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Baseball history unpacked, December 13

A thrice-weekly look at #Cubs and #MLB history. This one honors one of our heroes. Happy birthday, Fergie!

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:

  • 1910 - Former New York Giant Dan McGann, 33, who ended his 13-year career in 1908, shoots himself in a Louisville hotel. (2)
  • 1911 - The Boston Rustlers (formerly the Doves) are bought by New York politician James E. Gaffney and former player, now attorney, John Montgomery Ward. The team will be called the Braves because of Gaffney’s Tammany Hall connections. (2)
  • 1922 - Alarmed at the increase in home run hitting (1,054 in the major leagues, up from 936), some American League owners back a zoning system setting a minimum of 300 feet for a ball to be called a home run. The motion dies. In another action, the league requires each club to furnish two home uniforms per player, plus extra caps and stockings on the road, to improve the players’ appearance. In National League meetings, Charles Ebbets proposes putting numbers on players’ sleeves or caps. It’s left to each club to do as it wishes. (1,2)
  • 1927 - Senators president Clark Griffith gains approval to have Washington open the American League season one day before the rest of the league, to celebrate a “National Day” with the U.S. president throwing out the first ball. The AL also installs Ernest S. Barnard as its president. (2)
  • 1956 - The Dodgers trade Jackie Robinson to the cross-town rivals, the Giants, for pitcher Dick Littlefield and $35,000. Jackie, according to some accounts, had already decided privately to leave the game to work for Chock Full o’ Nuts, publicly retires from baseball rather than accept the trade. (2)
  • 1980 - The Cubs send Mike Vail to the Reds in exchange for Hector Cruz. (2)
  • 1996 - The Cubs sign P Kevin Tapani to a three-year contract. (2)
  • 2001 - Writing a 24-page pun-filled opinion, U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III upholds most of an arbitrator’s decision declaring nine of 22 umpires who lost their jobs following a 1999 mass resignation must be reinstated. To make his point, the judge said it was his job to make sure the arbitrator hadn’t “missed the ball” and both parties “make(s) a pitch that all or part of the arbitrator’s ruling should be scored as an error and set aside”. (2)
  • 2007 - The Mitchell Report is released, naming 89 players as having used or been in possession of steroids. Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada and Jason Giambi are among those named. The report calls for tighter regulation of performance-enhancing drugs. (2)
  • 2010 - Canada Post announces that it will feature Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins on a postage stamp that commemorates black history month next February. (2)

Cubs birthdays: Bill Everitt, Jack Taylor, Bob Wright, Lindy McDaniel, J.C. Martin, Nate Oliver, Ferguson Jenkins HOF, Jon Perlman, Jeff Robinson, Steve Wilson. Also notable: Larry Doby HOF, Gleyber Torres.

SABR’s Fergie Jenkins bio. Worth reading.

Today in world history:

  • 1577 - Francis Drake sets sail from England on a circumnavigation of the world.
  • 1636 - The Massachusetts Bay Colony organizes three militia regiments to defend the colony against the Pequot Indians. This organization is recognized today as the founding of the United States National Guard.
  • 1642 - Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sights the South Island of present day New Zealand; initially he calls it Staten Landt and changes it a year later to Nieuw Zeeland.
  • 1774 - Paul Revere and Wentworth Cheswell ride to warn Portsmouth of the approach of British warships.
  • 1942 - National Football League Championship, Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C.: Washington Redskins upset Chicago Bears, 14-6.
  • 1950 - James Dean begins his career with an appearance in a Pepsi commercial.
  • 1961 - The Beatles sign a formal agreement to be managed by Brian Epstein.
  • 1967 - Unsuccessful coup against Greek King Constantine II.
  • 1969 - Arlo Guthrie releases “Alice’s Restaurant.”

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. And thanks for reading.