APRIL 24, 1947
Johnny Mize homers three times against Johnny Sain in the Giants’ 6-2 victory over the Braves at the Polo Grounds. The ‘Big Cat’ becomes the first major leaguer to hit three home runs in one game five different times. (Nationalpastime.com)
APRIL 23, 1952
Giant hurler Hoyt Wilhelm homers in his first major league at-bat. In his second big league appearance at the plate two days later he will hit a three-bagger, but during the next 21 years, covering a span 1070 games, the knuckle-balling hurler will never triple or homer again.(Nationalpastime.com)
APRIL 18, 1952
On Opening Day in Brooklyn, Willie Mays is knocked unconscious when he smashes into the Ebbets Field wall after chasing pinch hitter Bob Morgan’s seventh-inning, two-out base-loaded line drive into the gap in left field. All three Dodgers base runners cross the plate, but do not score when the motionless Giants center fielder comes to his feet and jogs into the dugout, apparently unhurt, having held onto the ball after making an amazing catch for the third out to end the inning.(Nationalpastime.com)
APRIL 18, 1955
In his first major league appearance, 25-year old Pirates reliever Al Grunwald, getting just one batter out, gives up a single to Don Mueller‚ a double to Monte Irvin‚ a triple to Willie Mays‚ and a homer to Whitey Lockman. The Giants fourth- inning ‘cycle’ contributes to an eight-run frame in the eventual 12-3 victory over Pittsburgh at the Polo Grounds.(Nationalpastime.com)
APRIL 17, 1912
In front of a larger than usual crowd at the Polo Grounds of over 14,000 patrons that includes Broadway legend George M. Cohan, the Giants beat the new-look Yankees, now sporting pinstripes, in an unscheduled exhibition game, 11-2, to raise money for the survivors of the HMS Titanic. The charity contest, the first Sunday game ever played between major league teams at the Coogan’s Bluff ballpark, raises over $9,000 when each individual fan donates the price of an admission ticket to purchase a special program for the event.
APRIL 14, 1911
Shortly after midnight, a tremendous fire breaks out destroying much of the Polo Grounds leaving the Giants without a place to play. The Highlanders invite the McGraw men to share Hilltop Park, an offer the displaced National League team accepts for six weeks until temporary stands are completed at their damaged ballpark.
APRIL 11, 1907
The Giants lose their home opener to the Phillies when some of the Polo Grounds fans, growing tired of the team’s lackadaisical performance, begin throwing snowballs onto the playing field disrupting the game. After he is hit by a frozen sphere, Bill Klem, the home plate umpire, decides enough is enough and forfeits the game to Philadelphia. (Nationalpastime.com)
APRIL 11, 1912
Rube Marquard begins a nineteen-game consecutive winning streak by beating the Dodgers, 18-3. The streak will end in July when the Giants lose to Chicago at the West Side Grounds, 7-2.(Nationalpastime.com)
MYSTERY OF THE POLO GROUNDS-
By Bill Francis (a Library Associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum) This article was in the Memories and Dreams Magazine published by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Opening Day 2017. Thanks for sharing this Bill!!
“Monument to Eddie Grant graced the Giants’ home for decades before going missing after the team left for San Francisco.”
Big league third baseman Eddie Grant’s death took place almost 100 years ago, one of the thousands of United States casualties in the war to end all wars. Today, a missing plaque honoring his sacrifice remains one of the game’s most enduring unsolved mysteries.
Grant, nicknamed “Harvard Eddie” because he was one of the few ballplayers of the time who had attended college, spent 10 years in the majors, making his big league debut with the Cleveland Naps in 1905, then splitting the seasons between 1907 and 1915 with the Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants. Steadier with the glove than the bat, the Massachusetts native ended his career with a .249 batting average.
But it was his selfless character that distinguished Grant in the game of life. Prior to the start of the 1916 season, the Harvard graduate announced he was quitting the game in order to devote more time to his law practice, first in Boston and then in New York. And while he remained part of baseball, serving as a part-time scout with the Giants, the 34-year-old Grant, past the age when he might be drafted, responded when the United States joined its allies to fight in World War I in April 1917.
“I am going to try to be an officer,” Grant wrote to a friend while attending a military training camp in Plattsburgh, N.Y. “I don’t know how much of a success I shall make of it. I had determined from the start to be in this war if it came to us, and if I am not successful as an officer I shall enlist as a private, for I believe there is no greater duty that I owe for being that which I am – an American citizen.”
By April 1918, Grant had landed in France as a captain with Company H of the 307th Infantry Regiment in the 77th Division. But only a few months later, on October 22, 1918, newspapers across America announced that Grant had died in action two weeks earlier, on October 5, the first big league ballplayer to make the supreme sacrifice for his country in the Great War in Europe. A month after Grant’s death, the armistice was signed ending World War I. Continue reading
APRIL 8, 1947
In an exhibition game played against the Indians in Sheffield‚ Alabama, second-year player Whitey Lockman breaks his leg sliding into second base trying to break up a double play. With the exception of two appearances as a pinch hitter, the Giants sophomore outfielder will miss all of the season. (Nationalpastime.com)
APRIL 3, 1901
Although he tried to return the money, Christy Matthewson is accused by Connie Mack of reneging on his contract with Philadelphia. In January, ‘Big Six’ after meeting with the A’s manager, received a signing bonus, committing himself to play for the 1901 season with the American League team, but then used the offer as leverage to get a richer contract from the Giants.(Nationalpastime.com)