Today in Baseball History, we get the beginning of one of the most pernicious aspects of Baseball in America:
1910 At American League Park II in Washington, D.C., William Taft becomes the first president to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Senator legend Walter Johnson one-hits the A's, 3-0 in the season opener.
Nothing sucks like forced patriotism. Especially since 9/11, the whole bullshit has gotten worse: adding "God Bless America" to the pre-game songs every Sunday (every day at Yankee Stadium, if I recall correctly), children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, fly-overs by jet fighters, fuck. I half-joke that teams no longer offer a rain check on the back of the tickets: instead, it's a loyalty oath. And to think, before the Great War, it was unheard of for the National Anthem to be associated with sports: was considered undignified.
But at least some other interesting things happened once upon a time today. The team Bud Selig thought he would get before he hijacked the Pilots played their first home game on this date:
1969 In the first regular season game played outside the United States, the Expos play their first home game, treating 29,184 fans at Jarry Park to an 8-7 win over St. Louis. Montreal moundsman Larry Jaster throws baseball's first international pitch to Cardinal left fielder Lou Brock.
When the expansion envelopes were being dramatically opened, Selig saw the "M" of "Montreal" and thought for sure it meant "Milwaukee." Nope, had to wait to steal Seattle's Pilots. And a team should've gone to Milwaukee in the first place, since Montreal was never really a baseball town, and eventually they lost the franchise to Washington DC.
And one of the villain/heroes of the Black Sox Scandal, Eddie Cicotte, on this date:
1917 White Sox hurler Eddie Cicotte no-hits the Browns, 11-0. The Michigan native will finish the season with twenty-eight wins.
Legend has it that he got only 28 victories in 1917 because cheapskate ChiSox owner Charles Comiskey had him benched to avoid paying a promised bonus for a 30-win season.