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Baseball history unpacked, August 26

MLB’s first black pitcher, the Rifleman, and other stories

The Rifleman Photo by Slim Aarons/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:

  • 1947 - Dan Bankhead becomes the major leagues’ first black pitcher. He doesn’t do well in a relief stint, giving up ten hits and six runs in three and third innings in a 16-3 loss to the Pirates, but the Dodger rookie hits a home run in his first major league at-bat. (1)
  • 1948 - The Cubs sweep two from the Braves, 5 - 1 and 5 - 2, despite a near-riot that holds up play for 20 minutes in the nitecap. The reaction by the fans comes when Jocko Conlan rules that a drive by Phil Cavarretta in the third inning is a ground-rule double, not an inside-the-park homer. Conlan makes his call after Braves LF Jeff Heath ”loses” the ball in the Wrigley Field vines, though it is really by his feet. The fans shower the field in protest and Conlan bawls out some of Chicago’s finest for not taking any action. When play is resumed, Andy Pafko walks and Peanuts Lowrey hits a bases-loaded triple. (3)

Box scores: Game one, game two.

Box score.

  • 1966 - After seeing a caricature of himself on the scoreboard, an angry Leo Durocher calls the Astrodome’s press box to have it removed. When nothing is done, the enraged Cubs manager rips the phone out of the dugout wall and tosses it onto the infield. (1)
  • 1972 - Ron Santo’s three-run home run off Ron Bryant proves to be the difference in the Cubs’ 10-9 victory over San Francisco at Wrigley Field. The third inning round-tripper, the first of a pair he hits in the game, is the third baseman’s 2,000th career hit, and drives in his 1,200th run. (1)

Box score.

  • 1972 - Leo Durocher, formerly of the Cubs, replaces Harry Walker as manager of the Astros. It is only the second time someone has managed two National League teams in the same season. The first was in 1948, when Durocher piloted the Dodgers and the Giants. (2,3)
  • 2001 - Joining Babe Ruth (1920-21 and 1927-28) and Mark McGwire (1996-99), Sammy Sosa (1998-2001) becomes the third player in baseball history to hit 50 homers in a season four times. (1)

Box score.


Thanks for reading.