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Baseball history unpacked, March 14

A thrice-weekly look at #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB history. This one squats behind the dish.

Former Cubs catcher Steve Lake
Photo by Mitchell Layton/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:

  • 1954 - Hank Aaron makes his first spring training start for the Milwaukee Braves in an exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox. Aaron, taking advantage of an injury suffered by starting outfielder Bobby Thomson, raps out three hits, including a home run. The noise of the contact is so loud that Ted Williams runs out of the Boston clubhouse to see who can make that sound with a bat. Aaron will eventually start for the Braves on Opening Day and will go on to hit a respectable .280 with 13 home runs and 58 RBI in his rookie season. (2)
  • 1969 - Former major leaguer Heinie Zimmerman dies in New York, NY at the age of 82. The one-time Triple Crown winner was banned from baseball in 1919 for his alleged involvement in fixing games. Later research will show that he had not in fact led the National League in RBI in 1912, and the Triple Crown banner will also be stripped away from him. (2)
  • 1995 - The Players Association announces that it will not settle the strike if replacement players are used in regular season games, and if results are not voided. (2)
  • 2003 - Milwaukee Brewers TV/Radio play-by-play announcer Bob Uecker is chosen for induction into the broadcasters’ wing of the Hall of Fame as the recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award. The 68-year-old former back-up catcher, who joined the Milwaukee broadcast crew in 1971, is best known for the humor he has brought to the game through his starring role in the cult movie Major League and the beer commercial in which the phrase Must be in the front row! has become a familiar cry in ballparks around the country. (2)
  • 2018 - Minor League Baseball announces some changes to the rules that will be used throughout the minor leagues starting this season. First, there will be a limit of six mound visits per game in Triple-A, similar to the rule change just introduced in Major League Baseball; lower classifications will allow more visits: eight in Double-A and 10 in Class A. A 15-second pitch clock will be introduced with the bases empty, and 20 seconds with men on base. Finally, a variation of the Schiller Rule will be used beginning in the 10th inning, as each half inning will start with the batter preceding the first batter of the inning already on second base. That last rule was already in use in some Rookie-class leagues. (2)
  • 2019 - Commissioner Rob Manfred announces rule changes for the coming season. While the idea of a pitch clock has been dropped, other measures adopted include: lowering the number of mound visits from six to five, following the successful introduction of the rule in 2018; a shorter break between innings; making the July 31st trading deadline a hard one, with no trades allowed for the two remaining months of the season; a shift in procedure for nominating starters in the All-Star Game and additional bonuses for participants in the Home Run Derby; beginning next season, a clear roster limit, with 26 during the first five months and 28 for September, with all teams being required to respect the limits; and a minimum of three batters faced for relief pitchers, barring injury or the end of the half-inning, also starting with the 2020 season. (2)

Cubs birthdays: Bob Raudman, Ty Waller, Steve Lake**. Also notable: Kirby Puckett HOF.


Today in history:

  • 1592 - ”Ultimate Pi day”: on this day at 6.53 a.m. is the largest correspondence between calendar dates and significant digits of pi since the introduction of the Julian calendar (3.14159265358).
  • 1794 - Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin machine revolutionizing the cotton industry in the southern US states.
  • 1899 - German Ferdinand von Zeppelin receives a US patent for a “Navigable Balloon”.
  • 1900 - US currency goes on gold standard after Congress passes the Currency Act.
  • 2018 - NASA twin study finds that Scott Kelly is no longer identical to his twin brother after one year in space, seven percent of his genes altered.

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!