This Day in Baseball History: June 23rd, 1917

His 15 minutes of fame.

On June 23, 1917:

Ernie Shore kind of throws a perfect game.

If you didn’t know, Babe Ruth used to pitch, and he was actually pretty good. He broke into the majors at the ripe young age of 19 in 1914. The following season, he pitched in 32 games (28 starts) and went 18-8 with a 2.44 ERA (114 ERA+) while striking out 170 and walking 118. Because he could, he bettered his 1915 season with a spectacular 1916 season. Ruth won 23 while sporting a league-best 1.74 ERA (158 ERA+) in 323.2 innings with a league-best 9 shutouts. Ruth’s 1917 season wasn’t too bad, either, as he won 24 with a league-best 35 complete games. Over the next two seasons, he would slowly become more of an everyday player as his hitting prowess became too much to ignore. For his career, he won 94 games with an ERA of 2.28 (good enough for a 122 ERA+).

Ernie Shore was a pretty good pitcher himself. He won 63 career games with an ERA of 2.47 (114 ERA+). But on one night, he was extraordinary — in relief of the legendary Ruth. Facing the first batter of the game, Ruth walked the batter, but he wasn’t happy about the call. Never one to back down, Ruth confronted the umpire, who apparently didn’t back down either. Ruth was ejected along with his catcher, and on the way out, Ruth punched the umpire for good measure. Scrambling, the Red Sox sent out Shore in relief. The leadoff man tried to steal second, but the new catcher cut him down. 26 hitters later, Shore and the Red Sox walked off with the victory without so much as a scratch. The Washington Senators took the 4-0 loss.

Ruth was suspended for 10 games and fined $100, and he would issue a public apology. The Red Sox went on to finish second in the American League, and Ruth only hit 2 home runs in 123 at-bats. He still managed a nifty .857 OPS. His OPS never went below that until 1935. Shore went on to win 13 games for the Red Sox that season. He didn’t play in 1918 as a result of being in the military. Shore returned in 1919 and 1920, but he wasn’t the same. He, however, went on to do great things for baseball. While Sheriff in North Carolina, he worked for a stadium and a minor-league team for Winston-Salem, and the city repaid him by naming the stadium after him. Wake Forest now plays there.

Trivia Time
Only because I love Kentucky connections, what player became the first Mariner to hit for the cycle on this date?

Yesterday’s Answer –> Rick Sutcliffe

For more trivia fun, Kevin over at DMB World Series Replay is running an actual trivia contest with an actual prize. Head over and try your hand.


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