... 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:
- 1933 - After missing half of last season when he broke his leg, Cubs outfielder Kiki Cuyler breaks his other leg and will miss nearly three months of this season. The 36-year-old future Hall of Famer has led the league in stolen bases four times and will finish with 328 career steals. (1,3)
- 1954 - The Cubs fire skipper Phil Cavarretta after he tells reporters the team had little chance to finish in the first division. The 36-year-old player-manager, who compiled a 169-213 (.442) record during his three years at the helm, is the first to lose a managerial position during spring training. Cavarretta is right - the Cubs will drop to seventh place. (1,2)
- 1973 - At the suggestion of A’s owner Charlie Finley, orange-colored balls are used in an 11-5 exhibition game loss to the Indians. Major League Baseball drops the novel concept after Cleveland outfielder George Hendrick, who hit three home runs in the contest, claims he had difficulty picking up the ball due to the lack of red seams on a white sphere. Finley contends that the ball, painted the color of a construction worker’s hat, will be easier for both players and fans to see. But pitchers complain that the ball is slippery and hard to grip, while batters are unable to pick up the spin of the ball without seeing the seams. Although Finley pushes for the use of colored baseballs during the regular season, the idea will never come to fruition. (1,3,4)
- 1979 - Former Negro Leagues and Cleveland Indians star Luke Easter is murdered in Euclid, Ohio, at the age of 63. Easter starred for the Homestead Grays and several minor league teams before arriving in the major leagues at age 34. (3,4)
- 1988 - Popular slugger Ted Kluszewski dies in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the age of 63. In a 15-season career, Kluszewski hit 279 home runs, including a National League leading 49 in 1954. (3)
- 1995 - Four-time All-Star Terry Moore dies in Collinsville, Illinois, at the age of 82. An outstanding defensive center fielder, Moore played 11 seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals and was a member of the World Championship teams in 1942 and 1946. (3)
- 2000 - In Japan, the Chicago Cubs open the major league season at the Tokyo Dome by defeating the New York Mets, 5-3, in the first major league opening day ever played outside of the United States, Canada or Mexico. Jon Lieber gets the victory and Mike Hampton takes the loss. Shane Andrews, Mark Grace and Mike Piazza hit home runs in the game. (3)
- 2007 - In a split-squad game between the Cubs and Diamondbacks at Mesa’s HoHoKam Park, Ria Cortesio, serving alternately as the first and third base umpire, becomes the first female ump to work a major league exhibition game since Pam Postema in 1989. The thirty-year-old Davenport (IA) native, who is starting her ninth year overall as an arbitrator and fifth in Double-A minor league ball, hopes to be the first woman umpire in major league history. (1,4)
- 2018 - The Major League Baseball season starts today with all 30 teams being scheduled to play, although a couple of games are rained out. Ian Happ of the Cubs launches the season by homering off Jose Urena of the Marlins on the very first pitch thrown in the earliest of the 15 games. (3)
- (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.
Thanks for reading!
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