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Baseball history unpacked, November 22

A thrice-weekly look at #Cubs and #MLB history. Billy, a bridesmaid for the second time, and Max Headroom.

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On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Bleed Cubbie Blue brings a you a light-hearted, Cubs-centric look at baseball’s colorful past, with plenty of the lore and deep dives into various narratives that expand over the course of time. Here’s a handy Cubs timeline, to help you follow along. Don’t be afraid to click the links for ‘inside baseball’ on the entries, which change from year to year as we re-examine the subjects.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1883 - New York Gothams owner John B. Day proposes a resolution to prohibit a team from signing a player who has broken the reserve clause of his contract. This resolution, eventually adopted by both the American Association and National League, effectively changes the reserve clause from a device to protect owners from their own greediness to a vindictive weapon to be used against uncooperative players. (2)

More on the League Alliance here.

More about this and related matters here. And the history of the Phillies here.

  • 1934 - The Chicago Cubs acquire future Hall of Fame infielder Fred Lindstrom and pitcher Larry French from the Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielder Babe Herman and pitchers Guy Bush and Jim Weaver. (2)
  • 1957 - After 22 seasons, Larry Goetz is unwillingly “retired” as a National League umpire by Warren Giles. The discharged arbiter had been critical of the Senior Circuit because of the league’s refusal to include umpires in the players’ pension fund. (2)
  • 1960 - The American League proposes that both leagues expand to nine teams in 1961 and begin interleague play. There will be expansion in the American League in 1961, but interleague play does not arrive until 1997. (1)
  • 1972 - Future Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds wins his second National League MVP Award in three years. Bench beats out Chicago Cubs outfielder Billy Williams, who also ran second to Bench in the 1970 MVP balloting. (2)
  • 1983 - The Players’ Association fires executive director Kenneth Moffett after barely a year in the job and chooses Donald Fehr as his successor. (2)
  • 2004 - At a lunchtime celebration at Union Station, which includes a protest, the recently relocated Washington National League franchise announces its new name, logo, and colors. Using the official original name of the district’s team which used the nickname the Senators from 1901-56, the club clad in red, white, blue, and gold will be known as the Nationals.
  • 2011 - Major League Baseball and the Players Association sign a memorandum of understanding on a new five-year Basic Agreement, ensuring fans of uninterrupted baseball through the 2016 season. The new deal includes mandatory testing of blood for HGH, 15 teams in each league by 2013, another round of playoffs, two more wild-card teams, and the expansion of the use of instant replay.

Here’s the text of the agreement.

Cubs birthdays: Dick Bartell, Lew Burdette, Joe Nathan.

Today in world history:

  • 1497 - Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama rounds Cape of Good Hope on way to first voyage from Europe to reach India.
  • 1842 - Mount St Helens in Washington erupts.
  • 1919 - Labor conference committee in US urges 8-hour work day and 48-hour week.
  • 1963 - US President John F. Kennedy assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald while riding in an open-topped motorcade in Dallas, Texas.
  • 1987 - Two Chicago television stations are hijacked by an unknown pirate dressed as Max Headroom.

Common sources:

There is a very active baseball history community and there are many facets to their views. We strive for clarity. Please be aware that we are trying to make the historical record as represented by our main sources coherent and as accurate as is possible. No item is posted here without corroboration. Some of these items spread from site to site without being verified. That is exactly why we ask for reputable sources, so that we can address them to the originators. BBRef is very cooperative in this regard, as are SABR and the Baseball Almanac. We have removed thenationalpastime from our sourcing list, as there have been multiple complaints about their content and they do not respond to attempts to communicate.

Also please remember that this is supposed to be fun.

Thank you for your cooperation.