On August 20, 1974, Nolan Ryan fans 19 Tigers in an 11-inning loss to Detroit at Anaheim Stadium. Ryan whiffs every Tiger batter at least once, victimizing Ron LeFlore four times. The 19 K”s tie a major league record, held by Steve Carlton. Despite Ryan”s efforts for the Angels, Mickey Lolich goes the distance to win the game, 1-0.
On August 20, 1967, Kansas City A’s owner Charlie Finley fires manager Alvin Dark after reports of rowdy behavior on a team flight. Finley meets with Dark, re-hires him, fires him again, and then hires Luke Appling as his successor. Dark will return to manage the A’s in 1974, when he leads them to the World Championship.
On August 20, 1964, New York Yankees infielder Phil Linz becomes embroiled in controversy when he begins to play “Mary Had A Little Lamb” on his harmonica during the team’s post-game bus ride. Linz draws the wrath of Yankee manager Yogi Berra, who slaps the harmonica out of Linz’ hands. The Yankees had lost their game earlier in the day, 5-0, to the Chicago White Sox.
On August 20, 1961, the Philadelphia Phillies set a modern day record by losing their 23rd consecutive game. In their latest setback, the Phillies fall to the Milwaukee Braves, 5-2, in the first game of a doubleheader. The Phillies will end the losing streak in the nightcap.
On August 20, 1958, Dale Long of the Chicago Cubs becomes the first left-handed catcher in the major leagues since 1902. Normally a first baseman, Long is summoned to go behind the plate after Sammy Taylor is lifted for a pinch-hitter and Cal Neeman is ejected.
On August 20, 1957, 35-year-old Bob Keegan of the Chicago White Sox hurls a no-hitter against the Washington Senators. Keegan walks just two batters in nailing down a 6-0 victory.
On August 20, 1946, the fastball of Cleveland Indians’ ace Bob Feller is clocked at 98.6 miles per hour by a U.S. Army device. The speed of Feller’s fastball surpasses that of Atley Donald, once clocked at 94 miles per hour.
On August 20, 1938, Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees hits the 23rd and final grand slam of his career, establishing a major league record. Gehrig drives in six runs to pace the Yankees to an 11-3 victory over the Philadelphia Athletics.
On August 20, 1916, the New York Giants trade first baseman Fred Merkle, of “Merkle’s Boner” infamy, to the Brooklyn Robins for catcher Lew McCarty. In 1908, Merkle’s baserunning blunder played a major part in costi