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Baseball history unpacked, April 22

Famous firsts, and other stories from back in the day

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

... 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 as is often found lurking on the interwebs.

“It’s a little bit cheesy, but it’s nicely displayed.” — Frank Zappa

You might learn something, but mostly, it’s for fun!

Today in baseball history:

  • 1876 - Three thousand fans attend the Philadelphia Athletics’ 6-5 loss to the Boston Red Caps in the first game ever played in the National League. The Athletic Park contest becomes the new circuit’s inaugural event by default when the other scheduled games are rained out. Joe Borden of the beat the hometown Athletics.
  • 1891 - Exposition Park, which opened last year as the home of the Pittsburgh Burghers of the short-lived Players’ League, hosts its first Pirates game, a National League contest that the Bucs lose to the Chicago Colts, 7-6. The ballpark located on the north side of the Allegheny River, across from Pittsburgh’s downtown area, will be the team’s home until they move to Forbes Field in 1909.
  • 1906 - A new baseball rule puts the umpire in sole charge of all game balls. The home team manager previously had some say as to when a new ball was introduced. (3)
  • 1914 - Babe Ruth, in his first pro game, blanks the Buffalo Bisons to give Baltimore a 6-0 International League victory. Eighteen of the 94 major league victories thrown by the future ‘Sultan of Swat’ will be shutouts. (1)

Ruth was 19. The second batter he faced was Joe McCarthy, the manager he played for 17 years later with New York. At the plate, Ruth had two hits. (2)

Box score. They played an 11-inning game that day in addition to finishing the suspended game. Geoff Zahn lost the ‘first game,’ and Oscar Zamora won the ‘second game’ of the quasi-double-header. Zamora and Mike Garman threw four scoreless innings after Big Daddy Rick Reuschel gave up four in seven.

Classic lineups for both teams. Lots of familiar names...even among the umpiring crew, where Harry Wendelstedt features prominently.

  • 1993 - Mariner right-hander Chris Bosio walks the first two batters he faces in the Kingdome, but is perfect the rest of the way, throwing the second no-hitter in franchise history when he beats Red Sox, 7-0. The 30-year-old Seattle hurler’s no-no is kept intact by several outstanding plays from his infielders, including shortstop Omar Vizquel’s barehanded play on a chopper hit by Ernest Riles for the game’s final out. (1)

Box score. Andre Dawson was Boston’s DH that day. Henry Cotto was DH for Seattle.

  • 2008 - In a scheduling oddity, both New York big league teams play in Chicago, with the Mets playing the Cubs in a matinee, and the Yankees taking on the White Sox in an evening tilt. This unusual occurrence marks the first time in 11+ years that two teams from one city have both played as the visitors in the same city on the same date, a quirk likely necessitated due to the Pope’s weekend visit to the Bronx, whose appearance included a mass at Yankee Stadium two days previously. (1)

Box score 1 (Cubs). Box score 2 (Sox). The Cubs beat New York 8-1, while the White Sox got the business from the Yankees, who beat them 9-5. Ronny Cedeno homered for the Cubs. Theodore Roosevelt Lilly started for the north-siders.


Thanks for reading.