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Baseball history unpacked, April 26

Wrigley’s first organ, Hack’s world debut, Fukudome’s big birthday, and other stories

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:

  • 1904 - Ty Cobb, making his pro baseball debut at the age of seventeen, homers and doubles for Augusta in the South Atlantic League. The Tourists, however, will release the ‘Georgia Peach’ two days into the season. (1)
  • 1905 - Chicago Cubs outfielder Jack McCarthy throws out three runners at home plate, each time completing a double play, during a 2 - 1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. McCarthy becomes only the second outfielder in major league history to record three double plays in a single game. (3)
  • 1941 - Wrigley Field becomes the first ballpark to employ an organ to entertain fans when Roy Nelson provides the fans with a pregame serenade of classic and soulful tunes before Chicago drops a 6-2 decision to Max Lanier and the Cardinals. The organ, removed after the Cubs’ homestand, will not return permanently to the ‘Friendly Confines’ until 1967. (1)

Box score. Charlie Root took the loss for the Cubs, in the process giving up a tater to Marty Marion.

  • 1997 - Ryne Sandberg breaks Joe Morgan’s major league record for home runs by a second baseman with his 267th career blast at the position in a 7-6 Cubs’ victory over the Pirates. Sandberg hit the first five home runs of his career as a third baseman before he moved over to second. (2)

Box score. Bob Patterson got the W in relief over Ricardo Rincon. Sandberg hit the homer off Bucs starter Steve Cooke.

  • 2008 - Sara Tucholsky, a Western Oregon college senior, goes deep over the centerfield fence, but suffers a torn knee ligament rounding first and is unable to continue her trip around the bases. Any assistance from her teammates will turn the three-run homer into a two-run single and an out, but just before being lifted off the field, Central Washington senior Mallory Holtman comes forward along with other opposing players to carry their injured opponent around the bases in the ultimate display of sportsmanship. (1)
  • 2009 - In St. Louis, birthday boy Kosuke Fukudome of the Cubs homers and drives in five runs in Chicago’s 10-3 win over St. Louis. The Japanese right fielder, who lost his starting job late in 2008 because of a prolonged hitting slump, is now batting .371 on the year. (1)

Box score. Starter Rich Harden earned the win over former Cub Todd Wellemeyer.

  • 2017 - Gift Ngoepe becomes the first player born and raised in Africa to make his major-league debut when he appears in the lineup as part of a double switch in the Pirates’ 6-5 over the Cubs at PNC Park. The 27-year-old second baseman, who hails from Pietersburg, South Africa, hits safely in his first at-bat, sending a single up the middle off Jon Lester in the fourth inning. (1)

Box score. Jon Lester took one for the team, with reliever Wade LeBlanc getting the victory for Pittsburgh.


Thanks for reading.