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Baseball history unpacked, January 24

Cubs and MLB news — Umpiring practice, Floyd signs, and other stories

John De Lancie In ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’
Happy birthday, Jose Quintana
Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Look, we got the wrong Q. This one’d be better.

... 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:

  • 1913 - In a story in the New York Times, Detroit Tigers President Frank Navin blames the length of the games on the coaches’ boxes. Navin, reacting to American League President Ban Johnson’s complaint that too many games the previous season had taken two hours to play, says the boxes should be moved back so that the catcher can give the pitcher his signals more quickly. From where they are now, he said, the coaching players can detect the catcher’s signals unless he takes a lot of time to hide them. Navin said this slow signalling is the reason for the longer games. (3)
  • 1955 - Cubs business manager Jim Gallagher, chairman of the nine-man rules committee, announces the two leagues will implement an existing rule during spring training that requires a hurler to throw the ball when the bases are empty within 20 seconds after taking a pitching position. The edict, which results in the umpire calling a ball when the tosses are tardy, will not be in effect during the season. (1,3)
  • 2001 - In what is believed to be an historical first, 68 major league umpires participate in a pre-season session to practice calling strikes as defined by the rule book. With the help of minor league players wearing tapes nine inches above their belts, the men in blue get a good look at pitches, normally called balls, which now will considered a strike as the correct interpretation of the zone will be enforced this upcoming season. (1,3)
  • 2006 - The Chicago Cubs and starting pitcher Wade Miller agree to a one-year contract that will pay $1 million in salary and up to another $1 million in bonuses based on the number of starts he makes. (3)
  • 2007 - Cliff Floyd, coming off an injured Achilles tendon, signs a very flexible deal with the Cubs, beginning with a one-year guaranteed contract for $3 million to one which could be worth as much as $17.5 million over two years. The Chicago native, expected to platoon with Matt Murton, will give the Northsiders left-handed power off the bench. (1)
  • Cubs birthdays: Bunk Congalton, Cliff Heathcote, John Briggs, Ron Dunn, Tim Stoddard, Jose Quintana.


*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.