Fastballs and Fireworks

July 4, 1776 is one of the most important days in American history. The Declaration of Independence was signed and the United States of America was born. However for baseball fans, July 4th falls right in the middle of the season, which has often led to some exciting and historic matchups throughout the years. And what better place to celebrate American Independence than in the Nation’s Capital? The following are some of the most famous July 4th clashes that have occurred among the various Washington, DC teams.


July 4, 1932

Griffith Stadium, Washington, DC

The Washington Nationals took on the American League leading New York Yankees in an Independence Day doubleheader. In the second game, Yankees catcher Bill Dickey punched and broke Senators outfielder Carl Reynolds’ jaw during a close play at home plate. The Senators took both games of the twin bill, 5-3 and 12-6, and Dickey got a 30-day suspension and a $1,000 fine. Reynolds, who missed seven weeks due to the injury, still went on to set a career-high in doubles (28) while batting .305 with 63 RBI.


Fireworks-1.jpgJuly 4, 1934

Greenlee Field, Pittsburgh, PA

Hall of Famer Satchel Paige of the Pittsburgh Crawfords dazzled the Homestead Grays by pitching a no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader. After walking Buck Leonard in the first inning, he went on to retire the rest of the Grays’ lineup, except for one batter, who reached on an error. The Crawfords beat the Grays 4-0 and Paige struck out seventeen, marking the first time the Grays had ever been no-hit. “Somebody kept shooting off firecrackers every time I got another batter out,” Paige said of the game.


July 4, 1960

Fireworks-2.jpgGriffith Stadium, Washington, DC

Once again, the New York Yankees came into Washington as American League leaders and this time they brought heavy-hitting Mickey Mantle with them. Mantle wasted no time showing off his offensive prowess by hitting a three-run home run, the 300th of his career and the 20th of the season, in the first inning, making him the 18th person at that time to reach the 300 home run plateau. However it wasn’t enough for the Yankees, as they walked third baseman Reno Bertoia with two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth to secure a Senators win, 9-8.


fireworks-3.jpgJuly 4, 2006

RFK Stadium, Washington, DC

With Washington trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning to the division rival Florida Marlins, Nationals rookie third baseman Ryan Zimmerman blasted a three-run walk-off shot to left field. The Nationals won 6-4. It was his second walk-off home run in as many weeks after hitting one on Father’s Day against the New York Yankees. The Marlins’ starter for that game was current Nats lefty Scott Olsen.


Fireworks-4.jpgJuly 4, 2007

RFK Stadium, Washington, DC

 In their second firework-filled July 4th game in a row, the Nationals blanked the Chicago Cubs 6-0. Starter Matt Chico threw seven scoreless innings while a couple of heavy hitters propelled the offense. Dmitri Young went 3-4 with a grand slam and Ryan Zimmerman hit his second Independence Day home run in two years.

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