You know what day it is.
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:
- 1869 - The Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first all-professional baseball team, start their first regular season with a 45-9 victory over the Great Westerns of Cincinnati. (2)
- 1871 - A National Association contest between the Cleveland Forest Citys and Fort Wayne Kekiongas is officially the first Major League game ever played. Fort Wayne is the winner, 2-0, behind a four-hit shutout by pitcher Bobby Mathews. Al Pratt is the losing pitcher. Cleveland’s catcher, Deacon White, is 3 for 4, including the first hit (a double) and also is the first to hit into a double play. Bill Lennon becomes the first catcher to throw a runner out trying to steal second base. In the 127 games during the 1871 season, there are a total of four shutouts. (2)
- 1943 - National League President Ford C. Frick demonstrates that the revised “balata ball” is livelier than the previous year’s ball by bouncing it on a carpet in his office. The major leagues have turned to the balata ball because of wartime restrictions on the supplies used to make standard baseballs. (1,2)
- 1976 - The Illinois Legislature declares today “Rick Monday Day” to honor his patriotic gesture on April 25th of saving an American flag from being burned by two spectators at Dodger Stadium. (2)
- 1984 - At the Metrodome, Dave Kingman of the Oakland Athletics is awarded a ground rule double when the ball he hits disappears. The Athletics slugger’s towering fly ball goes through a drainage hole in the stadium roof and never returns to the playing field. (2)
- 2010 - Ernie Harwell, one of the greatest broadcasters in baseball history, dies at the age of 92 after a year-long bout with cancer. He was the radio and television voice of the Detroit Tigers for 42 years, retiring from the booth in 2002. He received the Ford Frick Award in 1981 and was a member of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame. (2)
- 2021 - The minor leagues start their season, after having been on hiatus since September of 2019 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In the interim, the governing structure, Minor League Baseball, has been thoroughly reorganized and in effect replaced by the Professional Development League. (2)
Today in world history:
- 1471 - Battle of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, final battle between the Houses of Lancaster and York: Prince of Wales, Edward of Westminster killed and King Edward IV restored to his throne. Re-restores political stability to England until his death in 1483.
- 1776 - Rhode Island declares independence from Great Britain.
- 1878 - Thomas Edison’s Phonograph shown for 1st time at Grand Opera House.
- 1932 - Al Capone enters Atlanta Penitentiary convicted of income tax evasion.
- (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!