... 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:
- 1896 - The National League adopts changes in the National Agreement. The minor leagues are divided into six classifications based on population, and new draft fees are instituted. The league also forbids players from deliberately soiling baseballs, and declares that “a ball cutting the corners of the home plate, and being requisite height, must be called a strike.” It also empowers umpires to eject players. (3)
- 1960 - Twenty-eight months after the Dodgers play their last game in Brooklyn, the demolition of Ebbets Field finally begins when a wrecking ball, painted with red and white stitches, begins its work on the ballpark Brooklyn called home for 44 years. Before the demolition, wheel-chair bound Roy Campanella, the team’s former All-Star catcher and three-time National League MVP, is given an urn of dirt from behind home plate in front of a crowd of 200 faithful fans. (1)
- 1988 - Facing the loss of the 1990 All-Star game and possible postseason games, the Chicago City Council passes an ordinance, 29-19, allowing the Cubs to play 18 night games a season through the year 2002 at Wrigley Field, the last major league ballpark to be illuminated. The legislation prohibits beer sales after 9:20 p.m. and organ music ten minutes later. (1)
- 1990 - Although the owners drop their arbitration and minimum salary proposals, spring training camps remain closed. Baseball’s seventh work stoppage will last 32 days, resulting in Opening Day being moved back a week and the over-all season extended by three days to accommodate the 162-game schedule. (1)
- 2000 - Cubs manager Don Baylor names four captains, including first baseman Mark Grace, right fielder Sammy Sosa, pitcher Kevin Tapani, and reliever Rick Aguilera. The quartet will be the Cubs’ first captains since the 1960s and early 1970s, when Ron Santo held the position. (1)
- 2003 - In the wake of Steve Bechler’s death, Commissioner Bud Selig decides to ban the use of ephedra in the minor leagues. Players on the current 40-man major league rosters, which would have included the 23-year old Oriole pitcher who died on February 23rd, are not prohibited to use the supplement because, as union members, they are already covered by the drug-testing rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, which bans only drugs of abuse and certain illegal steroids. (3)
- Cubs birthdays: Wilbur Cooper, Pinky Pittenger, Lynn Nelson, Earl Grace, Mike Sember, Rob Bowen. Also notable: Honus Wagner (HoF), Eddie Murray (HoF).
- (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 try to vet each item. Please let us know if an item is in error, especially if you have a source.
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