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Baseball history unpacked, March 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 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:

  • 1886 - A business wrangle in the National League ends in a weakening of the league’s famous 50 cents admission standard. The St. Louis Maroons and Philadelphia Phillies, the two clubs facing rival American Association teams with an admission of 25 cents, are allowed to charge a minimum of a quarter. Newcomers Washington Nationals and Kansas City Cowboys are stuck with the 50 cents minimum, but are given the option of selling three tickets for a dollar. (3)
  • 1936 - The St. Louis Cardinals - without the brothers Paul and Dizzy Dean, who are once again holdouts - visit Cuba and are beaten by the Cuban all-stars. Luis Tiant, Sr., whose son Luis Jr. will win 229 major league games, is the starting pitcher for the Cubans. (1,3)
  • 1965 - Former All-Star Johnny (Pepper) Martin dies at the age of 61. A member of the St. Louis Cardinals’ legendary “Gashouse Gang,” Martin batted .298 over a 13-year major league career. In 1933, Martin led the National League with 122 runs scored. (3)
  • 1966 - United Steelworkers union official Marvin Miller is named the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. Under Miller’s guidance, the players’ union will make major gains such as salary increases, improvements in pension benefits, and the advent of free agency and salary arbitration. The skilled negotiator, who will lead the organization from 1966 to 1982, transforms the MLBPA into one of the strongest unions in the country. (1,3)
  • 1973 - Yankee teammates Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich announce they have traded families, including their wives, kids, and even the dogs. The swap will work better for Peterson, who will become married to his best friend’s former wife, with whom he will have four children, than it does for Kekich, whose relationship with Marilyn Peterson is short-lived. (1,3)
  • 1996 - The Veterans Committee elects four new members for the Hall of Fame, and just misses naming a fifth. The group elected includes fiery manager Earl Weaver, who had a .583 winning percentage in 17 seasons managing the Baltimore Orioles; pitcher Jim Bunning, who won 100 games in both leagues, including no-hitters in each circuit, one of them a perfect game; 19th-century manager Ned Hanlon, who won five National League pennants with the Baltimore Orioles (3) and Brooklyn (2), and Bill Foster, the top left-handed pitcher in the Negro Leagues. Nellie Fox receives the necessary 75% of the Committee’s votes, but the rules allow just one modern player elected, and Bunning has more votes. (2,3)
  • 2003 - Although not agreeing to ban ephedra, a memo is sent to all major leaguers by the players’ union strongly recommending players “be extremely reluctant to use any products” containing the substance. The diet supplement, which is available without a prescription, has been linked to the spring training death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler. (1,3)
  • 2012 - Former outfielder Lenny Dykstra is sentenced to three years in a California state prison after pleading no contest to charges of grand theft auto and providing a false financial statement. Dykstra ran a scheme that involved leasing automobiles from high-end dealerships on the basis of false financial information. (3)

Cubs birthdays: Dick Errickson, Jim Gleeson, Doug Bird, Kyle Schwarber. Also notable: Sam Thompson 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.