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Baseball history unpacked, December 31

The sad saga of Roberto Clemente, DeRosa leaves, and other stories

He was a good Cub
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1878 - A reported eight million bats are sold in the United States. With a population estimated at approximately 48 million, an average of one out of every six Americans owns a bat. (1)
  • 1954 - Pirates rookie Roberto Clemente has three spinal discs jarred when he is broadsided by a drunk driver, who runs a red light traveling at 60-mph. The car accident will cause the 21-year-old outfielder to have recurrent lower back pain for the remainder of his career. (1)
  • 1972 - Roberto Clemente is tragically killed when the four-engine DC-7 plane he chartered to bring much-needed supplies to the victims of the Nicaraguan earthquake crashes in the Atlantic Ocean after taking off from the coast of Isla Verde. Manny Sanguillen will be the only Pirates player not to attend the memorial service, traveling to Puerto Rico to dive into the waters in an effort to recover his teammate’s body, which is never found. (1)
  • 1984 - Despite six weeks of negotiations, the Basic Agreement between the players and owners that was reached after the 1981 strike expires. The players are now seeking increased contributions to their pension plan from the clubs’ additional television revenues, while the owners are hoping to slow the rapid growth of player salaries. (2)
  • 2008 - Deciding not to shift shortstop Jhonny Peralta to third with Asdrubal Cabrera moving from second to short, the Indians acquire Mark DeRosa from the Cubs to be their everyday third baseman. To get the 33-year-old infielder, the Tribe sends minor league pitching prospects Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer, and John Gaub to Chicago. (1)
  • 2009 - The Cubs agree to a $15 million, three-year deal with Texas free-agent Marlon Byrd (.283, 20, 89) to fill the void in the outfield created when an agitated Milton Bradley was traded to Seattle. Chicago’s new outfielder will patrol center field, replacing Kosuke Fukudome, who will move over to right field. (1)
  • Cubs birthdays: King Kelly (HoF), Fred Beebe, Loyd Christopher, Jim Tracy, Steve Engel, Rick Aguilera.


Thanks for reading. #Cubsnews