Baseball History for July 3rd

<– JULY 02     JULY 04 —>


1861 William McLaughlin
1869 Nig Cuppy
1881 Fred Olmstead
1881 Cliff Curtis
1882 Bill Tozer
1882 Tom Tennant
1885 Jack Dalton
1886 Mike Balenti

I might have to spend time on this one – a quarterback at Carlisle Indian College who played with the more famous Jim Thorpe.  He was a great athlete (probably a better football player but the sport hadn’t gone professional yet) but not much of a hitter in baseball.  Spent a long time as a coach and was an inventor – he and his brother have two patents…

1888 Wese Callahan
1891 Joe Houser
1892 Bunny Brief

His real name was Anthony John Grezkowski, but his name kind of evolved over time.  Bunny, for example, was a poorly pronounced “Bunty”, but it worked.  His last name changed when he was a kid – I’d love to find a note on why and when.  And his middle name – who knows why it became Vincent.  It just did.

What Brief could do – at least in the minors – was hit.  He played minor league ball in his home town of Traverse City, MI and hit .350 in back to back seasons – during the deadball era!.  That got him a look with St. Louis, but he couldn’t stick with the Browns because he couldn’t hit .225.  He was really young, though – still a teen – and someone should have said “Give him time…”.  Instead, he went to the high minors of Kansas City and Salt Lake City where he hit over .300 with some extra base power.  But chances with the White Sox and Pirates didn’t work.

When he hit his prime years, the ball changed.  The 1920s were known for offense and a guy with some power could be devastating (especially in Kansas City and Salt Lake City, where there were short RF porches).  During that decade, Brief hit between .308 and .359 every year, and twice cleared 40 homers.  From 1919 to 1928, he hit 289 homers, and in the highest level of the minors, he hit .331 for his career with over 2500 hits.

Chris Rainey wrote his bio for SABR, and I bet he could put together 20,000 good words about his career and it’d be entertaining.

1893 Dickey Kerr
1896 Curt Walker
1897 Chet Nichols
1897 Heinie Sand
1900 Joe Brown
1904 Luke Hamlin
1914 Buddy Rosar
1920 Al Montgomery
1920 Paul O’Dea
1922 Howie Schultz
1922 Art Fowler
1930 Al Pilarcik
1930 Jim Westlake
1931 Ed Roebuck
1940 Coco Laboy
1940 Cesar Tovar
1941 Casey Cox
1948 Phil Meeler
1950 Rob Ellis
1952 Ryan Kurosaki
1952 John Verhoeven
1953 Frank Tanana
1955 Matt Keough
1955 Jeff Rineer
1956 Larry Whisenton
1957 Danny Heep
1959 Kurt Kepshire
1960 Jack Daugherty
1963 Don August
1964 Warren Newson
1965 Greg Vaughn
1966 Moises Alou
1968 Mike Farmer
1975 Christian Parker
1978 Juan Rivera
1980 John Koronka
1981 Dan Meyer
1982 Logan Kensing
1983 Edinson Volquez
1985 Greg Reynolds
1986 Tommy Hunter
1987 Zach Putnam
1987 Casey Coleman
1990 Brandon Maurer
1995 Robert Dugger
1996 Cole Tucker


1891 John Cassidy
1924 Ed Householder
1929 Bill McClellan
1936 Bill Niles
1940 John Stafford
1941 Tom McCreery
1944 Pete McBride
1944 Charlie Reynolds
1948 Charles Witherow
1950 Ed Donalds
1951 Hugh Casey
1952 Fred Tenney
1957 Dolf Luque
1958 Paul Smith
1959 Red Barnes
1960 Bill Killefer
1962 Jimmy Walsh
1965 Hank Robinson
1968 Pat Simmons
1969 Hunky Shaw
1969 Harry Spratt
1972 Leroy Herrmann
1975 Ed Johnson
1981 George Knothe
1982 Spence Harris
1986 Bill McCahan
1992 George Staller
1993 Don Drysdale
1997 Rufe Gentry
2002 Earl Francis
2019 Gary Kolb


1912 Rube Marquard won his 19th consecutive game to start the season by beating Brooklyn. The Giant lefty would win only seven more decisions the rest of the way.

1936 Ted Williams gets a single for his first professional hit; then stays in to pitch relief for San Diego of the PCL.

1947 Cleveland purchases Larry Doby from the Newark Eagles.  Doby would become the American League’s first African-American player.

1966 Reds Pitcher Tony Cloninger hits a pair of grand slams and drives in nine runs in a 17 – 3 win over the Giants.

Aside from being the first NL player (and first pitcher) to hit a pair of grand slams in a game, the nine RBIs beat the old record for pitchers by two (Vic Raschi, 1953).  In the fifth inning, the Braves got two runners on base and #8 hitter Dennis Menke came to the plate.  The crowd called for Menke to be walked so Cloninger could get a shot at a third slam.  When Menke was retired, the crowd booed.

Here’s something you probably didn’t know:  Cloninger had been red hot as a hitter heading into that game.  If you add in his previous three starts, Cloninger had four homers and eighteen (!) RBIs over those four games.

Minshew, Wayne. “A ‘Grand Day’ For Cloninger”, Atlanta Constitution, 04 July 1966, Pages 49, 53.

1968 Luis Tiant fans 19 in a 10-inning complete game win over the Twins. The Indians won, 1 – 0.

1970 Angels pitcher Clyde Wright fires a no-hitter to beat the A’s, 4 – 0.


1951 The Yankees sign amateur Johnny Blanchard.

1989 Montreal signs amateur pitcher Antonio Alfonseca.

1999 Chicago signs amateur pitcher Carlos Marmol.

2008 Texas signed amateur Odubel Herrera.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s