Today in Baseball History: May 15th
On May 15, 2008, Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun signed a record-setting deal. Braun inked an eight-year, $45 million contract, making him the highest paid player in franchise history. More importantly, Braun became the first player with less than a year of major league service to sign such a long or valuable deal.
On May 15, 1981, Len Barker of the Cleveland Indians pitches a perfect game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Barker wins a 3-0 decision in hurling the first perfect game since Jim “Catfish” Hunter’s masterpiece in 1968. Only 7,290 attend the game at Municipal Stadium.
On May 15, 1973, Nolan Ryan of the California Angels hurls the first of his seven career no-hitters. Ryan strikes out 12 batters on his way to a 3-0 victory over Kansas City. In an interesting twist, Jeff Torborg, who caught Sandy Koufax’ last no-hitter, serves as the catcher for Ryan’s first gem.
On May 15, 1971, Hall of Fame outfielder Leon “Goose” Goslin dies at the age of 70. The former Washington Senators’ and Detroit Tigers’ star batted .316 over an 18-year major league career and hit seven home runs in World Series play. Goslin won election to the Hall of Fame in 1968.
On May 15, 1960, Chicago Cubs right-hander Don Cardwell hurls a no-hitter. Cardwell defeats the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-0, at Wrigley Field. Cardwell, a recent trade acquisition from the Philadelphia Phillies, becomes the first man to pitch a no-hitter in his first start after being traded.
On May 15, 1952, Virgil “Fire” Trucks of the Detroit Tigers pitches the first no-hitter of his major league career. The 33-year-old right-hander achieves baseball immortality against the Washington Senators. Trucks had fired four no-hitters during his minor league career.
On May 15, 1951, the Detroit Tigers acquire pitcher Bob Cain from the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Saul Rogovin. Cain will win 11 games for the Tigers in 1951, but will gain most of his fame for pitching to Eddie Gaedel of the St. Louis Browns on August 19. Cain will walk the diminutive Gaedel-making his only major league plate appearance-on four pitches.
On May 15, 1941, Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees starts his record-setting 56-game hitting streak by collecting a single in four at-bats against the Chicago White Sox. DiMaggio’s first victim is Sox pitcher Ed Smith.
On May 15, 1935, future Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig steals home during the New York Yankees’ 4-0 victory. The run-scoring steal is the last of Gehrig’s 15 career stolen bases of home plate, all of which come as part of double steals.
On May 15, 1918, Walter Johnson pitches an 18-inning shutout against the Chicago White Sox. Johnson, the ace of the Washington Senators’ staff, outduels Claude “Lefty” Williams, 1-0, in pitching the longest shutout victory in major league history.