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Baseball history unpacked, February 8

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Folsom Correctional face-off, Mack daddy, and other stories

Chicago Cubs v Oakland Athletics
before Bryant
Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

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:

  • 1887 - King Kelly meets with Chicago White Stockings owner Albert Spalding for contract talks. Kelly, who won the National League batting championship for the pennant-winning White Stockings last season, wants the bonus of $375 that Spalding promised for good behavior last year. Spalding refuses to give him the bonus or to rescind the additional $225 withheld from Kelly’s salary as fines for drinking. Six days from now, Kelly will be sold to the Boston Beaneaters. (3)
  • 1942 - At California’s Folsom prison, the annual game between major-leaguers and the prison team is stopped when it is discovered that two prisoners have escaped. With the pros leading 24-5 at the end of seven innings, the game ends and guards go after the two lifers, who are found three hours later. The major leaguers include Ernie Lombardi, Tiny Bonham, Gus Suhr, Joe Marty, and Johnny Babich. (3)
  • 1956 - In Philadelphia, former A’s manager and owner Connie Mack, 93, dies of “old age and complications from his hip surgery.” The ‘Tall Tactician’ set records for major league wins (3,731) and losses (3,948), compiling a .486 managerial mark during his 54 years as a skipper, including his three seasons with the Pirates before the turn of the century. (1)
  • 1972 - Commissioner Bowie Kuhn announces the Hall of Fame selection of legendary sluggers Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard by the Special Committee on the Negro Leagues. The duo led the Homestead Grays to nine straight league championships from 1937 to 1945.
  • 1973 - The owners announce ‘Early Bird’ spring training, which had been scheduled to begin next week, is canceled until the negotiations with the Players’ Association are completed. The 23-day lockout, caused by a disagreement over salary arbitration, will not affect the start of the regular season. (1)
  • 1983 - One day after taking a job as director of sports promotions for the Claridge Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, Mickey Mantle is ordered to sever his ties with Major League Baseball by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. Mantle joins fellow Hall-of-Famer Willie Mays as players banned from baseball by Kuhn for involvement with legalized gambling.
  • Cubs birthdays: Steve Dillard, Felix Pie. Also notable: Fritz Peterson, who once traded wives with a teammate (Mike Kekich). Ah, Felix Pie. So much promise.


Thanks for reading. #Cubsnews