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Baseball history unpacked, April 3

The Seaver lottery, Eckersley to the A’s, and other stories

Baseball Hall Of Fame Induction Weekend
Christy Mathewson
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

episode #162 — a full season.

... 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:

  • 1901 - Connie Mack accuses Christy Mathewson of reneging on a Philadelphia Athletics contract signed in January. Mathewson had accepted advance money from Mack, but jumped back to the New York Giants in March. Mack considers going to court, but eventually accepts the loss of the young pitcher. (3)
  • 1966 - Tom Seaver picks the Mets’ name from a hat in a lottery, signing with the team for a reported $50,000 bonus. Tom’s father had threatened a lawsuit, necessitating the special draft, after his son’s contract with Atlanta was voided by Commissioner William Eckert because the right-hander’s college team had played two exhibition games, but signing a pro contract also prevents the future Hall-of-Famer from playing on the collegiate level. (1)
  • 1985 - The owners’ proposal of expanding the League Championship Series to best-of-seven is agreed to by the Players’ Association. The LCS started as a best-of-five games series in 1969 when the leagues divided into divisions, with both the Orioles and Mets sweeping their opponents in three games. (1)
  • 1987 - The Cubs trade starter Dennis Eckersley and minor leaguer Dan Rohn to the A’s for three minor leaguers. The ‘Eck’ will become one of the game’s top relievers in Oakland. (1)
  • 2006 - The Chicago Cubs roll to their fourth straight opening day victory, 16 - 7, over a Cincinnati Reds team that can bring the president to town but can’t stop the Cubs’ run of first-game success. US President George W. Bush throws a ceremonial pitch at the invitation of new Reds owner Bob Castellini, one of his former ownership partners with the Texas Rangers. No current president had ever thrown an opening day pitch in Cincinnati, the traditional site of the National League’s opener.
  • Cubs birthdays: Alex Grammas, Koji Uehara, Bobby Hill. Also notable: Chris Bosio.


Thanks for reading. #Cubsnews