On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Bleed Cubbie Blue brings a you a light-hearted, Cubs-centric look at baseball’s colorful past, with plenty of the lore and deep dives into various narratives that expand over the course of time. Here’s a handy Cubs timeline, to help you follow along. Don’t be afraid to click the links for ‘inside baseball’ on the entries, which change from year to year as we re-examine the subjects.
Today in baseball history:
- 1853 - The New York Clipper publishes what is believed to be the first tabulated box score of a baseball game. The Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York defeated the Gotham Club, 21-12, on July 5th. (3)
- 1897 - Colts first baseman Cap Anson becomes the first major leaguer to collect 3000 hits when he singles off George Blackburn. The 45-year-old infielder’s historic hit comes in a 2-1 loss to Baltimore at Chicago’s West Side Grounds. (1,3)
- 1902 - John McGraw was named manager of the New York Giants, a job he would hold for thirty years. (2,3)
- 1908 - At Chicago, manager Frank Chance figures to rattle Giants rookie Otis “Doc” Crandall and elects to bat the Cubs first (this option for the home team will only be stricken from the rules in 1951). But Crandall is a rock and nurses a 4-1 lead into the last of the ninth. After one out, Christy Mathewson, warming in the bullpen, decides the game is well in hand and goes into the clubhouse to shower. Crandall promptly walks three straight, wherein John McGraw looks in vain for Matty. The Giants’ ace quickly dries off, throws on a uniform, and puts his street shoes on. By the time he arrives on the mound, reliever Joe McGinnity has walked in a run. Matty gets a ground out, then a strikeout, and the Giants win, 4-3. Ed Reulbach takes the loss for Chicago. (3)
- 1916 - At Chicago, the Cubs and Brooklyn play a 16-inning, 7-7 tie, called on account of darkness. In the 10th inning, the Cubs’ George Cutshaw swipes home to knot the score. (3)
- 1921 - At age 63, Arthur Irwin, pioneer player, manager, and executive who began in the National League in 1880, jumps to his death from a ship in the Atlantic Ocean. (3)
- 1948 - There are three managerial changes today. Ben Chapman is fired by the Phillies (though owner Bob Carpenter insists he was “not fired” saying “I’d like to make it clear that there is a difference between firing a man and concluding business with him.”) and Dusty Cooke takes over on an interim basis. Eddie Sawyer, with no major league experience as a player or manager, will get the job after Cooke goes 6-6. But the big news is from New York. The Giants remove Mel Ott and replace him with Leo Durocher, who obtains his release from Brooklyn. The Dodgers bring back mild-mannered Burt Shotton, who replaced Durocher once before. In a newspaper poll over the winter, an overwhelming majority voted for the gentlemanly Shotton to replace The Lip. The changes today portend those at the end of the season: Bucky Harris of the Yankees, Ted Lyons of the White Sox, and Steve O’Neill of the Tigers will be released. (3)
- 1950 - The Cubs knock the Phillies out of a tie for first place, sweeping a doubleheder, 8-0 and 10-3. The Cubs lose Phil Cavarretta when he is hit by a Ken Johnson pitch in the first game, fracturing his forearm. Hank Sauer takes over at 1B. Walt Dubiel fires the shutout and Doyle Lade is the complete game winner in the second game. The loss in the second contest goes to Bob Miller, the first defeat for the rookie after eight straight wins. Ex-Bruin Russ Meyer loses the first game after defeating the Cubs five straight times. The Mad Monk, the greatest ever Cubs killer, will win his next 17 decisions against Chicago before losing on May 11, 1955. (3)
- 1975 - The owners re-elect Bowie Kuhn to his second term as the commissioner of baseball. Oakland A’s owner Charlie Finley attempted to persuade others to vote to remove Kuhn, who had become his adversary on many issues during his first seven years in the position. (1,3,4)
- 1990 - Steve Lyons slides headfirst into first base to beat out a bunt. The play becomes memorable when the White Sox first baseman drops his pants to brush away the dirt inside his uniform in front of 14,770 surprised fans at Tiger Stadium. (1,3)
- 1992 - At a press conference in Pittsburgh, Greg Maddux announces that he has broken off negotiations with Cubs management and will become a free agent after the season. Maddux is playing on a one-year contract. “I’ve given them two opportunities to sign me. I really think it should have been taken care of.” Tomorrow, Maddux will beat the first-place Pirates and he will move to the Atlanta Braves after the season. (3)
- 2001 - Fred McGriff invokes his no-trade clause blocking a deal that would have sent him to the first-place Cubs from the last-place Devil Rays. Later in the day, the “Crime Dog” homers, helping Tampa Bay to beat the Braves, 6-5. (1,3)
- 2008 - In Washington, D.C., the United States Post Office releases the Take Me Out to the Ball Game commemorative stamp, marking the 100th anniversary of baseball’s official anthem. Scottsdale (AZ) graphic artist Richard Sheaff designed the 42-cent postage stamp based on an image of a circa-1880 “trade card” from his personal collection that features a baseball scene promoting a product made in Michigan. (1)
- (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.
There is a very active baseball history community and there are many facets to their views. We strive for clarity. Please let us know (nicely) if you feel that an item is in error and we will address that issue to the originator(s), if at all possible.
Thanks for reading!