Air Travel

20-Game Winner by Age 20

No-Hitter at Coors Field

Black MVP

Canadian MLB Game

Two 500 HR Hitters in One Lineup

African-American ML Pitcher

Hall-of-Fame Game

Back-to-Back Twice

Grand Slam and Three-Run Dinger by P


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Baseball Firsts Archive - IV

Larry MacPhail
Larry MacPhail
Air Travel
The first team to travel by air was the 1934 Cincinnati Reds. GM Larry MacPhail chartered an American Airlines DC-2 to fly the team from Cincinnati to Chicago on June 8 for a series with the Cubs. Four of the 23 players on the roster opted to take the train.

Twelve years later, the Yankees became the first team to do it on a regular basis, chartering a Douglas DC-4 nicknamed the "Yankee Mainliner" during the 1946 season. The GM of that New York team was the same Larry MacPhail.

Jake Weimer
Jake Weimer
20-Game Winner by Age 20
The first pitcher in 20th century baseball to win 20 games before his 20th birthday was Jacob "Tornado Jake" Weimer, who won 21 at age 19 for the Chicago Cubs in 1903. Then, to prove it was no fluke, the southpaw won 20 the next year also. However, he "faded" to 18 wins in 1905. He won 20 again in 1906 for the Cincinnati Reds. However, pitching 250+ innings for four straight seasons may have taken its toll because he won only 11 in 1907 and then 8 in 1908. In 1909, he pitched one game for the New York Giants, his last ML contest.

19-year-old Amos Rusie had won 29 games for the Giants in 1890 on his way to 245 ML wins and a Hall of Fame induction in 1977 (25 years after his death).

Amos Rusie
Amos Rusie
No-Hitter at Coors Field
On September 17, 1996, Hideo Nomo of the Los Angeles Dodgers threw the first – and so far the only – no-hitter at Coors Field in Denver.

Amazingly, Nomo's feat occurred before the Rockies began using a humidor to cool the baseballs before each game in the Mile High City in 2002. The Colorado lineup that 1996 night included:

  • 2B Eric Young (.324 at the time)
  • LF Ellis Burks (.344)
  • RF Dante Bichette (.313)
  • 1B Andres Galarraga (.304)
  • 3B Vinny Castilla (.304)

Nomo stuck out eight and walked four in running his record to 16-10.

Dodgers P Hideo Nomo
Hideo Nomo
Black MVPs
Dodgers C Roy Campanella
Roy Campanella

Everybody knows that Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play in the major leagues in the modern era. However, did you know that Robinson was also the first black player to win the MVP in either league?

Jackie won the NL MVP award for 1949. Playing 2B in 156 games that year, his stats were:

.342, 122 R, 124 RBI, 37 SB, 16 HR, .432 OBP, .528 SLG

With growing access to MLB rosters, black players won seven NL MVP trophies in the next nine years.

  • 1951, 1953, and 1955: Roy Campanella, Brooklyn Dodgers C
  • 1954: Willie Mays, New York Giants CF
  • 1956: Don Newcombe, Brooklyn Dodgers P
  • 1957: Hank Aaron, Milwaukee Braves RF
  • 1958, 1959: Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs SS

The AL MVP was not awarded to an African-American until C Elston Howard of the Yankees won it in 1963.

Dodgers 2B Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson
Gene Mauch

Rusty Staub
Rusty Staub
Canadian MLB Game

The first regular season MLB game in Canada occurred on April 14, 1969. The expansion Montreal Expos defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 8-7 before 29,184 at Jarry Park. The Expos had gone 2-4 on a road trip to start the season.

 Jarry Park, Montreal
Jarry Park, Montreal
  • The starting Ps were Nelson Briles for the Cards and former Card Larry Jasper for the home team.
  • The WP for manager Gene Mauch was Dan McGinn while Gary Waslewski took the loss for Red Schoendienst.
  • New Orleanian Rusty Staub went 2-4 with a double while playing RF for the home club.
  • CF Curt Flood went 4-5 for the two-time defending NL champion Cards.

Red Schoendienst, Cardinals

Cardinals CF Curt Flood
Curt Flood
Rafael Palmiero and Sammy Sosa
Two 500 HR Hitters in One Lineup
The 2005 Baltimore Orioles were the first team in baseball history with two 500 HR hitters in the lineup.

