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Baseball history unpacked, December 23

A thrice-weekly digest, replete with #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB factoids, gathered from reputable sources. The ill-fated Ken Hubbs and other stories.

The ill-fated Ken Hubbs
Photo by Louis Requena/MLB via Getty Images

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Bleed Cubbie Blue is pleased to present a light-hearted, Cubs-centric look at baseball’s colorful past, with plenty of the lore and various narratives to follow as they unfold over the course of time. Here’s a handy Cubs timeline, to help you follow along.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1913 - The Sporting News reports that 15 men died from baseball injuries during the 1913 season, according to a list compiled by J.R. Vickery of Chicago. The only name given is that of J. Whetstone of New Orleans, who suffered “a broken spine sustained in sliding to a base”; all other fatalities were the result of foul tips or pitched balls. The list “does not include a major league player or even a minor league athlete of sufficient experience to be widely known.” (2)
  • 1975 - Arbitrator Peter Seitz declares Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally free agents. Both pitchers sat out the option years of their contracts in the hopes they would become free to sign with any team. Messersmith will sign with the Dodgers, while McNally, who announced his retirement in June, will not return. Seitz’s decision will lead to an agreement with the owners whereby all players will become eligible for free agency after six seasons. (1,2)
  • 1997 - The Chicago Cubs trade outfielder Doug Glanville to the Philadelphia Phillies for second baseman Mickey Morandini. (2)

Cubs birthdays: Doc Gessler, Danny Taylor, Elder White, Ken Hubbs*, Vic LaRose, Alec Distaso.

Today in history:

  • 1672 - Giovanni Cassini discovers Rhea, a satellite of Saturn.
  • 1690 - English astronomer John Flamsteed observes Uranus without realizing it’s undiscovered.
  • 1779 - Benedict Arnold court-martialed for improper conduct.
  • 1888 - Vincent van Gogh cuts off his left ear with a razor, after argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin, and sends to a prostitute for safe keeping.
  • 1947 - Transistor invented by John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley in Bell Labs.
  • 1994 - Baseball owners impose salary cap, fiercely opposed by players.

Common sources:


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.

Also please remember that this is supposed to be fun.