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Baseball history unpacked, March 2

A thrice-weekly look at #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB history. Delicate negotiations are being conducted in this one.

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:

  • 1874 - At the fourth meeting of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players in Boston, the batter’s box is officially adopted. It is also decided that expulsion will be the penalty for any player betting on his own team and any player betting on any other team will forfeit his pay. (1,2)
  • 1888 - The National League meets in New York and abolishes all discounts from the 50-cent minimum admission price. Despite the demands of the Brotherhood and the fact that the rule is practically a dead letter, the NL refuses to drop its $2,000 salary limit rule. The schedule committee recommends that the season go to 140 games from the current 126. (2)
  • 1899 - At the National League meeting in New York, an attempt to expel the St. Louis Browns, who had a 39-111 record in 1898, fails by a 7-4 margin. It is also decided that no club may hold more than 18 players on its reserve list. St. Louis will play as the “Perfectos” in the upcoming season. (2)
  • 1966 - Commissioner William Eckert voids the contract recently signed by collegiate star Tom Seaver. The Atlanta Braves had signed Seaver to a $50,000 bonus a week earlier, but Eckert cites a rule prohibiting teams from signing players while their college seasons are ongoing. A special draft will be held after the collegiate season to reassign Seaver’s rights. (2)
  • 1992 - The highest-paid player tag now belongs to Ryne Sandberg of the Chicago Cubs. The All-Star second baseman signs a four-year contract extension worth $7.1 million per season.
  • 2011 - A fight breaks out in the Cubs dugout between P Carlos Silva and 3B Aramis Ramirez after a dreadful performance in the first inning of a Cactus League game against the Brewers, when the Cubs commit a slew of mistakes and fall behind 6-0. The fight reminds everyone of a similar occurrence in June of last season, when P Carlos Zambrano and 1B Derrek Lee came to blows in the dugout. (2)
  • 2012 - Major League Baseball confirms that starting this year, the postseason will be expanded from 8 to 10 teams, with an extra wild card team in each league. The two wild card teams in each league will play one game to determine which one will then face the team with the league’s best record in the Division Series. (2)
  • 2021 - In one of these bizarre twists only seen in spring training games in pandemic times, pitcher John Means of the Orioles is pulled out of a Grapefruit League game after two outs in the first inning for having reached his pitch count limit, and then re-enters the game to pitch the second. He needs 29 pitches in the first, but after his rest, retires the side on just 10 offerings. This is possible thanks to the special Coronavirus rules that have seen these games be limited to seven innings, and teams only suit up a small number of players to avoid crowding the dugouts; conversely, players are allowed to re-enter games, something that has been prohibited in meaningful games since the demise of the courtesy runner. (2)

Cubs birthdays: Charlie Bastian, William Fischer, Rip Wheeler, George Stueland, Butch Weis, Woody English, Mort Cooper, Pete Broberg, Leo Gomez*. Also notable: Moe Berg, Mel Ott HOF.

*Pictured.

Today in history:

  • 1776 - American troops begin shelling the British in Boston.
  • 1791 - Long-distance communication speeds up with the unveiling of a semaphore machine in Paris.
  • 1824 - Interstate commerce comes under federal (U.S.) control.
  • 1836 - Republic of Texas declares independence from Mexico in Columbia.
  • 1867 - US Congress creates the Department of Education.
  • 1888 - The Convention of Constantinople signed, guaranteeing free maritime passage through the Suez Canal during war and peace.
  • 1966 - BlackHawks right wing Bobby Hull becomes the NHL’s first two-time 50-goal scorer when he strikes in a 5-4 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Chicago Stadium.
  • 1969 - Boston center Phil Esposito becomes first player in NHL history to record 100 points in a season when he scores two 3rd-period goals in the Bruins’ 4-0 win over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.
  • 1970 - Supreme Court ruled draft evaders can not be penalized after five years.
  • 1974 - Grand jury concludes US President Richard Nixon is involved in Watergate cover-up.
  • 1998 - Data sent from the Galileo spacecraft indicates that Jupiter’s moon Europa has a liquid ocean under a thick crust of ice.

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!