... on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Bleed Cubbie Blue brings a you a lighthearted, information-rich, 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*.
February 1 turns out to have been an important day, historically-speaking, with events that occurred on that day affecting current events in surprising ways. Read on to find out why! And how!
Today in baseball history:
- 1913 - Olympic hero Jim Thorpe, turning down an offer from the last-place Browns, signs with the New York Giants of the National League, the defending NL champs. The Native American, who grew up in the Sac and Fox Nation in Oklahoma, will compile a lifetime .252 batting average during his six seasons in the major leagues, including stints with the Reds and Braves. (1,3)
- 1914 - In the first game ever to occur in the Egyptian desert, the White Sox and Giants play to a 3-3 tie. The contest is part of a 56-game world tour, including stops in Tokyo, Paris, and London, organized by New York manager John McGraw and Chicago owner Charles Comiskey to promote baseball globally. (1)
- 1926 - The New York Yankees sell first baseman Wally Pipp to the Cincinnati Reds. (3)
- 1928 - Former standout Hughie Jennings dies at the age of 58. The future Hall of Famer batted .311 over a 17-year career, including a career-high .401 in 1896. Jennings also managed the Detroit Tigers to three consecutive American League pennants from 1907 through 1909. (3)
- 1947 - Commissioner Happy Chandler announces the creation of a pension plan for major league players. Players who have accumulated five seasons in the major leagues will receive $50 a month starting at the age of 50. For each year of additional service, a player will receive an extra $10 per month, up to a maximum of $100. (3)
- 1959 - Zack Wheat, a Brooklyn favorite of the teens and twenties, is unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Wheat, a .317 hitter over his 19-year career, batted .300 or better 14 times. (2)
- 1965 - The National League clubs adopt an emergency team replacement plan to restock any club struck by disaster. The Senior Circuit’s Emergency Crisis Rule allows the affected club to draft from a pool of two or three replacement players from each team, following a similar concept adopted in 1962 by the American League. (1)
- 1970 - The Veterans Committee selects former Commissioner Ford Frick and former players Earle Combs and Jesse Haines to the Hall of Fame. Haines won 210 games for the St. Louis Cardinals and pitched in four World Series. Although he played 100 games in a season just nine times, Combs accumulated 1,866 hits and batted .325. Frick was commissioner from 1951 to 1965, but he is best remembered for suggesting that an asterisk be placed next to the name of anyone who broke Babe Ruth’s home run record during the eight additional games on the schedule in 1961. (2,3)
- 1973 - Commissioner Bowie Kuhn announces the Special Committee on the Negro Leagues’ selection of Monte Irvin to the Hall of Fame. The outfielder, who hit .293 during his eight seasons in the major leagues, played a pivotal role in the Giants’ 1951 World Championship, hitting .312 with 24 homers and a league-leading 121 RBIs. Irvin spent a decade with the Newark Eagles of the Negro Leagues before he joined the New York Giants in 1949. Irvin becomes the fourth player to gain election through the committee, joining Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard. (1,2,3)
- 1995 - Talks resume between the major league owners and the Players’ Association in attempt to resolve the on-going strike. The owners agree to drop their demand for a salary cap, replacing it with a proposal for a luxury tax.
- Cubs birthdays: Lew Brown, Walt Golvin, Vince Barton, Eddie Zambrano, Kent Mercker, Phil Norton, Austin Jackson, Brett Anderson.
- (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.