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Baseball history unpacked, July 18

stolen home, Don K and the Good Kid celebrate natal events, and other stories

New York Yankees v Cleveland Indians
The Good Kid
Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images

A Cubs-centric look at baseball’s past. Here’s a handy Cubs timeline, to help you follow along as we view selected moments gleaned from the rich pageant of Major League Baseball history. No graphs or advanced metrics were harmed during the commission of these articles.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1912 - The Chicago Cubs had twenty-one hits in eleven innings but still lost to the Philadelphia Phillies when Gavvy Cravath stole home. (2)

Box score. This was a doubleheader, in which one relief pitcher lost one game and won the other, namely Phillies pitcher Tom Seaton. The first game is the one in question. The Phillies at that time had nobody of historical importance on their roster, where the Cubs still had Tinker and Evers, but sometimes that doesn’t matter. Retrosheet’s box score notes that the Phils manager Red Dooin was tossed for coating the ball with liniment. Here’s the box score for the second game, for completeness’ sake.

  • 1921 - At Navin Field in Detroit, Babe Ruth becomes the all-time home run leader when he hits his 139th career blast as a major leaguer. The Yankee slugger’s 36th homer of the season, a mammoth shot that travels over 500 feet, puts him ahead of Roger Connor, who connected for 138 round-trippers during his 18 years in the National League. (1)

Box score. This shows pretty clearly what a revolution Ruth represented — Connor’s big home run year featured 17 long drives. Home Run Baker was also on that Yankee team, and Wally Pipp (who?) was on first. Harry Heilman and the aging Ty Cobb were the Tigers’ big stars. Ruth had 153 home runs during the four-year period from 1918 and 1921, before his MVP season (1923) even happened.

Navin Field was the original name of the since-demolished Tigers Stadium. Here’s an artist’s conception:

  • 1927 - Ty Cobb becomes the first major-leaguer to collect 4,000 career hits. The 40 year-old A’s outfielder reaches the milestone with a first-inning double off Sam Gibson in Philadelphia’s 5-3 loss to the Tigers at Shibe Park. (1)

Box score. These were loaded rosters, full of Hall-of-Famers and good players in general. Lefty Grove took the loss for the As, and the legendary Tommy Connolly was the third-base ump.

Shibe Park:

Andy Jurinko
  • 1948 - After the first two Cubs get on base in the bottom of the ninth inning at Wrigley Field, Phillies rookie right-hander Robin Roberts appears to pitch out of trouble by getting the next two batters out. The 21-year-old hurler and future Hall-of-Famer, however, proceeds to hit the next two batters, Phil Cavarretta and Andy Pafko, with pitches, giving Chicago a 3-2 walk-off victory. (1)

Box score. Cavarretta and Pafko also drove in the other runs in the 6th inning.

  • 1961 - In consecutive doubleheaders played at Busch Stadium, Cardinal first baseman Bill White ties Ty Cobb’s 49-year-old record by collecting 14 hits in four games when he goes 3-for-4 in both games of the sweep over the Cubs. The future NL president started the streak, ironically, on the day the Georgia Peach died, going 8-for-10 in the previous day’s twin bill, which was also played against Chicago. (1)

Box score 1. Box score 2. Those 1961 Cubs were awful (64-90), though they had some good players. The College of Coaches didn’t help, I’d say (ha, and so did Al). The Cardinals club was loaded.

  • 2000 - Johnny Damon collects a career-high five hits in Kansas City’s 12-4 rout of the Cubs. The Royals outfielder’s Kauffman Stadium performance includes four doubles, tying a major league mark. (1)

Box score. Eeeeeeeugh. I remember that game. Damon ended up hitting .327 that year and garnered an MVP nom or two. That was a horrible Cubs team (65-97), and they looked like it that day.


Please note that quotes may have been corrected for grammarical errata. Thanks for playing along.