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:
- 1885 - George H. Rawlings patents a close-fitting baseball glove that features padding made of felt and rubber in the fingers, thumb, and palm. The owner of a St. Louis sporting goods store invented the padded piece of equipment to prevent players from bruising their hands when catching a ball. (1,4)
- 1916 - In front of the smallest crowd in American League history, with 23 fans attending the game, A’s catcher/outfielder Wally Schang becomes the first switch-hitter in major league history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game. (3)
- 1933 - In the second game of a doubleheader against Detroit, Red Sox outfielder Mel Almada makes his major league debut at Fenway Park. The Huatabampo, Sonora, native is the first Mexican to play in the major leagues. (1,4)
- 1947 - Starting P Ox Miller of the Cubs hits a game-winning grand slam in a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, but does not go the required five innings to gain the win. (3)
- 1965 - In a promotion to increase Kansas City’s low attendance, Bert Campaneris becomes the first major leaguer to play all nine positions in a single game. After being involved in a collision at home plate in the ninth inning, Campy is replaced by Rene Lachemann as the team’s catcher in the A’s eventual 5-3, 13-inning victory over California. (1,4)
- 1987 - With the Cubs in fifth place in the National League East (68-68, 13 games behind), the club fires manager Gene Michael and replaces him with Frank Lucchesi. (3)
- 1988 - National League president Bart Giamatti is unanimously elected baseball’s 7th commissioner, and will succeed Peter Ueberroth next season. (3)
- 1993 - Retiring the final 17 batters in a row, 24-year-old right-hander Darryl Kile no-hits the Mets in a 7-1 Houston victory at the Astrodome. Jeff McKnight, who had walked, scores New York’s lone run on a wild pitch after advancing to third base on an error. (1,3)
- 1998 - Mark McGwire breaks Roger Maris’ single-season home run mark by clouting his 62nd of the year off Steve Trachsel in the fourth inning of the Cardinals’ 6-3 win over the Cubs in St. Louis. (3)
- 2020 - Pat O’Conner, President of Minor League Baseball since 2007, announces that he will step down at the end of the calendar year. It is a difficult time for the minor leagues, as the whole system has been shut down by the Coronavirus pandemic, and 42 of the existing 160 teams are slated for contraction before next year. It is likely that O’Conner will not be replaced, as what remains of the non-independent minor leagues will become fully owned and operated by Major League Baseball. (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.
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