... 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*.
Today in baseball history:
- 1914 - The Chicago Cubs name future Hall of Famer Roger Bresnahan as their manager. The former St. Louis Cardinals skipper will be in the dugout for just one year during which Chicago will finish fourth with a 73-80 record. (1,3)
- 1949 - Brooklyn Dodgers infielder Jackie Robinson, who hit 16 home runs with 124 RBI and led the National League with a .342 batting average, becomes the first black to win the Most Valuable Player Award. Stan Musial, Ralph Kiner, and teammate Pee Wee Reese are the runner-ups. (1,3)
- 1951 - Former Chicago Cubs first baseman and future star of the TV series The Rifleman Chuck Connors becomes the first player to refuse to participate in the major league draft. Currently the first baseman for the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League, Connors wants to stay in California, instead of going to whatever team might draft him for the major leagues. The PCL views his refusal in a positive manner, allowing them to ask for higher prices for minor league players than what the major leagues usually offers. (1,3)
- 1954 - The Kansas City Athletics hire Lou Boudreau as manager, replacing Eddie Joost, who is given his unconditional release. During his three-year tenure in Kansas City, the future Hall of Famer will pilot the second-division club to a 151-260 record. (3)
- 1966 - Los Angeles Dodgers ace pitcher Sandy Koufax announces his retirement, due to increasing pain in his arthritic left elbow. Just three weeks earlier, Koufax won a record third Cy Young Award. (1,2,3)
- 1987 - Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson becomes the first player from a last-place club ever to win an Most Valuable Player Award, taking National League honors with a .287 batting average and as the league leader in home runs (49) and RBI (137). The Cubs outfielder easily outdistances runners-up shortstop Ozzie Smith and first baseman Jack Clark, both members of the Cardinals. (1)
- 2008 - Ryan Dempster (17-6, 2.96) and the Cubs agree to a $52 million, four-year deal. The 31-year-old right-handed starter had been the club’s closer, saving 87 games in 102 chances during the 2005-07 seasons. (1)
- 2011 - The Cubs introduce Dale Sveum as the fifth-place team’s new manager, replacing Mike Quade, the former skipper fired by Chicago’s new GM Theo Epstein at the end of the season. The 52nd manager in franchise history, whose managerial experience consists of 16 games as Milwaukee’s interim skipper in 2008, is considered a no-nonsense baseball lifer who will stress the game’s fundamentals while implementing “high standards of accountability” for the players. (1)
- 2015 - In the Cy Young Award vote, Jake Arrieta of the Cubs is the winner in the Nationals League while Dallas Keuchel does the same in the American League. Both pitchers won their respective league’s Wild Card Game with strong performances, in addition to being dominant in the regular season. (3)
- Cubs birthdays: Frank Griffith, Les Mann, Gene Mauch, Cal Koonce, Sterling Slaughter, Steve Henderson, Jamie Moyer, Ron Coomer, Tom Gordon, Shawn Camp.
- (1) — The National Pastime.
- (2) — Today in Baseball History.
- (3) — Baseball Reference.
- (4) — Society for American Baseball Research.
- (5) — Baseball Hall of Fame.
- (6) — This Day in Chicago Cubs history.
*We vet each item as much as time allows. Please let us know if an item is in error, especially if you have a source. Thanks for reading!