Baseball history marches forth ... as always on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 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 folded neatly, just for you.
You might learn something, but mostly, it’s for fun!
Today in baseball history:
- 1942 - During spring training, Jackie Robinson and Nate Moreland work out with the White Sox in Pasadena, California. Manager Jimmie Dykes, who reluctantly granted their request for a walk-on tryout, dismisses the black players without making an offer for their services. (1)
- 1953 - The Milwaukee Braves become the first franchise to move since 1903, when the Baltimore Orioles became the New York Highlanders. The Braves have been in Boston, MA for 77 years. In a related move, the minor league Milwaukee Brewers move to Toledo, Ohio, where they become the latest incarnation of the Toledo Mud Hens. (3)
- 1970 - The Cleveland Indians and Seattle Pilots play an exhibition game with the experimental X-5 ball, which is reported to be five per cent livelier than a regulation ball. The Pilots beat the Indians, 19-14. One week later, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn orders the livelier ball to be discontinued. (3)
- 1984 - Charlie Lau, renowned batting instructor, dies in Key Colony Beach, FL, at age 50 after a long bout with cancer. Lau, whose major league career batting average was .255, earned his fame as the Kansas City Royals batting coach from 1971 to 1978, where his star pupil was George Brett. Lau also served as a batting coach for the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox and wrote a book called “The Art of Hitting .300”. (3)
- 1985 - Commissioner Peter Ueberroth reinstates Hall of Fame members Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, who had been banned from association with organized baseball by former commissioner Bowie Kuhn due to their employment by Atlantic City casinos. Ueberroth’s ruling will allow both men to pursue employment with major league teams. (3)
- 1990 - Major league players and owners reach a new collective bargaining agreement that will end the 32-day lockout of spring training camps. Highlights of the deal include increasing the clubs’ contributions to the players’ pension fund, raising the major league minimum salary to $100,000, and a compromise on salary arbitrationthat leaves 17 percent of players with between two and three years of major league experience eligible. (3)
- 2009 - The Cubs announce the team will retire its fifth number when 31 will be set aside on May 3 in honor of both Fergie Jenkins (1966-73, 1982-83) and Greg Maddux (1986-92, 2004-06). The hurlers will join Ron Santo (#10), Ernie Banks (#14), Ryne Sandberg (#23), and Billy Williams (#26) in being honored by the Chicago club. (1)
- Cubs birthdays: Jimmy Callahan, Hiram Bithorn, Dick Littlefield, Fernando Rodney.
- (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