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Baseball history unpacked, July 23

Robinson in the Hall, Beating the shift, Swish hits 4 homers in the twin bill, and other stories

Los Angeles Dodgers Unveil Jackie Robinson Statue
Photo by Victor Decolongon/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:

  • 1922 - Cubs 1B Ray Grimes homers in Chicago’s 4 - 1 win over the Robins, giving him at least one RBI in 17 consecutive games, a major league record. He’ll fail to drive in a run on the 25th against Boston. (3)

Box score. Vic Aldridge got the win over Harry Shriver. Zack Wheat drove in the only run for Boston, his 70th RBI of the season.

  • 1925 - In a Class C Western Association minor league game against the Topeka Jayhawks, Paul Richards of the Muskogee Chiefs is summoned from his shortstop position to pitch. The future major league player and manager throws with both hands during his brief appearance on the mound, including an unusual confrontation with a switch-hitter, that briefly results in both the pitcher and the batter continually swapping hands and batter’s boxes, respectively, until the ambidextrous hurler becomes a left-hander and right-hander on alternate pitches, regardless of where the batter places himself. (1)
  • 1941 - Although Lou Boudreau is usually credited for implementing the shift on pull-hitter Ted Williams, White Sox manager Jimmy Dykes becomes the first to employ the defensive alignment against the Red Sox outfielder, who foils the plan when he goes 2-for-5, including a double, in Boston’s 10-4 loss to the Pale Hose at Fenway Park. The Chicago skipper will abandon the strategy when ‘the Kid’ collects four hits in ten at bats in the two-game series. (1)

(Relevant to current conversations about beating the shift)

  • 1944 - Cub Bill Nicholson hits four homers in a doubleheader, including three consecutive shots in the second game. The Cubs win the first game, 7 - 4, but the Giants prevail in the nightcap, 12 - 10. Nicholson is walked intentionally with the bases loaded in the 7th inning of the second game. (3)

Box score 1. Box score 2. In the first game, Bob Chipman won his 9th over Bill Voiselle. Nicholson drove in 4 with his three homers. In the second game, Bob Barthelson won over Red Lynn in a batle of relief corps, as the starters had no hand in the final scores. Nicholson drove in three with a homer and injury sub Ival Goodman also smote a three-run job, but Chicago fell short. Mel Ott tripled and Joe Medwick doubled for New York in the nightcap.

Box score. Don Kessinger scored an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth for the game’s only tally. Kessinger and Glenn Beckert had both walked. Billy Williams grounded to short, Beckert out on the force, Kessinger taking third and scoring on an errant throw to first.

  • 1991 - Rob Dibble, just back from a three-game suspension, is ejected for throwing at - and hitting - Cubs baserunner Doug Dascenzo in an 8-5 Reds loss. Dibble is fined by the league office, but not suspended. (2) Cubs OF Andre Dawson bumps umpire Joe West and will be suspended for one game and fined $1,000. (3)

Box score. Les Lancaster got the win over Randy Myers, with Paul Assenmacher getting the save as the Cubs prevailed 8-5. Rick Wilkins drove in the game-winning run with a double in the bottom of the 8th.


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