1987 September

1st  Williamsport (Eastern League) Bills catcher Dave Bresnahan introduces a new wrinkle to baseball—the hidden potato. With a Reading runner, Rick Rudblad, on 3B, Bresnahan returns from a time out with a shaved potato hidden in his mitt. On the next pitch he throws the potato wildly on a pickoff attempt, and hen the runner trots home, Bresnahan tags him out with the real ball. The umpire, unamused, rules the runner safe, gives the catcher an error, and fines him $50. Bresnahan replied, “I thought it’d be a do-over.”

      Sitting 15 games out, the Red Sox trade two heroes from their 1986 AL Championship team, sending DH Don Baylor to the Twins and OF Dave Henderson to the Giants for players to be named later.

      At Royals Stadium, Teddy Higuera fires a one-hitter as the Brewers top the Royals, 2-0. The lone safety is an 8th-inning triple by journeyman Ross Jones.

      In a 3–2 loss to the Cubs, Houston’s Billy Hatcher becomes the first player this season to be ejected for using an illegal corked bat, and will eventually be suspended for 10 games by NL president Bart Giamatti. Hatcher claims he borrowed the bat from P Dave Smith and only used it in batting practice. Baseball has seen a rash of protests regarding allegedly doctored bats this season, partly in response to the record number of home runs being hit.

2nd  The parent Phillies don’t find Bresnahan’s potato gag yesterday funny either, and release him. Bresnahan, hitting .149, explains, “We were 27 games out, what the hell?” Tomorrow night, their last game of the season, the Williamsport Bills will admit any fan for a $1 and a potato. On each potato, Bresnahan autographs, “this spuds for you.”

      Tom Candiotti pitches his 2nd one-hitter of the season, but also walks 7 batters and makes an error as the Indians lose to Detroit 2–1. Matt Nokes’ RBI-single with 2 out in the 8th is the Tigers’ only hit. Feller, in 1954, is the last Tribe hurler to lose a one-hitter.

      For the second time this season, Houston’s Kevin Bass drills homers from each side of the plate. He totals 3 homers for the 2nd time in a month as the Astros drub the Cubs, 10–1.

4th  Mike Pagliarulo’s 1st-inning grand slam is the difference as the Yankees whip the Angels, 8-4. Rickey Henderson and Dave Winfield add homers.

      Dave Parker drives in the go-ahead run as the Reds score 4 runs in the 9th inning off Lee Smith to beat the Cubs, 4-3.  The Cubs put two runners on base in the 9th before Eric Davis makes a spectacular catch against the ivy to rob Brian Dayatt. Davis injures his ribs on the game-ending play and will miss 17 games.

5th  Carlton Fisk clubs his 300th career home run, off Danny Jackson, but the White Sox lose to the Royals 4–2.

      At Arlington, Darrell Evans hits a 4th inning grand slam for Detroit, but Texas scores 4 runs in the last 3 innings to win, 8-7. Oddibe McDowell’s bases-loaded single in the 9th drives home the winner.

6th  The Dodgers beat the Mets 3–2 in 16 innings to end their losing streak at 9 games, the club’s worst since 1973.

      Milwaukee’s Teddy Higuera hurls his 3rd straight shutout, beating the Twins, 6–0, on 2 hits.  Braggs, Deer, and Bill Schroeder homer to back Teddy.

7th  That’s spells relief. In for Brian Fisher, Pirate closer Jeff Robinson strikes out 3 Cubs on 9 pitches, in the 8th inning. The Pirates win, 3–2. Both Cubs runs come on homers, by Durham and Moreland.

8th  With the Cubs in 5th place in the NL East (68-68, 13 games behind), the club fires manager Gene Michael and replaces him with Frank Lucchesi.

9th  Nolan Ryan strikes out 16 Giants in 8 innings during Houston’s 4–2 victory to take over the ML strikeout lead with 226. Ryan will finish the season with 270 strikeouts, tops in the major leagues.

10th  In a see-saw battle at Anaheim, the Rangers score 5 runs in the top of the 9th, using an AL record 4 pinch runners, to take the lead, only to see the Angels tie it with a pinch grand slam by Mark Ryal, and win it in the 10th with a solo HR by Devon White. Ryal will play two more years in the NL, but it is his last ML homer.

      Glenn Davis hits 3 homers and drives in 5 but his Astros lose to the Padres, 8-7.

