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.
Today in baseball history:
- 1871 - The first franchise in the yet-to-be formed National Association of Professional Baseball Players is born. The Boston Red Stockings, the league’s charter franchise, will be managed by Harry Wright, who founded and managed the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional baseball team. Two months later, the National Association will officially open for business, as the ancestors of the future National League’s Braves franchise are born. (1,2)
- 1930 - Commissioner Landis bans boxing for all players following the brief boxing career of Chicago White Sox first baseman Art Shires. His challenge to slugger Hack Wilson purportedly prompts the ban. Shires fought several suspected bouts that resulted in his being suspended by the boxing commissions of 32 states but loses a desultory five-rounder to Chicago Bears center George “The Brute” Trafton. Shires did win a punch-out with Sox manager Lena Blackburne and two hotel detectives late last season. (2)
- 1947 - Negro Leagues legend Josh Gibson dies from a brain tumor at the age of 35. Considered by many to be the greatest home run hitter in the history of the Negro Leagues, Gibson will eventually gain election to the Hall of Fame in 1972, when he is selected by the Special Committee on the Negro Leagues. (2)
- 1970 - Shortstop Lou Boudreau achieves election to the Hall of Fame, receiving 232 of a possible 300 votes from the BBWAA. Boudreau led the American League eight times in fielding percentage, won a batting title, and was named AL Most Valuable Player as player-manager of the 1948 World Champion Cleveland Indians. (2)
- 1997 - Former All-Star outfielder Curt Flood, who challenged baseball’s reserve system all the way to the Supreme Court and made possible today’s mega-salaries, dies at age 59. (2)
- 2000 - The 30 major league owners vote to give all their Internet rights to the Commissioner’s office. This decision allows for the creation of mlb.com, which will become a model of success for other professional sports leagues. Bud Selig will parcel out monies earned from the venture in equal amounts, creating an important new source of revenue for all teams. (2)
Cubs birthdays: Earl Smith, Gale Wade, John Baker, