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:
- 1900 - A mechanical pitching machine is used in a game between the Memphis Chicks and the Nashvilles. The invention of Princeton professor Charles Hinton, the early pitching gun strikes out two and allows three hits in two innings. (3)
- 1902 - In an attempted double steal by the A’s, the Tigers concede second base to Harry Davis, freezing Dave Fultz, the runner on third, which prompts Davis to return to first base on the pitcher’s next delivery. When Davis takes off for second for the second time, he draws a throw and, in the resulting run-down, Fultz scores from third, and he is called safe at second again, but will be credited with only one stolen base for all of his efforts during the sixth frame of Philadelphia’s 9-0 victory over Detroit at Columbia Park. This double steal maneuver will be attempted in later years by Fred Tenney (July 31, 1908), and Germany Schaefer (September 4, 1908), before being made illegal. (1,3,4)
- 1906 - The Cubs’ Jack “Brakeman” Taylor is knocked out by Brooklyn in the 3rd inning, breaking a string of 187 complete games and 15 relief appearances in which he finished each game. The record run began June 20, 1901. In 10 years, he will fail to finish only eight of 286 starts. With relief help from Orval Overall, Chicago wins, 11-3. (3)
- 1913 - In a great pickup, the Cubs send P Lew Richie to the Kansas City Blues for Hippo Vaughn. Vaughn, who had pitched five years with little success in the American League with New York and Washington, will be a workhorse for Chicago. (3)
- 1932 - Commissioner Kenesaw Landis clears Rogers Hornsby of charges of fraudulently “borrowing” money from Cubs players. The Chicago papers said Hornsby had obtained money from players, either loaned to him to bet on horse races, or to share in joint ventures. When Hornsby is fined, the players want refunds. Hornsby wants a lump payoff by the Cubs, who refuse. Landis holds several hearings, and as he doesn’t punish anyone, it is taken as exoneration. (3)
- 1947 - 1947 - At Sportsman’s Park, pinch-hitter Willard Brown of the Browns becomes the first black player to hit a home run in the American League. The historic homer, a pinch-hit inside-the-parker off future Hall of Fame hurler Hal Newhouser, helps the Browns beat the Tigers, 6-5. (1,3)
- 1969 - After serving as the interim replacement for William Eckert, Bowie Kuhn is unanimously elected to a seven-year term by the major league owners to be baseball’s fifth commissioner. Prior to his selection to his new post, the 42 year-old lawyer, who once worked as the scoreboard boy for a dollar a day at Washington’s Griffith Stadium, served as legal counsel for the sport nearly 20 years. (1,3,4)
- 1987 - Billy Williams joins Ernie Banks as the second Cubs player to be honored by having his uniform number (26) being retired by the team. Sweet Swingin’ Billy from Whistler (AL) played 16 of his 18 major league seasons in the Windy City, hitting .296 and clubbing 392 home runs for the team that plays on the north side of Chicago. (1)
- 1995 - At Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, baseball legend Mickey Mantle, 63, succumbs to liver cancer with his estranged wife Merlyn at his side. Ironically, prior to a moving tribute in the Bronx ballpark for the fallen hero, the Yankee Stadium scoreboard displays “At Bat: 7” until the start of the game, because the leadoff batter for Cleveland, Kenny Lofton, wears number 7. (1)
- 2005 - The A’s retire uniform No. 43 as a tribute to Hall of Fame right-hander Dennis Eckersley, who saved 320 games during his nine seasons with the team. The 1992 recipient of the Cy Young and AL Most Valuable Player awards anchored the bullpen for Oakland’s three straight American League championships, starting in 1988. (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!