11th  Howard Johnson steals his 30th base of the season in the Mets 6–4, 10-inning loss to the Cardinals, becoming the 8th player ever to hit 30 HRs and steal 30 bases in a season. Mets starter Ron Darling tears ligaments in his thumb while fielding a Vince Coleman bunt during the game and will miss the rest of the season.

      Detroit’s Tom Brooken’s homers in the 5th off Ted Higuera, snapping the Brewer pitchers’ scoreless streak of 32 innings. Higuera’s mark tops Ray Searage’s team record of 30 innings (August 26, 1984 – April 19, 1985).  The Brewers rally for 4 runs in the 8th to top the Tigers, 5-2, leaving Detroit and Toronto even in the AL East race.

12th  At Toronto, the Blue Jays club 5 homers to demolish the Yankees, 13-1. Ernie Whitt hits 2 of the homers as he drives in 6 runs.  Jimmy Key (16-6) is the winner, going 8 innings, while starter Rick Rhoden (16-10) takes the loss. Toronto leads Detroit by a game in the AL East.

13th  Chicago’s Floyd Bannister faces the minimum 27 batters in a 2–0 one-hitter against Seattle, striking out 10 while walking none. Harold Reynolds has the lone hit for the M’s. Hard-luck loser Mark Langston pitches a 2-hitter for the Mariners.

14th  In an 18–3 rout of the Orioles, the Blue Jays erupt for a ML-record 10 home runs. Ernie Whitt leads the parade with 3 round trippers, Rance Mulliniks and George Bell hit 2, and Lloyd Moseby, Rob Ducey, and Fred McGriff each add one. Mike Hart hits one for Baltimore to tie the 2-team ML record of 11; it has now been accomplished 7 times. Three teammates with 2+ homers also ties a record. In the 7th inning, the Jays PH Kelly Gruber makes all 3 outs out hitting into a DP and ending the frame with a strikeout. In between there are 5 singles and 2 homers. Ripken’s streak of 8,243 consecutive innings (908 games) is broken when he is lifted in the 8th for pinch runner Earl Washington. His game streak is at 827.

      At the Kingdome, the Indians beat the Mariners, 11-8, overcoming a one-man performance by Mickey Brantley.  Brantley has 5 hits, including 3 homers, and drives in 7 runs.

15th  Mets 1B Keith Hernandez collects his 2,000th ML hit as New York pounds Chicago 12–4. Earlier in the day the 2nd-place Mets obtained pitcher John Candelaria from the Angels for a pair of minor leaguers.

      At Tiger Stadium, the Red Sox get a grand slam and 7 RBIs from Todd Benzinger, but not much else as they lose to the Tigers, 9-8. Frank Tanana doesn’t get out of the first inning and Al Nipper doesn’t finish the 3rd. Kirk Gibson’s 2-run homer in the 6th puts the Tigers ahead.

      Bengals or Reds?  Led by Dave Parker’s 5 hits, including a pair of homers and 8 RBIs, the Reds overwhelm the host Braves, 21-6. Terry McGriff adds a 4th inning grand slam as the Reds go deep seven times: Terry will have three career dingers. Barry Larkin, Buddy Bell, Lloyd McClendon and Leo Garcia (his lone ML homer) homer as the Reds score against all six pitchers they face. Eric Davis scores 4 times. Dale Murphy has a pair of homers for Atlanta.

      The Dodgers edge the Astros, 3-2, Houston keeps the scoring down with 3 DPs and a triple play started by a line drive hit by former Astro Phil Garner. This is the Astros 5th triple play and the first not involving Roger Metzger.

16th  In a 6–4 win, California’s Bob Boone catches his 1,919th ML game to break the record held by Hall of Famer Al Lopez.

      Cleveland’s Joe Carter joins the 30-30 club, stealing his 30th base of the season in a 5–3 loss to Seattle.

      The Phillies strike for 7 runs in the 7th to come back and beat the Cubs, 8-5.  Pinch hitting for Mike Maddux (2-0), Jeff Stone walks to lead off the 7th, then finishes off the scoring with a 3-RBI double.

      Darryl Strawberry belts a 2-run homer in the 1st and Len Dykstra adds a grand slam in the 8th as the Mets overwhelm the Expos, 10-0. Dwight Gooden scatters 3 hits and strikes out 11 for the win.

18th  In Detroit’s 7–6 win over the Brewers, Darrell Evans belts his 40th homer of the year. He is the first 40-year-old to hit 40 homers.

