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Baseball history unpacked, January 25

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The Good Kid, Ray Kroc, and other stories

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. It’s all lightly unpacked and tidied up, just for you.

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

Today in baseball history:

  • 1949 - Lou Boudreau signs a two-year contract worth $65,000 with the World Champion Indians to remain the team’s player-manager. The future Hall-of-Famer will pilot the Tribe for nine years, six as a player, and will compile a 728-649 (.529) record with the club. (1)

The Good Kid’ was one of the voices of the Cubs as I was growing up. I remember how he refused to say “Schmidt,” and Mike Schmidt was always “Smith”. He was a pretty good announcer and had been a good hard-nosed player and manager.

  • 1974 - Ray Kroc, fast-food entrepreneur (McDonald’s), buys the San Diego Padres for $12 million. (2)

Lifelong Cub fan Kroc is credited with having saved the Padres, but he also almost made them quit.

“I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the Dodgers drew 31,000 for their opener and we’ve drawn 39,000 for ours. The bad news is that this is the most stupid baseball playing I’ve ever seen.” — Ray Kroc.

Brusstar was a good reliever the first two years and failed badly in his third as a Cub. Trout was not exactly consistent but he had a couple of really good years, 1984 being the best. “Dirt” Tidrow was running out of gas when he was dealt. Martz disappeared, playing in one game for the White Sox after winning 11 games the previous year. He had been a first-rounder but never lived up to the promise he had shown in college.

Fletcher was a decent player who got onto the field with the Sox and had good years with the Rangers. Tabler had the knack of hitting with the bases loaded and had a few good years with the Indians, where the Sox traded him to, and with the Royals and Mets. Ty (Tye) Waller was seen as the third baseman of the future at that point. New acquisition Ryne Sandberg was moved to second base when Ron Cey was acquired, and Waller was dispatched to the White Sox for Reggie Patterson.

Sources:

Thanks for reading. #Cubsnews