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Baseball history unpacked, February 5

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Scenes from the rich tapestry of the great game.

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... 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*.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1897 - Pitcher Charley Radbourn dies in Bloomington, Illinois, at age of 42. In an 11-season career, Radbourn played for the Providence Grays, Boston Beaneaters, Boston Reds and Cincinnati Reds, compiling a 309-195 record with 1830 strikeouts and a 2.67 ERA. He posted at least 20 wins in nine seasons, in nine seasons, including 59 in 1884 and 48 a year before. Affectionately nicknamed “Old Hoss,” Radburn will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939. (3)
  • 1903 - The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox announce they will play a series of 15 pre-season games against each other. (3)
  • 1916 - The National League meeting announces that it has come to the league’s attention that “some of the diamonds” don’t measure properly. On this day, John Heydler’s office circulates to clubs the news of the Chicago Cubs’ pitching distance, and orders an engineer’s certification. (3)
  • 1919 - National League president John Heydler dismisses charges against Cincinnati Reds star Hal Chase, who had been accused of throwing games and betting against his team in collusion with gamblers. The charges had been brought forth by Reds manager Christy Mathewson and owner Garry Herrmann. Heydler rules that Chase’s poor play was attributable to “carelessness,” and not to gambling. Two weeks later, New York Giants manager John McGraw obtains Chase from Cincinnati in exchange for first baseman Walter Holke and catcher Bill Rariden. (2,3)
  • 1930 - The Reds select Leo Durocher (.246, 0, 32) off waivers. The 24-year-old shortstop, an unpopular player in the Yankees clubhouse, falls out of favor in New York after a salary dispute with Ed Barrow, the club’s general manager. (1)
  • 1931 - Hack Wilson, who set National League records last season when he drove in 191 runs and hit 56 home runs, a mark since surpassed in 1998 by Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, signs for $35,000. The 31-year-old Cub outfielder’s 1930 RBI total remains one of the game’s most enduring records. (1)
  • 1935 - At 39 years of age, home run king Babe Ruth is released by the New York Yankees. He will sign with the Boston Braves to play one more season, but will not complete it. (3)
  • 1977 - The Cubs deal southpaw Darold Knowles to the Rangers for a player to be named later and cash. The left-hander will post a 5-2 record for Texas, and outfielder Gene Clines, made part of the trade ten days later, will help his new club, batting a respectable .293 playing in 101 games for Chicago. (1)

Cubs birthdays: Harry Smith, Max Flack, Dewey Williams, Don Hoak, Roberto Rodriguez, Mark Zagunis. Also notable: Hank Aaron HOF, Roberto Alomar 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.