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:
- 1955 - The National League fines the Milwaukee Braves $500 for opening their spring training camp before the official March 1st date. (2)
- 1968 - Lena Blackburne dies in Riverside, New Jersey, at age 81. A former major league infielder and manager, Blackburne has been the source for his eponymous rubbing mud, used by umpires in both leagues to rub down new balls. He leaves the mud business to his boyhood friend, John Haas. (2)
- 1985 - Pitcher Rick Reuschel* signs as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He will spend the first two months of the season in the minors. After being called up in May, Reuschel will win 14 games for Pittsburgh and gain the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award. (2)
- 1986 - In Major League Baseball’s sternest disciplinary move since the 1919 Black Sox were banished for life, Commissioner Peter Ueberroth gives seven players who were admitted drug users a choice of a year’s suspension without pay or heavy fines and career-long drug testing, along with 100 hours of drug-related community service. Joaquin Andújar, Dale Berra, Enos Cabell, Keith Hernandez, Jeffrey Leonard, Dave Parker, and Lonnie Smith will be fined 10 percent of their annual salaries to drug abuse programs. The commissioner also doles out lesser penalties to 14 other players for their use of drugs. (1,2)
- 2002 - Major League Baseball announces it has rehired five umpires who had resigned during the 1999 season as part of the ill-fated strategy concocted by Richie Phillips and the Major League Umpires Association. They are Gary Darling, Bill Hohn, Larry Poncino, Larry Vanover and Joe West. Four other umpires, Drew Coble, Greg Kosc, Terry Tata, and Frank Pulli, are allowed to retire. (2)
- 2021 - The first games of spring training are played, a glimpse of normality after one year of upheavals caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. MLB is planning to play a full season this year, and there are some spectators present, with crowds limited to 25% of ballpark capacity. (2)
Cubs birthdays: Tom Walsh, Dolan Nichols, Jim Kremmel, Aroldis Chapman. Also notable: Jud Wilson HOF.
Today in history:
- 1646 - Roger Scott tried in Massachusetts for sleeping in church.
- 1759 - Pope Clement XIII allows Bible to be translated into various languages.
- 1827 - First commercial railroad in US, Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) chartered.
- 1854 - Republican Party formally organized in Ripon, Wisconsin.
- 1933 - First female in US Cabinet: Frances Perkins appointed Secretary of Labor.
- 1953 - Francis Crick and James Watson discover the chemical structure of DNA-molecule (double-helix polymer). (this is disputed)
- 1983 Final TV episode of “M*A*S*H”, a 2-hour special directed by series star Alan Alda titled “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”, airs (CBS); record 125 million watch 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.
Thank you for your cooperation. And thanks for reading!