19th  The Mets do all their scoring in the 5th inning as they beat the Pirates, 5-4 behind Rick Aguilera (10-2). Keith Hernandez belts a grand slam, off starter Vicente Palacios. New York stays a game and a half behind St. Louis.

20th  Kal Daniel’s grand slam is the big blow in the 6-run 9th as the Reds storm back to beat the Giants, 10-6, at Candlestick.  Kal Daniels has a single, double and a pair of homers for the Reds.

      Barry Bonds triples and scores in the 14th inning as the Pirates edge the visiting Mets, 9-8. The Mets hit three homers and outhit the Bucs 15 to 9, but Pittsburgh gets a leadoff homer from Bonds and a grand slam by Darnell Coles.

      John Tudor (8-2) stops the Phils, 3-1, as the Cardinals maintain their 2.5 lead over the Mets.

21st  Darryl Strawberry joins Howard Johnson as the first teammates ever to achieve 30 homers and 30 steals in the same season, stealing 2 bases in the Mets 7–1 win at Chicago. Strawberry is only the 10th member of the 30-30 club, but the 4th to accomplish the feat this season. The winning pitcher is Doc Gooden, who had his 10-game win streak over Chicago snapped in August; however, today’s win will start him on another 12-game win streak over the Cubs. Johnson backs Gooden with his 36th homer of the year, a grand slam.

22nd  Wade Boggs goes 2-for-4 in Boston’s 8–5 loss to Detroit, reaching the 200-hit plateau for an AL-record tying 5th consecutive year. Al Simmons and Charlie Gehringer are the only other AL players to do so.

      Teddy Higuera wins his 7th straight as the Brewers down the Yankees, 7–2 in the first of 2 games.  Robin Yount drives in 4 runs with a homer and double. Yount drives home another 5 in game 2, including his 20th homer of the season, but it is not enough as New York wins, 10–8. Paul Molitor scores twice in each game and is in the middle of a streak of 16 straight games in which he scores a run. The record is 18, held by Red Rolfe.

      The Cubs send P Dickie Noles to the Tigers for a player to be named. Noles is the player to be named later, coming back to Chicago on October 23.

      Mike Schmidt hits a leadoff homer in the 9th off Todd Worrell to cut the Cards’ lead to 3-2 over the Phillies, Whitey Herzog moves Worrell to RF and brings in Ken Dayley to face Von Hayes. Hayes fans, and then Worrell returns to the mound to close the game and earn a save.

23rd  Bill Madlock collects his 2,000th career hit as the Tigers beat Boston 4–0 on Doyle Alexander’s 2-hitter.

      Albert Hall hits for the cycle in Atlanta’s 5–4 win over Houston, becoming the first Brave to do so since Bill Collins in 1910.

      Another bell rings as George Bell clubs home run #47 to take the lead in the AL homer race as Toronto beats Baltimore, 6-1. His two RBIs give him an AL-high 132 and his 109 runs scored tops the circuit. Toronto maintains its half game lead on the Tigers.

      Doyle Alexander (8-0) allows two singles in shutting out the Red Sox, 4-0, as the Tigers keep pace with the Blue Jays.

24th  In the matchup of the two AL East leaders in Toronto, the Blue Jays beat the Tigers, 4-3, pinning the loss on ace jack Morris (18-10). Mike Flanagan is the winner.

25th  In the Padres 5–3 loss to the Dodgers, Padres catcher Benito Santiago hits in his 27th straight game to tie the ML record for rookies.

      At Baltimore, Don Mattingly clubs a 2nd inning homer and Dave Winfield follows with a solo shot as the Yankees beat the Orioles, 8-4. It is Mattingly’s fifth grand slam of the year.

      At Toronto, the Jays score 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th to edge the Tigers, 3-2, in the third game of their series. Manuel Key hits a triple to drive in two runs and tie the score. An error by Lou Whitaker allows Lee to score.

26th  San Diego’s Benito Santiago extends his hitting streak to 28 games in a 3–1 loss to the Dodgers, setting a new ML record for rookies. Pittsburgh’s Jimmy Williams had held the record with a 27-game streak in 1899.

      Matt Nokes hits 2 homers, including a grand slam, and drives in 6 runs, but the Tigers fall to the Blue Jays, 10-9. Jesse Barfield has 4 hits, including 3 doubles, as the Jays collect 17 safeties. For the second day in a row, the Jays plate three runs in the bottom of the 9th to win. Toronto  now leads the Tigers by 3.5 games in the AL East race.

