My friend Steve Daley Facebooked me the following question Monday morning: “When is the last time a DC MLB team won an at-home doubleheader? Wooden stadiums?”
He was referring, of course, to the Nationals’ stirring sweep of the Brewers on Sunday, which put them over .500 and within a half-game of second in the NL East. It doesn’t get any better than that, folks – in April, anyway.
Naturally, I had to find out the answer to Steve’s Trivia Challenge. I quickly learned it was the first time the Nats have swept a home doubleheader since baseball returned to Washington in 2005. So that made it an issue of: When was the last time the Senators took two at home?
Near as I can tell, it was on the distant Sunday of July 13, 1969, when Ralph Houk’s Yankees got a double dose of Ted Williams’ Senators by the scores of 5-4 and 10-1. Here are the boxes for Game 1 and Game 2, in case you feel like reminiscing.
From all accounts, the crowd of 31,700 at RFK Stadium had a blast. Senators slugger Frank Howard hit a 502-foot homer into the upper deck in the second game, and Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich both pitched for the Yankees. They’re the wacky lefties who, in 1973, caused a national scandal by swapping wives.
This was back in the dark, pre-Steinbrenner days when the Yankees were owned by CBS. If you were ever going to take a twinbill from them, this was the time to do it. The Senators, meanwhile, finished 86-76 that season under Williams, who had triumphantly returned to baseball to, among other things, see if he could teach Eddie Brinkman how to hit. It was the only year the expansion Senators (1961-71) finished with a winning record.
You have to admit, it’s nice, every 42 years or so, to have Washington’s baseball team sweep a doubleheader on the local diamond. Maybe the Nats will do it again between now and, say, 2053.