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Baseball history unpacked, May 1

the longest game ever, the boys of Summerisle, and other short stories

Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix - Mo Farah Photocall Photo by Simon Burchell/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

Animals are fine, but their acceptability is limited. A small child is even better, but not nearly as effective as the right kind of adult. — Lord Summerisle

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

Today in baseball history:

  • 1884 - Moses Fleetwood Walker becomes the first black man to play in the major leagues when the Blue Stockings drop a 5-1 decision to Louisville at Eclipse Park. The 27 year-old Toledo catcher, who will hit above the league average, batting .263 in the 42 games he plays with the American Association team, goes 0-for-3 and commits four errors in his much-anticipated debut.
  • 1920 - The longest game ever played ends after 26 innings in a 1-1 tie, with Brooklyn Robins right-hander Leon Cadore and the Braves hurler Joe Oeschger, also right-handed, both go the distance for their respective clubs. Boston third baseman Charlie Pick establishes the major league record for hitless at-bats in one game, going 0-for-11 in the marathon.

Box score. Lots of familiar names in those lineups.

  • 1939 - At Comiskey Park, the White Sox defeat the Cubs and Dizzy Dean, 4-1, in an exhibition game to benefit Monty Stratton. The former pitcher, who lost his leg in an off-season hunting accident, tries to pitch in the game and receives a new car and nearly $30,000 as a result of the contest.

As this was an exhibition game, there’s no box score available that I could find.

  • 1957 - The Cubs trade Gene Baker and Dee Fondy to the Pirates for Dale Long and Lee Walls, who will combine to hit 45 home runs for their new team. Fondy will hit .313 for the Bucs, but the first baseman will be traded in December to the Reds for Ted Kluszewski.
  • 1991 - Rickey Henderson passes Lou Brock to become baseball’s all-time stolen base leader with his 939th career steal. The A’s outfielder, who will finish his 25-year career with 1,406, establishes the new major league mark when he swipes third base in the team’s 7-4 victory over New York at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
  • 2001 - As a result of being struck by the flying barrel of a broken bat, the ulna bone in Mike Fyhrie’s left arm is broken. The Cubs’ righty reliever used his arm to protect himself when the PadresSantiago Perez’s broken bat exploded in the direction of the mound.
  • Cubs birthdays: Paul Carter, Rudy Meoli. Also, Jose Lind.


Thanks for reading.