win in the 9th on Bernazard’s RBI single. The win goes to Britt Burns, who allows 4 hits and an unearned run.

      Tim Raines has 4 hits and 4 stolen bases to pace the Expos to a 10-3 win over the visiting Phillies

22nd  Dodgers rookie Fernando Valenzuela tosses his 3rd shutout in 4 starts, strikes out 11, and drives in the game’s only run with a single in a 1–0 win over Houston’s Don Sutton (0-3).

23rd The White Sox sweep the O’s, pounding Baltimore for 26 hits in the opener and scoring in each of the 1st six innings to win 18–5.  Almon and Lemon each have 4 hits as 9 Sox have multi-hit games. Bernazard has Chicago’s only HR, while Singleton hits a pair for the O’s. The Sox take the nightcap, 5–3.

25th  Mariners manager Maury Wills is suspended for 2 games after ordering Seattle’s grounds crew to enlarge the batter’s boxes by one foot prior to its game with Oakland. The A’s had been complaining that Seattle’s Tom Paciorek frequently stepped out of the box while hitting.

26th  Oakland runs its record to 17-1 with a 9–4 win over the Mariners.

27th  “Fernandomania” hits fever pitch at Dodger Stadium as a sellout crowd watches the 20-year-old rookie pitch his 4th shutout in 5 starts 5–0 versus the Giants. Valenzuela is 5-0 with a 0.20 ERA and is batting .438.

      The Cubs trade C Barry Foote to the Yankees for minor leaguer Tom Filer and cash. Foote was 0-for-22 with the Cubs this year.

28th  Ken Singleton’s consecutive-hit streak is snapped at 10 when he grounds into a double play off Chicago’s Rich Dotson in the Orioles’ 8–6 loss. Singleton singles and homers in his first 2 at bats after going 4-for-4 in each of the previous 2 games.

29th  Philadelphia’s Steve Carlton strikes out the side (Tim Raines, Jerry Manuel, and Tim Wallach) in the first inning of a 6–2 win over the Expos to become the first lefthander in ML history (and 6th pitcher overall) to record 3,000 career strikeouts.

      The Cubs score 5 times with 2 out in the bottom of the 8th to beat St. Louis, 6–1, and snap a 12-game losing streak. The Cardinals had won 8 in a row.

      Toronto scores 5 times in the top of the 14th to beat the Brewers, 5–0. The Jays outhit the Brewers, 13–3.

      Don’t mess with Texas. Bobby Darwin fires a one-hitter as Texas shuts out the Red Sox, 5-0.  Rick Miller’s single in the 6this the lone hit. It is the third shutout in a row for Texas as they sweep the three-game set with the visiting Hubmen. Boston’s only extra base hit in the series came in game 1, when Rice doubled.

      Dave Concepcion belts 2 homers and 2 singles to drive in 6 runs as the Reds beat the visiting Padres, 8–5.

30th  The Reds edge the Padres, 4-3, despite the efforts of Joe Lefebvre, who comes off the bench to hit a pinch homer, then adds a 2-run homer in the 9th.  He is the first Padre to accomplish the feat.