April 11, 1966: Emmett Ashford’s debut came at D.C. Stadium

Emmett Ashford had trouble getting into D.C. Stadium on April 11, 1966, to become the first Black umpire in the Major Leagues. A Secret Service detail protecting Vice President Hubert Humphrey, there to throw out opening day’s ceremonial first pitch, stopped Ashford under the grandstands as he entered the stadium. “Listen, there are no Negro … Continue reading April 11, 1966: Emmett Ashford’s debut came at D.C. Stadium

Chick Gandil, before the Black Sox

Before he became the key figure in the Black Sox scandal, Arnold “Chick” Gandil played a leading role in lifting the Washington Senators to respectability in the American League. While Walter Johnson’s pitching is rightly seen as the most important element of Washington’s rise, Gandil’s  bat and glove can’t be overlooked. From 1912 to 1915, … Continue reading Chick Gandil, before the Black Sox

In 1933, Joe Cronin had a record 13 hit in 3 games

In his first year as a playing manager, Joe Cronin had a charmed season. Already an established star, he had doubts that he could both manage and play at the level he had become accustomed to. He needn’t have worried. Cronin led the Griffith franchise to its third – and last – pennant, hit .309 … Continue reading In 1933, Joe Cronin had a record 13 hit in 3 games

Ted’s poor 1946 World Series: “The Curse of Mickey Haefner” 

Mickey Haefner was a decent lefty pitcher for an up-and-down Washington team from 1943 to ’49.  He won 10 or more games five seasons in a row, topping out at 16 in 1945.  No taller than 5-foot-7 (not 5-8, as he himself confirmed in 1943), his nickname was “Itsy-Bitsy.” Despite the “last in American League” … Continue reading Ted’s poor 1946 World Series: “The Curse of Mickey Haefner” 

George “Bingo” Binks and 1945

As a 30-year-old in 1945, George Alvin “Bingo” Binks was the American League’s top rookie batter. He hit .278 in 145 games. His 32 doubles ranked second in the A.L. His 81 runs batted in, tops on the Senators, were fifth in the league. Yet he is best remembered for a fielding blunder that critics … Continue reading George “Bingo” Binks and 1945

Charlie Brotman, voice of the Senators and the inaugurals

Charlie Brotman grew up in D.C. and graduated from McKinley Tech High School in 1946. After two years in the Navy, he decided he wanted to be a sports announcer. “Who didn’t?”  he once told an interviewer, so he enrolled at the National Academy of Broadcasting in the District, in addition to attending classes at … Continue reading Charlie Brotman, voice of the Senators and the inaugurals

Record of 12 straight hits reached at Griffith Stadium July 15, 1952

Does any individual achievement deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak? Given that nobody before or after his 1941 record has come near it, the answer is clearly "no." Yet of all the multi-game records of shorter duration, another far less heralded feat continues to stand the test … Continue reading Record of 12 straight hits reached at Griffith Stadium July 15, 1952

Soto, at 23, was in a class by himself

Juan Soto turned 23 on October 25, 2021. Although he finished second to Bryce Harper for the National League 2021 Most Valuable Player award*, he set or extended a number of statistical marks during a trying season for the Washington Nationals. In November, for the second year in a row, fans helped vote him onto … Continue reading Soto, at 23, was in a class by himself

A hospital’s mini-tribute to Griffith Stadium

After Washington's Griffith Stadium was torn down in February 1965, nearby Howard University acquired the 8.5-acre property for $1.5 million, to build what is now a 250-bed teaching hospital. A historic marker noting existence of the stadium from 1911 until its demolition finally was placed outside the hospital in 2011, but nothing more. In 2013, … Continue reading A hospital’s mini-tribute to Griffith Stadium

May 30-June 18, 1912: A doormat no more, Washington wins a record 17 in a row

When Clark Griffith was persuaded in the fall of 1911 to take charge of Washington’s American League franchise as manager and part owner, the team had never won more than 67 games or finished higher than sixth place. The Senators, as everybody called them despite attempts to jettison the name, had finished seventh in 1911 … Continue reading May 30-June 18, 1912: A doormat no more, Washington wins a record 17 in a row

