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Baseball history unpacked, December 11

Speed up the game, and other stories

Fukudome time
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... on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Bleed Cubbie Blue brings a you a lighthearted 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*. Beware of rabbit holes.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1917 - In one of the most lopsided deals in baseball history, the Phillies trade Pete Alexander to the Cubs, along with starting catcher Bill Killefer, for right-hander Mike Prendergast, who compiles a 13-15 record in his one-plus season with Philadelphia, and backup backstop William Dillhoefer, who plays a total of eight games for the team, batting 091. From 1918 to 1926, ‘Old Pete’ compiles a 128-83 record in a Cubs uniform en route to Hall of Fame career, which also includes playing for the Cardinals. (1,3)
  • 1928 - In an effort to speed up the game and add more offense, National League president John Heydler proposes the concept of a designated batter for the pitcher. The American League opposes the idea, and the NL withdraws the proposal before Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis is asked to break the deadlock. (1,3)
  • 1931 - Despite two wins in the World Series, spitball veteran Burleigh Grimes is traded by the Cards to the Cubs for the fallen Hack Wilson. Wilson will be offered just $7,500, reflecting the owner’s new austerity drive. Grimes will have three losing seasons in Chicago before calling it quits. (3)
  • 1956 - A major league player association is formed with Bob Feller, a future Hall of Fame hurler with the Indians, being named its first president. The labor organization, one of many attempts by the players to form a union, will prove to be very successful a decade later when Marvin Miller is hired to be the MLBPA’s first executive director in 1966. (1,3)
  • 1973 - After being the first player to invoke the new 10-and-5 rule to avoid being dealt to the Angels, Ron Santo agrees to be traded to the south side of Chicago to play for the rival White Sox. In return for the 33-year-old infielder, who will play just one season with the Pale Hose before retiring, the Cubs receive Jim Kremmel (the player to be named later), Ken Frailing, Steve Stone, and Steve Swisher. (1,3)
  • 2007 - After declining offers from the Yomiuri Giants and his former team, the Chunichi Dragons, Kosuke Fukudome comes to terms with the Cubs on a four-year deal reported to be worth $48 million. The 30 year-old Japanese outfielder, also sought by the Padres, White Sox, Giants, and Rangers, compiled a .305 batting average during his 13-year tenure in Japan’s Central League. (1,3)
  • Cubs birthdays: Art Wilson, Fred Toney, Bill Nicholson, Andy Varga, Gene Hiser, Also notable: Old Hoss Radbourn (HoF).


*We try to vet each item. Please let us know if an item is in error, especially if you have a source.

Thanks for reading.