1949 April

8th Dissension rumors surround the NL title-holder Boston Braves after manager Billy Southworth calls a closed meeting of the club in a South Carolina hotel.

10th Veteran Max West of San Diego sets a PCL record as he goes 5-for-5 with 5 extra base hits. Max has 3 homers and a pair of doubles. On his last at bat before today he doubled, giving him 6 straight extra base hits.

12th Joe DiMaggio returns to Johns Hopkins hospital because of continuing pain in his heel. A bone spur is diagnosed and he will miss 65 games this coming season.

16th At Fenway, Tom O’Brien and Junior Stephens clout homers to give the Red Sox a 5–2 win over their Hub rivals, the Braves. Mel Parnell gives up 3 hits in 5 innings.

17th In Philadelphia, the A’s defeat the Phils 5–2 to capture their city series. Buddy Rosar hits a homer in the 7th.

The Yankees lose, 9–4, to the Dodgers, and also lose Bob Porterfield for a month. He suffers a torn muscle in his pitching arm on his last pitch of the game.

18th In Washington, the Senators open with a 3–2 win over the A’s. Ray Scarborough is the winner over Dick Fowler, both pitchers going the route.

19th At pregame ceremonies marking the season opener with the Senators in Yankee Stadium, a granite monument to Babe Ruth, who died on August 16, 1948, is unveiled in center field. Plaques honoring Lou Gehrig and Miller Huggins are also presented. Mrs. Babe Ruth, Mayor William O’Dwyer, Governor Thomas E. Dewey, and the current team from St. Mary’s Industrial School in Baltimore are at the game. Gary Simpson, the St. Mary’s captain, throws out the first ball. The Yanks, who went just 13-14-1 in spring training, tie it at 2-2 in the 7th on Berra’s 2-out pinch single. New York wins 3–2, when Tommy Henrich, hits a dramatic 9th inning two-out HR off starter Sid Hudson. Henrich will hit another HR in tomorrow’s 3–0 win. Ed Lopat gives up 8 hits—three by Gil Coan—in going the distance for New York. Gene Woodling, the PCL’s leading hitter in 1948 with a .385 average, plays CF in place of the injured Joe DiMaggio.

Before a record opening-day crowd of 34,530 in Brooklyn, the Dodgers pay tribute to Jack “Shorty” Laurice, the “number one” fan and leader of the Ebbets Field “Sym-phony” band. Laurice died in 1948. The Dodgers then trounce the Giants, 10–3, in 2 4-run innings. Campanella, Robinson, and Furillo homer to back Joe Hatten’s 10-hitter. Larry Jansen, who will serve up a league high 37 homers this year, takes the loss. Mayor William O’Dwyer is on hand, as he was for the Yankees opener in the Bronx. President Truman’s daughter Margaret is also in attendance.

At Boston, the Braves, shut out yesterday by the Phils Ken Heintzelman, are scoreless for 8 innings against Curt Simmons before scoring 4 runs in the 9th to win, 4-3.

Before 53,000 at Detroit, Tigers rookie Johnny Groth homers twice in his first 3 trips, one inside-the-park, against the White Sox, helping Hal Newhouser to a 3-hit, 5–1, victory. Batterymate Aaron Robinson also hits 2 homers. Floyd Baker has an RBI double for Chicago.

Governor Adlai Stevenson and mayor Martin Kennelly are at the opener in Chicago to see 41-year old Rip Sewell bests the Cubs again, 1–0, in a pitching duel with 39-year-old Dutch Leonard. Leonard allows 5 singles but Smalley’s fumble in the 9th on an easy grounder lets in the winning run. Sewell, who beat the Cubs 7 times last season, has now shut out the Bruins 3 times on Opening Day. It’s the first of 6 shutouts the Cubs will lose this year with Leonard starting.

20th Phils 3B Willie Jones hits a record-tying 4 consecutive doubles after walking his 1st time up, but the Braves win the game, 6–5.

At Detroit, Johnny Groth cracks an 8th inning grand slam as the Tigers come from behind to beat the White Sox, 5-2. The Sox manage just 4 hits off Virgil Trucks.

The Tigers sell veteran pitcher Al Benton to the Indians where he will set an AL record this year by throwing 39 straight scoreless innings.

