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Baseball history unpacked, May 6

The best-pitched game ever, the Babe’s first round-tripper, Say Happy birthday-Hey! and other stories

we got Wood

... as usual on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I bring a you a (wildly popular) Cubs-centriclook 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, reproductions of period newspapers, images, and other such material as is often found lurking on the internet.

There are times when the material may be a tad droll. It is in fun, after all.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1906 - At Pittsburgh’s Exposition Park, the Pirates become the first team to cover the grass to prevent it from getting wet during a rain storm. A canvas tarp is used to keep the infield dry for tomorrow’s contest against the Cubs. (1)
  • 1915 - At the Polo Grounds, Red Sox rookie pitcher Babe Ruth collects three hits, including his first home run. Homer number one, as well as homer number two, hit two weeks later, comes off Yankees’ hurler Jack ‘Crab’ Warhop. (1)
  • 1941 - The Brooklyn Dodgers acquire second baseman Billy Herman from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for outfielder Charlie Gilbert, infielder Johnny Hudson, and cash. Herman, struggling with a .194 batting average, will hit .291 for the Dodgers over the balance of the season. (3)
  • 1994 - The Cubs’ 10-1 victory over the Pirates ends Anthony Young’s 27-game losing streak as a starter and snaps Chicago’s record 14-game drought at home. The hard-luck pitcher, who set a major league record with 27 consecutive losses while pitching for the Mets, 14 in a starting role and 13 as a reliever, had also made 27 consecutive starts without a win, despite 13 quality starts among those game in which his teams posted a 4-23 record. (1)
  • 1998 - Cubs’ rookie Kerry Wood ties a major league record when he strikes out 20 batters in a nine innings, limiting the Astros to one hit in the team’s 2-0 at Wrigley Field. In addition to matching Red Sox fireballer Roger Clemens’ feat (Mariners-1986 and Tigers-1996), the 20 year-old Texan breaks the National League record of 19 strikeouts in a nine-inning game shared by Steve Carlton, David Cone, and Tom Seaver. (1)

Box score. I saw this game on TV — was off work that day, working on my second novel, listening to the game, not really paying attention until I heard the tenth K call in the 5th. I started watching then, marveling at the conditions, foggy, wet, and at Wood’s slider and curve, which were unhittable when combined with his devastating fastball. Shane Reynolds was the hard-luck loser that day, for an Astros team that won 102 games that year, behind the ‘Killer B’s’.


Thanks for reading.