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This Date in Washington Senators History – Walter Johnson’s wild fastball knocks Ossie Vitt unconscious
1901 – The Nationals and A’s divide an eventful doubleheader in Washington. In game one, a 9-4 Washington win, Win Mercer of the Nats becomes the first AL pitcher ever to steal home. The A’s Nap Lajoie collects a pair of homers before getting ejected in the 7th. In the afternoon game, Philadelphia racks up 41 total bases on 23 hits, 10 of which are for extra bases, off Dale Gear in a 13-0 smoking of the Nationals. Gear establishes an AL record by surrendering the 10 extra base hits (tied in 1969 by Luis Tiant) and the 41 total bases. Opposing moundsman Snake Wiltse puts his name in the record book by becoming the first of 3 pitchers in history to collect 4 extra bases hits in one game.
1915 – Tiger 3B Ossie Vitt is knocked unconscious for 5 minutes after being hit by a wild fastball from Walter Johnson in the top of the 1st. Vitt departs the contest with a concussion. Johnson becomes unnerved and fears hitting another batter. Detroit takes advantage of Johnson’s mindset by plating 4 runs in the 1st and another 4 in the 6th to win, 8-2.
1917 – Johnson twirls his second straight shutout, one hitting the visiting White Sox, 4-0.
1937 – The second division Nationals bag a pair from Philadelphia, 15-7 and 8-6. Nats 3B Buddy Myer ties Jimmy Burke‘s 1901 ML mark of committing 4 errors in the opener. Despite Myer’s misadventures at the hot corner, Washington easily takes the opener, with the help of a 9 run 3rd inning. Earle Brucker homers for Philly in the finale, but the Nats hold on for the victory and the sweep.
1963 – Brooks Robinson‘s streak of starting 463 consecutive games at 3B is halted in today’s match at D.C. Stadium. Even though the slumping Robinson pinch hits in the 8th, the Senators slip by the Orioles, 6-5. Don Lock‘s hits his 19th and 20th home runs of the year, while Baltimore’s Boog Powell clobbers 3 homers. In the 9th, RF Jim King‘s perfect throw to the plate with 2 outs nails the Bird’s Luis Aparicio to preserve the victory for the Sens.
1969 – Two run scoring triples by Earl Stroud and Paul Casanova in a 3 run 8th inning make John Gelnar and the Pilots, 7-5, losers at RFK. Nonetheless, Washington is the only AL team to have a losing record against the expansion squad, with the Pilots compiling a 7-5 record against the Senators.
1971 – In Washington, the Senators drop a pair to the Royals, 9-2 and 3-1. Former Senator farmhand Lou Piniella‘s 3 hits pace the Royals in the opening game, with Dick Bosman being tagged with his 9th loss. In the nitecap, Piniella, Cookie Rojas and Amos Otis deposit RBI singles to lead Kansas City to the sweep. Mike Thompson of the Sens pitches 7.1 innings, but yields 6 walks to fall to 0-4. The Senators offense manages to only collect a puny 10 hits in this doubleheader.
August 10th appears to have been a rather prolific day for Senators births as there are 7 birthdays to report today. As usual, in alphabetical order, let us present August 10th’s additions to the Senators all-time roster…
Bob Chakales B Aug. 10, 1927 D Feb. 18, 2010
Known as the “Golden Greek”, Bob Chakales was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies organization in 1945. Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1948, Chakales first major league appearance would be in April of 1951 with the Indians.
Seeing limited action with the Indians from 1951 through June of 1954, Chakales would be traded to the newly relocated Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Vic Wertz.
Baltimore would make immediate use of Chakales as he would pitch in 38 games for the Orioles from June through September of 1954.
Traded again after the season’s end, Chakales would begin the 1955 campaign on the roster of the Chicago White Sox. After just 7 games with the South Siders, Chakales would be traded again, this time along with Clint Courtney and Johnny Groth, to the Washington Senators in exchange for Jim Busby.
Chakales would appear in 29 games for the Senators in 1955, compiling a 2-3 record. He return with Washington in 1956, appearing in 43 games and producing a 4-4 record with a 4.03 ERA.
In 1957, Chakales would start the year with the Senators but be traded one last time after just 4 games in a Senators uniform. This trade would see Chakales and Dean Stone head to Fenway Park in exchange for one of yesterday’s birthday boys, Milt Bolling, along with Russ Kemmerer and “Fabulous” Faye Throneberry.
