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Baseball history unpacked, May 2

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Kerry Wood’s return, Hoak’s super-sombrero, extra-extra innings, and more

Chicago Cubs Photo Day Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Last time round the horn, we learned a little about how Billy made it a thousand, the Pittsburgh Alleghenys and New York Highlanders, and other highlights. Today we look at Kerry Wood’s triumphant return from Tommy John surgery, Don Hoak’s strikeout record, and other items of passing interest from the annals of the grand old game.

Here’s a handy Cubs timeline.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1876 - At Cincinnati’s Avenue Grounds, Chicago’s Ross Barnes hits the first home run in the history of National League. In addition to his inside-the-park homer, the former National Association superstar also hits a single and a triple, steals two bases, and scores four runs in the White Stocking’s 19-5 victory over the Reds. (1)

A history of the Red Stockings, with another mention of this mysterious ballpark. More.

More about Ross Barnes, who was the “best batter and ball player that ever lived” according to one source. Good stuff about one of the early stars of the game.

  • 1901 - After the Tigers take the lead in the top of the inning at Chicago’s South Side Park, the White Sox slow down the pace of the game in hopes the contest will be rained out. Umpire Tom Connolly is not impressed and forfeits the game, the first in American league history, giving Detroit a 7-5 victory. (1)

Tom Connolly was an HoF umpire, an Englishman by birth, and one of the first two (with Bill Klem) umpires to be elected to the Hall.

We looked at South Side Park recently. Here’s a little more information.

  • 1909 - Pirates’ infielder Honus Wagner steals his way around the bases in the nightcap of a twin bill against Chicago at Pittsburgh’s Exposition Park. The Flying Dutchman’s trio of thefts, three additional stolen bases, two walks, a batter hit by a pitch, two errors, and two hits all add up to a five-run first frame in the Bucs’ eventual 6-0 victory and a sweep the twin bill. (1)

Box score.

Honus Wagner needs no introduction, I’m sure. Here’s what Exposition Park looked like:

Exposition Park, Pittsburgh
  • 1917 - At Weeghman Park, southpaw Hippo Vaughn of Chicago and Reds righty Fred Toney throw no-hitters against one another through the first nine innings. The deadlock is broken in the top of the tenth with a one-out single by Larry Kopf, an error, and an infield hit by Jim Thorpe, and Toney then sets the Cubs down in order to preserve his extra inning gem. (1)

Box score.

Weeghman Park
  • 1956 - During a game in which 48 players see action, Chicago’s third baseman Don Hoak strikes out a record six times against six different New York pitchers. The Giants outlast the Cubs in the 17-inning Wrigley Field marathon, 6-5. (1)

Box score. Good story about Don Hoak.

  • 1994 - Changing their jersey color from white to blue in an effort to snap a losing skid doesn’t work when the Cubs lose their record eleventh consecutive game. Chicago is limited to two hits by John Smiley in the Reds’ rout at Wrigley Field, 9-0. (1)

Box score.

  • 2000 - Kerry Wood throws in a game for the first time in nearly 19 months, giving up one run and three hits in six innings in the Cub’ 11-1 rout of Houston. The outing is the first test of the right-hander’s reconstructed elbow. (1)

Box score.

  • 2003 - The players’ association agrees to a two-year experiment in which the winning league of the All-Star Game will have home-field advantage during the World Series. Other changes include a roster increase by 2 to 32 players, a separate ballot of managers, coaches, and players to be done during the week prior to the game to name the additional nine position players, and eight pitchers for each team. (1)
  • Cubs birthdays: Larry Cheney, Bill Piercy, Gale Staley, Keith Moreland, Jose Ascanio. Also notable: Eddie Collins (HoF). (3)


Thanks for reading.