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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Two new parks open; Williams debut vs. Gehrig
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

April 20, 1912

Two new ballparks open today in the American League -- Navin Field in Detroit and Fenway Park in Boston. Beside celebrating the parks, the fans also get to celebrate 11-inning victories behind the play of two future Hall of Famers.

An estimated crowd of 26,000 (24,384 paid) fills the new concrete ballpark in Detroit. Every seat is taken and thousands stand around the borders of the outfield, necessitating ground rules which limit the length of any hit to two bases. Ty Cobb stars for the Tigers, with two hits, two steals (including one of home) and two outstanding catches in center-field. The Tigers win 6-5 on pitcher George Mullin's run-scoring single in the 11th inning.

In Boston, the Red Sox finally get to play in Fenway after several rainouts. The estimated crowd of 27,000 sees the home team beat New York, 7-6, as Tris Speaker knocks in the winning run in the 11th.

April 20, 1939

It's opening day at Yankee Stadium and this is the only game that Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig ever play against each other. It is the first major-league game for Williams, a 20-year-old playing right-field and batting sixth for Boston, and the 2,124th consecutive game for the Yankees' Gehrig.

Williams strikes out twice and goes 1-for-4 against Red Ruffing, who blanks Boston, 2-0. Williams' hit -- the first of 2,654 in his career -- is a double off the right-center bleacher wall.

Gehrig, batting fifth, is 0-for-4 against Lefty Grove, including a low liner that Williams catches with two runners on base. An ailing Gehrig will play only six more games before illness forces him to retire.

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