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:
- 1926 - In one of the greatest Opening Day pitchers’ duels ever, Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators defeats Eddie Rommel and the Philadelphia Athletics, 1-0, in a 15-inning battle. The game will set the record for longest opening day contest until 2012, when the Blue Jays and Indians play 16 innings on April 5th. (1,2)
- 1954 - Hank Aaron makes his major league debut in left field for the Milwaukee Braves and goes 0 for 5 in a 9-8 loss to the Cincinnati Redlegs. Jim Greengrass of Cincinnati hits four doubles in his debut to tie an Opening Day record.
- 1962 - At the Polo Grounds, just 12,447 Mets fans welcome the return of National League baseball to New York. The Pirates defeat the Mets, 4-3, behind seven solid innings of two-run pitching from Tom Sturdivant. Sherman Jones is the loser. (2)
- 1970 - The Oakland Athletics use gold-colored bases during the club’s home opener. The Rules Committee subsequently bans this innovation.
- 1972 - The first player strike in Major League Baseball history ends, with an abbreviated schedule to start two days later. (1,2)
- 1980 - The first Q battery in major league history occurs, when Dan Quisenberry (pitcher) and Jamie Quirk (catcher) of the Kansas City Royals face the Detroit Tigers. Detroit wins, 3-2. (2)
- 1993 - Lee Smith becomes the all-time saves leader in the major leagues as the Cardinals beat the Dodgers, 9-7. Smith picks up his 358th save, surpassing Jeff Reardon. (1,2)
- 2009 - 1976 American League Rookie of the Year Mark “The Bird” Fidrych dies at 54 from an accident while fixing a truck on his farm in Northborough, MA. (2)
- 2012 - The Cubs spoil the Cardinals’ home opener and P Adam Wainwright’s return to St. Louis after missing a year with Tommy John surgery, with a 9-5 win. After the Cards receive their World Series rings before the game, Ian Stewart hits a three-run homer in the first, and Bryan LaHair adds his first career grand slam in the third. Jeff Samardzija is the winner. (2)
Today in world history:
- 837 - Best view of Halley’s Comet in 2,000 years.
- 1517 - Ottoman army occupies Cairo.
- 1860 - 1st Pony Express reaches Sacramento, California.
- (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!