You love baseball. Tim Kurkjian loves baseball. So while we await its return, every day we’ll provide you with a story or two tied to this date in baseball history.
ON THIS DATE IN 1867, Cy Young, after whom the pitching award was named, was born Denton True Young in Gilmore, Ohio. His nickname came from his cyclone-like motion in his delivery. He won 511 games, almost 100 more than anyone in major league history. He won 20 games 15 times and 30 games five times. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1937. He was named on 153 of 201 ballots. With 511 wins. And you thought the voting was harsh today.
The full “On this date …” archive
Denny McLain was born on this date in 1944. He won the Cy Young in 1968 and 1969. He is the only pitcher to win the MVP unanimously (1968), and he is the only MVP pitcher to have his catcher (Bill Freehan) finish second in the MVP voting that same season. McLain won 55 games in those two seasons, but he won only 131 in a career that ended at age 28.
Billy Beane, the president of baseball operations for the Oakland A’s, and a likely Hall of Fame executive one day, was born on this date in 1962. I played basketball with him at spring training. He was so good. And so competitive. He almost got into a fight in a pickup game.
Ted Kluszewski died on this date in 1988. Big Klu was one of the strongest men to ever play the game; he would cut off his uniform sleeves to show off his guns. He hit 49 homers in 1958. Luke Easter, a star with the Indians in the 1950s, was murdered on this date in 1979 at age 63. Terry Moore, a great defensive outfielder for the Cardinals, died on this date in 1995.
And the always lovable redhead, Rusty Staub, nicknamed “Le Grande Orange” from his days with the Expos, died on this date in 2018. Staub is the only player to have at least 500 hits for four different franchises: the Astros, Expos, Mets and Tigers. He, Ty Cobb, Gary Sheffield and Alex Rodriguez are the only players to homer as a teenager — and as a 40-year-old. Staub was an expert with fine wines, and he was a tremendous cook: He sometimes would take his pots and pans on road trips. He was a very warm, wonderful man.
“I knew Rusty had beaucoup power,” said Gene Mauch, one of Staub’s managers in Montreal, “before I knew what beaucoup meant.”
Other baseball notes from March 29
In 1975, the Yankees released Mel Stottlemyre, one of the greatest pitchers in franchise history. Stottlemyre is the last pitcher to get five hits in a game. He went 5-for-5 and threw a two-hit shutout against the Senators on Sept. 26, 1964.
And in 1984, the Yankees traded Graig Nettles to the Padres. Nettles was a great Yankee, one of the best defensive third baseman of all time. He also gave beloved teammate Mickey Rivers the nickname “Chance” not because Rivers was a big gambler, but because Nettles said Rivers was the least likely person to be named the chancellor at a university.