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Baseball history unpacked, May 11

A thrice-weekly digest, replete with #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB factoids gathered from allegedly reputable sources. This one threw a no-hitter as a Cub. Happy birthday, Milt!

Milt Pappas
Photo by Michael L Abramson/Getty Images

You know what day it is, Mike.

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 and change 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:

  • 1897 - In National League action, Washington Senators catcher Duke Farrell picks up eight assists in a game against the Baltimore Orioles. For many years, record books will credit him with eight runners caught stealing, but that is incorrect. Only five of the assists were on stolen base attempts; one came on a pick-off and the last two on other fielding plays. In spite of Farrell’s efforts, the Senators lose anyway, 6-3. (1,2)
  • 1919 - Hod Eller of the Cincinnati Reds pitches a no-hitter to beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 6 - 0. Eller strikes out eight and walks three. (2)
  • 1924 - Moses Fleetwood Walker, credited as the first black to play professional baseball at the major league level, dies in Cleveland, Ohio, at the age of 67. Walker made his historic debut in 1884, when he played in 42 games for the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association. (2)
  • 1948 - During a rain delay of a Richmond Roses-Marion Cubs game, Marion catcher Bob Osgood has a heart attack in the dugout. He dies at age 19. Osgood had a history of heart problems. (2)
  • 1955 - Ernie Banks hits a grand slam — the first of five on the year — to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 10-8 victory that snaps the Brooklyn Dodgers’ 11-game winning streak. (2)
  • 1963 - Sandy Koufax returns to the rotation from a circulatory ailment in his left index finger and throws a no-hitter against the visiting first place Giants. The Man With The Golden Arm walked two, fanned four, and improved his record to 4-1. (1,2)
  • 1996 - Al Leiter pitches the first no-hitter in Marlins history. After two walks and a hit batsman in the first three innings, Leiter retires the last 20 batters in a 6-0 gem. (1,2)
  • 1998 - Kerry Wood of the Chicago Cubs sets the major league record for strikeouts in consecutive games (33) by fanning 13 Arizona Diamondbacks in a 4-2 victory. The record for strikeouts in two starts had been 32, set by Luis Tiant in 1968 and matched by Nolan Ryan (1974), Dwight Gooden (1984) and Randy Johnson (1997). (2)
  • 2004 - In Massachusetts, Pittsfield city officials and historians release a bylaw dating back to 1791 which they believe is the earliest written reference to baseball. The 213-year-old document, used to protect the windows in the town’s new meeting house by prohibiting anyone from playing baseball within 80 yards of the building, was uncovered by baseball historian John Thorn while doing research on the origins of baseball. (2)
  • 2016 - Max Scherzer ties the major league record by striking out 20 batters in a nine-inning game against his former team as the Nationals defeat the Tigers, 3-2. He now shares the mark with Roger Clemens, Kerry Wood and Randy Johnson. Scherzer does not issue a single walk in the game. (2)
  • 2020 - Major League Baseball owners agree on a tentative plan to resume the season that has been put on hold since spring training was shut down in early March by the coronavirus pandemic. Training would resume in June and an 82-game season would start on July 1-4, with games played in home ballparks, but without spectators. Teams would play games only against divisional opponents, or teams from the corresponding division in the other league, and the postseason would be expanded to 14 teams from the current 10. Rosters would be expanded to 30 players, with an additional 22-man taxi squad available as replacements in the absence of minor league games. Owners insist that the Players Association will need to accept that salaries will be based on total revenues for the plan to go ahead, something that is unlikely to be acceptable, however. This exact plan will be rejected, but the two sides will agree on a 60-game season starting in late July along the same parameters. (2)

Cubs birthdays: Jim Connor, Dewey Adkins, Gene Hermanski, Mel Wright, Milt Pappas, Jerry Martin, Trent Hubbard. Also notable: Charlie Gehringer HOF.

Today in world history:

  • 330 - Constantinople (Byzantium) becomes the capital of the Roman Empire.
  • 868 - ”The Diamond Sutra”, the world’s oldest surviving and dated printed book is printed in Chinese and made into a scroll.
  • 1678 - French admiral Jean d’Estrees’ naval fleet runs aground on Aves-islands, Curacao, ends French control and ushers in an age of Piracy in the Caribbean.
  • 1858 - Minnesota admitted as 32nd US state.
  • 1965 - Ellis Island added to Statue of Liberty National monument.
  • 1995 - More than 170 countries agree to extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

Common sources:

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!