      At the Vet, Hubie Brooks belts a grand slam as the Expos score 5 runs in the 7th to beat the Phillies, 7-4.

27th  Phil Niekro, signed on the 23rd, makes his final ML appearance and is pounded for 5 runs in the 4th after tossing 2 shutout frames in Atlanta’s 15–6 loss to the Giants. Niekro, who had been released earlier in the month by Toronto, agreed to pitch one last game for the Braves, the team he spent his first 20 ML seasons (ML record 740 games pitching for one team) with. Candy Maldonado hits a grand slam and drives in 6 runs for SF, while Jose Uribe collects 4 hits, including a pair of triples, and scores 4 times.

      Shea Stadium is packed with 48,588 fans to see the Mets clobber the Pirates 12–3, making the Mets the 2nd franchise in ML history to break the 3 million barrier in season attendance. St. Louis will also draw 3 million fans this season.

      In the exciting climax to their four-game series, the Tigers salvage the final game, winning 3-2 in 13 innings against Toronto. Each team scores in the 11th.  Kirk Gibson’s 3rd hit of the game scores the winner as the Tigers’s desperate win leaves them 2.5 games behind the Jays.  The four games draw over 181,000 in Toronto.  The loss for Toronto is the first of a 7-game losing streak that will finish the season for them.

      In his final plate appearance of the year at Wrigley, Andre Dawson crashes his 47th HR to lead the Cubs to a 7–3 win over the Cardinals. Dawson will finish with 49 round trippers on his way to the MVP. He also draws just 32 walks.

      At County Stadium, the Giants score 6 runs in each of the 4th and 7th innings to stomp the Braves, 15-6. Candy Maldonado hits a pinch grand slam in the 4th and stays in the game to drive in 6 runs. Will Clark is caught stealing for the second game in a row. He’ll pick up a steal on October 2 but still finish with 5 steals out of 22 attempts.

28th  The Giants and Twins win their divisions, ending 16- and 17-year championship droughts, respectively. San Francisco clinches its first NL West title since 1971 with a 5–4 win at San Diego, behind pinch homers by Jeffrey Leonard and Chili Davis. Minnesota clinches its first AL West title since 1970 with a 5–3 win at Texas. The Twins duplicate the feat of the 1984 Royals by finishing first and scoring fewer runs than their opponents.  They are the 3rd AL team to finish above .500 and score fewer runs than the opposition.

      Kevin Seitzer goes 2-for-4 in Kansas City’s 5–1 loss to Seattle to become the first rookie since Tony Oliva and Dick Allen in 1964 to collect 200 hits.

      Terry Puhl hits a 5th inning grand slam, off starter Orel Hirshiser (16-15), and Glenn Davis adds a 3-run homer in the 6th, as Houston tops the Dodgers, 11-5.

29th   At Yankee Stadium, Don Mattingly hits his 6th grand slam of the year, off Bruce Hurst, to pace New York to a 6-0 win over the Red Sox. Charles Hudson allows 4 hits in the shutout.  Rickey Henderson has 3 hits and steals his 40th base, the 8th year in a row he’s reached that level. Mattingly’s slam gives the Yankees 10 grand slams for the year, tying the ML mark set by the 1938 Tigers.

      Geno Petralli hits a pinch homer for Texas, and adds another, as the Rangers top the Twins, 7-5. Petralli is the first Ranger to accomplish the feat. Charlie Hough goes 9 innings for his 18th win.

      The Phillies Don Carman allows just one hit in setting down the Mets, 2-0.  Mookie Wilson’s 4th inning single is the only hit.

      At Busch Stadium, the front-running Cardinals shut out the Expos twice, winning 1-0 and 3-0.  Joe Magrane wins the opener when Tommy Herr’s sac fly scores the only run in the 6th, and Greg Mathews and Todd Worrell combine on the shutout in game 2. The two teams set a NL mark for fewest at bats in a doubleheader (52).

      The St. Louis Cardinals sign Doug DeCinces as a free agent while the Orioles release Alan Wiggins.

30th  Oakland’s Dave Stewart becomes the major leagues’ first 20-game winner this season as the A’s beat the Indians, 4–3.

      In the first of two at Pittsburgh, the Pirates top the Cubs, 5-3, as Andre Dawson hits number #48 for Chicago.  The Cubs take game 2, 10-8, but not without a fight from Darnell Coles, who has a single and three homers and drives in 6 runs.