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Baseball history unpacked, December 23

Scenes from the rich tapestry of the great game.

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Louisville Slugger Closes Factory And Museum Due To COVID-19 Photo by Andy Lyons/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*.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1902 - John A. Hillerich is issued a patent which devises a method of hardening the surface of a bat, improving the wood’s ability to drive a baseball and to preserve the material from checking, chipping, or splintering on its surface from exposure to the sun or the weather. The name “Louisville Slugger” had become the Kentuckian’s business registered trademark in 1894. (1) The pandemic got them: Louisville Slugger bat maker closes factory.
  • 1913 - The Sporting News reports that 15 men died from baseball injuries during the 1913 season, according to a list compiled by J.R. Vickery of Chicago. The only name given is that of J. Whetstone of New Orleans, who suffered “a broken spine sustained in sliding to a base”; all other fatalities were the result of foul tips or pitched balls. The list “does not include a major league player or even a minor league athlete of sufficient experience to be widely known.” (3)
  • 1960 - Former major league first baseman Ripper Collins, who played with the Cardinals’ Gashouse Gang, joins the Cubs’ College of Coaches, a group of interim skippers that will manage the team for part of the season. The original ‘faculty’ will include El Tappe, Goldie Holt, Bobby Adams, Harry Craft, Rube Walker, Vedie Himsl, and Charlie Grimm. (2)
  • 1975 - Arbitrator Peter Seitz declares Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally free agents. Both pitchers sat out the option years of their contracts in the hopes they would become free to sign with any team. Messersmith will sign with the Dodgers, while McNally, who announced his retirement in June, will not return. Seitz’s decision will lead to an agreement with the owners whereby all players will become eligible for free agency after six seasons. Seitz is immediately fired by John Gaherin, chairman of the owners’ Player Relations Committee. (2,3)
  • 1994 - With negotiations to resolve the strike at a standstill, Major League owners unilaterally implement a salary cap and revenue sharing on striking players. The new provisions never take effect because a ruling by a judge, which ends the protracted labor dispute, orders that the next two seasons must be played under previously existing labor conditions. (1,3)
  • 1997 - The Cubs trade outfielder Doug Glanville to the Phillies for second baseman Mickey Morandini. Chicago’s new infielder will spend two years with the team, hitting a respectable .272 in 298 games, and Glanville, who will become a clubhouse leader, will play the next six seasons in Philadelphia, enjoying his most productive years in the majors as a fine defensive outfielder who can handle a bat and steal bases. (1)
  • Cubs birthdays: Doc Gessler, Danny Taylor, Elder White, Ken Hubbs, Vic LaRose, Alec Distaso.

Common sources:

*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! New book, just in time for Xmas! A Walk in a Darker Wood.