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Baseball history unpacked, March 9

A thrice-weekly look at #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB history. This one caught on for a while and was theoretically a switch-hitter.

Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/Minnesota Twins/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:

  • 1897 - Cleveland signs Holy Cross star Louis “Chief” Sockalexis to a contract. Sockalexis, a full-blooded Penobscot Indian, soon earns the admiration of Spiders supporters because of his outstanding all-around skill. Before long, baseball fans start referring to the Cleveland team as the Indians. Sockalexis plays only three years with the team because of acute alcoholism, but the nickname Indians will be revived in 1915 to become the club’s official name (until 2021).
  • 1972 - Players on the White Sox vote 31-0 in favor of a strike, if necessary, during negotiations between players and owners. The dispute centers around health and pension benefits for players. This is the first of a series of landmark team votes.
  • 1979 - Commissioner Bowie Kuhn issues a notice to all clubs urging that all reporters, regardless of sex, be treated equally in the matter of access to locker rooms.
  • 1995 - Major League Baseball owners unanimously approve two expansion teams: the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Each of the new clubs will pay a $130 million franchise fee and will begin play in 1998.
  • 2010 - Former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Willie Davis dies at age 69 in Burbank, CA.
  • 2012 - Umpire Harry Wendelstedt, who officiated during 33 seasons in the National League and also trained two generations of umpires at his “Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School”, dies in Florida at the age of 74.

Cubs birthdays: Dale Alderson, Terry Mulholland, Benito Santiago, Koyie Hill**, Clay Rapada. Also notable: Billy Southworth HOF, Arky Vaughan HOF.

**pictured.

Today in history:

  • 1497 - Nicolaus Copernicus’ 1st recorded astronomical observation.
  • 1522 - Martin Luther begins preaching his “Invocavit Sermons” in the German city of Wittenberg, reminding citizens to trust God’s word rather than violence and thus helping bring to a close the revolutionary stage of the Reformation.
  • 1858 - Albert Potts of Philadelphia patents the street mailbox.
  • 1889 - Kansas passes yjr first general antitrust law in US.
  • 1916 - Mexican General Francisco “Pancho” Villa invades US (18 killed).
  • 1950 - Willie Sutton robs Manufacturers Bank of $64,000 in NYC.

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!