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Baseball history unpacked, January 11

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Scenes from the rich tapestry of the great game.

Baseball on Skates Woodcut Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, 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:

  • 1881 - The first of a series of Tuesday games on ice is played in Chicago, Illinois, using professional and amateur players. These games will be a regular winter feature. (3) This is not verified. In fact I cannot find ANY outside reference to this alleged series. But games on ice were definitely played:

February 4, 1861: Brooklyn Atlantics win a baseball game on ice.

Dayn Perry: Let us celebrate ‘baseball on ice’.

  • 1909 - The National Commission approves owner Charles Murphy’s payment of a $10,000 bonus to his Chicago Cubs players for their 1908 World Series triumph. (3)
  • 1960 - The Phillies send fan-favorite Richie Ashburn, the National League’s top hitter in 1958, to the Cubs in exchange for infielders Alvin Dark and Jim Woods along with right-hander John Buzhardt. ‘Whitey,’ a future Hall of Famer, will play center field and hit .291 batting leadoff for Chicago this season. (1,3)
  • 1965 - Wally Pipp, the predecessor of Lou Gehrig at first base for the New York Yankees, dies in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Pipp, who, as legend has it, had asked out of the Yankees lineup with a headache in 1925 (in fact he had been beaned in a previous game), was 71 years old. After giving way to Gehrig, Pipp never again played a game at first base for New York. (3)
  • 1969 - The Chicago Cubs acquire veteran reliever Ted Abernathy from the Cincinnati Reds for three minor league players. The trade marks the return of the side-arming Abernathy to Chicago, where he led the National League with 31 saves in 1965. (3)
  • 1973 - At the owners’ meeting in Chicago, Bowie Kuhn, in addition to introducing the designated hitter and pinch-runner concepts, shares with the press his idea of interleague play as a means for the American League to bridge the gap with its more popular NL rivals. The commissioner’s limited plan, if accepted, would only affect cities with multiple teams within one geographic area. (1)
  • 1977 - In a trade that benefits both teams, the Dodgers deal first baseman/outfielder Bill Buckner, shortstop Ivan DeJesus, and minor-leaguer Jeff Albert to the Cubs for Rick Monday and pitcher Mike Garman. After many productive seasons in Chicago, DeJesus and Buckner are dealt in subsequent trades to the Phillies and Red Sox, respectively, for Ryne Sandberg (1982) and Dennis Eckersley (1984), both future Hall of Famers. (1)
  • 2000 - Bob Lemon dies at the age of 79. (3)
  • 2010 - After years of rumors and speculation which have stalled his candidacy for the Hall of Fame, retired slugger Mark McGwire comes clean in an interview, confirming that he was a user of steroids and human growth hormone starting in 1990, including during his record-setting 1998 season. He had refused to broach the subject when called before a Congressional committee hearing in March, 2005, but decides to speak to the media a few months after accepting a position as hitting coach with the St. Louis Cardinals. (3)
  • 2010 - a - Former pitching great Greg Maddux, who started his major league career with the Cubs in 1986, is returning to the team as an assistant to general manager Jim Hendry. A sure first-ballot Hall of Famer, the 355-game winner’s duties will include assisting the major league and minor league coaching staffs at spring training, evaluating talent, and developing minor league players. (1)
  • 2010 - b - Ryne Sandberg, with aspirations of being the Cubs manager someday, agrees to be the skipper of the team’s Triple-A Iowa farm club, replacing Bobby Dickerson, who left for a position with Baltimore. The 50-year-old Hall of Fame infielder has been managing in the Chicago farm system for the past three seasons, two with the Single-A Peoria Chiefs and one year with the Double-A Tennessee Smokies.
  • 2013 - Wearing a Cubs jersey and a backward blue baseball cap, Clark, the Cubs’ new mascot makes his debut at Chicago’s Advocate Illinois Masonic’s Pediatric Developmental Center. Clark the Cub, named after the street located behind Wrigley Field’s home plate, is being touted as the great-grandson of franchise’s first mascot, Joa, a live bear used as a good luck charm in 1916, nine years after the franchise officially adopted Cubs as the team’s name. (1)

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.