Year In Review : 1906 American League
Off the field...
More than five-hundred people were killed during the great San Francisco earthquake, which struck the "City by the Bay" on the morning of April 18 at 5:15 AM. Modern analysis estimated the tremors to register at an 8.25 on the Richter scale (By comparison, the quake that hit San Francisco on October 17, 1989 registered 6.7). The greatest destruction came from the fires that were ignited and the ensuing inferno ravaged the city for three days before burning out. In the end, the maelstrom destroyed four-hundred ninety city blocks, a total of 25,000 buildings and rendered over 250,000 residents homeless. Damage estimates topped $350,000,000.
In the American League...
The New York ban on Sunday baseball was temporarily lifted on April 29th as the Highlanders and Philadelphia Athletics played a benefit game for the victims of the San Francisco earthquake, raising $5,600.
St. Louis Browns first baseman Tom Jones recorded an American League record twenty-two putouts on May 11th against the Boston Red Sox. New York Highlander Hal Chase tied the record four months later (September 21), but would not be matched himself until Yankee captain Don Mattingly duplicated the effort during a 7-1 win over the Minnesota Twins in June of 1987.
In August, the Boston Americans set an unwanted Major League record after suffering four straight shutout losses (0-3 on August 2; 0-4 on August 3; 0-1 on August 4 and 0-4 on August 6).
In the National League...
On April 12th, Boston Braves outfielder Johnny Bates became the first modern player to hit a home run in his first Major League at bat. The inaugural round tripper came courtesy of Dodger Harry McIntire who lost twenty games or more in three seasons with Brooklyn's miserable turn-of-the-century teams.
New York Giants pitcher Hooks Wilste became the first pitcher of the modern era to strike out four batters in a single inning (after a third-strike error) en route to a twelve-K, 4-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. He also fanned the side in the fourth inning for a total of seven batters struck out in just two innings for the first and only time in Major League history.
On October 4th, the Cubs recorded their one-hundred sixteenth victory of the year. The 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates gave Chicago a 60-15-road record with a .800 percentage mark that has never been equaled. They also became the first team to finish with fewer than two-hundred errors and their pitching staff combined for a league-leading 1.76 ERA.
Around the league...
In an effort to curb accusations and/or suspicions of tampering, a new rule was set putting the umpire in sole charge of all game balls. (The home team manager previously had some say as to when a new ball was introduced).
Harry Pulliam was unanimously re-elected president of the National League with an increased salary of $10,000. The American League increased Ban Johnson's salary to $15,000 for the remaining four years of his contract.
Hank O'Day, a National League umpire unsuccessfully proposed that the batter's box be outlined with white rubber strips (rather than chalk) to prevent batters from erasing them with their spikes.