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:
- 1906 - Rookie owner Charles W. Murphy puts the last pieces of a Chicago Cubs dynasty in place, trading rookie infielder Hans Lobert and pitcher Jake Weimer to the Cincinnati Reds for third baseman Harry Steinfeldt. Not a heavy hitter, Steinfeldt completes the Frank Chance-Johnny Evers-Joe Tinker infield with more than adequate defense. (3)
- 1922 - Babe Ruth becomes the highest paid player in history when he inks a three-year deal with the Yankees worth $52,000 per season, more than three times as much as teammate Home Run Baker, the second best paid major leaguer. (1)
- 1951 - Charlie Brown, who made his debut in Charles Schultz’s Peanut comic strip in last October, appears in his first baseball game. The perennial loser, who served as his team’s pitcher and manager, usually fielded the following lineup: first baseman - Shermy, second baseman - Linus, third baseman - Pig-pen, shortstop - Snoopy, right fielder - Lucy, center fielder -Patty, left fielder -Violet, and catcher - Schroeder. (1)
- 1971 - Joe Cronin, the AL president, gives in to A’s owner Charlie Finley’s request to allow three balls, rather than four, to constitute a base on balls during an exhibition game against the Brewers. The experiment, designed to add offense and speed up the game, proves to be tedious for both teams when 19 walks are issued as well as six homers being drilled during the 13-9 spring training victory for Oakland. (1)
- 1985 - Enos Slaughter and Arky Vaughan are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Slaughter, known for his hustling style of play, gained fame for his celebrated “Mad Dash” home during the 1946 World Series. Vaughan batted .318 over a 14-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Brooklyn Dodgers.
- 1987 - Free agent Andre Dawson signs a blank contract to join the Cubs. The former player for the Expos will win the National League MVP, making him a bargain at $500,000, the amount Chicago decided to pay the All-Star outfielder. (1)
- 2005 - Suzyn Waldman becomes the first woman to be a full-time color commentator in major league history, making her debut with John Sterling on WCBS-AM 880, the radio flagship of the New York Yankees. The former radio-talk host on WFAN, the first all-sports radio station in United States, was also the first female to broadcast on a national baseball telecast, as well as the first to provide local TV (Yankees) major league play-by-play. (1)
- 2006 - Hall of Fame outfielder Kirby Puckett dies in Scottsdale, Arizona, at age 45, a day after suffering a massive stroke. Puckett, who led the Minnesota Twins to World Series titles in 1987 and 1991, hit .318 with 207 home runs and 1085 RBI over 12 seasons. A 10-time All-Star and six-time Gold Glove winner, Puckett ended his career abruptly due to irreversible retina damage in his right eye.
- Cubs birthdays: Hal Mauck, Bill Sweeney, Ted Abernathy, Terry Adams, Jake Arrieta, Leonys Martin. Also notable: Lefty Grove (HoF), Cookie Rojas, Willie Stargell (HoF).
- (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