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Baseball history unpacked, April 2

Snapshots from the big picture of Chicago Cubs and MLB baseball.

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

Today in baseball history:

  • 1874 - At the fourth meeting of the National Association in Boston, the batter’s box is officially adopted. It is also decided that expulsion will be the penalty for any player betting on his own team and any player betting on any other team will forfeit his pay. (3)
  • 1908 - After a two-year investigation, the Mills Commission, formed on the recommendation of Al Spalding and headed by the former N.L. president A. G. Mills, declares that baseball was invented by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. Overwhelming evidence to the contrary is ignored, but the designation makes James Fenimore Cooper’s town the most likely site for a Hall of Fame and museum when these establishments are conceived some 30 years later. (2,3,4)
  • 1931 - Thought by some to be a belated April Fools’ Day hoax, Chattanooga Lookouts’ relief pitcher Jackie Mitchell, a 17-year-old girl, (maybe) strikes out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in the first inning of an exhibition game. According to legend, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis will void the teenager’s professional contract, declaring that women are unfit to play baseball as the game is “too strenuous.” The rest of her career was important, too. (1,3)
  • 1972 - After playing a round of golf in West Palm Beach with his coaches on Easter Sunday, Mets manager Gil Hodges, two days shy of his 48th birthday, suffers a fatal heart attack. The club will name the current first-base coach and former Yankee skipper Yogi Berra to run the team when the strike-delayed season begins. (1)
  • 1982 - Oakland Athletics pitcher Steve McCatty walks to home plate during a spring training game carrying a 15-inch toy bat. Oakland manager Billy Martin had ordered McCatty to use the toy bat as a protest of the rule preventing the use of the designated hitter in National League ballparks. Umpire Jim Quick refuses to let McCatty use the bat. (3)
  • 1995 - The longest strike in major league history comes to an end. Having the first 23 days of this major league season canceled and 252 games of the last season lost, the owners accept the players’ March 31st unconditional offer to return to work. The players’ decision to return to work is made after a US District Court issued an injunction restoring terms and conditions of the expired agreement. Teams will play 144-game schedules. The strike had begun on August 12, 1994. (3)
  • 1996 - Tiger first baseman Cecil Fielder steals the first base of his eleven-year career in his 1,097th major league game, establishing the most extended duration a player has ever gone without recording a stolen base. The feat is so unexpected that the Metrodome crowd gives ‘Big Daddy’ a standing ovation, to which he responds with a good-natured tip of the helmet. (1)

Common sources:

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