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Dec 28

Our most popular stories in 2012

dc baseball history

#50Mickey’s Horsehide by Jim Vankoski

In 1957, while in Spring training with the Boston Red Sox, Mickey Vernon met a sporting goods salesman, who sold horsehide products for baseballs, gloves and similar items. Mickey told me that the same salesman, in 1957, mailed him a sample of the horsehide, which measured 25” x 42”. Continue reading

#49This Date in Washington Senators History – Ed Delahanty’s mysterious death by Art Audley

July 2

1903 - Ed Delahanty passes away at the age of 35 when he falls from a bridge in Bridgeburg, Ontario. The circumstances surrounding his death are still somewhat mysterious to this day.

Delahanty had boarded a train in Detroit that was bound for New York’s Grand Central Station, according to a letter that was sent to his wife. While on the train, Delahanty behaved in a bizarre fashion, aggravating other passengers. Having heard enough complaints from the passengers, the conductor stopped the train at Bridgeburg on the Canadian side of the Niagara River, across from Buffalo. At approximately 10:45 PM, the conductor told Delahanty to remove himself immediately from the train. Continue reading

#48 – Flashback: Harper’s Shot Recalls Another D.C Phenom’s First Homer by Marty Niland

Bryce Harper ensured his place in Washington baseball history even before he became the youngest major leaguer since 1998 to hit a home run.

At 19 years, 211 days old, Harper isn’t even old enough to buy a drink to celebrate his more than 400-foot blast off San Diego Padres starter Tim Stauffer, which came in his 15th major league game and 54th at-bat, according to The Associated Press and SATS LLC. The homer not only added to his lore and endeared him to Nationals fans, it evoked memories of another vaunted prospect’s first home run, with not much more age and even less major league experience under his belt, almost 41 years earlier. Continue reading

#47 – Gonzales and Strasburg are both having historic season by Mark Hornbaker

When it all said and done I believe the 2012 Washington Nationals may have a season that will be written about for decades. The team itself has done well to stay on top of their division. The team seems to keep an even keel in the first 72 games this season. Every time the team has a losing streak of three or four games the team is able to turn it around and will usually start reeling off multiple wins.

So far this season the Nationals most diffidently have been led by their superb pitching. As the entire pitching staff has done well there are two pitchers on the staff that are really making a push to become all-stars. Continue reading

#46 – Well, the Man wanted a tryout by Gary Sarnoff

During spring training in 1933, a visitor arrived in Biloxi, Mississippi wearing a four-day beard and covered in lawyers of country grime. He was out of work, so he rode the train cars from town to town in search of a job. He had some pitching experience, so why not seek a tryout with rookie manager Joe Cronin and the Washington Senators? “Sure old kid,” Cronin told him, “Go over there to the clubhouse and put your suit on.” Continue reading

#45 – Walter Johnson’s 18-inning complete game shutout by Mark Hornbaker

On May 15, 1918 the Washington Senators’ pitcher Walter “Big Train” Johnson pitched a Major League Baseball record *18-inning complete game shutout, to defeat Claude “Lefty” T. Williams and the Chicago White Sox 1-0.

The fans at Griffith Stadium were treated to one of the greatest pitching duels in baseball history. After 9-innings the game was far from being over as the Big Train and Lefty found themselves in a 0-0 pitching duel. After 8 more innings the two teams were still locked up at 0-0. Continue reading

#44 – Yes, It’s Our Park! by Marty Niland

It seems like all the talk from Philadelphia folks about spoiling the Nationals’ “Our Park” series was just that. From the perspective of the left field stands on Friday night, the campaign was an unqualified success.

The announced crowd of 34,377 certainly included fans from both teams, but unlike years past, it was not the Philly fan-fest we’ve come to expect at Nationals Park, which was (a bit cheesily) renamed “Natitude Park” for this series. The whole scene was far removed from years past when Philly fans took over the park for entire series, or the regular invasions of a certain ballpark in Charm City by the Red Sox and Yankees “nations.” Continue reading

#43 – Spring Training – 69 Senators by Steve Walker

“Bob Short’s Picnic Table Diplomacy”

1969′s spring training may have been the most unique in Washington baseball history. Change abounded. The club sported a new owner, Robert E. Short, a celebrity manager, Ted Williams, and even new uniforms (the elegant navy blue pinstripes replaced by gleaming white home uniforms and gray road threads,  with, ominously “Senators”, not “Washington”, written in script across the front). Continue reading

#42 – This Day in D.C. Baseball History – The failure of signing Crow has a Silver Lining by Mark Hornbaker

The Washington Nationals failed to sign first-round draft pick Aaron Crow by the midnight deadline on August 15, 2008.

Aaron Crow, a right-hander out of the University Missouri was selected ninth overall in June’s draft, According to the Associated Press the Nationals didn’t want to go above the $2.1 million they gave to the 2007 sixth overall pick, left-hander Ross Detwiler, but made a final offer of $3.5 million to Crow shortly before midnight Friday. They also agreed to give Crow a major league deal – something the team hasn’t done with its first-round picks since moving to Washington before the 2005 season. Continue reading

#41 – Washington D.C. Baseball History – Spring Training by Mark Hornbaker

Did you know 111 years ago if you were going to spring training to catch the newly formed Washington Senators of the newly formed American League you would find yourself in Phoebus, Virginia? It wasn’t until 1907 the Senators went outside of the D.C. and Virginia area as they traveled to Galveston, Texas for spring training. The team stayed in the warm climate of Galveston for three spring trainings. Continue reading