On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Bleed Cubbie Blue is pleased to present a light-hearted, Cubs-centric look at baseball’s colorful past, with plenty of the lore and deep dives into various narratives that we can observe as they expand over the course of time. Here’s a handy Cubs timeline, to help you follow along. We also include Cubs’ player birthdays and a bit of world history, for context.
Today in baseball history:
- 1907 - On Opening Day, New York Giants catcher Roger Bresnahan wears shin guards for the first time in a major league game. The leg guards, usually used in cricket, come in handy, protecting Bresnahan from a fifth-inning foul tip. Other catchers will soon follow Bresnahan’s lead and wear similar shin guards. (2)
- 1959 - On Opening Day, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale hits a home run, becoming the first pitcher to hit more than one career homer in opening games. Drysdale’s historic blast doesn’t prevent the Dodgers from losing their game, 6-1, to the Chicago Cubs. (2)
- 1962 - The New York Mets play their first game and lose, 11-4, to the Cardinals in St. Louis. Gil Hodges and Charlie Neal provide bright spots for the Mets, hitting the first two home runs in the new franchise’s history. (2)
- 1966 - Emmett Ashford becomes the first black umpire in major league history. Ashford, who had started his professional career 15 years earlier in the low minor leagues, makes his big league debut on Opening Day at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC, in Cleveland’s 5-2 win against the Senators. (2)
- 1969 - The Seattle Pilots win in their major league season debut at Sicks Stadium behind a Gary Bell 7-0 shutout of the Chicago White Sox. (1,2)
- 2006 - Derrek Lee signs a five-year, $65 million deal with the Chicago Cubs. The new contract calls for a $13 million annual salary until 2010 and contains a no-trade clause. Lee hit .335 with 46 home runs and 107 runs batted in last year while winning a Gold Glove at first base. (2)
- 2016 - The Cubs continue their hot start with a 5-3 win over the Reds in their home opener at a revamped Wrigley Field, improving to 6-1 on the year. However, things don’t look so great for a while as Brandon Finnegan has a no-hitter going until David Ross hits a two-out single in the seventh. Finnegan is taken out of the game and the Cubs feast on the Reds’ bullpen, scoring twice before the inning is over. A three-run homer by Addison Russell off Jumbo Diaz in the eighth seals the win. (2)
Today in world history:
- 1471 - Wars of the Roses: King Edward IV of England seizes London from Henry VI.
- 1783 - Hostilities formally cease in the American Revolutionary War.
- 1814 - Napoleon Bonaparte abdicates unconditionally and he is exiled to the island of Elba in the Mediterranean.
- 1868 - The Shogunate is abolished in Japan.
- 1900 - The first modern submarine designed and built by John Philip Holland is purchased by the U.S. Navy.
- 1924 - WLS-AM in Chicago IL begins radio transmissions.
- 2013 - Fossilized dinosaur eggs with embryos are discovered in China.
- (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.
And thanks to JohnW53 and our other reader for additional wisdom.
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!