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

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

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