Today in Baseball history

1945 In a 7-1 victory over the Tigers, the Browns' Pete Gray, playing with one arm, makes his major league debut with one hit in four at-bats. The 30-year old St. Louis outfielder lost his right arm, as a child, when he slipped while riding on a farmer's wagon and his limb become entangled in the spokes of one of the wheels.

The presence of a one-armed white man playing major league ball helped bring about an end to baseball segregation by its sheer ridiculousness: you could not reasonably claim, as some people tried to, that black players with a full complement of their limbs just weren't good enough for the professional game.

Plus, it's Cap Anson's birthday. A member of the 1939 class in the Hall of Fame, first ballplayer to get 3,000 hits, and one of the men responsible for the color line in baseball due to his refusal to play teams that had black players on the field.

And a reminder that just because something happens in the year 2000 doesn't mean antebellum attitudes are gone:

2000 After serving a 12-game suspension for making disrespectful comments about minorities, John Rocker pitches a scoreless ninth inning against the Phillies in a 4-3, 12-inning home victory. The outspoken Braves' reliever is given a standing ovation as he enters the game.

That Rocker was an asshat is not news, but I'd forgotten the love he got from the Atlanta Braves fans: mind you, they didn't cheer him after he got his save, they did so as he came into the game. Makes me nostalgic for when their Southern Assocation team was aptly called the Crackers.

And in your Pacific Northwester news:

1942 Due to the fear of a Japanese attack, west coast military leaders ask the Pacific Coast League to limit crowds to 3,000 fans.

I wonder what the Rainiers were drawing that year. . .