Today in baseball history:
- 1926 - The Cardinals pick up future Hall-of-Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander, who was placed on waivers by the Cubs. The acquisition of ‘Old Pete’ will prove to be pivotal to the Redbirds’ World Series triumph over the Yankees when the 39 year-old right-hander wins Games 2 and 6 and saves Game 7 of the Fall Classic. (1)
120.2 WAR for his career (15th all-time).
- 1932 - The National League finally approves the use of uniform numbers to identify players. Although some teams in the AL implemented digits on their jerseys on a regular basis a few seasons ago, the Senior Circuit had refused to follow suit, probably as the result of the Cardinals being harassed by opposing players and fans when they wore numerals on their sleeves in 1923. (1)
Good article by Matt Rothenberg.
The Sporting News had this to say (it could be applied in other times and places):
“It is proper that the powers that be in baseball should jealously guard the game’s traditions, but there is such a thing as bending over backward in refusing to adopt improvements, the value of which can hardly be denied.”
- 1936 - At Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, Ival Goodman hits an unusual home run when his fifth-inning fly ball lands and stays on top of the scoreboard in right field. With the perched ball considered in play, the three Dodger outfielders watch the Reds’ right fielder round the bases for an easy inside-the park round-tripper in their 7-2 loss to Cincinnati. (1)
Box score. Goodman was a pretty good ballplayer (the first Red to hit thirty homers), but was injury-prone for the last four or five years of his career. He finished his career playing for the Cubs. Here’s a short video of him hitting.
- 1946 - Bill Veeck Jr. heads a syndicate that purchases the Cleveland Indians. This launches Veeck on a long career as a lively promoter. (2)
Good article on the history of Indian ownership. Page down for Veeck. Great stories.
- 1999 - “Although he has been dead for fifty-one years, Hack Wilson is awarded another RBI, increasing his major league RBI record to 191. The commissioner’s office revises the total after baseball’s historian Jerome Holtzman discovered the Cubs outfielder did not get credit for driving in Kiki Cuyler with a third-inning single” in the second game of a double-header played July 28, of 1930. (1)(5)
- 2002 - A saddened Joe Girardi, the Cubs’ player rep, informs the Wrigley Field crowd the scheduled game between St. Louis and the Cubs is postponed due to the death of Darryl Kile, who is found dead in his Chicago hotel room as the result of coronary disease. The 33-year-old Cardinal right-hander is the first active major league player to pass away during the regular season since 1979, when Yankee captain Thurman Munson was killed while practicing landing his plane at the Akron-Canton Airport. (1)
Here’s his last batter:
- 2010 - Rays announcer Dewayne Staats, before calling his 5000th major league game, throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the hometown team’s 2-1 loss to San Diego at Tropicana Field. The veteran broadcaster, in his 25th season, has also done play-by-play for the Cubs, Astros, and ESPN. (1)
- Cubs birthdays: Jim Asbell, Brant Brown, Jason Motte. Also notable: Carl Hubbell (HoF).
- (1) — The National Pastime.
- (2) — Today in Baseball History.
- (3) — Baseball Reference.
- (4) — Society for American Baseball Research.
- (5) — CBS News.
Thanks for reading.