  • 40-year-old Rafael Palmiero hit 18 round-trippers that year to raise his lifetime total to 569 in 20 seasons. Raffie retired after the 2005 season.
  • Sammy Sosa, 36, cracked 14 HRs to run his total to 588. Playing for Texas in 2006, he hit 21 more to retire with 609.

Of course, both players have been implicated in the steroid controversy.

Rafael Palmiero and Sammy Sosa

African-American ML Pitcher
The first African American to pitch in the major leagues was Dan Bankhead. He pitched in his first game August 26, 1947 (the same year Jackie Robinson started), for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He yielded in the second inning against the Pirates and allowed 10 hits in three innings. He did hit a homer in his first major league at bat, which made him the first National League pitcher ever to do so. He pitched in three more games before being sent back to the minors. He later appeared in 41 games for the Dodgers in 1950, compiling a 9-4 record. He also appeared in seven games in 1951 for Brooklyn.


Dan Bankhead
Youthful Ted Williams
Ted Williams
Cubs C Gabby Hartnett
Gabby Hartnett
Hall of Fame Game
The first Hall of Fame game in Cooperstown NY was played in 1940. The Chicago Cubs beat the Boston Red Sox, 10-9, despite two home runs by 22-year-old Ted Williams. The game was shortened to seven innings because of rain. Two future Hall of Famers managed the teams: Joe Cronin for the Red Sox and Gabby Hartnett for the Cubs. Both were player-managers. In the sixth inning, Boston CF Dom DiMaggio ran into the wall while chasing a fly ball and left the game with cuts and bruises on his face.

  • During the summer-long celebration of baseball's [alleged] centennial in 1939, an all-star game was played on June 12, the date of the Museum’s grand opening and first Induction. The 16 major league teams took the day off, and two members from each club played in Cooperstown. Eddie Collins and Honus Wagner, two of the first 26 men inducted from 1936-9, managed the teams and hand-picked the players. Dizzy Dean of the Cubs pitched two scoreless innings as the starter for the NL "Wagners."
  • Two more exhibition games featuring the New York Yankees versus the Newark Bears and the Philadelphia Athletics against the Penn Athletic Club were also held that summer. All this activity provoked discussion of future contests that would bring crowds to Cooperstown for subsequent summers.
  • After the Cubs-Red Sox game, the owners in December 1940 voted to make the Hall of Fame Game an annual event with an AL team facing an NL team. The game was then held every year except 1945 when wartime travel restrictions cancelled it.
  • Until 1978, the Cooperstown game was held on the same day as the Induction of new members of the Hall. Starting in 1979, the game was played the day after the Induction ceremonies.
The 2008 Hall of Fame game between the Cubs and the San Diego Padres had to be cancelled because of a hailstorm. So the 2007 game was undoubtedly the last Hall of Fame game that will ever be played. Scheduling problems in recent years have resulted in the end of the series.
Back-to-Back Twice
Bret Boone, Mariners
Bret Boone

In a game against Tulane on April 29, 2009, two LSU players, Ryan Schimpf and Blake Dean, launched back-to-back HRs twice in the ten-run fifth inning. This raised the question of whether this feat had ever been accomplished in MLB.

On May 2, 2002, Bret Boone and Mike Cameron of the Seattle Mariners became the first teammates in ML history to each hit two HRs during the same inning. They connected back-to-back twice in the 10-run first in a day game against the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park.

  • Boone cranked a two-run blast and Cameron followed with a solo shot with none out off RHP Jon Rauch.
  • By the time Boone got up again, lefty Jim Parque was on the mound. Bret again belted a two-run shot, leaving Cameron no one but himself to drive in.

The Mariners waltzed, 15-4.

Mike Cameron, Mariners
Mike Cameron
Grand Slam and Three-Run Dinger by P
On June 2, 2002, Robert Person became the first pitcher in history to hit a grand slam and three-run homer in the same game. He just missed tying the record of two grand slams in a game by P Tony Cloninger in 1966.

Playing for the Philadelphia Phillies against the Montreal Expos at Veterans Stadium before a crowd of 19,223, Person hit the grand slam off Bruce Chen as part of a 10-run first. Then in the fifth, he hit the three-run dinger off Masato Yoshii.

Ahead 17-1, manager Larry Bowa took Person out after the fifth, depriving him of a chance to hit a third homer. The eventual 18-3 victory gave Person his first win of the season against three losses.

Phillies P Robert Person
Robert Person