National League President Ford C. Frick demonstrates that the revised “balata ball” used in the major leagues is livelier than the previous year’s ball by bouncing it on a carpet in his office. MLB turned to the balata ball because of wartime restrictions on the supplies used to make standard baseballs.
For the 2nd time in two years, the St. Louis Cardinals sign free-agent P Barney Schultz to enable him to qualify for pension time. Schultz was released last October 8th. He did not pitch in either season. Baseball has not always acted and operated like a “business.”
The players almost outnumber the fans at Wrigley Field, as the Cubs draw just 440 for a game with the Reds. Chicago wins, 9-3, behind Ken Holtzman, with Sammy Ellis taking the loss. Between 1959 and 1966 there were 11 Wrigley games, all in late September, with an announced attendance of less than 1,000.
The Giants beat the Astros 8-6 in the first game of a doubleheader at Candlestick Park. In the second inning, Houston’s Bob Watson scores what is calculated as MLB’s millionth run of all time. Philadelphia’s Wes Fisler scored the first run on April 22, 1876.
1966 A crowd of 44, 468, including Vice President Hubert Humphrey, attends a historic opener at Washington. Emmett Ashford becomes the major league’s first black umpire in the Cleveland Indians’ 5-2 win against the Senators, 19 years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier.
August A. Busch buys the Cardinals for $3.75 million and pledges not to move the team from St. Louis. In April of 2018, Forbes estimated the value of the franchise, currently owned by Bill DeWitt Jr. as approaching two billion dollars.
1936 Tweaks to the game are nothing new. The American League (AL) approves night baseball for St. Louis. The National League adopts a new design for home plate. It will have beveled edges, the first change in 50 years. The AL also adopts a rule stating that no batter can be batting champion unless he has 400 or more at bats.