... 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:
- 1888 - The Texas League is organized when the following six cities are awarded franchises: Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Galveston, Houston, and San Antonio. (3)
- 1912 - Former Brooklyn Superbas pitcher Elmer Stricklett, said to be the inventor of the spitball, is reinstated by the National Commission after playing outside organized baseball for three years. But he will not make it back to the major leagues. (3)
- 1934 - Babe Ruth accepts a cut of $17,000 and signs a 1934 contract with the Yankees for $35,000. (2)
- 1942 - ”I honestly feel it would be best for the country to keep baseball going.” - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, responding to Commissioner Landis’ inquiry about the sport’s future.
In his famous ‘Green Light letter,’ Roosevelt answers Judge Landis’ query about playing baseball in the wake of the Second World War. FDR responds he believes playing the sport would be good for Americans and encourages the owners to have more games at night to allow war workers to attend games. (1)
Ironically, the Cubs, who had signed contracts to install lights at Wrigley Field, drop their plans because of the military need for the material. There will be no lights at Wrigley for 35 more years. (2)
- 1958 - The Yankees announce an unprecedented 140 games will be televised this season on WPIX in a package reportedly worth significantly more than a million dollars. The decision to telecast such a large number of games, including 63 road contests, was prompted by the departure of the Dodgers and Giants to California. (1)
- 1959 - The Texas League makes a radical rule change, allowing pitchers to automatically signal an intentional walk. The rule change eliminates the need for the pitcher to intentionally throw four pitches out of the strike zone. (3_
- 1964 - Baseball’s executives select New York City as the site of the game’s inaugural free-agent draft, a controversial measure approved during the winter meetings that gives teams with the worst records the earlier picks to the talented amateur players. With the first pick in the history of the draft, the A’s will select ASU outfielder Rick Monday when the process begins on June 8 at the Hotel Commodore. (1,3)
- 1981 - Cardinal right-hander Bob Gibson, receiving 337 votes of the 401 BBWAA ballots cast (84 percent) in his first year of eligibility, is the only player elected to the Hall of Fame this year. Players falling short of the 301 votes needed for election include Don Drysdale (243), Gil Hodges (241), Harmon Killebrew (239), Hoyt Wilhelm (238) and Juan Marichal (233). (1,3)
- 1998 - The Chicago Cubs sign free agent relief pitcher Rod Beck to a one-year contract. (3)
- Cubs birthdays: Jock Menefee, Grover Lowdermilk, Dick Culler, William Brennan, Delino DeShields, Ray King.
- (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 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.