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Baseball history unpacked, 7/11

A thrice-weekly digest, replete with #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB factoids gathered from allegedly reputable sources. Today’s birthday boy has nerves of Steele.

Happy birthday, Justin Steele!
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

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 various narratives to follow as they unfold 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:

  • 1924 - Cubs 1B Lee Cotter equals a major-league record for total chances when he makes 21 putouts and one assist in a game against Brooklyn. (2)
  • 1944 - At Forbes Field, Phil Cavarretta sets an All-Star Game record by reaching base five consecutive times. The Cub first baseman’s triple, single and three walks helps the National League beat the junior circuit, 7-4. (1,2)
  • 1950 - Making a leaping, off-the-wall catch of a Ralph Kiner drive in the 1st inning, Ted Williams fractures his left elbow in the All-Star Game at Chicago. Remaining in the game, he puts the American League ahead, 3-2, with an RBI single. Kiner’s ninth-inning home run ties the game, and Red Schoendienst’s blast in the 14th wins it. Williams later states he was never the same after this injury. It’s a game of firsts - the first extra-inning All-Star Game, the first time the NL wins at an AL park, and the first All-Star Game ever shown on national television. (1,2)
  • 1960 - In the first of this year’s two All-Star Games, Pittsburgh’s Bob Friend notches his second win in the National League’s last three with three innings of one-hit, shutout ball. Friend’s performance plus home runs by Ernie Banks and Del Crandall – not to mention perennial All-Star luminary, Willie Mays, falling just a few feet shy of the cycle – pace the Senior Circuit to a 5-3 decision over its junior counterpart at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium. Albeit not affecting the game’s outcome, a somewhat splashy All-Star debut is made by Friend’s teammate, Roberto Clemente, if only on the wrong end of a circus catch. As readers nationwide will be shown and told by the Associated Press, Clemente’s sole at-bat results in a singularly loud out: “Many a batsman has ‘made his mark’ on the KC left field wall (note numerous dents), but the AL’s Jim Lemon pulled a spectacular catch to prevent Roberto Clemente’s long smash from adding another ‘scar’ in the 9th inning of Monday’s All-Star game.” (1,2)
  • 1968 - Chicago Cubs P Bill Hands strikes out for the 14th straight at bat in the Cubs’ 2-0 win in the nightcap of a doubleheader at New York. The 14 strikeouts in consecutive at-bats (as opposed to plate appearances) are a major league record. (2)
  • 1972 - Cub Billy Williams goes 8 for 8 in a doubleheader split with the Astros. The Astros win the opener, 6-5, and the Cubs take the nightcap, 9-5. Williams is 5 for 5 in the second game to raise his average to .328. He’ll go 3 for 5 and 4 for 5 in his next two games as part of a 22 for 38 tear. (2)

Cubs birthdays: George Meakim, Pop Schriver, Jimmy Slagle, Harry Wolter, Hank Griffin, Justin Steele*.

Today in world history:

  • 1405 - Chinese fleet commander Zheng He sets sail on his first major expedition, to the Spice Islands, leading 208 vessels, including 62 treasure ships with 27,800 sailors.
  • 1735 - Mathematical calculations suggest that it was on this day that Pluto moved from the ninth to the eighth most distant ‘planet’ from the Sun for the last time before 1979.
  • 1804 - Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr mortally wounds former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a pistol duel.
  • 1892 - US Patent Office says Joseph Swan rather than Thomas Edison, invented the electric light carbon for the incandescent lamp.

Common sources:


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.

Also please remember that this is supposed to be fun.

Thank you for your cooperation. And thanks for reading!