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Baseball history unpacked, May 29

Do not pass Go, ride the Pennsylvania, is baseball a “sport or a business?”, and other stories

Bill wants one more turn at bat, one more photo op.
Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

... on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Bleed Cubbie Blue brings 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 pertain to the scenes, such as reproductions of period newspapers, images, and/or other such material as is often found in the wild.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1884 - Taking advantage of a ground rule change which scores balls hit over Chicago’s inviting 180-foot LF fence as home runs (instead of doubles)‚ five players hit round-trippers in the White Stockings’ National League home opener against Detroit‚ winning 15 - 5. Chicago will hit 142 homers - last year they hit 13 - during the 112-game season (more than 90 percent of them at home) to set a record that will last until the 1927 New York Yankees. The rule change appears to be unilaterally made by Cap Anson‚ and the other league owners will squawk to no avail. But the league will set a minimum distance of 210 feet for an outfield fence after the season. (3)
  • 1909 - Recently elected President William Howard Taft joins 14,000 fans at Pittsburgh’s Exposition Park to watch the Pirates play the Cubs. The Commander-in-Chief proves to be a bad luck charm when the Bucs lose to Chicago, 8-3, marking the only time the team will be defeated in a span of 19 games. (1)

Box score.

  • 1911 - Riding the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Cubs complete their 191-mile journey from Columbus, Ohio to their game in Pittsburgh in three hours and thirty-five minutes. The trip, which sets a land-speed record, will last 75-minutes longer than the time it will take Chicago to beat the Bucs at Forbes Field, 4-1. (1)
  • 1922 - The United States Supreme Court finds that baseball is primarily a sport and not a business in its ruling on the Federal Baseball Club v. National League case. In using this argument, the court rules that baseball is not subject to antitrust laws nor to standard interstate commerce regulations. (1,3)
  • 1930 - The Cubs’ scheduled game with the Reds is postponed due to the sudden death of Chicago pitcher Hal Carlson.
  • 1939 - The Cubs get Claude Passeau from the Phillies for Kirby HigbeJoe MartyRay Harrell and $50‚000.
  • 1962 - Buck (John) O’Neil, previously a scout with the Cubs, becomes the first black coach in major-league baseball after accepting a job with the organization. (1)
  • 1966 - Ron Santo’s 10th-inning homer gives the Cubs a 3 - 2 win over Atlanta. The day before‚ he beat the Braves with a three-run‚ 12th-inning homer in an 8 - 5 win. (1,3)

Box score.

  • 1976 - The only home run of Joe Niekro’s 22-year career comes at the expense of brother Phil as the Astros tie the Braves in the seventh, then win 4-3. (2)

Box score.

  • 1989 - In a hastily called press conference in San Diego, Mike Schmidt tearfully informs the scribes of his retirement, which is effective immediately. The Phillies third baseman, nonetheless, will still be selected by the fans to start the All-Star Game, scheduled to be played at Anaheim Stadium in July. (1,3)
  • 2016 - United States softball star Jennie Finch becomes the first woman to manage a pro baseball team when she leads the Bridgeport Bluefish to a 3-1 win over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in an Atlantic League contest played at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard. The Olympic gold medal winning pitcher, an All-American at Arizona, is married to Casey Daigle, who pitched briefly for the Diamondbacks and Astros. (1)
  • Cubs birthdays: Marty Honan, Jerry Hairston.


Thanks for reading.