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Baseball history unpacked, March 17

Select snapshots from the big picture of Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball history.

Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via 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 snapshots from the big picture of Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball history.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1871 - The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players is founded, setting the stage for the future National League in 1876. The entry fee for a National Association franchise is set at $10. (3)
  • 1886 - The Sporting News, the weekly that will become “The Baseball Paper of the World,” publishes its first issue. (3)
  • 1911 - Plumbers at work on the drain pipes at Washington’s Griffith Stadium start a fire that burns down the grandstand. Since the water has been shut off, firemen can do nothing. Stands will be rebuilt to play the home opener on schedule. (3)
  • 1946 - In Dayton Beach, the only city that allows him to play, Montreal infielder Jackie Robinson makes his preseason debut at City Island Ball Park. In the first-ever integrated spring training game, the former Negro League standout goes 0-for-3 against the Dodgers but is encouraged by the crowd’s reception. (1)
  • 1953 - The Milwaukee County Board, which oversees County Stadium, tears up their three-year deal with its minor league team and offers the use of the ballpark to the Boston Braves at the reduced rate of $1,000 for the first two years. In exchange, the city would receive five percent of the gate receipts and the majority of the concession sales for the first three seasons. (2)
  • 1953 - Bill Veeck says that he will accept an offer of $2.475 million for his 80 percent of the St. Louis Browns stock. Baltimore Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro seeks a syndicate to buy Veeck out. The group will eventually purchase 206,250 shares at $12 per share. (2,3)
  • 1965 - Jackie Robinson is signed as a member of the ABC-TV major league baseball broadcast team, becoming the first Black broadcaster to receive a network position. ABC provides the first-ever nationwide baseball coverage with weekly Saturday broadcasts on a regional basis. (2,3)
  • 1977 - In a decision seen as one of the most influential and precedent-setting cases in the history of American jurisprudence in regards to professional sports, U.S. Federal Judge Frank McGarr rules in favor of Bowie Kuhn, saying that the baseball commissioner acted within his authority in voiding the 1976 player sales engineered by Oakland Athletics owner Charlie Finley. The Oakland owner sued the commissioner for illegal restraint of trade when his deals to send Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers to the Red Sox for $2 million and Vida Blue to the Yankees for $1.5 million were invalidated “in the best interests of baseball.” (2,3)
  • 1984 - Ferguson Jenkins announces his retirement. The 1971 National League Cy Young Award winner, Jenkins posted a record of 284-226 with 3192 strikeouts and a 3.34 ERA in 4500 innings pitched in a 19-season major career. He will be elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1991. (3)
  • 1992 - Pitcher Hal Newhouser and umpire Bill McGowan are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. (3)
  • 2005 - During more than 11 hours of hearings by the Committee on Government Reform concerning major league players’ use of steroids, Mark McGwire refuses to talk about the past and does not deny taking performance enhancing drugs. Other players testifying include Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and former big leaguer Jose Canseco, whose recent book, Juiced, prompted the congressional hearing. Palmeiro will be found guilty of steroid usage later this year. (3)
  • 2015 - Agent Scott Boras lashes out at the Cubs, convinced that they want to send the hottest prospect in baseball, 3B Kris Bryant, to the minor leagues to start the season. Boras is convinced this is simply a cost-cutting move that makes no sense if the Cubs really want to win. Fans are also clamoring to see Bryant make the team, given he’s leading all players with 6 homers in spring training games so far. However, team President Theo Epstein explains that he is concerned that Bryant needs more work on his defense before he’s ready for the Show. (3)

Cubs birthdays: Fred Pfeffer, Bill Gannon, Charlie Root, Hank Sauer, Jerry Tabb, Bill Mueller, Scott Downs.

Common sources:

Thanks for reading!

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