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Baseball history unpacked, February 19

Cubs and MLB news — Clemente signs, baseball gets ready for strike, and other stories

Roberto Clemente Statue Photo by Doug Pensinger/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*. Beware of rabbit holes.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1954 - 19-year-old Roberto Clemente signs with the Brooklyn Dodgers for one year at $5,000 with a $10,000 signing bonus. The Dodgers thus beat out a number of other clubs in the Clemente sweepstakes. They’ve outspent the prior two entrants, their cross-river rivals in Manhattan and the Bronx, and simply beaten the Milwaukee Braves to the punch. By far the biggest spenders of the bunch (by all accounts exceeding Brooklyn’s offer by at least 150%), the Braves were just a tad tardy, Clemente having already accepted the Dodgers’ terms. The Dodgers may have won the first battle, but they will lose Clemente’s services in one year when they fail to protect him in the 1954 Rule V Draft. (3)
  • 1981 - When the player-management panel is unable to reach a compromise, baseball implements a compensation plan that provides for the team signing a ranking free agent to give up a roster player and an amateur draft choice in return. The owners’ move, seen by the players as undermining the value of free agency, will lead to a midseason strike, forcing the cancellation of 713 games. (1)
  • 2016 - The Federal Bureau of Investigations arrests player agent Bart Hernandez on charges of human trafficking and conspiracy stemming from his association with two convicted fraudsters and their role in extorting large amounts of money from Cuban players seeking to defect to the United States. A lawsuit filed by OF Leonys Martin prompted the FBI investigation. (3)
  • Cubs birthdays: Jim Cosman, Miguel Batista.


*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.