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Baseball history unpacked, December 30

Cubs and MLB news and notes — The Mills Commission and more

Abner Doubleday
Photo by Transcendental Graphics/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:

  • 1907 - The Mills Commission on the origins of baseball reports that the game was invented by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. The Commission is convinced by the testimony of Abner Graves, who claimed to be a childhood companion of Doubleday’s. Grave’s story is later “verified” when an old, rotting ball is found among his personal effects; the ball is now in the Hall of Fame. The Commission ignores the fact that Doubleday did not graduate from West Point until 1842. (3)

More on AG Mills. The secret history of baseball’s early days.

“I don’t think you could have had the rise of baseball without gambling,” says John Thorn. “It was not worthy of press coverage. What made baseball seem important was when gamblers figured out a way to spur interest in it.

  • 1926 - The Chicago Tribune reports the 1917 Tigers had thrown a four-game series to the White Sox to help Chicago win the pennant. Within the week, Commissioner Judge Landis will begin a hearing to investigate the charges, but dismisses all charges. Landis can find no witnesses to confirm any part of Swede Risberg’s claim. (1,2,3)

More about this.

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

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