The self-inflicted wounds of the 2021 season

After concluding in late July that the Nationals were not going to compete for a post-season berth, team president and general manager Mike Rizzo jettisoned eight key players on the 2021 team: future Hall-of-Famer Max Scherzer, all-star shortstop Trea Turner, record-setting slugger Kyle Schwarber, veteran utility man Josh Harrison. starting catcher Yan Gomes, closer Brad … Continue reading The self-inflicted wounds of the 2021 season

The last Senators’ game and Howard’s homer

Every Washington baseball fan old enough can remember it. Those younger undoubtedly have heard about it: the last game played by the Senators, September 30, 1971, at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium. A week earlier, American League owners had given the financial-cheat owner, Bob Short, permission to move the expansion franchise to Arlington, Texas. Many of … Continue reading The last Senators’ game and Howard’s homer

Expansion Nats’ finale not the only Washington forfeit

The expansion Nats famously had to forfeit the final game, September 30, 1971, at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium. The Senators, already scheduled to move to Texas for the 1972 season, were an out away from beating the Yankees, 7-5, in an otherwise meaningless season finale. Angry fans stormed the field and made off with the … Continue reading Expansion Nats’ finale not the only Washington forfeit

First umpire to wear glasses did it at Griffith Stadium — in 1956

Ed Rommel, a knuckleballer who won 171 games in 13 seasons beginning in 1920, later spent 22 years as an American League umpire. On April 18, 1956, he became the first umpire in the 20th Century to wear eyeglasses during a game. His groundbreaking move, unnoticed at the time, came at Griffith Stadium on a … Continue reading First umpire to wear glasses did it at Griffith Stadium — in 1956

July 31, 2018: Nationals score a record 25 runs

The 2018 season at the trade deadline hadn’t gone as Dave Martinez had hoped in his first year managing the Nationals. His team, the preseason favorite to repeat as N.L. East champions, were in third place, a game under .500, on July 31. Other than dumping reliever Brandon Kintzler’s salary on the Cubs, General Manager … Continue reading July 31, 2018: Nationals score a record 25 runs

Sept. 11, 1949: Nats pitchers set dubious record, walking 11 Yankees in one inning

Two years after finishing fourth – the Griffith franchise’s last time in the first division – Washington fell to the A.L. basement with 104 losses. On September 11, 1949, the Senators were in New York to play their second doubleheader in two days against the Yankees. The first-place Yanks began the day a game up … Continue reading Sept. 11, 1949: Nats pitchers set dubious record, walking 11 Yankees in one inning

May 8, 2016: Harper’s seven times up with no at-bats

On May 8, 2016, at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, the Nationals’ Bryce Harper became the first player in major league history to reach base seven times without an official at-bat. He also became the fourth player to be walked six times in a game. Harper was hit by a pitch the one time he didn’t walk. … Continue reading May 8, 2016: Harper’s seven times up with no at-bats

Kyle Schwarber’s record-setting month

Nationals’ slugger Kyle Schwarber was well known for his prodigious power before coming to Washington from the Cubs. After a slow start, Schwarber had a June 2021 that shattered or matched a number of home-run records. He was a clear choice for N.L. Player of the Month. His 12 home runs in 10 games tied … Continue reading Kyle Schwarber’s record-setting month

Ruth hit his last Yankee homer at Griffith Stadium

Babe Ruth appeared in 171 games at the ballpark that became known as Griffith Stadium, including his last two in a Yankees’ uniform – September 29 and 30, 1934. His homer in the first game of a doubleheader on September 29, a three-run shot, was the last he hit as a Yankee. My 1961 Fleer … Continue reading Ruth hit his last Yankee homer at Griffith Stadium

Jim Kaat, last of the Griffith Nats, is finally a Hall-of-Famer

updated Dec. 5, 2021 On April 27, 1960, at Yankee Stadium, 21-year-old left-hander Jim Kaat gave up three hits and one earned run in seven innings as the Senators beat Hall-of-Famer Whitey Ford. It was Kaat’s only win in a Washington uniform over parts of the 1959 and ’60 seasons. 1960 Topps card Kaat was … Continue reading Jim Kaat, last of the Griffith Nats, is finally a Hall-of-Famer