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:
- 1916 - The New York Times Book Review pans Ring Lardner’s baseball novel You Know Me Al, recently published by George H. Doran Company at $1.25. The reviewer says “the author was for some time sporting writer on a Chicago newspaper, and so may be supposed to know his subject thoroughly, but for the honor of the ‘national game’ we trust that his ‘busher’ is not typical of the majority of its players [...] As it contains many accounts of baseball games strung together on the thinnest possible thread of plot, it may please the ‘fans.’” Notwithstanding the poor review, the novel will be recognized in time as a classic. (3)
- 1930 - In the first night game ever played by a major league team, the American Association’s Indianapolis team defeats the Reds in an exhibition game, 17-5. The big floodlights used to illuminate West Washington Street Park make it difficult for the players to judge distances when fielding balls in play. (1) This is disputed by many, who hold that the 1935 game between the Reds and the Phillies is the first night game, as both of those teams were major-league teams. However, the language is precise, as there was A major-league team involved. The second game would then be the first night game ever played by major league teams.
- 1943 - Phil Cavarretta of the Chicago Cubs homers off the RF fair pole against Johnny Allen of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The ball is retrieved and Bill Nicholson hits the next pitch out of Wrigley Field. The result: one ball, one pitcher, two pitches, two home runs. The Cubs go on to beat the Dodgers, 13-2. (3)
- 1951 - Retired Hall of Famer Ty Cobb testifies in front of Emanuel Celler’s Congressional committee in Washington, D.C. The ‘Georgia Peach’ denies the reserve clause makes ‘peons’ out of baseball players and says that it is necessary to keep the competitive balance in the game. (1,3)
- 1952 - Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick sets a waiver rule to bar inter-league deals until all clubs bid with the club lowest in the league to get the first pick. He sets the price at $10,000. He also bars all other deals after July 31st. (2,3)
- 1971 - John Kennedy comments, ‘Looks like we’ve got our own spaceman,’ when he is unable to get to his locker through the crowd of reporters talking with southpaw Bill Lee about the Apollo 15 moon landing, The Red Sox utility infielder’s nickname “Spaceman” sticks, a moniker his eccentric teammate never fully embraces, claiming that Mother Earth has always been his priority. (1,4)
- 1973 - Freshman Ranger right-hander Jim Bibby, a Vietnam veteran, becomes the 14th rookie to throw a no-hitter and becomes the first hurler in franchise history to accomplish the feat. The 28-year-old right-hander, obtained in a June 6 trade with the Cardinals, strikes out 13 batters while holding the World Champions A’s hitless in a 3-0 Texas victory at the Oakland Coliseum. (1,3)
- 1980 - During a workout at the Astrodome, Houston hurler J.R. Richard, who had complained about a dead feeling in his arm on several occasions, suffers a stroke attempting to throw for the first time since being hospitalized for tests. Emergency surgery removes a blood clot behind his right collarbone, but the Astros’ fireballer will never pitch in the major leagues again. (1,3)
- 1993 - The Yankees obtain P Paul Assenmacher from the Cubs in a three-way deal which sees P John Habyan go to the Royals and OF Karl Rhodes to the Cubs. (3)
- 1995 - Mike Schmidt, Richie Ashburn, Negro League star Leon Day, former National League president William Hulbert and Vic Willis are inducted into the Hall of Fame. (3)
- 2001 - The Cubs get P David Weathers and P Roberto Miniel from the Brewers for P Ruben Quevedo and OF Peter Zoccolillo. (3)
- 2003 - The Cubs obtain center fielder Doug Glanville from the Rangers in exchange for cash and outfielder/first baseman prospect Jason Fransz, who will not appear in a major league game. Glanville will play in only 28 games, hitting just .235 for his new ball club. (1.3)
Cubs birthdays: Tod Brynan, Bill Merritt, Paul Minner, Bill Merritt, Bill Moisan, Steve Trout, Scott Fletcher, Todd Haney, Calvin Murray, Oswaldo Mairena. Also notable: Casey Stengel HOF.
- (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!