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The Day in Sports | COUNTDOWN TO 2000 / A day-by-day
recap of some of the most important sports moments
of the 20th Century: MAY 14, 1920 and 1967

Johnson and Mantle Achieve Milestones

May 14, 1999|EARL GUSTKEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two big moments occurred on this date, 79 and 32 years ago:

* In 1920, the Washington Senators' Walter Johnson beat the Detroit Tigers and Ty Cobb, 9-8, for the 300th victory of Johnson's career.

* In 1967, the New York Yankees' Mickey Mantle hit his 500th home run, against reliever Stu Miller, and the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles, 6-5.

Johnson was 32 in 1920 and had seven more years and 116 more wins in his right arm. And in most of those, he would have to work harder than he did on the day he won No. 300.

Johnson used a 3 2/3-inning relief appearance to get it. When he entered the game in the sixth inning, the Tigers led, 8-6, but the Senators scored three times in the seventh.

Johnson had started his professional career shortly after his 1905 senior season at Fullerton High School. His father was an oil-field worker near Brea. He had two 30-win seasons and from 1910 through 1918 never won fewer than 23 games, winning a total of 245.

Mantle was 35 in 1967 and his oft-injured knees had him near the end of his career. He would hit 36 more home runs before retiring after the next season.

On the day he became the sixth man to reach 500, he committed an error at first base that nearly cost the Yankees the game.

Minutes after his seventh-inning home run at Yankee Stadium, Mantle dropped a ball at first that should have completed a double play. He then threw wildly to home, allowing a run to score.

Johnson died in 1946, Mantle in 1995.

Also on this date: In 1913, another milestone for Johnson. When the St. Louis Browns scored a fourth-inning run against Johnson, it broke his scoreless-inning streak at a record 55 2/3 innings. Decades later, the record was broken by the Dodgers' Don Drysdale, then broken again by another Dodger, Orel Hershiser, in 1988, at 59 innings. Johnson still holds the American League record.

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