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This Date in Washington Senators History
1926 – In the only game played today in baseball, Lou Gehrig‘s two home runs help lead New York over Washington, 7-5. It is only the second time in Walter Johnson‘s 20 year career that he has allowed two homers in the same game to one player.
1932 – Yanks hurler Red Ruffing hits a game winning homer in the top of the 10th to give New York their 6th straight win, 1-0. Ruffing joins former Senator Tom Hughes as the only other pitcher in ML history to hit an extra inning, game winning home run. Hughes initially accomplished the feat on August 3, 1906 at St. Louis.
1944 – The Nats take the broom to the Tribe in Washington, 2-1 and 4-1. P Mickey Haeffner wins the opener. Behind Stan Spence‘s 3 run homer in the 1st, Early Wynn is the victor of the second game. Nats SS John Sullivan starts an AL record 5 double plays and goes 3-for-3 in the finale.
1954 – The A’s, in their final season in Philadelphia, best the Senators, 3-2 at Griffith. Jim Finigan‘s swipe of home in the 8th snaps Philadelphia’s 8 game losing streak.
1968 – At Metropolitan Stadium, the Twins pin the Nats, 8-4. Tom Hall of Minnesota goes 7.2 innings, surrenders 11 hits, but is bailed out by 3 double plays in earning his first big league win. Jim Hannan drops to 7-3 and strikes out for the 13th straight time, dating to July 24, in his only plate appearance.
1970 – In the final match of a 3 game series with the visiting Twins, Cesar Tovar leads off the game with a single off Dick Bosman. Bosman settles in and holds Minnesota to that lone safety in a 1-0 Washington victory and a 3 game series sweep. Jim Kaat also pitches the distance, but is saddled with the hard luck loss.
Richard James French B Aug. 13, 1941 Still Living
Jim French was signed by the Senators in 1963 and made his major league debut in September of 1965. Appearing in 13 games in his first season, French would hit .297. Unfortunately, that would be the high-water mark as far as French’s hitting was concerned.
A catcher, French would only play in 234 games over a span of 7 seasons, averaging 33 games per year. His most active season would be 1970 when he appeared in 69 games. French spent a lot of time on the AAA roster of whoever was Washington’s affiilate that year, including Hawaii, Syracuse, Buffalo, Denver and Richmond. French always seemed to do fairly well in the minors but just couldn’t hit major league pitching.
His final game would be in mid-May of 1971, although he would be recalled for 5 days in early September of the Senators last season.
French was always of my favorite Senators, although I can’t offer an explanation as to why. Every year when he was called up, I always hoped this would be his “breakout” season and that he’d stay with the big club. Every year, he’d end up going back to AAA.
Carlos Whitman Moore B Aug. 13, 1906 D Jul. 2, 1958
Senators Short Timer Carlos Moore would appear in 4 games for the 1930 Senators. A pitcher, Moore would only work in 11.2 innings, giving up 9 hits and 3 runs, departing the Senators in late May with an ERA of 2.31.
Charles Arthur Shires B Aug. 13, 1907 D Jul. 13, 1967
The man from Italy-Italy, Texas that is, Art Shires began his 4 year major league career with the Chicago White Sox in 1928. Playing 1st base, Shires would hit .341 in 33 games in his debut season. In 1929 he appeared in an even 100 games, hitting .312.
Shires would start the 1930 season with the White Sox, playing 37 games there, but be traded to the Senators for Garland Braxton and Bennie Tate. Appearing in another 38 games for the Senators, he’d hit .369 with 31 hits and 19 RBI.
Strangely, Shires wouldn’t play in the majors in 1931 but would return for 82 games with the Boston Braves in 1932. He’d only hit .238 and disappeared from the major league scene on July 31st of that year.
EDIT: Thanks to a tip from Senators history maven Steve Jeltz, I was advised that Shires was quite a self-promoter and in addition to playing baseball, Shires also found employment as both a professional boxer and wrestler. A couple of articles that lend more insight to the career of Art (known as “Art The Great”) Shires can be found in these links:
Robert George Wiesler B Aug. 13, 1930 D Aug. 10, 2014
Originally signed by the New York Yankees in 1949, Bob Wiesler would first show up in a Yankee uniform in 1951 for 4 games. He’d finish the season with an 0-2 record in 4 games with an ERA of 13.50.
Wiesler would return to the Yankees in 1954 and would have short stints with the Yankees in 1954 & 1955.
In early 1956, Wiesler would be part of a multi-player trade that would see Wiesler, along with Lou Berberet, Herb Plews, Dick Tettlebach and eventually Whitey Herzog, sent to Washington in exchange for Mickey McDermott and Bobby Kline.
Wiesler would have his most active season in 1956, pitching in 37 games and posting a 3-12 record with a 6.44 ERA.
Wiesler would only pitch in 7 more games in 1957 and 1958 and would be gone from the Senators, and the majors, in early May of ’58.