... 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:
- 1942 - Two black players, Jackie Robinson and Nate Moreland, request a tryout with the Chicago White Sox during spring training in Pasadena, California. Sox manager Jimmie Dykes allows the two to work out but later dismisses them. Robinson will have to wait five years before making his major league debut.
- 1984 - Charlie Lau, renowned batting instructor, dies in Key Colony Beach, FL, at age 50 after a long bout with cancer. Lau, whose major league career batting average was .255, earned his fame as the Kansas City Royals batting coach from 1971 to 1978, where his star pupil was George Brett. Lau also served as a batting coach for the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox and wrote a book called “The Art of Hitting .300”. (1,3)
- 1985 - Commissioner Peter Ueberroth reinstates Hall of Fame members Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, who had been banned from association with organized baseball by former commissioner Bowie Kuhn due to their employment by Atlantic City casinos. Ueberroth’s ruling will allow both men to pursue employment with major league teams. (1,3)
- 1990 - Major league players and owners reach a new collective bargaining agreement that will end the 32-day lockout of spring training camps. Highlights of the deal include increasing the clubs’ contributions to the players’ pension fund, raising the major league minimum salary to $100,000, and a compromise on salary arbitration that leaves 17 percent of players with between two and three years of major league experience eligible. (1,2,3)
- 2009 - The Chicago Cubs announce that they will retire number 31 on May 3rd in honor of Ferguson Jenkins and Greg Maddux. The hurlers will join Ron Santo (#10), Ernie Banks (#14), Ryne Sandberg (#23), and Billy Williams (#26) in being honored by the Chicago club. (1,3)
- 2014 - Jose Quintana of the White Sox is glad that Cactus League stats do not count after a truly dreadful start against the Athletics: all nine batters he faces reach base, and they all eventually come in to score, before he gets removed, having allowed 7 hits and 2 walks, retiring none. The hits include a long homer by Jed Lowrie and a triple by Sam Fuld. No starter has ever allowed 9 runs without retiring a batter in a major league game, although Hank Borowy managed the dubious feat in a relief outing with the Tigers in 1951. (3)
- Cubs birthdays: Jimmy Callahan, Hi Bithorn, Dick Littlefield, Fernando Rodney.
- (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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