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Baseball history unpacked, January 17

Cubs and MLB news and notes — Why Cleveland has Indians, Bob Gibson’s nemesis, and other stories

Photo by Mitchell Layton/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:

  • 1885 - The New York Clipper reports that Paul Hines has canceled his Washington Monument ball-drop exhibition. “The experiment of trying to catch a ball thrown from the top of the Washington Monument has proved to be a failure. The ball reaches the ground with such great speed that it indents the ground almost as much as a heavy cannon ball would dropped from a proportionate height. The fact is that, independently of the difficulty of judging the ball falling from such a height, the speed is too great to allow of any one holding it when it nears the ground.” (3)
  • 1915 - According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the American League hometown franchise will now be known as the Indians replacing the nickname the Naps - a change due to Napoleon Lajoie, the player-manager for whom the team is presently named, leaving for the Philadelphia Athletics. Team owner Charles W. Somers asked the city’s baseball writers, who in turn asked their readers for suggestions. A false rumor claims that the origin of the name was former Cleveland Spiders outfielder, Chief Sockalexis. (1,3)
  • 2002 - Commissioner Bud Selig indicates that the Washington, DC area is a “prime candidate” to get a team if a franchise relocates in the near future. The nation’s capital has two lost major league teams, the original franchise shifted to Minnesota and became the Twins in 1961 and were replaced by the expansion Senators who moved to Texas a decade later, becoming the Rangers. (1,3)
  • 2008 - Major League Baseball owners unanimously vote to extend commissioner Bud Selig’s contract through the 2012 season. The contract extension will make Selig baseball’s second-longest-serving commissioner, behind only Kenesaw Mountain Landis. The vote comes in a week when Selig has been criticized by the U.S. Congress for not cracking down hard enough on steroids. (3)
  • Cubs birthdays: Milt Scott, Bob Glenalvin, Hank Leiber, Don Zimmer, Pete LaCock, Tyler Houston, Jeff Beliveau.

“When I gave up a grand slam to Pete LaCock, I knew it was time to quit.” — Bob Gibson.


*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.