A STORY from September 2nd in baseball history: Stieb finally throws a no-hitter

Pitching dominance

CLEVELAND, OHIO | SEPTEMBER 2, 1990 Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Dave Stieb finally threw a no-hitter on this date in baseball history after coming amazingly close at least 3 other times. He beat the Cleveland Indians 3-0. Steib made it interesting in the 9th. He got the first two batters out before walking the third. The last out came on a line drive to the right fielder.

But the stretch David Andrew Stieb went through two years earlier was a remarkable string of pitching dominance, and heartbreak. He came very close to tying - and even breaking - a record many view as unreachable.

On September 24, 1988 (box scores/play-by-play below), also in Cleveland, Stieb did not allow a hit for 8 and 2/3 innings when Indians 2nd baseman Julio Franco came to bat. With a 2-2 count, Franco got a base hit to centerfield. Stieb retired the next batter for a 1-0, 1-hit shutout.

On September 30, 1988, Steib's very next start at home in Toronto, he did not allow the Baltimore Orioles a hit going into the 9th. He induced two groundouts, bringing pinch hitter Jim Traber to the plate. Again, on a 2-2 count, Traber got a base hit. The next batter grounded out and Dave Stieb had his second consecutive 1-hitter after not allowing a hit for 8 and 2/3rds. He came amazingly close to tying Johnny Vander Meer's streak of two consecutive no-hitters, but still had none.

The following spring, April 10, 1989, in New York, Dave Stieb threw his third 1-hitter in two seasons. It wasn't quite as dramatic this time as Stieb gave up the 1 hit in the 5th inning when Yankee catcher Jamie Quirk singled.

Considering Steib's September 24th and 30th starts of 1988 were his last two of the season, and April 10, 1989 was his second start of the next season, he threw 3 one-hitters in 4 starts. Has there ever been a more dominating stretch by a pitcher in major league history?

CONTRIBUTING SOURCES:
September 24, 1988 box score & play-by-play
September 30, 1988 box score & play-by-play
April 5, 1989 box score & play-by-play
April 10, 1989 box score & play-by-play

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Aug 24th in baseball history: Pete Rose banned

"...sad end of a sorry episode"

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK | AUGUST 24, 1989 • With those words, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti announced the lifetime ban of Pete Rose from baseball for gambling. An investigation showed Rose bet on many sporting events, but what forced the hand of Giamatti was evidence that Rose bet on baseball, including the team he managed, the Cincinnati Reds. Giamatti described Rose's gambling as the most serious allegation against the integrity of baseball since the 1919 Black Sox scandal.

Despite Giamatti's announcement, and the fact that Rose signed a document the night before accepting the ban, Rose insisted that he had not bet on baseball. He stuck to that position, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, until 2004 when Rose finally came clean (while promoting a book), but he said he never gambled against his team.

Rose certainly has the statistics to get into the Hall of Fame. He's the all-time major league hits leader. He won three batting titles, three World Series rings, was Rookie of the Year, MVP and appeared in 17 All-star games. But the odds of a manager (and former player) who bet on baseball getting into the Hall of Fame are not good.

CONTRIBUTING SOURCES:
Statement of Commissioner Bart Giamatti, August 24, 1989  
ESPN.com

More on Pete Rose

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August 12th in baseball history: Olympic baseball attracts crowd

"Springtime for Hitler..."

BERLIN, GERMANY | AUGUST 12, 1936 - The largest crowd ever to watch a baseball game, up to that point, saw a “demonstration” game at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin on this date in baseball history. A crowd in excess of 90,000 saw two teams of amateurs, both from the U.S., play a 7-inning contest of America's pastime. The final score was 6-5.

German fans had to be helped along with the nuances of the game. According to Baseball in the Olympics by Pete Cava, not until the announcer told the crowd that a batter making it all the way around the bases for an inside-the-park home run was a good thing for the batter did they cheer.

The Berlin attendance record stood until 93,103 fans showed up for an exhibition game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees in honor of former Dodger catcher Roy Campanella at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1959. The Dodgers, new to Los Angeles, made the Coliseum home for a few seasons waiting for Dodger Stadium to be built.

Speaking of international baseball, did you know more than 100 countries belong to the International Baseball Federation? For example, Argentina has 355 teams/3,500 players. Australia has 5,000 teams/57,000 players. Canada has 6,621 teams/119,178 players. Czech Republic has 60 teams/2,668 players.

CONTRIBUTING SOURCES:
1936 Olympics
Baseball attendance records
Los Angeles Coliseum attendance records
Baseball in the Olympics, by Pete Cava, 1991

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July 22nd in baseball history: 6 for 6

6 for 6 for weak-hitting Sox

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS | JULY 22, 1962 - Floyd Robinson of the Chicago White Sox went 6 for 6, all singles, on this date in 1962, tying an American League record held by 38 others for the most hits in a 9-inning game (Alex Rios, also, of the White Sox, is the most recent. He had 6 hits July 9, 2013).

The record in the National League is 7 held by Rennie Stennett of the 1975 Pittsburgh Pirates and Wilbert Robinson of the 1892 Baltimore Orioles (disbanded by the National League in 1899).

Floyd Robinson, the White Sox right fielder, had a great year in '62. He hit .312, drove in 109 runs (on just 11 home runs) and led the league in doubles with 45, but he played for a team that was anemic offensively. The team batting average was .257, Robinson was the only regular to hit over .300, and the team leader in home runs was Al Smith with 16.

Three years removed from playing the Dodgers in the 1959 World Series, the Sox finished 5th, 11 games out. Despite their lousy hitting, the Sox contended for the next few years behind the pitching of Gary Peters and Joel Horlen. They won 94 games in 1963, 98 in 1964 and 95 in 1965, but finished second to the New York Yankees in '63 and '64 and second to the Minnesota Twins in '65.

Floyd Robinson hit over .300 a couple more times in his career, but never had more than 75 RBI. He finished his career with Boston in 1968.

***

Here's a little known fact; Dave Debusschere was a promising young pitcher on those early 1960's White Sox teams. He appeared in 36 games with an ERA of 3.09, but decided to forego baseball for the NBA. Debusschere went on to a Hall of Fame basketball career with the New York Knickerbockers.

Contributing sources:
Hits records, baseball-almanac 
Floyd Robinson stats 
July 22, 1962 box score, etc. 

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July 20th in baseball history: Huge crowd for the day

If you build it...

Koppett's Concise HistoryLONG ISLAND, NEW YORK | JULY 20, 1858 - Not 1958. 1858.

It's not significant by today's standards, but it was monumental before The Civil War. According to Koppett's Concise History of Major League Baseball, a crowd of "no fewer than 1,500" paying spectators came out to Fashion Race Course on Long Island on July 20, 1858 to watch a pseudo all-star baseball game.

The best players of New York City took on the best Brooklyn had to offer (back then they were two separate cities). New York won 22-18, and promoters saw dollar signs.

The main reason admission was charged was to defray the cost of converting a field into a baseball diamond - there weren't too many around back then. The gate receipts added up to over $700 dollars - a big chunk of change in the mid-19th Century. The event showed that if you put teams together with good players, fans will pay money to watch, and there will be more money to buy better players. Is this a great country or what!

It had a ripple effect. As Leonard Koppett wrote, "...those who would travel far and then pay 50 cents to watch a game would undoubtedly pay a penny or two to read about one." Newspapers soon found another way to attract readers; baseball scores, and eventually box scores, and there were new ones every day.

Contributing Source:
Koppett's Concise History of Major League Baseball, 2004, by Leonard Koppett, Carrol & Graf Publishers, New York

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