A wildly popular Cubs-centric look at baseball’s past. Here’s a handy Cubs timeline, to help you follow along as we review select scenes from the rich tapestry of Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball history. It’s a beautiful day for a ball game — let’s get started!
Today in baseball history:
- 1903 - In the first World Series game ever played, Pirates’ hurler Deacon Phillippe beats Cy Young and the Pilgrims, 7-3, at the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston. Pittsburgh right fielder Jimmy Sebring hits the first Fall Classic home run. (1)
Box score. There were four triples in this game, two per side. It was a BIG ballpark.
Dimensions: Left field: 350 ft.; left center: 440 ft.; center field: 530 ft. (1901), 635 ft. (1908); right field: 280 ft. (1901), 320 ft. (1908); backstop: 60 ft.
- 1924 - Jimmy O’Connell, who will be out of baseball at the age of 23, is banned from the World Series by Kenesaw Mountain Landis after admitting to the commissioner his attempt to bribe Philadelphia shortstop Heinie Sand to “go easy” during their season-ending series against the Giants. The New York outfielder implicates teammates Frank Frisch, George Kelly, and Ross Youngs, but the trio will be cleared. (1)
- 1932 - In the fifth inning of Game 3 of the World Series, baseball lore has Babe Ruth pointing to the outfield, predicting that he will hit a home run on the next pitch, before he takes Cubs pitcher Charlie Root deep for the second of his two home runs in New York’s 7-5 victory at Wrigley Field. Although no definitive proof exists, the ‘Bambino’ continued to embellish the account of his ‘Called Shot’ throughout his lifetime, but the Chicago right-hander who threw the pitch denied the Yankee slugger had ever made the gesture, to his dying day. (1)
- 1946 - The Dodgers and Cardinals, who both finished the season with a 96-58 record, play the first game of a best-of-three series to determine the National League’s championship, marking the first time in major league history a playoff is needed to send a team to the World Series. St. Louis wins today’s Sportsman’s Park contest, 4-2, and will clinch the pennant in Game 2, beating the Brooklyn at Ebbets Field, 8-4. (1)
Box score. Sound familiar?
- 1961 - The Wrigley Field on the west coast hosts its last professional baseball game when the Angels, who will play at Dodger Stadium next season, are defeated by Cleveland, 8-5, in front of 9,868 fans at the 36-year-old ballpark, which will be torn down in five years to make room for an eventual public playground and senior center. In addition to being the home for the American League expansion team, the venue housed the PCL’s Angels from 1925 through 1957 and served as the location for the 1960 television series Home Run Derby. (1)
- 1973 - A day after the regular season ends, the Mets, in front of only 1,913 fans at a cold and damp Wrigley Field, beat the Cubs, 6-4 in the first game of a scheduled make-up. The Amazins’, who were 11.5 games behind and in last place on August 5, won 82 games to clinch the NL East, the lowest number of wins ever recorded to capture a title. (1)
- 1984 - Peter Ueberroth takes over the reins of major league baseball as the sport’s sixth commissioner. The former L.A. Olympic president will immediately face a crisis when he needs to arbitrate the labor disagreement with the umpires’ union, who have threatened to strike before the start of the League Championship Series. (1)
- 1995 - The Yankees and Rockies become the first wild-card teams in the new major league baseball playoff system. Both teams will lose in the first round of the new format, with Colorado bowing to the NL East’s Braves in four games, and the Bronx Bombers being eliminated in extra innings of Game 5 in a classic ALDS against the AL West’s Mariners. (1)
- Cubs birthdays: Bill Bonham, Vance Law, Chuck McElroy, Mitch Atkins. Also notable: Rod Carew (HoF).
- (1) — The National Pastime.
- (2) — Today in Baseball History.
- (3) — Baseball Reference.
- (4) — Society for American Baseball Research.
Please note that individual lines may have been corrected for spelling and/or grammarical errata. We do our best to verify the accuracy of the contents — if you have a correction, please let us know. Thanks for playing along.