25 Apr

and so it begins

On this date in 1901, the Detroit Tigers played their first official major league game in front of 10,023 fans in Bennett Park. (Major League Baseball formally entered its modern era in 1901, when the fledgling American League, of which Detroit was a member, gained major league status.) Sport McAllister, a native of Austin, Miss., was on the Tigers’ roster on April 25, 1901 – he was the only Mississippian in the “bigs” that year – and though he didn’t play, he did witness an amazing game. Detroit scored 10 runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 14-13; that feat still stands as the biggest ninth-inning comeback in major league history. McAllister, a versatile switch-hitter, hit .301 for the Tigers that season and played five different positions. That was his fifth major league season; he had played four years in the National League prior to 1900, including a season with the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, with whom he witnessed something else very distinctive. The ’99 Spiders, who won only 20 of their 154 games, are generally regarded as the worst team in major league history.

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