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:
- 1889 - The All America team beats Chicago, 7 - 6, in England’s Old Trafford Cricket Stadium. The Manchester Guardian says: the “general verdict of the more than 1,000 spectators was that the American game was ‘slow’ and ‘wanting in variety.’”
- 1962 - In the first meeting between the two clubs, the Mets defeat the World Champion Yankees in a spring training game. Casey Stengel, the former Bronx Bombers boss, now the manager of the new National League expansion team in New York, clearly wanting to beat his old club, calls upon veteran outfielder Richie Ashburn, who delivers a ninth-inning pinch-hit single, giving the Amazins’ the dramatic walk-off 4-3 victory at Al Lang Field. (1)
- 1962 - A former member of the New York Giants requesting anonymity reveals that Bobby Thomson’s home run in the 1951 playoffs against the Brooklyn Dodgers was helped by a sign-stealing clubhouse spy. The spying is claimed to have gone on for the last three months of the season. Thomson, along with former Giants manager Leo Durocher, vehemently denies that he received help, but a source close to the team confirms the spy operation. (3)
- 1976 - The California Angels’ groundskeeper finds hundreds of marijuana plants growing in the outfield at Anaheim Stadium. The culprits? Most likely rock fans who attended a recent performance at the stadium by The Who. (3)
- 1986 - The Yankees announce Britt Burns, an 18-game winner with the White Sox last season, will miss the entire season due to a degenerative hip condition. The 26 year-old southpaw will never throw another major league pitch, ending his eight-year career, played entirely with Chicago, with a 70-60 (.538) won-loss record. (1)
- 1993 - Cleveland Indians pitchers Steve Olin and Tim Crews are killed, and Bob Ojeda is seriously injured, when the motorboat in which they are riding strikes a pier on Little Lake Nellie near Winter Haven, Florida. Crews and Olin are the first active major leaguers to die since Thurman Munson in 1979. (3)
- 2012 - Major League Baseball announces it is setting up a new league for amateur players in the Dominican Republic, in order to give them an opportunity to perform against top competition without having to commit to a professional contract at a very young age. The lack of high school or equivalent competition has hampered the development of the game in the D.R., whose national teams have performed poorly in international competitions in spite of the large number of professional players born in the country. (3)
- Cubs birthdays: Bill McClellan, Paul Schramka, Al Schroll, Gene Oliver, Dick Ellsworth, Glenallen Hill, Joe Smith, Dexter Fowler (who still looks wrong in red).
- (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