21st The White Sox top the Tigers, 5–2, as Howie Judson wins his first decision of the year. He will lose his next 14 decisions, matching Washington’s Paul Calvert, who will also drop 14 straight this year.

22nd The Red Sox have a record-breaking opening-day crowd of 33,955 who see Governor Paul Dever toss out the first ball. The Yankees then win their 4th in a row, 5–3, scoring all their runs in the 6th and 7th with the help of six base on balls. Boston starter Tex Hughson hands out four in the 6th, sandwiched around a DP. Allie Reynolds follows with a single. Tommy Henrich, who won the first two Yankee games with a home run, has four walks before striking out.

Mickey Vernon, the Indians new first baseman, celebrates his 35thbirthday with a 10th inning single to give the Tribe a 4–3 win over the Tigers. Gene Bearden goes all the way for the win over reliever Dizzy Trout.

The Pirates win their home opener, beating the Reds, 5–4. Ralph Kiner’s 3rd-inning grand slam, off Howie Fox, and Clyde McCullough’s 4th-inning triple account for the scoring.

23rd At Fenway, the Yankees and Red Sox combine for 11 runs in the 4th inning as the Sox end up with an 11-8 victory. Vern Stephens has a grand slam in the 4th for the Bosox. Stephens will set a record (according to Retrosheet’s data base) by going to the plate 41 times with the bases loaded; he’ll top it next year with 45 plate appearances with the bases loaded.

Hal Newhouser goes the distance and the Tigers beat the Indians, 5-4, on a Thurman Tcuker error in the 10th. It will be the Tribe’s only extra inning loss this year in 19 contests.

24th Lloyd Merriman of the Reds gets a HR—off Hugh Casey in the 8th—and a triple, in his first ML at bat, in his first ML game, a 3–2, 10 inning win over the Pirates. Kiner’s homer sends the game into overtime. In the nitecap, Bockman’s 2 homers account for all the Buc shots, as Cliff Chambers wins his first as a Pirate, 3–1. Merriman is the second rookie to debut like this, matching Hank Arft last year.

In the 2nd game of a PCL doubleheader against Oakland, LA’s Bill Schuster steals 2B, 3B, and home in the 2nd inning. This is the second time he has done this in a game. Oakland sweeps, winning 9-3 and 11-6.

26th With the help of a triple play, Preacher Roe pitches the Dodgers into first place with a 5–2 win over the Braves and Johnny Sain. LF Gene Hermanski homers in the 1st and starts the 7-4-3 TP in the 3rdafter catching Al Dark’s short fly.

In a barnburner in Philadelphia, the Phillies come back four times from deficits to beat the Giants, 12-11, in 11 innings. Eddie Miller ties it up the first time with a 5th inning grand slam and the Phils plate 2 runs in the 9th to tie at 9 apiece. When the Giants score 2 in the 11th, the Phils again respond, scoring 3 runs to give the win to Schoolboy Rowe in relief.

27th In a wild game at the Polo Grounds, pinch hitter Pete Milne’s grand slam in the bottom of the 7th caps a 5-run inning and gives the Giants an 11–8 win over the Dodgers. The Giants lost a 6–0 lead after 4 innings. Each team uses 19 players. Milne’s homer, which eludes Snider is CF, is the 4th and last pinch slam inside-the-park this century and is unique: it is Milne’s only ML homer.

28th A New York fan charges Leo Durocher with assault after the Giants lose 15–2 to Brooklyn. Commissioner Chandler suspends Durocher but he is absolved on May 3rd. Chandler criticizes teams for lax security that allows fans on the field. Ralph Branca allows just 4 hits while the Dodgers collect 19, including 4 by Campanella.

At Detroit, Johnny Groth hits his 2nd grand slam in 8 days but the Browns outhit the Tigers 15-6 and win, 9-6. Bob Malloy wins in relief of Ned Garver: it is Malloy’s last ML win.

30th Rocky Nelson hits an “inside-the-glove” two-out, two-run HR in short LF to turn a 9th inning 3–1 Cubs’ lead into a 4–3 Cardinals’ victory. Cubs CF Andy Pafko’s tumbling catch is ruled a trap by umpire Al Barlick, and as Pafko races in holding the ball high, the runners circle the bases. Ted Wilks is the winner over Bob Rush. The loss leaves the Cubs in last place.