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Baseball history unpacked, January 10

Cubs and MLB news from yesteryear — Three-Finger salute, Bad Rajah, the sad saga of Donnie Moore, and other stories

Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs
Happy birthday, Rafael Dolis

... on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Bleed Cubbie Blue brings a you a lighthearted 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*. Beware of rabbit holes.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1903 - At Cincinnati peace talks, the National League proposes a consolidated 12-team league, which the American League rejects. An agreement is reached to coexist peacefully if the AL promises to stay out of Pittsburgh, PA. In the awarding of disputed contracts, the most hotly-contested case is that of Sam Crawford, a Reds outfielder who batted .333 and led the NL with 23 triples in 1902. Signed for 1903 by both the Tigers and the Reds, Crawford is awarded to the Tigers, having signed with them first. He will lead the AL in triples this year with 25. (3)

Despite attempts by John T. Brush and Andrew Freedman to use their political influence to prevent the American League from finding suitable grounds in New York, league President Ban Johnson, aided by baseball writer Joe Vila, finds backers. Johnson also finds a ballpark site at 165th Street and Broadway. Frank Farrell and Bill Devery pay $18,000 for the Baltimore franchise and will build a wooden grandstand seating 15,000 on the highest point of Manhattan. The team, logically, will be called the New York Highlanders. (3)

  • 1913 - The Cincinnati Reds purchase pitcher Mordecai Brown from the Chicago Cubs. The future Hall of Famer, who pitched in only 15 games in 1912, will log a record of 11-12 with a 2.91 ERA for the Reds. (3)
  • 1928 - Giants owner Charles Stoneham, displeased with Rogers Hornsby’s abrasive style and gambling habits, trades his second baseman to the Braves for backstop prospect Shanty Hogan and journeyman fly chaser Jimmy Welsh. During Rajah’s one-year stay in Boston, his third team in three seasons, the future Hallof-Fame infielder will lead the major leagues in hitting with a .387 batting average along with an astounding .498 on-base-percentage while playing and managing the seventh-place club. (1)
  • 1934 - The late Bill Veeck Sr., a former sports writer who won three pennants (1918, 1929, and 1932) during his reign in Chicago’s front office, is replaced by William Walker as president of the Cubs. The 56-year-old baseball executive, whose son will become a Hall-of-Fame major league owner, died of leukemia during the World Series last season. (1)
  • 1950 - The Phillies officially abandon using the nickname of Blue Jays, a moniker that never caught the fancy of the Philadelphia fandom. The unpopular name, selected from an entry in a 1944 contest, appeared as a logo on a sleeve patch for the following two seasons. (1)

The sad saga of Donnie Moore, for those of you who don’t know it.

The Cubs eventually employed all three of these men, though none of them were on the team at the same time as any of the others. (Ruthven left before Sundberg arrived and Moore had exited ten years before that.)

I chase paper, not flies.


*We try to vet each item. Please let us know if an item is in error, especially if you have a source.

Thanks for reading.