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Baseball history unpacked, July 4

Let’s not fire any pistols into the air at the ballpark

Ron Santo sign
Ronnie, any day
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

A Cubs-centric look at baseball’s past. Here’s a handy Cubs timeline.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1900 - Approximately one thousand people in the crowd of 10,000 fans attending the game at Chicago’s West Side Grounds celebrate Independence Day by firing pistols into the air. The Orphans shoot down the visiting the Philadelphia team in 12 innings, 5-4. (1)
  • 1911 - Armando Marsans and Rafael Almeida become the first Cuban natives to appear in a major league game as they both make their debut for the Reds. Appearing as pinch hitters in the eight inning, Almeida strikes out and Marsans singles in the 8-3 loss to the Cubs at Chicago’s West Side Grounds. (1)

Box score. This was the first game of a doubleheader, won by Reggie Richter with Mordecai Brown nailing it down. Frank Schulte and Joe Tinker homered.

“A brilliant defensive outfielder who briefly starred with the Cincinnati Reds, Armando Marsáns was the first Cuban player to make an impact in the major leagues.” Almeida had a similar trajectory.(4)

  • 1939 - A tearful Lou Gehrig tells 61,808 fans at Yankee Stadium, ‘I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.’ Gehrig’s uniform number four is retired, the first Major League player so honored. (2)
  • 1966 - In his first game after being sidelined a week with a fractured cheekbone, Ron Santo sets a franchise record, hitting in his 28th consecutive game. The streak will come to an end when the Cubs’ third baseman is held hitless in the nightcap of the twin bill against Pittsburgh. (1)

Box score. Box score. The Cubs split the twin bill, with Vern Law getting the win for Pittsburgh in the first game over Bill Hands, and Don Lee getting the W in the second, in relief of Ken Holtzman, who went 4.1 innings for the Cubs. Don Cardwell took the loss. Santo whacked a two-run homer in the 8th.

  • 1967 - Opposing his younger brother, Joe, Phil Niekro goes the distance to get the victory when the Braves beat the Cubs at Atlanta Stadium, 8-3. Joining Jesse and Virgil Barnes, who face one another five times as starters in the 1920’s, the Niekros become the second pair of siblings to start in the same major league game. (1)

Box score. This was also the first game of a doubleheader. Lee Thomas hot one out for the Cubs but that wasn’t enough to overcome long drives by Rico Carty and Henry Aaron. Phil Niekro also hit a few batters, as was fairly common with his active knuckleball.


Thanks for playing along. Happy Independence Day!