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Baseball history unpacked, January 18

Scenes from the rich tapestry of the great game.

Baseball Magazine Cover With Grover Cleveland Alexander Photo by 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:

  • 1896 - Long before Marvin Miller and Curt Flood attacked the reserve clause, John Montgomery Ward, who has not played or managed for the last two seasons, objects to being reserved by the New York Giants. At the National League meeting in February, his appeal is upheld, and Ward becomes a free agent. (3)
  • 1938 - Pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander is elected to the Hall of Fame, as the only player to get the required 75 percent of the Baseball Writers Association of America votes. In a 20-season major league career, Alexander posted a 373-208 record with 2198 strikeouts and a 2.56 ERA, including 30 or more wins in three seasons. Old Pete’s 373 victories is the record for the most career wins in the National League, which he shares with Christy Mathewson. (1,3)
  • 1952 - The White Sox board of directors accept the resignation of Charlie A. Comiskey, Jr., the team’s vice president and secretary, after turning down his request for a promotion and more money. The 25-year-old’s dissatisfaction with the club came as a complete surprise to his mother, Grace Comiskey, the president of Chicago ball club. (1,3)
  • 1994 - Major league owners approve a new revenue-sharing plan keyed to a salary cap, which requires the players’ approval. They will reject it, causing a strike. (3)
  • 1995 - Former major league umpire Ron Luciano dies at the age of 57, victim of an apparent suicide. An American League umpire for 11 seasons, Luciano gained fame as one of the most colorful and flamboyant arbiters in the game’s history, and as the author of four best-selling books of anecdotes about the game. (3)
  • 2002 - Kerry Wood (12-6, 3.36) avoids arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal with the Cubs believed to be worth between $3.5 and $4 million. The right-handed fireballer, who struck out 217 batters in 174⅓ innings, is again eligible for arbitration after each of the next two seasons and can become a free agent following the 2004 season. (1,3)
  • 2009 - The Chicago Cubs send former top prospect Félix Pie to the Baltimore Orioles for Garrett Olson and Henry Williamson. (3)
  • 2018 - Ignoring resistance from the Players Association, Commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally announces two measures to speed up the pace of play: the introduction of a 20-second pitch clock with no runners on base, and a change to the definition of mound visits to include those made by the catcher or by an infielder. Previously, only visits by a manager or coach would count, with the second resulting in the automatic replacement of the pitcher by a reliever. The players’ reluctance is seen as a reaction to the slow free agent market this off-season that has resulted in a number of top-notch players still being unsigned a month before the opening of spring training. On February 19th, the Commissioner will come to an agreement with the MLBPA not to introduce the clock, but to go ahead with other measures to speed up the pace of play. (3)

Cubs birthdays: Charlie Eden, Babe Twombly, Billy Grabarkewitz, Dave Geisel.

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.