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Baseball history unpacked, January 13

Cubs and MLB news and notes from yesteryear — The desperate plight of the minor leagues, the lady ump, and other stories.

Woman umpire Bernice Gera at Holy Family baseball game at Cu
Bernice Gera
Photo by Fred Morgan/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

... 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:

  • 1958 - On the eve of conferences to discuss the impact of major league telecasts on minor league attendance, Senator Kenneth Keating urges baseball to proceed with caution. The Republican legislator representing New York believes broadcasting big league games in out-of-town markets could doom the existence of the minor leagues, which have already formally appealed to Congress about their ‘desperate plight.’ Keating proposes a ban within 100-mile radius on telecasts into minor league territories. (1,3)
  • 1972 - Former umpire, now housewife, Bernice Gera wins her lawsuit against Organized Baseball, initiated on March 15, 1971. Gera is slated to umpire in the New York-Pennsylvania League starting in June. She will umpire just one game, making her point before deciding to call it quits. (1,3)
  • 1978 - At the age of 90, Hall of Fame manager Joe McCarthy dies of pneumonia in a Buffalo hospital. The former Cubs (1926-30), Yankees (1931-46), and Red Sox (1948-50) skipper compiled a 1460-867 (.627) record, winning nine pennants and seven World Championships during his 24-year tenure in the dugout. (1,3)
  • 1995 - Baseball’s executive council approves the use of replacement players for spring training and regular season games. With the Players’ Association on strike, the owners say they will look to retired players, minor leaguers and amateurs to fill out their rosters. (3)
  • 2005 - At the owners meeting in Scottsdale, AZ, major league baseball and the players association agree in principle on a stricter drug-testing policy, including steroids but not amphetamines, that will randomly test players year-round, having first-time offenders suspended for ten days with a fourth violation resulting in a one year ban for the offending player. The new program, a response to the scrutiny of national lawmakers, addresses a problem largely ignored for years. (1,3)
  • Cubs birthdays: Steve Mesner, Emmett O’Neill, Mike Tyson, Jose Nunez, Kevin Foster.


*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.