1897 May

1st Lou Sockalexis hits three singles, a bases-loaded triple and steals two bases to lead Cleveland to an 8-3 win at St. Louis.

3rd  With the Giants leading 7–0 after 2 innings, Washington starts delaying the game in hopes that the imminent rainstorm will wash the game out. Umpire Tom Lynch forfeits the game to New York.

4th  Cap Anson Day is celebrated in Chicago during the home opener with St. Louis. A near-capacity crowd of 14,968 is on hand, including comedian Eddie Foy, actress Maurice Barrymore, and his daughter Ethel, and Alderman John Maynard Harlan, whose son will become a Supreme Court Justice. Anson plays an errorless game behind the plate and adds a single in Chicago’s 5–2 victory.

7th  Baltimore survives Duff Cooley’s 2 doubles and 3 singles to defeat the Athletics 13–11.

For the second time in a week, Lou Sockalexis hits three singles, a triple and steals two bases to pace Cleveland to a 6-5 win over Chicago.

8th  With the help of a grand slam by Bones Ely, off Bill Dammann, the Pirates upend the Reds, 9-1, and move into second place.

Washington edges Boston 12-11 as Charles Reilly hits a four-run homer for the Senators. It comes in the 6th off Fred Klobedanz (as noted by David Vincent).

10th  Jack Doyle hits an unusual home run for Baltimore, but Washington defeats the Orioles 13–5. The HR is noteworthy in that the ball rolls to the fence where a ladder had been placed. It rolls up the ladder and disappears over the fence. The O’s execute a triple play: 1B Jack Doyle to SS Hugh Jennings to 2B Heinie Reitz.

Nap Lajoie slugs 2 HRs and a double to lead Philadelphia (NL) to a 13–1 rout of St. Louis. Lajoie continues the hit streak he started on May 8th and will not go hitless until May 31st, a string of 20 games.

11th  Duke Farrell, Washington catcher, sets a ML record by throwing out 8 Orioles trying to steal 2B, but the Senators lose anyway 6–3. Win Mercer takes the loss.

13th  Billy Nash of the Phillies comes to bat in the bottom of the 12th with the score tied and bases loaded. Louisville’s Bill Hill hits him with a pitch to bring home the winning run, 3–2.

14th  The Orioles fatten their batting averages with 22 hits against the hapless Browns and romp 20–3.

16th  Fans assemble for Cleveland’s first Sunday baseball game only to have the police arrest the players after the first inning. Players and umpire Tim Hurst are released on bail provided by Cleveland club owner Frank DeHaas Robison. A test case is made of rookie hurler John Powell. On June 10th he will be found guilty of playing ball on Sunday and fined $5.

17th  Pirates lefty Frank Killen, a 30-game winner last year, allows 2 hits to defeat Amos Rusie and the Giants, 3–2. Pittsburgh’s Denny Lyons has 2 fingers broken after being hit by a Rusie pitch.

In Washington’s 8-7 loss to Cleveland, SS Gene DeMontreville hits safely to run his consecutive game hitting streak to 36 games. The streak started in G2 of September 7 game (as noted by Trent McCotter) but it will end in tomorrow’s loss to Cleveland.

“Phillippi,” Minneapolis (Western League) rookie righthander, makes his debut in a 14-9 loss to St. Paul. This is Deacon Phillippe, still two years away from a splendid career at Louisville and Pittsburgh.

18th  Bill “Scrappy” Joyce’s four triples pace the New York Giants to an 11–5 win over the Pirates at Pittsburgh. This is the last time this feat is accomplished in ML history. Philadelphia’s (AA) George Streif hit 4 on June 25, 1885.

Two fading stars of baseball’s 1880s generation play their final ML game: Roger Connor, slugging first baseman, ends his 18-year career in a 6-3 St. Louis loss to Brooklyn; and veteran Fred Pfeffer is replaced at second base in Chicago’s 11-5 win over Boston.

20th  OF Kip Selbach steals 5 bases against the Chicago Colts to lead Washington to a 16–14 victory. Washington scores 5 runs in the 9thoff Button Briggs, who tosses a complete game. Briggs will toss another complete game against Washington on May 23, giving up another 16 runs and losing 16–12.

Fred Clarke gets 5 hits to help Louisville to a 13-inning 13–12 decision over Brooklyn.

21st  Tommy Corcoran, of Cincinnati, the last holdout of 1897, signs his contract.

22nd  Reds 3B Charlie Irwin stands at the plate for 15 minutes fouling off 15 Joe Corbett pitches—14 in a row—before earning a walk. The Reds beat the Orioles 12-10 and move a half game behind the league leaders. Their winning streak is at 10 games, but they will lose their next four.

Mrs. S. K. Miller resigns as baseball editor of the Baltimore Telegram. She has held the position for many years and, with her health restored, may again.

In the first of two games, Cleveland defeats the Giants and Amos Rusie, 4–3, when Lou Sockalexis scores Patsy Tebeau with a two-out single in the 10th. New York rebounds to take the second game, 11–2.

23rd  A “shoot the chutes” waterslide opens at Sportsman’s Park, St. Louis. With the Browns in last place at 5-20, owner Von der Ahe is trying to draw customers with a variety of amusement park attractions. It doesn’t help today as the Browns lose their 21st, 14–6, to Louisville.

25th  Cleveland rallies for 4 runs in the bottom of the 9th to topple the Athletics 10–9.

Chauncey Fisher relieves Harley Payne after the first inning and allows one hit the rest of the way as Brooklyn beats Cincinnati, 6-2.

27th Louisville whitewashes Washington, 5–0, and uses a hidden ball trick to do it. Jim Rogers to Perry Werden catches John O’Brien napping (as noted by Bill Deane).

The Reds acquire Jake Beckley from the New York Giants.

In a 16-7 loss to Boston, the Reds player-manager Buck Ewing plays the last game in his brilliant 18-season career.

31st  At Boston, the home Nationals scores 25 runs on 29 hits to wallop St. Louis 25–5. Fred Tenney has 8 plate appearances, scores 5 runs and goes 6-for-8 as the infield collects a NL record 18 hits. Chick Stahl also adds 5 runs.

Using mechanical dummies, “an electrical baseball machine” reproduces the Louisville doubleheader on stage at Philadelphia’s McCauley Theater, which has been fitted out like a ballpark. Messages transmitted from the field are translated by “skillful manipulation” of the machine’s keyboard into a reenactment. Louisville wins game 1 by a 4-2 score, then drop the second game, 14-0.