... 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:
- 1903 - Baseball Rules Committee chairman Tom Loftus of the Washington Senators proclaims that the pitcher’s mound must not be more than 15 inches higher than the baselines or home plate. (3)
- 1947 - In anticipation of the signing of the team’s first black players, Bill Veeck, a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, sets up a spring training camp there for the Cleveland Indians. Arizona is chosen because of its relatively tolerant racial climate. During the season, Veeck will sign the American League’s first black player, Larry Doby, who will train at the camp. The New York Giants also set up camp in Arizona, while the Brooklyn Dodgers move their training camp from Florida to Havana, Cuba. (3)
- 1966 - Refusing to report to spring training, Dodger pitchers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale begin their joint holdout, asking for a $1 million, three-year contract, to be divided equally between them. (1)
- 1967 - Commissioner William Eckert approves the Baseball Writers Association of America’s plan to select a Cy Young Award recipient from both the National and American Leagues. The honor, which was initiated in 1956, had been given to just one pitcher in the major leagues each season, a position strongly supported by former commissioner Ford Frick.
- 1969 - Mickey Mantle retires. He ends his career with 2,415 hits and 536 home runs in 18 years with the New York Yankees, numbers that would have certainly been higher if not for persistent knee injuries.
- 1985 - Rick Reuschel signs as a free-agent with the Pirates, spending the first two months in the minors. After being called up in May, ‘Big Daddy’ will win 14 games and be named the National League’s Comeback Player of the Year by the Sporting News. (1)
- 2005 - Construction for an additional 1,790 bleacher seats at Wrigley Field will begin after the season and will be completed in time for Opening Day 2006. An deal is reached for expansion as the Chicago Cubs agree to pay the city $3.1 million prior to the start of work and by contributing funds for a local school park and a $400,000 traffic signal system near the ballpark. (3)
- Cubs birthdays: (2/29) Bill Long, Gerardo Concepcion. (3/1) Paul Hines, Hank Wyse, Bob Usher, Doug Creek, Trevor Cahill.
- (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