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Baseball history unpacked, February 25

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Antitrustworthiness, labor unrest, Billy the Marlin is hatched, how to use a slide rule, and other news

Philadelphia Phillies v Miami Marlins
One that didn’t get away
Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

...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:

  • 1905 - The Chicago Cubs go to Santa Monica, California for spring training, while most clubs go south or stay close to home. (3)
  • 1957 - The U.S. Supreme Court decides 6-3 that baseball is the only professional sport exempt from antitrust laws. The issue arises when pro football seeks similar protection from the laws. (2)
  • 1965 - The MLB owners refuse to raise the minimum salary requested by the players to $7,000 from the current $6,000, a level that is only $500 more than the first minimum salary established 18 years ago. In 1968, thanks to the first-ever collective bargaining agreement in professional sport, the amount will be raised to $10,000, setting the tone for more rapid increases in the coming years. (1)
  • 1969 - Baseball avoids the first work stoppage in its history when the owners agree to increase their contribution to the newly revised pension plan, which changes the players’ ability to qualify from five years to four with the minimum age being lowered from fifty to forty-five to receive benefits. Other improvements include the players agreeing to collect $5.45 million per year, retroactive to 1959, as well as a percentage of the revenue generated by televised games. (1)
  • 1973 - The spring training lockout ends when the players’ union and the owners reach a three-year agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. The CBA establishes salary arbitration for players with two+ years of major league service, raises the minimum salary to $15,000, and includes the new ‘10 and 5’ trade rule that allows a player with ten years of service, in which the last five are with his current team, to veto any trade. (1)
  • 1981 - The Executive Board of the Players’ Association votes unanimously to strike on May 29th if the issue of free agent compensation remains unresolved. That deadline will be extended briefly, however, when the Players’ Association’s unfair labor practices complaint is heard by the National Labor Relations Board.(2)
  • 1987 - Commissioner Ueberroth bans former Cy Young Award winner LaMarr Hoyt from major league baseball for the 1987 season due to multiple drug-related incidents during the past year. The Padres are ordered to reinstate the right-hander after an arbitrator reduces the penalty to sixty days. (1)
  • 1993 - Resembling a marlin with arms and legs, ‘Billy’ is introduced as the mascot of the new National League franchise in Miami. Owner Wayne Huizenga selects the name partly because a dolphin is from the species of fish known as “billfish,” and it was different from typical baseball mascot names like Smasher. (1)
  • 2016 - Major League Baseball announces changes to the rules that touch on two aspects of play: first limiting the length of mound visits by coaches and managers, and the amount of time between innings, in order to speed up play; and second defining what constitutes a legal slide into a base. The latter is the result of a number of injuries last season to fielders attempting to complete a double play, notably Jung-ho Kang and Ruben Tejada. (3)
  • Cubs birthdays: Howard Earl, Monte Irvin (HoF), Andy Pafko, Ron Santo (HoF), Ed Lynch, Henry Rodriguez, Felix Pena, Jorge Soler. Also notable: Bob Brenly.

Sources:

Thanks for reading. #Cubsnews