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Baseball history unpacked, February 9

A thrice-weekly look at #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB history. This one tackled US.

Kyle Farnsworth
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.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1901 - Giants and Pirates outfielder Tom O’Brien, 28, dies in Phoenix, AZ. A popular player with the Giants, O’Brien played for Pirates in 1900, then accompanied the Giants and Superbas last fall on a trip to Cuba for a series of exhibition games. On the boat trip over, he was told that if he drank enough sea water he’d be sick, but would then be cured of any sea sickness. Both O’Brien and Kid Gleason became violently ill following the prescription, but O’Brien was so affected that all his internal organs were damaged, and he never recovered. (2)
  • 1914 - Veteran umpire Hank O’Day, who managed the 1912 Reds, signs to skipper the Cubs. (2)
  • 1916 - The National League votes down a proposal by the Giants, Braves, and Cubs to increase club player limit from 21 to 22. (The Reds want a decrease to 20.) (1,2)
  • 1920 - The Joint Rules Committee bans all foreign substances or other alterations to the ball by pitchers, including saliva, resin, talcum powder, paraffin, and the shine and emery ball. A pitcher caught cheating will be suspended for 10 days. The American League allows each club to name just two pitchers who will be allowed to use the pitch for one more season. The National League allows each club to name all its spitball pitchers. No pitchers other than those designated will be permitted to use the banned pitch, and none at all after this season (however, the designated pitchers will eventually be allowed to use the pitch for the rest of their careers). Other rules changes: the adoption of writer Fred Lieb’s proposal that a game-winning home run with men on base be counted as a home run even if the batter’s run is not needed to win the game. Also, the intentional walk is banned, and everything that happens in a protested game will go in the records. (1,2)
  • 1971 - Former Negro Leagues P Satchel Paige is nominated for the Hall of Fame. On June 10 the Hall’s new Special Committee on the Negro Leagues will formally select Paige for induction. (1,2)
  • 2005 - The Cubs trade reliever Kyle Farnsworth (4-5, 4.73) and a player to be named* to the Tigers in exchange for pitcher Roberto Novoa (1-1, 5.09) and minor leaguers Scott Moore and Bo Flowers. Farnsworth’s inconsistency out of the bullpen last season made him very unpopular with the Wrigley Field fans. (2) (*it looks like the player to be named was called ‘cash’.)
  • 2017 - Major League Baseball announces that a variation of the “Schiller Rule” used in international baseball will be tested in two Rookie-level minor leagues this season. In the Gulf Coast League and the Arizona League, if a game is tied after nine innings, every subsequent inning will start with a runner already on second base. (2)

Cubs birthdays: Heinie Zimmerman, C. L. Taylor, Freddy Schmidt, Eddie Solomon, Todd Pratt, Dioner Navarro. Also notable: Vladimir Guerrero HOF

Today in world history:

  • 1674 - English reconquer NY from Netherlands.
  • 1775 - British Parliament declares Massachusetts colony in rebellion
  • 1870 - US Army establishes US National Weather Service.
  • 1889 - The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is established as a Cabinet-level agency.
  • 1947 - Bank robber Willie Sutton escapes jail in Philadelphia.
  • 1950 - Senator Joseph McCarthy charges State Department infested with 205 communists.
  • 1964 - The first appearance of the Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show”, from New York draws 73.7 million television viewers.

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!