The Indians will not lose today.
Of course, that’s because they aren’t playing today, which may be just as well, since it gives us all time to lick the wounds from yesterday’s 16-inning torture session. Around about the 12th inning, I started wondering what the longest Opening Day game in MLB history was. It turns out, the previous record was a tie–Philadelphia vs. Washington on April 13, 1926, and Indians vs. the Tigers on April 19, 1960. We lost. Now we have the distinction of holding the record for losing the longest Opening Day game in history all by our little selves.
The Indians seem to have a knack for being part of weird baseball records and events. A sampling below (in no particular order other than as I thought of them):
* June 2, 2010, Armando Galarraga of the Tigers loses a perfect game because of a blown call at first base. Who were the Tigers playing? The Indians.
* Only Opening Day no-hitter? Pitched by Bob Feller of the Indians in 1940. (At least that’s a pleasant memory.)
* The only MLB player to ever die from a pitched ball was Indians Ray Chapman, who was hit by a pitch thrown by Carl Mays of the Yankees on August 16, 1920.
* On June 4, 1974, the Indians hosted the Texas Rangers and celebrated with 10-Cent Beer Night. 25,000+ people attended, which only filled up one-third of the old Municipal Stadium, but was still more than double the average attendance. The Indians forfeited when drunken fans started fighting with Billy Martin and his team. (ESPN has a nice history of it here.) Only forfeit in MLB history due to drunken, rioting fans.
* Bleacher seats at League Park at one time had cushions. We aren’t sure why the cushions were there. Maybe for comfort, maybe to throw at opposing teams. Cleveland Spiders fans did so on May 26, 1894, throwing them at visiting Pittsburgh outfielders. Apparently the only MLB forfeit in history caused by flying seat cushions.
* The Indians are the only team (I think) to play a double-header against two different teams. On September 25, 2000, we played the White Sox to make up for a rained out game earlier that month. The game was rescheduled as a day game on the same day the Tribe was scheduled to host the Twins for a night game. We beat the White Sox 9-2 in the first game (and beating the White Sox is always a good thing) and lost to the Twins, 4-3 in the second.
* Bill Wambsganss made the only unassisted triple play in World Series history during the 1920 World Series (which the Indians won).
* We integrated the American League, signing Larry Doby, who made his major league debut on July 5, 1947, just a few months after Jackie Robinson integrate major league baseball.
* Babe Ruth hit his 500th home run in a game at League Park on August 11, 1929. (For the record, we won that one.)
* Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak ended in Cleveland on July 17, 1941. (We lost that one.)
* We hired the major league’s first African American manager, player-manager Frank Robinson, who managed the Indians from 1975-1977. In his first at-bat as player-manager, he showed the world what a stud he was by hitting a home run off the Yankees’ Doc Medich.
* We gave Satchel Paige his major league debut (July 9, 1948–two days after his 41st birthday).
I’m not too proud of the record we set yesterday, but some of these… yeah.
So, 161 games to go. Think of all the records yet to be set. Don’t look back (something might be gaining on you–probably the Tigers).