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Baseball history unpacked, September 3

The first night baseball game, Hall-of-Famers galore, Leo the Lip, and other stories

Santo waves to fans
A perfect 10 had a bad day
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

A wildly popular Cubs-centric look at baseball’s past. Here’s a handy Cubs timeline, to help you follow along as we review select scenes from the rich tapestry of Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball history.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1880 - At Strawberry Hill, located on the shores of Nantasket Beach in Hull, Massachusetts, the first night baseball game is played under artificial light with teams made up of employees from the retail competitors of Jordan Marsh and R.H. White. The contest, illuminated by lights placed on three wooden towers erected five hundred feet apart from one another by the Northern Electric Light Company that supply the equivalent brightness of 90,000 candles, ends in a 16-16 tie, when the players need to catch the last ferry back to Boston. (1)

The Sporting News kinda sorta confirms this. SABR does confirm it, without the reservations.

  • 1925 - After a recent incident on a train, when Cubs manager Rabbit Maranville anointed various passengers from a spittoon, Chicago relieves the Rabbit of the burdens of managership. Chicago hastily appoints George Gibson, former skipper of the Pirates, as manager for the remainder of the season. The Cubs were 23-30 under Maranville, and Chicago will cut the last tie when they waive the veteran in November. (3)

SABR says only that Maranville was Cubs manager “for a short time”. HowStuffWorks (?!) confirms this report and adds that Maranville was the only Hall-of-Famer that was demoted to the minors mid-career. That article says that “...he wore out his welcome in the Chicago dugout after only eight weeks...”

  • 1928 - A’s player-manager Ty Cobb collects the last hit of his career when he doubles off right-hander Bump Hadley in the team’s 6-1 loss to Washington at Griffith Stadium. (1)

Box score. Hadley also tripled and went the distance for the win.

  • 1957 - Warren Spahn of the Braves hurls his 41st shutout, the most by a National League lefthander, as he beats Chicago, 8-0. (3)

Box score. It was Spahn’s 18th victory. The Cubs scattered six hits, with the only extra-base hit being a 6th-inning double by 3rd baseman Bobby Adams. Hank Aaron drove in four runs with a three-run homer and a groundout.

  • 1963 - Ron Santo ties the National League record by a third baseman for errors committed in an inning. The Cub infielder’s three miscues in the second frame lead to a seven-run outburst, and an eventual 16-3 victory for San Francisco at Candlestick Park. (1)

Box score. The Giants were prolific with Juan Marichal on the bump preventing the Cubs from scoring many runs. Marichal won his 20th against Cub hurler Larry Jackson.

  • 1970 - Cubs’ outfielder Billy Williams asks to be benched, thus ending his National League record for consecutive games at 1,117. (1)

Box score. Fergie Jenkins won his 18th as the Cubs beat the Phillies 7-2. Jim Hickman drove in four runs with a 1st-inning single and a three-run homer in the 3rd.

  • 1971 - Owner Phil Wrigley takes out newspaper ads criticizing the Cubs players who want to dump manager Leo Durocher. A postscript adds, “If we could only find more team players like Ernie Banks.” Banks will play his last game on September 26th. (3)
  • 1975 - Future Hall of Famer Bob Gibson gives up a grand slam to Chicago’s Pete LaCock, the son of Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall. The Cardinal right-hander faces one more batter to end the inning, retiring Don Kessinger on a ground out, and never returns to a big league mound. (1)

Box score. The rest of the team didn’t treat Gibson very well, either. Bill Madlock rapped a couple of doubles, and Champ Summers and Andre Thornton doubled as well.

  • 1984 - In the Cubs’ 5-4 victory over Philadelphia at Veterans Stadium, Rick Sutcliffe strikes out 15 batters, tying a franchise record shared by Dick Drott (1957) and Burt Hooton (1971). The trio’s individual accomplishment will remain the club standard for a nine-inning game until Kerry Wood fans 20 Astros in 1998. (1)

Box score. Sutcliffe ended up with a no-decision that day as the game went twelve innings. George Frazier picked up the win and Lee Smith earned the save by striking out two of the three batters he faced.


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