Today marks the 110th anniversary of the first games played in the old American Association, a league which was originally created in November 1901. On April 23, 1902, the eight new teams took the field in four American Association cities, donning new togs and creating a new baseball tradition which would last through 1952 in its original form (with exceptions).
Here are the results of the games from the first day of American Association play:
At Columbus, Ohio
Site: Neil Park
Winning pitcher: Wiley Dunham
Losing pitcher: Ted Corbett
Synopsis: While both teams had only three hits apiece, the Millers committed eight errors. According to Sporting Life: "Both pitchers were in great form, and batting honors were even. The locals, however, gave Dunham superb support, while the fielding behind Corbett was very ragged. Not a Minneapolis runner reached third, and only one got as far as second."
At Indianapolis, Indiana
Site: East Washington Street Park
Winning Pitcher: Win Kellum
Losing Pitcher: Claude Elliott
Synopsis: Milwaukee held the advantage throughout the game until the Indians' eighth when they scored three runs. As reported in Sporting Life, "Over 3,500 people attended the opening game of the American Association campaign. Indianapolis pulled out a victory in the eighth on clean hitting and a couple of gifts. Elliott went in the air and Altrock could not save the game. Kellum pitched strong ball and won his game on stick work." In fact, Kellum had three hits in four at-bats to aid in his own cause, including a double. The Brewers had a home run from lead-off man Bill Hallman, their left-fielder. The Indians committed five errors, while the Brewers muffed two plays.
Ironically, Hallman died on April 23, 1950.
At Louisville, Kentucky
Site: Eclipse Park
Kansas City Blues.....16
Winning Pitcher: Wilbert "Barney" Wolfe
Losing Pitcher: Ed "Davy" Dunkle
Synopsis: The visiting Kansas City Blues knocked the air out of Louisville's Opening Day sails by putting a snowman up in the first frame off starter Dunkle. The Colonels scored three in their half and after one full frame the score was 8-3, Kansas City. But the Blues had a penchant for scoring that day, and after three innings, the advantage continued to grow to a 12-4 lead. In the sixth, the Blues added four more, and by that time the Colonels pretty much had the life sucked out of them. On the day, the Blues had 14 hits to Louisville's ten. Left-fielder Elmer "Mike" Smith homered for the Blues for his only hit of the day. Attendance: 5,000
At Toledo, Ohio
Site: Armory Park
St. Paul Saints............7
Toledo Mud Hens......8
Winning Pitcher: Homer Mock
Losing Pitcher: Charlie Chech
Red Kleinow's walk-off home run in the 11th inning secured the victory for Mock and the Mud Hens in this dramatic opening contest. St. Paul opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the opening frame, then tacked on another in the second and another pair in the third. The Hens, down 5-0, struck back in the third and made it a 5-4 game. Toledo caught up with two runs in the ninth inning, sending the game into extras in front of a crowd of 1,500. Kleinow's long-ball was his third hit in five at-bats that day. St. Paul out-flubbed the Hens, 4-2 in a game which required two hours, thirty minutes to execute, the longest tilt of the afternoon.
That was 110 years ago today in the American Association!