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This Date in Washington Senators History
1921 The Washington Senators lose their home opener, 6 – 3, to the Boston Red Sox. Senators pitcher Walter Johnson leaves after four innings, the first time he has failed to finish an Opening Game. In attendance are new U.S. President Warren G. Harding, former president Woodrow Wilson, and VP Calvin Coolidge.
1926 Thirty-eight year old Walter Johnson thrills an Opening Day crowd of 25,000 in Washington, D.C., by pitching and winning a 15-inning game, 1-0. Johnson allows just 6 hits and strikes out 12 in beating the Philadelphia Athletics and Ed Rommel. The A’s pitcher allows 9 hits, walks 5 and strikes out 1. Player/manager Bucky Harris scores the winning run after his single is followed by a Goose Goslin double and a Joe Harris single. In 14 Opening Day assignments, this is Johnson’s 9th victory.
Over his 21 year career, all with the Senators, Johnson is involved in 64 1-0 games, winning 38 and losing 26.
All four of today’s birthday boys were born in th 19th century and played with the early Senators, the most recent being a 1925 stint with the Senators.
Norman Arthur (Kid) Elberfield B Apr. 13, 1875 D Jan. 13, 1944
Beginning his career as a 23 year old rookie, Kid Elberfield would debut with the Philadelphia Phillies in late May of 1898. A firey shortstop who was sometimes called “The Tabasco Kid”, Elberfield would appear in 14 games, hitting .237.
Elberfield would join the Detroit team of the Western League after his short stint with the Phillies and would be picked up by the Cincinnati Reds in August of 1899 where he’d play in 41 games, raising his BA to .261.
Out of the majors in 1900, Elberfield would be back in the majors in 1901 in the inaugural year of the American League with the Detroit Tigers. Hitting .308 in 121 games, Elberfield would be a regular in the Detroit infield for the next couple of seasons.
Elberfield was hitting .341 in 1903 when he was traded to the New York highlanders in mid-June. He’d finish the season hitting .287 for New York.
He’d remain with the Highlanders through 1909, one of his better years being 1906 when he’d hit .306 in 99 games. He’d slump to .196 in 1908 playing in only 19 games after a severe injury when he was spiked by Senators’ outfielder Bob Ganley.
Elberfield would rebound to hit .237 in 1909. After the season he was sold to the Senators where he’d play in 1910 and 1911. He’d hit .251 in 1910 and .272 in 1911 as a 36 year old.
Bothered by numerous injuries, Elberfield was sold to Montgomery of the Southern Association. From there he’d move to the Chattanooga Lookouts.
In 1914, Elberfield would make it back to the majors with the Brooklyn Dodgers as a coach and utility player. Elberfield would make it into 30 games with Brooklyn his last major league appearance coming in late September.
Elberfield would go on to be a minor league scout and manager and also ran a youth baseball camp in Louisiana in the early 1940’s.
Sylveanus Agustus (Vean) Gregg B Apr. 13, 1885 D Jul. 29, 1964
Pitcher Vean Gregg arrived on the major league scene with the Cleveland Naps in April of 1911. A 26 year old rookie, Gregg would post a 23-7 ecord his first season and would lead the AL with a 1.80 ERA.
Gregg would follow up his rookie season by winning an even 20 games in both 1912 and 1913.
Gregg suffered from arm miseries, despite the outstanding performance and in 1914, with his record at 9-3, Gregg was traded to the Boston Red Sox where he’d finish the 1914 season going 3-4 for Boston with a 3.95 ERA.
He’d post a 4-2 record in 1915 and 2-5 in 1916. Spending the 1917 season in Providence, Rhode island he’d win 21 games and lead the International League in strikeouts and ERA.
Brought back to the majors with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1918, Gregg would post a 9-14 record with a 3.12 ERA.
After the 1918 season, Gregg dropped out of baseball and tried his hand at farming.
With crop prices dropping in the early 1920’s Gregg returned to baseball with the Seattle Indians of the Pacific Coast League in 1922. Gregg would have some success in Seattle and would return to the majors in 1925 with the Washington Senators. The 40 year old Gregg would primarily work out of the bullpen, posting a 2-2 record in 26 games. Gregg was optioned to the New Orleans Pelicans of the Southern Association and did not participate in th 1925 World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Traded to Birmingham for the 1926 season, Gregg chose to retire. He’d pitch briefly for the Sacramento Senators of the PCL in 1927.
Gregg’s younger brother Dave was briefly his teammate in Cleveland in 1913. Dave Gregg‘s major league experience consisted of 1 game in a Cleveland uniform.
Wade (Red) Killifer B Apr. 13, 1885 D Sep. 4, 1958
Red Killefer spent 7 years in the majors, playing in 446 games, appearing at every position but pitcher.
Purchased by the Detroit Tigers in 1907, Killefer spent 2 months on the Tigers bench without making it into a game. Eventually he was sent down to the Johnstown (PA) Johnnies of the Tri-State League where he’d finish the season with a .305 BA, fifth in the league. He’d be called back to the Tigers where he’d appear in 1 game at the end of the season going 0 for 4.
Killefer would finish the 1909 season hitting .174 for Washington in 40 games. He’d hit .229 in 106 games for the Senators in 1910.
Out of the major leagues from 1911 through 1913, Killefer would spend time with the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association.
Back in the majors in 1914, Killefer would spend 1914, 1915 and a portion of 1916 with the Cincinnati Reds. He’d have the most active season of his career in 1915 when he’d hit .272 in 155 games.
Traded to the New York Giants in mid-July of 1916, Killefer would finish out his major league career appearing in just 2 games for the Giants, his last big league game coming in mid-August.
After his major league palying days were over, Killefer would become a player/manager for both the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Indians of the Pacific Coast League. Killefer was inducted into the Pacific Coast League Hall Of Fame in 1957.
His younger brother Bill, a catcher, played in the majors from 1901 through 1921 with the St. Louis Browns, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs.
Garland (Jake) Stahl B Apr. 13, 1879 D Sep. 18, 1922
Jake Stahl began his 7 year career in the majors as a backup catcher with the 1903 Boston Red Sox (then known as the “Americans”). Debuting in mid-April, Stahl would hit .239 in 40 games.
Sold to the Washington Senators after the season, Stahl would be converted to a 1st baseman. Appearing in 142 games with Washington in 1904, Stahl would hit .262. He’d remain with the Senators through 1906.
Stahl would become the player/manager of the Senators in 1905 at the age of 26. The Senators, after a fairly successful 1905, declined in 1906 following the death of shortstop Joe Cassidy. Stahl was replaced as the manager after 1906 and requested a trade back to Boston. The Washington owners refused and traded him to the Chicago White Sox instead. Stahl refused the trade and spent the 1907 season playing semi-pro baseball.
In 1908, Stahl was traded by the White Sox to the New York Highlanders. Stahl would play in 75 games for New York, hitting .255 when he was sold to the Boston Americans in mid-July.
Stahl would finish his playing days in Boston. His best season at the plate would come in 1909 when he’d hit .294 in 127 games. He’d follow that up in 1910 by hitting .271 and leading the American League in home runs with 10.
However, after that season, Stahl would make the decision to retire and spent 1911 out of baseball.
When his father-in-law, W. F. Mahan became part-owner of the Boston Americans in 1912, Stahl was coaxed out of retirement and became player/manager for the Americans, leading the team to the pennant.
Seriously injured early in 1913, Stahl continued to manage but was unable to play, only making it into 2 games. Disagreements with team president Jimmy McAleer resulted with Stahl handing in his resignation in July and retiring for good at the end of the season.