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:
- 1877 - Harry McCormick of the Syracuse Stars (League Alliance) pitches the earliest known minor league no-hitter against Indianapolis. (3)
- 1897 - Roger Bresnahan, later a Hall of Fame catcher, made his major-league debut as a pitcher for the Washington Senators by beating the St. Louis Browns, 3-0. (2,3)
- 1911 - At Comiskey Park, Chicago hurler Ed Walsh, Sr. no-hits the Red Sox, 5-0. The future Hall of Famer’s son, Edward Arthur, will also pitch for the White Sox from 1928-1932. (1,4,5)
- 1912 - In response to demands for an alternative way to rate pitchers besides wins and losses, the National League will officially keep ERA’s for the first time; the Giants’ Jeff Tesreau will lead the league at 1.96. Despite an increase in .300 hitters from 22 to 32 this year, there will be 19 pitchers with ERAs under 3.00. The American League will not make ERA part of its official statistics until 1913. (3)
- 1918 - Christy Mathewson resigns as Reds manager to accept a commission as a captain in the chemical warfare branch of the Army. (2)
- 1937 - Dodger right-hander Fred Frankhouse holds the Reds hitless for 7⅔ innings before a heavy downpour ends the Ebbets Field contest permanently. The right-hander’s 5-0 victory will be one of the 31 “no-no’s” erased when MLB redefines a no-hitter in 1991 as a game in which a pitcher throws nine innings or more without giving up a hit. (1,4)
- 1941 - Charlie Root, best known for giving up Babe Ruth’s ‘called’ home run, becomes the first (and still, only) pitcher to win 200 games in a Cubs uniform. After being summoned in relief from the bullpen in the first inning, the 42-year-old right-hander, completes the game, getting the victory when the team comes from behind to beat Boston at Braves Field, 6-4. (1,4)
- 1946 - At the Owners’ Meeting, a committee formed to study integration, which includes Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, delivers its secretive report defending the covert color barrier which exists in professional baseball. The absurd reasons given why blacks shouldn’t be allowed to play in the big leagues include an absence of skills due to inferior training and lack of fundamentals as well as the need to respect existing Negro League contracts, but another lesser known motivation may have been profit, as revealed later in the report: “The Negro leagues rent their parks in many cities from clubs in Organized Baseball (and) Club owners in the major leagues are reluctant to give up revenues amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars every year” and the fear white fans would be driven away if black players attracted more minorities to the ballpark. (3)
- 1955 - Sandy Koufax, in his second big league start, two-hits the Reds at Ebbets Field, 7-0. The 19-year-old bonus baby, displaying the dominance that he will feature during the 1960s, goes the distance, striking out 14 Cincinnati batters. (1,4)
- 1960 - Ernie Banks knocks in his 100th run of the season when he grounds out in the first inning of the Cubs’ 5-4 victory over Philadelphia at Wrigley Field. The Chicago infielder, finishing the season with 117 RBIs, will be the last National League shortstop to reach the milestone until 1985 when Hubie Brooks accomplishes the feat with the Expos. (1,3,4)
- 1977 - In an 8-2 win at Yankee Stadium, Rangers Bump Wills and Toby Harrah hit back-to-back inside-the-park home runs on consecutive pitches. The pair of IPHRs marks the first time the oddity occurs in baseball history. (1,3,4)
- 1982 - Rickey Henderson breaks Lou Brock’s 1974 single-season record of 118 stolen bases in the 5-4 loss to Milwaukee. The A’s outfielder, who will finish the season with 130, ends the day with 122, after swiping four bases in today’s County Stadium contest. (1,4)
- 1990 - The Brewers-Blue Jays game is delayed thirty-five minutes when a huge swarm of gnats descends onto the field through the open SkyDome roof. Milwaukee scratches out a 4-2 win.
- 2014 - Another top Cubs prospect homers in his major league debut, three weeks after Javier Baez. Cuban OF Jorge Soler goes deep in his first career at-bat, against Mat Latos of the Reds in the seconnd inning, immediately after Luis Valbuena had also homered. Soler adds an RBI single later in the game, but Chicago still falls, 7-5. For the Reds, rookie OF Billy Hamilton steals his 50th base of the year, the ninth player in team history to reach the mark. (3)
- 2020 - Another seven major league games are postponed on the second day of protests across the sports world against police brutality and racism, following the postponement of three games yesterday. The most poignant moment takes place at Citi Field where players from the Mets and Marlins take their position on the field, observe a 42-second moment of silence in memory of Jackie Robinson, then walk off as Marlins OF Lewis Brinson drapes a “Black Lives Matter” tee-shirt over home plate. (3)
- (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!