GOTW: Baseball’s 100,000th Game

September 6, 1963
D.C. Stadium
Cleveland Indians 68-75 6th AL vs
Washington Senators 50-90 10th AL

The Pre-Game

On May 4, 1871, 200 people gathered in Fort Wayne, Indiana watched their hometown Kekiongas baseball team defeat the Forest Citys from Cleveland. This was the first game played in the new National Association, and was considered the first Major League baseball game by historians.

92 years later, the same historians (or similar) determined that the 100,000th ML game was to be played on the night of September 6, 1963, either in Philadelphia, New York, or Washington.

Whether it was coincidence, or simply good planning, the three-year old Washington franchise scheduled a pre-game exhibition between a team of Hollywood All-Stars, led by Jerry Lewis, and a team of local television and radio personalities. The two inning charity tilt pushed the scheduled start of the Senators-Indians game back just enough to ensure that it would become the 100,000th game.

It was a good thing for Washington’s new Senators and Major League Baseball that the charity game was played, otherwise the 100,000 milestone would not have been well attended. The lowly Senators had lost 100+ games in each of their first two seasons, and were well on the way to eclipsing that mark in 1963. The poor play was reflected in the attendance numbers, which typically fell below the 5,000 mark.

Thanks to the pre-game exhibition, 12,054 fans were in D.C. Stadium to witness the historic game.

Managers
Birdie Tebbetts 8th season (1st with Cleveland) vs.
Gil Hodges 1st season (1st with Washington)

Pitchers
CLE Dick Donovan 11-11 4.23 ERA vs.
WAS Bennie Daniels 4-9 4.49 ERA

Indians Lineup 3.9 RPG
1. Dick Howser SS .263/.346/.314 1 HR
2. Tito Francona LF .236/.307/.356 10 HR
3. Max Alvis 3B .282/.332/.479 20 HR
4. Fred Whitfield 1B .243/.294/.470 17 HR
5. Joe Azcue C .287/.303/.474 12 HR
6. Willie Kirkland CF .233/.308/.337 15 HR
7. Bob Chance RF .000/.000/.000 0 HR (1 G)
8. Larry Brown 2B .250/.315/.359 5 HR
9. Dick Donovan P .141/.167/.203 1 HR

Senators Lineup 3.5 RPG
1. Don Blasingame 2B .250/.320/.321 1 HR
2. Minnie Minoso LF .219/.312/.302 3 HR
3. Jim King RF .237/.303/.466 23 HR
4. Don Lock CF .249/.332/.453 25 HR
5. Dick Phillips 1B .229/.292/.359 8 HR
6. Don Zimmer 3B .229/.283/.438 13 HR
7. Ken Retzer C .224/.283/.322 4 HR
8. Ed Brinkman SS .219/.266/.314 7 HR
9. Bennie Daniels P .162/.311/.162 0 HR

The Game

Senators Set Back Indians, 7-2, In 100,000th Big League Game

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6
(AP) – Baseball passed a milestone tonight as the Cleveland Indians met the Washington Senators in the 100,000th major league game. The first one was played 92 years ago, and Cleveland was in that one, too, and lost.

The Indians met with a similar fate 99,999 games later, dropping a 7-2 decision to the last-place Senators.

Bennie Daniels pitched a five-hitter and drove in a run with a double for Washington.

The Senators overcame a 2-1 deficit with four runs in the sixth. Ken Retzer drove in the first two with a single and Daniels batted in one with his double.

Two runs scored in the seventh on Don Lock’s 26th home run, singles by Dick Phillips and Don Zimmer and the third Cleveland error of the game.

Boxscore from RetroSheet:

Game Played on Friday, September 6, 1963 (N) at D.C. Stadium

CLE A    0  0  0    1  1  0    0  0  0  -   2  5  3
WAS A    0  0  1    0  0  4    2  0  x  -   7 12  2
BATTING
Cleveland Indians     AB   R   H RBI      BB  SO      PO   A
Howser ss              3   0   0   0       1   1       2   2
Francona lf            4   1   1   0       0   0       1   0
  Abernathy p          0   0   0   0       0   0       0   1
Alvis 3b               4   0   0   0       0   1       1   2
Whitfield 1b           3   0   0   0       1   0       6   0
  Martinez pr          0   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
Azcue c                4   0   1   1       0   1       8   1
Kirkland cf,rf         4   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
Chance rf              2   0   1   0       0   1       0   0
  Agee pr,cf           2   1   1   0       0   0       4   1
Brown 2b               3   0   1   0       1   0       1   1
Donovan p              2   0   0   0       0   1       0   1
  John p               0   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
  Luplow ph,lf         1   0   0   0       0   1       1   0
Totals                32   2   5   1       3   6      24   9
FIELDING - 
DP: 1. Agee-Azcue.
E: Francona (3), Alvis 2 (23).
BATTING - 
2B: Francona (26,off Daniels).
Team LOB: 6.
BASERUNNING - 
SB: Brown (3,2nd base off Daniels/Retzer).
Washington Senators   AB   R   H RBI      BB  SO      PO   A
Blasingame 2b          4   0   1   1       1   0       2   4
Minoso lf              4   0   1   1       0   1       1   0
King rf                4   0   0   0       0   0       2   0
Lock cf                4   1   1   1       0   0       5   0
Phillips 1b            3   2   2   0       1   0       7   1
Zimmer 3b              4   1   2   0       0   1       1   1
Retzer c               4   1   2   2       0   0       6   0
Brinkman ss            4   2   2   0       0   0       2   4
Daniels p              3   0   1   1       0   0       1   0
Totals                34   7  12   6       2   2      27  10
FIELDING - 
DP: 2. Zimmer-Blasingame-Phillips, Brinkman-Phillips.
E: Zimmer 2 (15).
BATTING - 
2B: Blasingame (7,off Donovan); Daniels (1,off Donovan).
HR: Lock (26,7th inning off Donovan 0 on 0 out).
SH: Daniels (6,off Donovan).
SF: Minoso (2,off Donovan).
IBB: Blasingame (1,by Donovan).
Team LOB: 7.
PITCHING
Cleveland Indians     IP     H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
Donovan L(11-12)       6    10   6   4   2   1   1
John                   1     2   1   0   0   0   0
Abernathy              1     0   0   0   0   1   0
Totals                 8    12   7   4   2   2   1
Washington Senators   IP     H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
Daniels W(5-9)         9     5   2   2   3   6   0
Donovan faced 1 batter in the 7th inning
IBB: Donovan (5,Blasingame).
Umpires: Hank Soar, Al Smith, Al Salerno, Jim Honochick
Time of Game: 2:25   Attendance: 12054

Stars of the Game
1. daniels.jpgBennie Daniels P WAS
2. retzer.jpgKen Retzer C WAS
3. phillips.jpgDick Phillips 1B WAS

The Post-Game
The 100,000 milestone was one of the few highlights for the 1963 Senators. The team somehow managed to lose even more games than they had in either of their first two seasons, finishing with a 56-106 record. Washington would not see a winning team until the end of the decade, the only winning season before the franchise relocated to Arlington for the 1972 season.

The Indians fared slightly better, finishing 1963 in sixth place in the AL (79-83). While they were able to sprinkle a few winning seasons in the 1960’s, the tribe and the city of Cleveland would have to wait until the mid-nineties to see meaningful October baseball.

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