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Baseball history unpacked, December 4

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Scenes from the rich tapestry of the game.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/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:

  • 1914 - Walter Johnson accepts a $6,000 bonus from the Federal League’s Chicago Whales and signs a three-year contract for $17,500 per year. Clark Griffith threatens to take Johnson to court, claiming he has paid Johnson for the reserve option in his contract. American League President Ban Johnson asserts that Johnson was on the market and is “damaged goods,” worth getting rid of. Griffith travels to Coffeyville, KS, to persuade his franchise player that the option clause is legal and binding. Two weeks later Griffith signs Johnson for three years at $12,500 per year and returns the bonus to the Feds. (2,3)
  • 1943 - On the basis of testimony given by former manager Bucky Harris, who was fired during the season by the Phillies, and other evidence, MLB suspends Philadelphia owner William Cox for life for betting on games played by the team that he owned. The ruling, made at an appeal hearing, makes the youngest owner in the league the first non-player to be banned from baseball by Commissioner Landis, renown for his zero tolerance for gambling in the sport. (1)
  • 1964 - The owners vote to use a free-agent draft with clubs selecting in the inverse order of the previous year’s standings to choose players every four months. The new system, scheduled to begin next month, is designed to level the playing field by preventing rich clubs, like the Yankees, from using their wealth to lock up all of the talented players. (1,3)
  • 2007 - Needing nine votes from the 12-member executives/pioneers committee, Bowie Kuhn collects ten to get the nod for induction into the Hall of Fame. The former Commissioner of Baseball, who served in the post from 1969 through 1984, bests his nemesis, Marvin Miller, the executive director of the players’ union from 1966 to 1983, who garnered only three votes in his bid for Cooperstown. (1)
  • 2009 - San Diego names Jason McLeod as the team’s assistant general manager. The former Red Sox director of amateur scouting is hired by the team’s new GM Jed Hoyer, who also comes from Boston and served in the same capacity working as Theo Epstein’s assistant before joining the club. (1)
  • Cubs birthdays: Jim Moroney, Harvey Kuenn, Lee Smith HOF, Jerome Williams. Also notable: Jesse Burkett HOF.

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!