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Cub Tracks wuz robbed

Iron Horse derails Big Train, bring on the robot umps, the sweet spot, and other bullets

Chicago Cubs v Arizona Diamondbacks
Wait, what?
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Cubs lose, are now tied for first with the friggin Cardinals. Ugh.

Last time around, Cub Tracks was at a loss to explain how things were going. When things are going well, there’s no need for explanation. So there’ll probably be some ‘splainin’.

Home plate umpire Mark Wegner should do some ‘splainin’, to start with. Good links were kinda thin on the ground, but there are some meaty things to chew on. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1902 - In an attempted double steal by the A's, the Tigers concede second base to Harry Davis, freezing Dave Fultz, the runner on third, which prompts Davis to return to first base on the pitcher's next delivery. When Davis takes off for second for the second time, he draws a throw and, in the resulting run-down, Dave Fultz scores from third, and he is called safe at second again, but will be credited with only one stolen base for all of his efforts during the sixth frame of Philadelphia's 9-0 victory over Detroit at Columbia Park.
  • 1913 - Goober southpaw Harry Hedgpeth pitches two complete nine-inning games when he starts both ends of a Virginia League doubleheader against Richmond. In the opener, the Peterburg pitcher one-hits the Colts, 1-0, and then follows up the gem with a 10-0 no-hitter.
  • 1926 - Lou Gehrig hits two home runs off Walter Johnson in the Yankees' 7-5 victory over the Senators at Griffith Stadium. The Iron Horse's accomplishment marks only the second time in the Big Train's 20-year career that the right-hander has allowed two homers in the same game to the same player.
  • 1954 - White Sox left-hander Jack Harshman hurls a 16-inning shutout, beating the Tigers at Comiskey Park, 1-0. Detroit's starter, Al Aber, also goes the distance, giving up the game's lone run when Minnie Minoso's one-out triple to right field scores Nellie Fox, who had singled leading off in the final frame.
  • 1969 - After serving as the interim replacement for William Eckert, Bowie Kuhn is unanimously elected to a seven-year term by the major league owners to be baseball's fifth commissioner. Prior to his selection to his new post, the 42 year-old lawyer, who once worked as the scoreboard boy for a dollar a day at Washington's Griffith Stadium, served as legal counsel for the sport nearly 20 years.
  • 1969 - After being swept in a three-game series by Houston at the Astrodome, the eventual World Champion Mets fall ten games behind the front-running Cubs in the first-ever NL East race. The third-place New York team will finish the season at a torrid 39-11 pace, finishing the season eight games in front of Chicago.
  • 1979 - Against the team that traded him, Lou Brock reaches the 3000 hits milestone when his line drive caroms off Dennis Lamp's pitching hand in the 3-2 Cardinal victory over the Cubs at Busch Stadium. The 40-year-old Redbird outfielder, who will retire at the end of the season with a lifetime .293 batting average, is the fourteenth major leaguer to reach the coveted plateau.
  • 1987 - Billy Williams joins Ernie Banks as the second Cubs player to be honored by having his uniform number (26) being retired by the team. Sweet Swingin' Billy from Whistler (AL) played 16 of his 18 major league seasons in the Windy City, hitting .296 and 392 home runs for the team that plays on the North side of Chicago.

Cubs news and notes:

  • David Schaper (NPR): Inside Wrigley Field, the scorekeepers stay true to baseball's beginnings. Wrigley Field is one of the few ballparks with a manual scoreboard. Darryl Wilson still loves operating it.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Joe Maddon no fan of Cubs losing day off during 2018 All-Star break. "I don't think it's a good idea," Maddon said. "I'll say that."
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): What’s up with Carl Edwards, Jr? “I don’t have a solid answer,” said Maddon.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Joe Maddon maintains faith in reliever Justin Wilson. “...the Cubs have been somewhat surprised by the control problems of their left-handed reliever...”
  • Tim Stebbins (Cubbies Crib): Wade Davis has walked tightrope during recent appearances. “...Davis has had his fair share of issues on the mound lately, yet none have resulted in a blown save.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): How Cubs react without Willson Contreras will define their season. “I think something like this – for as bad as it seems on the surface – actually could galvanize the group,” Maddon said.
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Javier Baez: Acknowledging the good over the bad and the ugly. “...there’s finally some semblance of balance in his game.”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Ben Zobrist calls for e-zone after called third strike ends game. That was brutal. "I really know Mark knows he messed it up," manager Joe Maddon stated.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Addison Russell probe in 3rd month; agent anticipates SS being cleared. “...we’re just awaiting their process,” said Scott Boras.
  • Carrie Muskat ( Kris Bryant laboring through sprained pinkie. ""It's brutal. Every day, it swells up,” Bryant said.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Has 3-week-old hand injury robbed Cubs’ Kris Bryant of his power? “There’s no excuses,” he said.
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Has 2017 been the best case scenario for Albert Almora? “...Almora has been among the more productive players coming off the bench across baseball.”
  • John Thorn (Our Game): Otis Shepard — baseball’s greatest graphic artist. “If this were not a Wrigley Field program from 1962 it could be displayed at the Museum of Modern Art.”

Food for thought:

  • Yvette Brend (CBC News): Chasing the 'zone': UVic research reveals the sweet spot in a baseball batter's brain. “When a baseball player walks up to the plate to bat, their brainwaves can predict performance before they even swing...”
  • Science Daily: Risk factors identified for elbow and shoulder injuries in professional baseball pitchers. “Decreased shoulder flexion and external rotation were identified as key predictors of injuries to pitchers during the season...”
  • Emily Underwood (Science): How your mind protects you against hallucinations. “...our brain keeps tabs on reality by constantly questioning its own past expectations and beliefs.”

Thanks for spending part of your Sunday with us.