... 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:
- 1871 - The Boston Red Stockings (the future National League Atlanta Braves) are incorporated by Ivers Whitney Adams with $15,000, and the help of Harry Wright, who had founded and managed the Cincinnati Red Stockings, America’s first professional baseball team. Three months later the franchise is officially recognized by the National Association of Professional Baseball Players. (1,2,3)
- 1885 - The American Association is reorganized, with clubs from St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, Louisville, New York and Baltimore. (3)
- 1930 - Commissioner Landis bans boxing for all players following the brief boxing career of Chicago White Sox first baseman Art Shires. His challenge to slugger Hack Wilson purportedly prompts the ban. Shires fought several suspected bouts that resulted in his being suspended by the boxing commissions of 32 states but loses a desultory five-rounder to Chicago Bears center George “The Brute” Trafton. Shires did win a punch-out with Sox manager Lena Blackburne and two hotel detectives late last season. (3)
- 1947 - Negro Leagues legend Josh Gibson dies from a brain tumor (some say stroke) at the age of 35. Considered by many to be the greatest home run hitter in the history of the Negro Leagues, Gibson will eventually gain election to the Hall of Fame in 1972, when he is selected by the Special Committee on the Negro Leagues. The future Hall of Fame catcher will be put to rest in an unmarked grave in Allegheny Cemetery in Pittsburgh, not far from Gus Greenlee, the owner and founder of the Pittsburgh Crawfords. (2,3)
- 1970 - Shortstop Lou Boudreau achieves election to the Hall of Fame, receiving 232 of a possible 300 votes from the BBWAA. Boudreau led the American League eight times in fielding percentage, won a batting title, and was named AL Most Valuable Player as player-manager of the 1948 World Champion Cleveland Indians. (3)
- 1997 - Former outfielder Curt Flood, who played most notably with the Cardinals, dies of throat cancer at the age of 59. After being traded to the Phillies in 1969, the baseball pioneer refused to play for Philadelphia and challenged the owners’ reserve clause, taking the matter as far as the U.S. Supreme Court, where he lost the case but laid the groundwork which would lead to free agency in professional sports. (2,3)
- 2000 - The 30 major league owners vote to give all their Internet rights to the Commissioner’s office. This decision allows for the creation of mlb.com, which will become a model of success for other professional sports leagues. Bud Selig will parcel out monies earned from the venture in equal amounts, creating an important new source of revenue for all teams. (3)
- Cubs birthdays: Earl Smith, Gale Wade, John Baker, Geovany Soto. Also notable: Cliff Hill, Jimmy Outlaw.
- (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.