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Baseball history unpacked, August 22

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Ernie’s number is retired, interleague games are proposed, and other tales

Ernie Banks throws out first pitch Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1933 - Bill Veeck, Sr. suggests the idea of a mid-summer series of interleague games and proposes a split-season schedule format. Although the Cub president’s concept of games between two circuits receives some support, Senator owner Clark Griffith opposes the proposal, calling the American League a major league not in need of grandiose schemes he deemed as “Hippodrome stuff”. (1)

We’ve covered this in these pages before (in connection with Ladies Day, another Veeck innovation), but it might bear another look.

...in 1933, with the Depression crippling attendance, Veeck urged interleague games as a way of creating a “wider interest” in baseball by making it “more attractive” to fans. “We can’t go on operating on the same basis as we did twenty-five years ago,” he emphatically told an Associated Press reporter. Many baseball officials agreed with him (including National League President John Heydler, who referred to Veeck as a “progressive”), but interleague play would not be a part of major league baseball until 1997. Also, even though Chicago Daily Tribune sports editor Arch Ward first envisioned the 1933 All-Star Game, it was Veeck who exclaimed, “Great. Let’s go through with it,” and lobbied club owners and other baseball officials for their support. (4)

He passed away due to leukemia a few weeks later — October 5, 1933. That signaled the end of that proposal.

SABR has a handy chronology of interleague play.

Box score. Dick Errickson won over Gene Thompson in relief.

  • 1982 - The Cubs pay tribute to Ernie Banks when the team retires the outfielder’s uniform number (14) that he wore for 19 seasons. The Hall of Famer, who retired in 1971, is the first player in the 106-year history of the franchise to be honored in this manner. (1)

And they won the game, 8-7 over the Padres. Dick Tidrow got the win in relief over Gary Lucas. Jody Jody Jody Davis homered in the 4th. Bill Buckner drove in the winning run with a single in the bottom of the 8th.

The Cubs won that day, too, shutting out the Reds 2-0 behind Dickie Noles. Ron Cey singled in Ryne Sandberg in the bottom of the 4th for the first run and Carmelo Martinez homered in the bottom of the 5th for the second. Frank Pastore was tagged with the loss.

  • 2001- Cubs OF Sammy Sosa hits three home runs in a game for the second time in two weeks as he leads Chicago to a 16 - 3 win over the Brewers. Sosa is removed from the game following his home run in the 6th inning, missing a chance to tie the major league single-game mark of 4.

Box score. Kevin Tapani was the beneficiary of the offensive onslaught.

Sources:

Please note that quotes may have been corrected for spelling and/or grammarical errata. Thanks for playing along.