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Baseball history unpacked, December 16

Judge Landis, Willie Mays, and more

Happy birthday, Tyler Chatwood!
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

... 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:

  • 1922 - The Eastern Colored League (chartered as the “Mutual Association of Eastern Colored Baseball Clubs”) is formally organized. The league will complete five seasons before folding in midsummer of 1928. (2,3)
  • 1926 - Judge Landis is given a new seven-year term as commissioner with a raise to $65,000. (2,3)
  • 1954 - Willie Mays becomes the first player to win the Most Valuable Player Award in his first full year in the majors when he easily outdistances Reds first baseman Ted Kluszewski for the honor. The 23-year-old Giants center fielder made his big league debut at the end of May in 1951 but missed the last two seasons due to his military service in the U.S. Army. (1)
  • 1975 - With little encouragement from the other American League owners, Bill Veeck, who will see his new team win their first pennant in 40 years, reacquires the White Sox when he purchases 80% of the team as part of an investment group that is intent on keeping the franchise in Chicago. Former owner John Allyn had been pressured by the league to sell his club to a Seattle interest to help quell a lawsuit that was a result of the AL’s approval in 1970 to move the one-year-old expansion Pilots from the ‘Emerald City’ to Milwaukee. (1)
  • 1976 - Court proceedings in Charlie Finley’s $10 million damage suit against Commissioner Bowie Kuhn begin in Chicago. At issue is Kuhn’s voiding of Finley’s attempted player sales last June. The proceedings will take 15 days, and the decision will take three months, but it will uphold the Commissioner’s authority to act “in the best interests of baseball.” (2.3)
  • 2002 - After being invited to the Dominican Republic by President Hipolito Mejia, Japanese home run king Sadaharu Oh meets one his favorite players, island resident Sammy Sosa. The Dominican outfielder, who is one homer shy of the coveted 500, will have to hit several hundred more to reach the mark of 868 set by the 62-year-old during his 22 seasons playing for the Yomiuri Giants. (1,3)
  • 2011 - Sentencing is announced in the trial of Barry Bonds. The major leagues’ all-time leading home run hitter is handed a two-year probation with a term of house arrest after being found guilty of obstruction of justice on April 13th. He is also fined $4,000 and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service. (3)
  • 2016 - A record number of six teams are assessed luxury tax payments for the coming season. Not surprisingly, the Dodgers ($31.8 million) and Yankees ($27.4 million) lead the pack of profligate spenders by a long shot. They are joined by Boston, Detroit, San Francisco and the Cubs, who are all assessed penalties under $5 million. The Yankees have been assessed a penalty in each of the 14 years the system has been in existence. (3)
  • Cubs birthdays: Sammy Strang, Tony Kaufmann, Joe Berry, Adolfo Phillips, Paul Noce, Tyler Chatwood. Also notable: Frank Deford, William Perry.


*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.