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Baseball history unpacked, May 28

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Matt Clement ploinks the bases full, and other stories

I still have one of those tape-on beards
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In our last episode, we discussed the last hurrah of the Sultan of Swat, remembering Geremi Gonzalez, and other bullets. Today we have such essential events as The Big Train tripping the light fantastic, plus other occasions to celebrate or to become lacrimose. Please enjoy immoderately.

Here’s a handy Cubs timeline.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1941 - Prior to the first major league game played at night in Washington, D.C., Senator legend Walter Johnson throws a strike through a beam of light, triggering a switch that illuminates Griffith Stadium. On the field, things are not as bright for the home team when it suffers its tenth consecutive setback, a 6-5 loss to the Yankees. (1)

Supporting testimony. More words about this.

  • 1969 - The day after he becomes a father, Randy Hundley hits a grand slam and a double, driving in five runs in Chicago’s 9-8 victory over San Francisco at Candlestick Park. The eight-pound, four-ounce baby boy named Todd will follow in his dad’s footsteps, becoming a major league catcher, receiving for the Mets, Dodgers, and the Cubs. (1)

Box score. 1969 was Randy Hundley’s finest year, as he swatted 18 homers, was selected to the All-Star Game, and was 30th in MVP voting. He had won the Gold Glove two years previous, but 1969 edges out 1967, Hundley’s second year in the league, and his campaign in 1966, where he was fourth in Rookie-of-the-Year voting .

  • 1982 - During an argument with the umpires, Durham Bulls skipper Bobby Dews throws second base into the stands and then takes off his jersey and powders under his arms with the rosin bag before kicking it into the air. (1) MiLB confirms this.

Dews went on to a long career as an Atlanta Braves coach, and passed away in December 2015. Before this, he was a coach and manager in the Cardinals’ system, and is credited with helping Bob Forsch become a pitcher. He was also a professional writer, who published novels such as “Largo,” and “Unpublished Poets,” as well as a collection of short stories, “Legends, Demons and Dreams.”

“Bobby was a special person with a great baseball mind,” Braves Hall of Famer Tom Glavine said. “He had the ability to combine hard work with fun. When you were around him you knew two things would happen -- you would learn something and you would laugh.”

Even Scott Boras had nice things to say about Dews. “He was my first pro manager in the Cardinal organization,” said Boras, a former minor league infielder who made it to the Double-A level in the 1970s. “He and George Kissell were two amazing mentors to have. He was a uniquely skilled communicator and just had great influence in my life.

“I wanted you to know what a committed and devoted man (Dews) was. He would get up every morning early and give you extra ground balls, pay special attention to you, say things to you that were so important to a young player. He was really unique.”

Current Braves manager Brian Snitker dates back to Dews’ tenure as a coach, as related in this article by frequent Cub Tracks contributor George Castle.

  • 2004 - Matt Clement becomes the twenty-first big league pitcher, and the first Cubs’ hurler in over a century, to hit three batters in one inning. The right-hander ties a major league record when he plunks Bobby Hill, Jason Kendall, and Craig Wilson in the fifth inning of a 5-4 loss in the first game of a doubleheader against Pittsburgh at PNC Park. (1)

Box score.

  • 2006 - In an 11-inning slugfest at Wrigley Field, the Braves establish a new club record by hitting eight homers in a 13-12 win over the Cubs. Marcus Giles, Andruw Jones, Ryan Langerhans, Adam LaRoche (2), Brayan Pena, and Edgar Renteria (2) all go deep for Atlanta. (1)

Box score. I shiver to look at that lineup. Ouch!


Thanks for reading.