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:
- 1889 - The Players League adopts some new rules, including the two-umpire system and an increase in pitching distance from 55½ feet to 57 feet. A lively ball is chosen, assuring high scores in the upcoming season. (2)
- 1891 - The American Association passes out of existence after ten years as a settlement is finally reached with the National League. Four AA clubs (St. Louis, Louisville, Washington, and Baltimore) join the National League’s existing eight clubs to form a twelve-club league formally styled “The National League and American Association of Professional Base Ball Clubs.” The other four AA clubs are bought out for about $130,000. The NL will allow Sunday games for the first time but will retain its 50-cent minimum admission price. (2)
- 1920 - The American League votes to allow pitchers who used the spitball in 1920 to continue using it as long as they are in the league. The National League will do the same. There will be 17 designated spitters in all, eight in the NL and nine in the AL. For the NL: Bill Doak, Phil Douglas, Dana Fillingim, Ray Fisher, Marvin Goodwin, Burleigh Grimes, Clarence Mitchell, and Dick Rudolph. For the AL: A.W. Ayers, Slim Caldwell, Stan Coveleski, Red Faber, Dutch Leonard, Jack Quinn, Allan Russell, Urban Shocker, and Allen Sothoron. (2)
- 1928 - National League President John Heydler’s designated hitter idea gets the backing of John McGraw, but the American League is against it.
At a joint meeting, a rule is changed that ends the practice of minor league teams selling star prospects to friendly Major League clubs for high prices, then getting the players back, forcing another ML club to pay the reputed price for the player. Other changes ban the signing of players under the age of 17 and set a $7,500 price tag on any first-year player.
- 1964 - The Yankees fire long-time television and radio voice Mel Allen. The well-known broadcaster popularized the “going, going, gone” home run call and often said “how about that” to describe happenings on the ball field.
- 2002 - The Cubs sign free agent OF Troy O’Leary to a one-year contract for $750,000. (2)
Today in world history:
- 1398 - Tamerlane captures and sacks Delhi, defeating Sultan Nasir-u Din Mehmud’s armies by setting camels loaded with hay alight and charging them at the Sultan’s armored elephants.
- 1777 - France recognizes independence of British colonies in America.
- 1790 - Aztec calendar stone discovered in Mexico City.
- 1903 - The Wright brothers make the first sustained motorized aircraft flight at 10:35 a.m., piloted by Orville Wright at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
- 1933 - National Football League Championship - first title game, Wrigley Field, Chicago: Chicago Bears beat New York Giants, 23-21; “Bronko Nagurski Rule” - forward pass is legal anywhere behind line of scrimmage.
- (1) — Today in Baseball History.
- (2) — Baseball Reference.
- (3) — Society for American Baseball Research.
- (4) — Baseball Hall of Fame.
- (5) — This Day in Chicago Cubs history.
- For world history.
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.
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