18 games for the Red Sox, where he’d go 0-1 with an 8.16 ERA would mark the end of Chakales’ major league career.
John Kelly (Buddy) Lewis B Aug. 10, 1916 D Feb 18, 2011
Buddy Lewis is another of those rare players who spent his entire 11 year major league career with the Washington Senators.
First appearing with the Senators in mid-September of 1935, Lewis would patrol the “hot corner” around 3rd base for the next 4 seasons.
Lewis began playing the outfield in 1940 while still filling in at 3rd base on occasion.
Playing from 1935 through 1941 and again from 1945 through 1947 with one final season in 1949, Lewis would hit over .300 in 4 different seasons, his best year being 1945 when he hit .333. Lewis would have an additional 4 seasons where he’d hit over .290.
Lewis would lead the American League in singles with 162 in 1937 and in triples in 1939 with 16. He was the starting 3rd baseman in the 1938 All Star game and 9 years later, in 1947, he’d again be an All Star Game starter, this time in right field.
Lewis career would end after the 1949 season. As a career Senator, he would play in 1349 games and finish with 1563 hits, including 249 doubles, 93 triples and 71 home runs and a career BA of .297.
James Verlin Mertz B Aug. 10, 1916 D Feb. 4, 2003
Single Season Senator Jim Mertz pitched in 33 games for the 1943 Senators, starting 10 games and compiling a 5-7 record with an ERA of 4.63.
Erwin Coolidge (Bob) Porterfield B Aug. 10, 1923 D Apr. 28, 1980
Pitcher Bob Porterfield was first signed by the New York Yankees in 1946 and made his major league debut in early August of 1948. Remaining with the Yankees through early 1951, he’d be traded after just pitching in just 2 games in the 1951 season to the Washington Senators, along with Tom Ferrick and Fred Sanford (another one of yesterday’s birthday boys) in exchange for Bob Kuzava.
Porterfield would remain a Senator through 1955, posting his best record in 1953, when he’d go 22-10, the only year where he’d have more than 13 wins in a season. Porterfield would be named to the 1954 All Star squad and pitch 3 innings in the All Star Game.
After the 1955 season, Porterfield would be traded again, this time along with Johnny Schmitz, Tom Umphlett and Mickey Vernon, to the Red Sox in exchange for Karl Olson, Dick Brodowski, Tex Clevenger, Neil Chrisley and minor leaguer Al Curtis.
Porterfield would spend 1956, 1957 and part of 1958 in Boston and was purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates in early May of 1958.
He’d remain with the Pirates for 1 year and 5 days, when he was released by the Pirates in May of 1959.
He’d be signed the next day by the Chicago Cubs, who kept him on the roster for 1 month where he’d appear in just 4 games with the Cubs. Released by the Cubs, he was resigned by the Pirates, this time staying on the Pirate roster through the end of the season when his major league journey ended.
William Felix Trotter B Aug. 10, 1908 D Aug. 26, 1984
Bill Trotter got his major league start as a 28 year old rookie with the St. Louis Browns in 1937. Another pitcher, Trotter would pitch for the Browns through early June of 1941.
Trotter would not play in the majors in 1943 but would reappear in 1944 to pitch in 2 games for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Edward Wineapple B Aug. 10, 1905 D Jul. 23, 1996
One Game Wonder Ed Wineapple would taste his cup of major league coffee on September 15th of 1929 when he’d pitch in 4 innings for the Senators. He’d leave with no decision, having given up 7 hits, 2 earned runs, 3 walks and striking out 1 with an ERA of 4.50.
Taft Sheldon (Taffy) Wright B Aug. 10, 1911 D Oct. 22, 1981
Outfielder Taffy Wright got his start in the majors with the 1938 Senators. Playing in 100 games, he’d hit .350 with 92 hits, 18 doubles, 10 triples, 2 homers and 37 runs scored.
After that impressive performance, he’d be back in 1939, playing in 129 games and batting .309. This time he’d score 77 runs and amass 154 hits including 29 doubles, 11 triples, 4 home runs and 93 RBIs.
Wright would play for the South Siders from 1940 to 1948 (with a break from 1943-1945 due to WWII) and put up some pretty impressive numbers, only hitting below .300 twice in those 8 years.
After the 1948 season, Wright was purchased by the Philadelphia Athletics, where he’d play one last year. 1949 wasn’t kind to the 37 year old Wright and he was released by the Athletics at the end of the season.