A Collection of Baseball Firsts

Who hit the first grand slam? Who was the first pinch hitter? Presenting the nine players of Smithsonian’s “They Did It First” All-Star Team


First Left-Handed Member of 300 Win Club: Eddie Plank

Eddie Plank
(Library of Congress)

On August 28, 1915, while playing for the St. Louis Terriers, Plank became the first southpaw pitcher in history to record 300 wins. He would retire with 326 victories—a record that would later be beaten by Warren Spahn and Steve Carlton. Still, to date, he posted more shutouts and completed more games than any other left-hander. Plank was known for some annoying habits—notably, his tendency to dillydally on the pitcher’s mound. According to baseball writer Rich Westcott, fans who rode commuter trains to the ballpark would not come to games when Plank pitched because they feared they would miss their trains home. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.


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