Last time the train rolled through these parts, the Cub Tracks Legacy Edition touched on The Correa-n war, Pud Galvin, #Twerkin4tix, and other bullets, including also a sample of Bobby London’s Dirty Duck and a Schwarberbomb as well as a considerable amount of Marshall McLuhan quotes and influence, while ruminating about the state of delivering information here in the so-called Information Age.
We’re not going to go full Groundhog, preferring instead to talk about the other National Pastime instead of remaining in the shadows. The local papers still aren’t doing much Cubs-covering, or Cubs-covering that I can share here, so bloggers and a little bit of the national media carry the weight. Cub Tracks will be a day late covering birthdays but okay, we’ll cover them anyway. And we have some Fangraphs stuff to wrestle with and more new metrics. It all adds up. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).
- 1925 - The N.L. inaugurates its Golden Jubilee Year by holding its spring meeting in the same room of New York's Broadway Central Hotel where the league was founded on February 2, 1876.
- 1943 - After experimenting with a vest worn over knit jerseys, the Cubs return to conventional baggy flannels for 1943. The outfitting change saves the organization $2,000 on the cost of uniforms.
- 1944 - The Hall of Fame Special Veterans Committee tabs Red Faber, Burleigh Grimes, Tim Keefe, Heinie Manush, John Montgomery Ward, and Miller Huggins for induction in the biggest veterans class ever. Keefe (a pitcher) and Ward (a pitcher and shortstop) were 19th century greats, Faber and Grimes were standout hurlers of the early 20th century, Manush batted .330 over 17 seasons, and Huggins had a .645 career winning percentage and won six pennants as manager of the Yankees.
- 1969 - Pitchers Stan Coveleski and Waite Hoyt are voted into the Hall of Fame by the Special Veterans Committee. Coveleski won 20 games for four straight years with the Indians and finished his career with 215 victories and a .602 winning percentage. Hoyt won 237 games and pitched for seven pennant winners.
- 1972 - The Hall of Fame Special Veterans Committee selects former players Lefty Gomez and Ross Youngs as well as former A.L. president Will Harridge. Gomez won 189 with a .649 career winning percentage and pitched for five World Champion Yankees clubs. Youngs was a .322 career hitter who played for four straight pennant winners with John McGraw’s Giants. Harridge was A.L. president for 28 years, a longer term than even the one served by the league's founder, Ban Johnson.
- 1976 - The Special Veterans Committee selects players Roger Connor and Freddie Lindstrom and umpire Cal Hubbard for Cooperstown. Hubbard becomes the first man elected to both the Football and Baseball Hall of Fame. Lindstrom was a .311 career hitter who batted .358 in 1928 and .379 in 1930 and had 231 hits in both those seasons for the Giants. Connor, a power-hitting threat, batted .317 in 1,997 major-league games from 1880 to 1897.
- 1987 - Three-time 20-game winner Dennis Leonard, who returned to the majors in 1986 after a three-year absence due to a knee injury, announces his retirement. Leonard was 8-13 with a 4.44 ERA for the Royals in his final season.
- 1989 - Bill White, a six-time All-Star and longtime Yankees broadcaster, is elected president of the National League. He becomes the highest-ranking black official in American professional sports.
- Kari Van Horn (ABC15*): City of Mesa to throw World Series rally for Chicago Cubs; Championship trophy comes to Arizona. A rally will be thrown in the Cubs' honor on Friday, February 24.
- George Castle (Chicago Baseball Museum): Ryno, Rossy going in opposite directions on managing. Ryne Sandberg and David Ross are retiring differently.
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Improved command, approach key to Kyle Hendricks' 2016 success. “Hendricks had the highest number of pitches that were called strikes outside of the zone.”
- Kenny Kelly (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Kyle Hendricks doesn’t have to regress. “...Hendricks should be able to induce soft contact and beat his FIP again in 2017.”
- Mike Petriello (MLB.com): Kyle Schwarber-Ben Zobrist could be MLB's best platoon. “Cubs left field of Schwarber, Zobrist could be baseball's top combo.” So could Zobrist/Baez, adds Michael Cerami.
- Joe Reed (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Key to Cubs’ 2017 lies with infield depth. “The strength of the 2017 Cubs will come from its depth. And the strength of its depth will come from its infield.”
- Eno Sarris (Fangraphs): Jason Heyward hard at work. “...in Heyward’s case, the problem might be obvious and the solution seems to be in hand.”
- Darius Austin (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Jon Lester and pitch tunnels. “...the light of the new metrics.”
- Jeff Sullivan (Fangraphs): The best pitcher-hitting season of the DH era. Sullivan says it was Adam Wainwright, not Jake Arrieta, that was the best.
- Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Slider *sniffs* you stink: What happened to Jake Arrieta’s nastiest pitch? It flattened and his release point changed.
- Jon Tayler (SI via Fox Sports): Men on wire: For some players, off-season means changing teams over and over again. David Rollins isn’t the only one.
- Fran Spielman (Chicago Sun-Times): Theo Epstein comes away from mentoring session ‘a better man’. “He inspired us all here today,” said a young man.”
Food for thought:
- Stam Zervanos (Daily Mail): The Darwinian Science of Groundhog Day.
- Linzi Wessel (Science): Watch a new robot fly just like a bat. Not Jose Bautista’s bat, but the furry flyer. See Below:
- David Nield (Science Alert): NASA has found some of the biggest and oldest black holes we've ever seen. See Below: