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:
- 1969 - Four expansion teams make their debuts. The Kansas City Royals, Seattle Pilots, Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres all win their inaugural games. At Shea Stadium, the Expos defeat the New York Mets, 11-10, to keep the Mets winless for openers. Pitcher Dan McGinn hits the Expos’ first home run as the key hit, a three-run home run by Coco Laboy, is given up by Canadian-born Mets reliever Ron Taylor. (2)
- 1974 - Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves blasts a historic home run at Fulton County Stadium, breaking Babe Ruth’s career all-time record. The 715th home run of Aaron’s career comes against Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Al Downing and results in a game-delaying celebration. Aaron will finish his career with a total of 755 home runs. (2)
- 1987 - Faced with a storm of public criticism, the Dodgers fire vice president Al Campanis for racially insensitive remarks he made on the April 6 telecast of ABC-TV’s Nightline news show. Campanis had said that blacks may lack some of the necessities to be a field manager or general manager.
- 1991 - Major league umpires strike on Opening Day, and amateur umpires are used as replacements. The arbiters, whose working agreement expired on December 31st, will settle and return to work the next day. Among the benefits won by the Major League Umpires Association is an increase in starting salaries from $41,000 to $60,000. (2)
- 1993 - Carlos Baerga is the first player in major league history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same inning. The second baseman clouts a two-run shot against Yankee southpaw Steve Howe in the seventh inning and finishes the frame with a home run from the left side of the plate against Steve Farr. He has two other hits in the 15-5 rout by the Cleveland nine. (1,2)
- 2010 - Randy Wells, one of the National League’s top rookie pitchers in 2009, picks up where he left off, pitching six shutout innings in leading the Cubs to their first win of the season, a 2-0 blanking of the Braves and fellow sophomore Tommy Hanson. Tyler Colvin and Marlon Byrd hit solo homers for the game’s only runs. (2)
Today in world history:
- 1766 - First fire escape patented, wicker basket on a pulley & chain.
- 1783 - Catherine II of Russia annexes the Crimea.
- 1796 - Carl Friedrich Gauss, German mathematician, proves the quadratic reciprocity law (the ability to determine the solvability of any quadratic equation in modular arithmetic).
- 1820 - The famous ancient Greek statue, Venus de Milo is discovered on the Aegean island of Milos.
- 1966 - Time publishes its “Is God Dead” issue - its first issue without an image.
- (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!