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Baseball history unpacked, February 24

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Scenes from the rich tapestry of the great game.

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

... on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Bleed Cubbie Blue brings a you a 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:

  • 1896 - The National League adopts changes in the National Agreement. The minor leagues are divided into six classifications based on population, and new draft fees are instituted. The league also forbids players from deliberately soiling baseballs, and declares that “a ball cutting the corners of the home plate, and being requisite height, must be called a strike.” It also empowers umpires to eject players. (3)
  • 1943 - The Texas League, as will most minor leagues, announces the circuit will cease operations for the duration of World War II. The difficulty to travel and the lack of able-bodied men available to fill team rosters make suspending play a necessity. The St. Louis Cardinals, with 260 farm players in the service, will reduce farm clubs from 22 to 6. Only nine minor leagues will start the 1943 season. Advertisements for players appear in The Sporting News. (1,2,3)
  • 1960 - Twenty-eight months after the Dodgers play their last game in Brooklyn, the demolition of Ebbets Field finally begins when a wrecking ball, painted with red and white stitches, begins its work on the ballpark Brooklyn called home for 44 years. Before the demolition, wheel-chair bound Roy Campanella, the team’s former All-Star catcher and three-time National League MVP, is given an urn of dirt from behind home plate in front of a crowd of 200 faithful fans. (1)
  • 1966 - The Braves sign the University of Southern California hurler Tom Seaver, but Commissioner William Eckert nullifies the contract due to rules that govern the signing of college players. The right-hander, who is declared ineligible by USC, will become available to any team, except Atlanta, willing to match the original contract in a lottery, which the Mets will win that also included bids by the Indians and the Phillies. (1,3,4)
  • 1988 - Facing the loss of the 1990 All-Star game and possible postseason games, the Chicago City Council passes an ordinance, 29-19, allowing the Cubs to play 18 night games a season through the year 2002 at Wrigley Field, the last major league ballpark to be illuminated. The legislation prohibits beer sales after 9:20 p.m. and organ music 10 minutes later. (1)
  • 1990 - Although the owners drop their arbitration and minimum salary proposals, spring training camps remain closed. Baseball’s seventh work stoppage will last 32 days, resulting in Opening Day being moved back a week and the over-all season extended by three days to accommodate the 162-game schedule. (1)
  • 1990 - Former Boston Red Sox slugger Tony Conigliaro dies of pneumonia and kidney failure at the age of 45. Conigliaro was the youngest American League player ever to reach 100 career home runs and then was nearly blinded by a 1967 beaning. (3)
  • 2000 - The National Labor Relations Board certifies the results of the November election that kicked out the Major League Umpires Association and replaced it with the newly-formed World Umpires Association. About 50 of the 71 major league umpires have joined the new union. The decision ends Richie Phillips’ 21-year reign as union chief. (3)
  • 2000 - Cubs manager Don Baylor names four captains, including first baseman Mark Grace, right fielder Sammy Sosa, pitcher Kevin Tapani, and reliever Rick Aguilera. The quartet will be the Cubs’ first captains since the 1960s and early 1970s, when Ron Santo held the position. (1)
  • 2003 - In the wake of Steve Bechler’s death, Commissioner Bud Selig decides to ban the use of ephedra in the minor leagues. Players on the current 40-man major league rosters, which would have included the 23-year-old Oriole pitcher who died on February 23rd, are not prohibited to use the supplement because, as union members, they are already covered by the drug-testing rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, which bans only drugs of abuse and certain illegal steroids. (1,3)

Cubs birthdays: Wilbur Cooper, Earl Grace, Mike Sember, Rob Bowen. Also notable: Honus Wagner HOF, Eddie Murray HOF.

Common sources:

*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.