Ah, BCB writers have dedication if nothing else. I write this live from TMC Hospital in Tucson, having suffered a sudden weird spike in blood sugar (I’m diabetic), and as always on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I bring 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:
- 1889 - Italy’s King Humbert is among the fans who witness the Chicagos beat the All-Americans, 3-2, outside of Rome at the Villa Borghese. Originally billed as the Spalding’s Australian Baseball Tour, the trip is expanded to include contests in Europe, much to the surprise of the captive players aboard ship en route to the Land Down Under. (1)
- 1945 - At the major league meetings, the owners cancel the 1945 All-Star Game scheduled to be played at Boston’s Fenway Park on July 10th. Even after the cancellation, schedule-makers leave the dates of July 9, 10 and 11 open in case circumstances change, permitting the game. In place of the All-Star Game, eight simultaneous games pitting the National League vs. the American League are to be played. Seven are played, with the 8th being cancelled. Also approved is a rule change stating that a player needs 400 at bats to qualify for a batting title. (3)
- 2005 - Tom Umberg, a California state assemblyman, introduces legislation which would require pro franchises to use disclaimers if they do not play the majority of home games in the location used in their name. With his ‘Truth in Sports Advertising Act,’ the Anaheim Democrat is trying to prevent the local team from changing its name to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. (1)
- 2017 - Major League Baseball adopts a significant rule change, as part of a strategy to speed up the game: a pitcher will no longer need to throw four pitches deliberately outside the strike zone in order to issue an intentional walk, but instead the defensive team’s manager will simply need to signal his intention to the home plate umpire, who will immediately direct the batter to advance to first base. However, given that there is on average one intentional walk every 2.5 games, the change is expected to have only a minimal impact on playing time. (3)
- Cubs birthdays: Steve Barber, Eric Yelding, Brian Duensing. Also notable: George “Sparky” Anderson (HoF).
- (1) — The National Pastime.
- (2) — Today in Baseball History.
- (3) — Baseball Reference.
- (4) — Society for American Baseball Research.
- (5) — Baseball Hall of Fame.
Thanks for reading. #Cubsnews