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Baseball history unpacked, January 21

Landis, Dickens, and other stories

Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs 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. The embedded links often point to articles that I’ve chosen as illustrative of the scenes, from The Society for American Baseball Research, reproductions of period newspapers, images, and other such material.

You might learn something, but mostly, it’s for fun!

Today in baseball history:

  • 1921 - ”The legend has been spread that the owners hired the Judge off the federal bench. Don’t you believe it. They got him right out of Dickens.” - Leo Durocher, speaking about encounters with the commissioner during his playing days.

In a move widely supported by the press, Kenesaw Mountain Landis becomes baseball’s first commissioner, replacing the three-man National Commission, formerly governed by league presidents Ban Johnson and John Heydler and Reds owner Garry Herrmann. In November, the 55-year-old jurist agreed to take the newly created position for seven years at a salary of $50,000 (minus a $7,500 reduction to reflect his current pay as judge) on the condition he could continue to preside on the federal bench, an arrangement which would come to an end in thirteen months, when he resigns from his judicial responsibilities. (1)

  • 2000 - The National Labor Relations Board refuses to overturn the election which removed Richie Phillips and the Major League Umpires Association from power. A new union will represent the arbiters. (3)
  • 2009 - Jon Lester becomes the 48th recipient of the Hutch Award and the first to be treated by a doctor from the renowned institution named for Seattle baseball legend Fred Hutchinson. The Red Sox hurler, a survivor of anaplastic large cell lymphoma, is honored with the annual award for best exemplifying the spirit and competitive drive of the former major-leaguer and skipper, who died of cancer in 1964 at the age of 45. (1)
  • Cubs birthdays: Mike Krukow, Dave Smith, Alan Benes.


Thanks for reading. #Cubsnews