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Baseball history unpacked, February 23

A thrice-weekly look at #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB history. This one was better as a Tiger.

Rondell White
Getty Images

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. We also add a bit of world history, for perspective’s sake.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1918 - Barney Dreyfuss of the Rules Committee launches a campaign to ban the spitter. He will succeed next year. (2)
  • 1964 - The San Francisco Giants acquire P Masanori Murakami, 3B Tatsuhico Tanaka, and C Hiroshi Takahashi on a player development deal with the Nankai Hawks, who own rights to all three. They are the first Japanese natives ever to play for American teams. All three are assigned to the Magic Valley Cowboys (Pioneer League). Although none of the three are considered top prospects, Murakami will confound everyone by reaching the major leagues by September after an outstanding season in the minors. (2)
  • 1976 - Major League owners announce that spring training will not open until a new labor contract is agreed upon. (1,2)
  • 1979 - The Philadelphia Phillies trade five players to the Chicago Cubs for 2B Manny Trillo, OF Greg Gross, and C Dave Rader. Chicago gets C Barry Foote, OF Jerry Martin, 2B Ted Sizemore, and two minor leaguers, Henry Mack and P Derek Botelho. (2)
  • 1988 - A committee of Chicago aldermen vote 7-2 to allow the Cubs to install lights and play up to 18 night games a year at Wrigley Field. The Cubs had feared losing the 1990 All-Star Game, as well as future playoff and World Series games, if lights were not installed. (1,2)
  • 1996 - The Rules Committee announces that the strike zone will be larger, dropping it from the top of the knees to the hollow below the knees. The change comes out of a series of recommendations to help speed up play. (2)
  • 2000 - Chicago Cubs manager Don Baylor names four captains - first baseman Mark Grace, right fielder Sammy Sosa, pitcher Kevin Tapani and reliever Rick Aguilera. The quartet will be the Cubs’ first captains since the 1960s and early 1970s when Ron Santo held the position. (2)
  • 2012 - Ryan Braun becomes the first major league player to successfully appeal a positive PED test when arbitrator Shyam Das rules in his favor with regard to a positive test performed during the 2011 postseason. The test showed a testosterone level so high as to be almost unimaginable without outside interference. The three-man panel chaired by Das rules that the fact that proper protocol was not followed in collecting and storing the sample prior to testing, makes it impossible to be certain that it has not been subject to tampering at some point. Braun had proclaimed his innocence all along, and now no longer faces a 50-game suspension. (2)
  • 2016 - For the second time in a week, the Orioles are said to have signed a top-rank free agent who has fallen through the cracks because of draft choice compensation tied to his signature. After inking Yovani Gallardo to a three-year deal, the O’s are said to be bringing CF Dexter Fowler on board with an offer of $35 million over three years. However, two days later, Fowler will announce that he has in fact rejected the offer and instead accepted a one-year deal worth $13 million to return to the Cubs. (2)

Cubs birthdays: Lew Camp, Jim Bolger, Rondell White*. Also notable: Ray Brown HOF.

*Pictured.

Today in history:

  • 1455 - Johannes Gutenberg prints his first Bible (estimated date).
  • 1782 - Engineer James Watt’s patent for a rotary motion for the steam engine (his sun-and-planet gear) is granted.
  • 1870 - Mississippi is readmitted to US after the Civil War.
  • 1941 - Plutonium first produced and isolated by American chemist Glenn T. Seaborg at Berkeley.
  • 1954 - First mass inoculation against polio with the Jonas Salk vaccine takes place at Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • 1967 - 25th amendment (US Presidential succession) adopted.

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. 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.

Thank you for your cooperation. And thanks for reading!