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Baseball history unpacked, February 17

Cubs and MLB news — The National Agreement, the Appling run-off, and other stories

Orioles Media Day X
Steve Bechler

... 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:

The text of the agreement (4).

The history of the American and National League, part one (Peter Bendix — Beyond the Box Score).

The history of the Minors (How Stuff Works).

  • 1891 - The American Association withdraws from the National Agreement thus starting a war with the National League. The AA moves its Chicago team to Cincinnati to compete with the National League team in the city.
  • 1909 - The National League deprives umpires of the power to fine players and decrees that relief pitchers must retire at least one batter before being relieved. (3)
  • 1916 - During their annual meeting held at the Hotel Wolcott in New York, the American League owners endorse a new major league draft concept, as proposed initially by Dodger president Charles Ebbets. The approved plan will give second-division clubs the first pick of the available minor-leaguers each season. (1)
  • 1924 - Frank Chance, signed as Chicago White Sox manager three months before, resigns because of illness. Coach Johnny Evers is named acting manager, but the (first) former Cubs star never recovered, and died on September 24th. Joe Tinker was unavailable, apparently.
  • 1964 - White Sox shortstop Luke Appling, although he received only two Baseball Hall of Fame votes when he first appeared on the ballot in 1953, is elected to the Hall of Fame by BBWAA, named on 189 of the 201 ballots cast (94%) to defeat Red Ruffing in a run-off election. This method of selection, used intermittently from 1947 to 1967, occurred when the writers did not select anyone on their initial ballot, and then listed the top 20-30 players on a second ballot, with only the top vote-getter chosen for induction. (1)

The whole runoff (3).

  • 1965 - Commissioner Ford Frick suspends U.S.-Japan baseball relations until the Yomiuri Giants-San Francisco Giants dispute over Masanori Murakami’s contract is resolved. (2,3)
  • 2003 - His body temperature having soared to 108 degrees, Orioles 23-year-old pitching prospect Steve Bechler dies of multi-organ failure after a spring training workout yesterday. Early speculation is that the expectant father’s death may have been caused by ephedrine, a dietary supplement linked to heat stroke and heart attacks. (1,3)
  • 2015 - U.S. District Court Judge Darrin Gayles sentences Anthony Bosch, the man behind the Biogenesis PED scandal, to four years in jail for masterminding the operation that led to a dozen major league players receiving suspensions of 50 games or more. Ironically, the poster boy for the guilty players, Alex Rodriguez, issues a handwritten apology to fans today as he is about to head to spring training with the Yankees following the end of his suspension, but the text does not go into any detail besides expressing general regret for his trespasses. (3)
  • Cubs birthdays: Doyle Lade, Mike Campbell, Cody Ransom, Scott Williamson. Also notable: Roger Craig.


*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.