A wildly popular Cubs-centric look at baseball’s past. Here’s a handy Cubs timeline, to help you follow along (if you wish to) as we review select scenes from the rich tapestry of Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball history. No advanced metrics were harmed in the weaving of this series.
Today in baseball history:
- 1939 - After dropping the opener to Chicago, 9-5, the Pirates snap a twelve game losing streak with a 5-0 victory in the nightcap. Max Butcher goes the distance in the shortened six-inning game, limiting the visitors to just two hits in the Forbes Field contest. (1)
Box score. It was Butcher’s 3rd win against 15 defeats. The Cubs had more walks (2) than strikeouts (1).
- 1958 - Out of catchers, the Cubs put left-handed first baseman Dale Long behind the plate in the opener against the Pirates. He is the first lefty backstop since 1906. The Cubs lose 4-2, then win the nightcap 5-1 with Long back at first base. (2)
Box score. That’s nutty. Could you see Rizzo back there?
- 1961 - The Cubs and Pirates tie a National League record by playing their third straight extra-inning game. The Cubs take this one, 1 - 0. Chicago wins two of the three 11-inning games. (3)
- 1971 - Ferguson Jenkins wins his 20th, beating Houston, 3 - 2. The win pulls the Cubs to 4 1/2 behind Pittsburgh. But following two losses to Houston, Leo Durocher and the players will square off in a clubhouse meeting on the 23rd. Durocher accuses Ron Santo of demanding that the team give him a day, and the third sacker has to be restrained from going after Leo. Leo will finally lip an “I quit,” but stay on through the season in a frosty relationship with the team. (3)
Box score. Durocher in fact stayed on until midway through the 1972 season, after which he managed the Astros for a season and a quarter (the final 31 games of the 1972 season and all of 1973). Then he retired. An old-school manager, Durocher is said to have had problems relating to then-modern-day ballplayers, and to have issues regarding the legendary status of Ernie Banks and the latter’s bad knees. (wiki)
- 1974 - In an 18-8 rout of the Cubs, the Dodgers collect 24 hits and set a club record with 48 total bases, including Davey Lopes’ three home runs, double, and single. The Dodger second baseman’s 15 total bases are the most ever for a leadoff hitter. (1)
Box score. Steve Garvey, Willie Crawford, and Jim Wynn also homered for the Dodgers. Rick Stelmaszek and Carmen Fanzone tried to horn in on the fun, with blasts of their own, but no go. Reliever Dave LaRoche gave up nine earned runs in 4.1 innings.
- 1996 - In the Cubs’ 8 - 1 win over Florida, Sammy Sosa picks up his 100th RBI the hard way when he is hit by a Mark Hutton pitch with the bases loaded in the 1st inning. The pitch breaks Sosa’s wrist and the slugger won’t play again that season, stopping his streak of consecutive games played at 304. (3)
- 2008 - Umpires sign an agreement which will allow major league baseball to start using instant replay to help determine boundary calls, such as determining fair or foul fly balls and difficult home run rulings. No exact date has been set for the start of using replays, but installation of the necessary equipment has been taking place in ballparks, with the hope of starting later this month. (1)
- 2014 - Major League Baseball upholds a protest filed by the Giants over their rain-shortened 2 - 0 loss to the Cubs on August 19th. The game was called after 4 1/2 innings, but the Giants successfully argue that the Cubs did not properly deploy the tarp at Wrigley Field, dumping accumulated rainwater on the infield and preventing the game from resuming when the rain abated after a few minutes. The game will resume tomorrow in the bottom of the 5th inning, prior to the regularly scheduled game between the two teams. This is the first successful protest in 28 years. When the game resumes, the Cubs will be able to hold on for a 2 - 1 win. (3)
- Cubs birthdays: Robert Gibson, Bull Smith, Fred Norman, Kal Daniels, Blake DeWitt. Also notable: Al Lopez (HoF). (3)
- (1) — The National Pastime.
- (2) — Today in Baseball History.
- (3) — Baseball Reference.
- (4) — Society for American Baseball Research.
Please note that quotes may have been corrected for spelling and/or grammarical errata. Thanks for playing along.