On April 17, 1953, Mickey Mantle hit a home run off Washington lefty Chuck Stobbs that cleared the left-field stands in Griffith Stadium. The blast gave rise to the term "tape-measure homer," largely because Mantle and Yankees publicist Red Patterson later posed for a photo with a prop designed to look like a tape measure. … Continue reading Mickey Mantle and D.C.
When Babe Ruth set a major league record with 29 home runs in 1919, his total topped what was generally recognized as the previous mark: the 25 home runs hit by baseball’s first real power hitter: Buck Freeman of the Washington Senators. Freeman hit his 25 round-trippers, playing for the 11th-place team in the 1899 … Continue reading Buck Freeman, first true power hitter
George Selkirk became the expansion Senators second general manager on Nov. 21, 1962. He succeeded Ed Doherty, who had been fired at the end of the 1962 season by then Senators majority owner Elwood R. “Pete” Quesada. As a player, Selkirk, nicknamed “Twinkletoes” because of his running style, had replaced Babe Ruth as the Yankees … Continue reading George Selkirk molded the expansion Nats
These are books I'd recommend about the history of baseball in Washington: “The Washington Senators,’’ by Morris A. Bealle (1947, Columbia Publishing Company), long out of print, subtitled “An 87-year History of the World’s Oldest Baseball Club and Most Incurable Fandom’’ “The Washington Senators,’’ by Shirley Povich (1954, G.P. Putnam & Sons), subtitled "An informal … Continue reading Books About Washington Baseball
In the 1960s, teams had a dubious opportunity that hadn’t been afforded since the 19th century: a chance to finish 9th or 10th. From 1961 to ’68 in A.L. and ’62 to ’68 in the N.L., the leagues had 10 teams each with no divisions, which produced 30 chances to finish where nobody had been … Continue reading Ninth and Tenth Place
Walter “Boom Boom” Beck was the Senators’ pitching coach from 1957 through 1959. He was hired in the fall of 1956 by Chuck Dressen, the Nats’ manger at the time and, like Beck, a native of Decatur, Ill. When Cookie Lavagetto replaced Dressen early in 1957, Boom Boom stayed on. Beck helped Camilo Pascual develop … Continue reading “Boom Boom” Beck and Camilo Pascual
Most of those familiar with baseball history know that cavernous Griffith Stadium, home of the original Washington American League team from its opening until 1960 and to the expansion Senators in 1961, was a difficult place to hit a ball out of the park. That was especially true before Calvin Griffith moved the fences in … Continue reading Griffith Stadium Home Runs