Baseball season is under way and cries of “Play ball!” are in the air, so enjoy these interesting and entertaining facts about America’s favorite pastime.
The New York Yankees wear the most unforgettable uniform in baseball, according to MLB Network Countdown. But the Bronx Bombers weren’t the first to don the familiar pinstripes. In 1888, three clubs—Washington and Detroit of the National League and Brooklyn of the American Association—all sported them. The Yankees sampled the look in 1912 before adopting pinstripes for good in 1915.
On Aug. 19, 1951, promotion-minded St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck signed 3-foot, 7-inch Eddie Gaedel as a publicity stunt in a game against the Detroit Tigers. Just as Veeck hoped, Gaedel, wearing number ⅛ and batting in the bottom of the first inning, walked on four straight pitches . . . and into baseball history. Ten years later, as new owner of the Chicago White Sox, Veeck hired “little people” as food vendors so as not to block the crowd’s view of the game. One of those vendors at Comiskey Park was Gaedel.
On June 19, 1889, against the National League’s Indianapolis Hoosiers, William “Dummy” Hoy, a deaf center fielder for the Washington Senators, recorded a baseball first: throwing out three base runners at home plate in one game—still a major league record.
Against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, New York Yankees slugger Reggie Jackson hit three home runs in three at-bats—all on the first pitch. Jackson also hit a homer in his last at-bat in the previous Game 5 loss to L.A., giving him four home runs on four consecutive swings in two games, a World Series record.