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Baseball history unpacked, July 27

A bevy of birthdays, The Continental League intrigue, and other stories

World Series - Cleveland Indians v Chicago Cubs - Game Four
Photo by Ezra Shaw/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:

  • 1918 - In his major league debut, Robins (Dodgers) starter Harry Heitmann, after giving up hits to four consecutive batters in a 22-7 loss to the Cardinals, is pulled from the Ebbets Field contest. The 21 year-old Brooklyn rookie right-hander will never hurl again in the big leagues, ending his career with an ERA of infinity. (1)

Box score. It was the nightcap of a doubleheader. Seems kind of unfair that Heitmann gets the loss when Burleigh Grimes and Jack Coombs were so bad, but it gets his name in the record books. I suppose that’s worth something. The Cubs, by the way, beat the Boston Braves 7-1 behind Hippo Vaughn, who won his nineteenth.

  • 1930 - Ken Ash, throwing just one pitch in relief of Larry Benton, is credited with a full inning of work when he induces Charlie Grimm to hit into a triple play in the Reds’ 6-5 victory over the Cubs at Redland Field. The 28-year-old right-hander from West Virginia, who will be lifted in the bottom of the frame for a pinch-hitter, will also be awarded the win as the result of Cincinnati taking the lead for good in that frame. (1)

Box score. That was a ridiculous Cubs lineup. And they came in second.

  • 1945 - The Cubs purchase pitcher Hank Borowy from the New York Yankees in an unexpected waiver deal. Borowy, 10-5 with the Yankees, was put on waivers, apparently to solve a roster problem. The Cubs snatch him for $97,500, and he will help the Cubs win the pennant with an 11-2 record. (2)
  • 1959 - The Continental League is formally announced, with franchises located in Denver, Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York City, and Toronto. The concept of the new major league is the brainchild of William Shea, an attorney who proposed the idea a year after the Giants and Dodgers left New York City to move to the West Coast. (1)

This led to the 1960-61 expansion, at which time the Los Angeles Angels and the Washington Senators joined the American League, and then the New York Metropolitans and the Houston Colt .45s joined the National League the following year.

  • 1972 - In his managerial debut, Cubs skipper Whitey Lockman watches Fergie Jenkins throw a one-hitter to blank the Phillies at Veterans Stadium, 4-0. Willie Montanez’s fourth-inning double spoils the Canadian right-hander’s bid for a no-hitter. (1)

Box score. It was the first game of a doubleheader. That Phillies team finished sixth that year. The Cubs were second.

  • 1992 - Sammy Sosa, disabled since June 13th after being hit on the right hand by Dennis Martinez and breaking a bone, bats leadoff and has three hits. He homers on the first pitch from Doug Drabek. In his first start at Wrigley Field since his announcement that he’s leaving Chicago, Greg Maddux beats the Pirates, 3 - 2. In the 8th inning, the Wrigley faithful give the ace pitcher a standing ovation. (3)

Box score. That was a middling Cubs team with a few stars, but that was a great game. Sad about Maddux leaving, though.

  • 1998 - Sammy Sosa hits his first career grand slam, establishing the mark for most career homers before hitting a grand slam (246). (1)

Box score. Sammy liked that so much he did it again the next day. He drove in six runs overall that day, making a winner out of Steve Trachsel.


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