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Baseball history unpacked, April 19

Wild Bill, channeling ghosts, and other stories

Turk Wendell
call for the Turk

... as always on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I bring a you 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:

  • 1890 - The Brooklyn Bridegrooms, who will later be known as the Dodgers, play their first National League game. At South End Grounds, the former American Association club loses to the host Boston Beaneaters, 15 - 9. Brooklyn will become the only team to win a title in one major league in one season, then win the pennant in their first season in a new league the following year. (3)
  • 1890 - The National League’s biggest Opening Day crowd, 6,311 at West Side Park, watches Chicago Colts pitcher Wild Bill Hutchison beat the visiting Cincinnati Reds, 5 - 4, earning the first of his 42 wins and 65 complete games out of 66 starts in the season. Hutchinson will work 603 innings and relieve five times while sporting a 2.70 ERA. (3)
  • 1900 - The Beaneaters score nine runs in the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings, but the Phillies recover to beat Boston in 10 innings, 19-17. The 36 runs scored in the South End Grounds sets a major league record for most runs scored by two clubs on Opening Day. (1)
  • 1997 - At Shea Stadium, the Cubs lose their 13th consecutive game to match the longest losing streak in the franchise’s 122-year history. Reliever Turk Wendell, wearing #13, is tagged with the loss when Chicago is defeated by New York, 6-3. (1)
  • 2010 - The Mets’ youngsters are in evidence in a 6-1 win over the Cubs. Jonathon Niese picks up the win with a solid effort over 5 2/3 innings; Jenrry Mejia, the youngest player in the National League, pitches the final two innings; and 1B Ike Davis goes 2 for 4 with an RBI in his major league debut.
  • 2013 - Jean Segura channels the ghost of Germany Schaefer in a bizarre 8th-inning play in the Brewers’ 5-4 win over the Cubs. Segura singles and steals second base, and Ryan Braun follows by drawing a walk. Cubs pitcher Shawn Camp then picks Segura off second base, and he is caught in a rundown; Braun moves to second on the play, but Segura manages to escape the pickle and ends up on the base as well. The Cubs tag both runners, and umpire Phil Cuzzi correctly calls Braun out, as the lead runner is entitled to the bag. However, Segura misunderstands the call and, thinking he is out, starts walking back towards the dugout, before the first base coach tells him to stop at first base. As the play was the result of a mistake, and not an attempt to sew confusion, Segura is allowed to remain at first base. He then attempts to steal second base again, but is thrown out. Schaefer is of course famous for stealing first base in a game on August 4, 1911. (3)
  • Cubs birthdays: Nobody. The closest we come is Dave Owen’s brother Spike.


Thanks for reading.

Cats rool. RIP Gene.