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.
We apologize in advance for any attempts at humor in these articles.
Today in baseball history:
- 1884 - At the annual meeting of the minor-league Northwest League, the first-place Toledo Blue Stockings are declared the league champion for 1883. But because Toledo has moved from the NWL to the major league American Association for 1884, the NWL pennant is awarded to the second-place Saginaw Greys. The NWL also rescinds its prohibition of Sunday baseball and the sale of beer at its ballparks, thereby aligning itself with AA policy and against the National League policy. (2)
- 1885 - The New York Clipper reports that Paul Hines, a Providence Grays outfielder, and resident of Washington, DC, had been challenged to catch a ball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument, a distance of “over 535 feet from the ground.” The Clipper calculates the “natural philosophy” involved, and warns Hines of the danger he would confront in attempting such a foolish stunt. (2)
- 1903 - Despite attempts by John T. Brush and Andrew Freedman to use their political influence to prevent the American League from finding suitable grounds in New York, league President Ban Johnson, aided by baseball writer Joe Vila, finds backers. Johnson also finds a ballpark site at 165th Street and Broadway. Frank Farrell and Bill Devery pay $18,000 for the Baltimore franchise and will build a wooden grandstand seating 15,000 on the highest point of Manhattan. The team, logically, will be called the New York Highlanders. There can be only one. (2)
- 1913 - The Cincinnati Reds purchase pitcher Mordecai Brown from the Chicago Cubs. The future Hall of Famer, who pitched in only 15 games in 1912, will log a record of 11-12 with a 2.91 ERA for the Reds in 1913. (2)
- 1934 - William Walker is elected president of the Chicago Cubs, replacing William Veeck, who died during the World Series. (2)
- 1938 - Before a gathering of writers, players and executives in Baltimore, Jimmie Foxx, Chuck Klein and Charlie Keller, representing the American League, National League and International League respectively, try out the balls to be used in the new season. The Sporting News reports that “... regarding the dead ball, as adopted by the National League, and the lively ball, as retained by the American and International Leagues... the NL ball has a distinctly ‘dead’ sound coming off the bat, compared to the livelier AL ball.” (2)
- 1963 - The Chicago Cubs hire retired Air Force Colonel Robert V. Whitlow as athletic director. Bear in mind that this is just after the “College of Coaches” period. Bob Kennedy actually did well, was just under .500 ( 158- 166) during his two-year stint as manager, a relative miracle given what he had to work with. (2)
- 1973 - In the January amateur draft, the Philadelphia Phillies select P Dick Ruthven, the Texas Rangers take C Jim Sundberg, and the Chicago Cubs pick P Donnie Moore. (2)
- 2001 - Free agent signings include outfielder Brian Hunter by the Philadelphia Phillies and infielder Ron Coomer by the Chicago Cubs. Coomer will go on the disabled list April 4th with a knee injury, opening the door for Julio Zuleta. (2)
- 2006 - Relief pitcher Bruce Sutter is elected to the Hall of Fame. With 75% of the votes cast by BBWAA members needed for election. Sutter receives 76.9%, slugger Jim Rice is second with 64.8%, followed by reliever Goose Gossage at 64.6%. Sutter, who is credited with perfecting the split-fingered fastball, which is a pitch many major leaguers use in some form today, joins Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers and Dennis Eckersley as the only relief pitchers in Cooperstown. In a special election, seventeen Negro Leagues figures are also elected: Ray Brown, Willard Brown, Andy Cooper, Frank Grant, Pete Hill, Biz Mackey, Effa Manley, Jose Mendez, Alex Pompez, Cum Posey, Louis Santop, Mule Suttles, Ben Taylor, Cristóbal Torriente, Sol White, J.L. Wilkinson, and Jud Wilson. Manley is the first woman ever elected to the Hall, and the 18 inductees are the largest class in the Hall’s history. (2)
Today in world history:
- 49 BC - Julius Caesar defies the Roman Senate and crosses the Rubicon, uttering “alea iacta est” (the die is cast), signaling the start of civil war which would lead to his appointment as Roman dictator for life.
- 1776 - ”Common Sense” Pamphlet by Thomas Paine published, advocating American independence.
- 1878 - US Senate proposes female suffrage.
- 1949 - RCA introduces 45 RPM record.
- 1951 - UN headquarters opens in Manhattan NY.
- 1964 - Vee-Jay Records releases “Introducing the Beatles”, the 1st Beatles album released in the US.
- (1) — Today in Baseball History.
- (2) — Baseball Reference.
- (3) — Society for American Baseball Research.
- (4) — Baseball Hall of Fame.
- (5) — This Day in Chicago Cubs history.
- For world history.
There is a very active baseball history community and there are many facets to their views. We strive for clarity. Please be aware that we are trying to make the historical record as represented by our main sources coherent and as accurate as is possible. No item is posted here without corroboration. Some of these items spread from site to site without being verified. That is exactly why we ask for reputable sources, so that we can address them to the originators. BBRef is very cooperative in this regard, as are SABR and the Baseball Almanac. We have removed thenationalpastime from our sourcing list, as there have been multiple complaints about their content and they do not respond to attempts to communicate.
Also please remember that this is supposed to be fun.
*not pictured. The photo is actually Romanian-born actor John Houseman, notably of “The Paper Chase”.
Thank you for your cooperation. And thanks for reading!