Last week, Frederic J. Frommer at the Washington Post looked back to a memorable Negro Leagues doubleheader in the summer of 1945 between the Homestead Grays and Kansas City Monarchs, in which Jackie Robinson went 7-for-7 with a pair of doubles for Kansas City.
The event drew 18,000 fans at Griffith Stadium, more than double the average attendance of the Washington Senators that year (8,367) in the very same ballpark.
Seven Hall of Famers were involved in the games — Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, Cool Papa Bell and Jud Wilson for Homestead; Robinson, Satchel Paige and Hilton Smith for the Monarchs.
From Frommer’s article, a Washington Post report in advance of the game said, “Robinson not only is shaping up as a consistent hitter with tremendous power, but also is fitting neatly [at shortstop] despite his big frame. The big fellow is amazingly agile, is a smooth and graceful defensive man and has one of the best throwing arms in baseball.”
This game in Washington D.C. was two months before Robinson would meet with Brooklyn general manager Branch Rickey, and four months before he signed with the Montreal Royals, a Dodgers minor league affiliate.
Freddie Freeman’s return to Atlanta was recounted by Alden Gonzalez at ESPN. Said Braves pitcher Ian Anderson, who was on the mound when Freeman got a one-minute standing ovation before his first at-bat Friday, said, “He deserved every second of it.”
Along those same lines, without hearing or seeing how this was said, or that it was not followed up on later in the article, I will simply present this Clayton Kershaw quote to Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “It was very cool (to see Freeman’s reception Friday night),” Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw told The AJC. “He’s obviously been a big contributor for our team. And I hope we’re not second fiddle. It’s a pretty special team over here, too. I think whenever he gets comfortable over here, he’ll really enjoy it. It was a good night for him (Friday).”
On this date in 1939, the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves fought to a 2-2 tie in 23 innings, which featured Brooklyn right-hander Whit Wyatt pitch 16 innings and rookie right fielder Art Parks had four hits and two walks in his first game of the season. Quipped Tommy Holmes in the Brooklyn Eagle, “Some of the athletes were checking messages informing them they had become grandfathers in the course of the battle and immediately after Umpire Babe PInelli called the game Johnny Cooney of the Bees applied for his social security pension.” At the time, this was the third-longest game in major league history. The Dodgers and Braves were also the combatants in the longest game, a 26-inning affair in 1920 that featured complete games by both starting pitchers.
Kris Bryant, who has missed 50 games this season on two injured list stints with a lower back strain, is expected to rejoin the Rockies and could be activated to play in the series against the Dodgers that begins Monday in Denver. Thomas Harding of MLB.com has more.
The other side of the Mookie Betts trade was examined by Chris Cotillo at Mass Live. Alex Verdugo said, “I didn’t think I was going to get traded from the Dodgers and I didn’t feel like I should have been the guy to get traded. Obviously, being traded, you do sit back and say, ‘At least, I got traded for (expletive) Mookie Betts.’ But yeah, I never had that ‘Holy (expletive)!’ (moment). I just figured, (expletive), I got traded, man, this sucks. Then I came over here and was like ‘Holy (expletive), this was a blessing.’”