Glad I don’t have to report on last night’s game. I bet the game thread was magic. In lieu of game reactions, I bring you a wildly popular Cubs-centric look at baseball’s past, should you so wish to undertake such a mission.
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:
- 1914 - En route to tossing a 9-0 shutout against the Toronto Maple Leafs, 19-year-old Babe Ruth of the Triple-A Providence Grays hits the first home run in his professional career. The site of the ‘Sultan of Swat’s’ only minor-league homer, Hanlan’s Point Stadium, which was located on Lake Ontario’s Toronto Islands near the city’s mainland, is being promoted as a historical landmark by Jerry Amernic, author of Gift of the Bambino. (1)
- 1918 - At Comiskey Park, Babe Ruth of the Red Sox six-hits the Cubs in the opening game of the World Series, 1-0. The Fall Classic game, which started earlier than usual due to World War I, is played at the White Sox home field rather than Weeghman Park (renamed Wrigley Field in 1926), due to the larger seating capacity. (1)
During the seventh-inning stretch, a military band plays “The Star Spangled Banner.” From then on, it is played at every World Series game, every season opener, and whenever a band is present to play it, though it is not yet adopted as the national anthem. The custom of playing it before every game will begin during World War II, after the installation of public address systems. (2)
- 1931 - In Cincinnati, the Cubs lose, 4 - 3, in 10 innings. Hack Wilson, in the Cubs doghouse for drinking and not hitting, is left in the bullpen to warm up pitchers when manager Rogers Hornsby, short of outfielders, inserts pitcher Bud Teachout in LF. On the train back to Chicago that night, Wilson starts arguing with two writers. When Pat Malone wanders by, he joins in the argument and, with his encouragement, Wilson punches out both writers. Malone will be fined $500 for his actions while club president Bill L. Veeck will suspend Wilson without pay for the rest of the season. In 112 games, Wilson hit just .261 with 13 home runs, and the Cubs will send the slumping slugger to St. Louis over the winter. (3)
Box score. Benny Frey went 10 for the win. Cubs starter Lon Warneke went one inning, giving up two earned runs and three bases on balls. Hard-luck loser Johnny Welch went 8.1, giving up one earned run, for the loss when reliever Bob Smith walked the first man he faced and coughed up the game -winning single to the third.
- 1960 - At the age of 41, Diomedes Olivo makes his major league debut, pitching in relief for the Pirates. The oldest rookie in National League history hurls two scoreless innings against Milwaukee at Forbes Field. (1)
- 1962 - Ken Hubbs of the Cubs sets major league records at 2B for consecutive games without an error (78) and consecutive chances accepted (418) without an error. His streak ends with a 4th-inning throwing error as Cincinnati beats Chicago, 4-1. (3)
2014 portrait by Al Yellon. Cooperstown’s version. The box score says it was a 10-3 Reds win, the second game of a double-header, and that the throwing error was in the top of the 8th, and that it was his tenth of the season.
My pop used to tell me that Hubbs was a better player than Ryne Sandberg, and that his plane crash was the reason why those young Cubs never got over the top. I probably never saw him play — I was three when he died.
- 1969 - Billy Williams has all four of Chicago’s hits, as the Cubs lose a 9 - 2 decision to Steve Blass and the Pirates. There’s nothing cheap about Billy’s hits - two doubles and two homers - as he sets a National League record for most hits in a game with no other hits, tying the major-league record of Kid Elberfeld (August 1, 1903). Blass helps his own cause with his only major league homer, a 3-run blast, off Ken Holtzman, and three singles. The win is Pittsburgh’s first at Wrigley Field since July 5, 1968, a string of 13 losses. They’ll win the next two to sweep the series and drop the Cubs lead to 2 1/2 games.
- 1998 - Sammy Sosa hits home run #58 in Chicago’s 8 - 4 win over the Pirates, as the Cubs maintain their lead in the race for the wild card spot.
- Cubs birthdays: Ed Stein, Lefty Liefield, Candy Maldonado, Cliff Bartosh, Jeff Stevens, Tyler Colvin, . Also notable: Nap LaJoie, Bill Mazeroski, (HoF).
- (1) — The National Pastime.
- (2) — Today in Baseball History.
- (3) — Baseball Reference.
- (4) — Society for American Baseball Research.
Please note that individual lines may have been corrected for spelling and/or grammarical errata. Thanks for playing along.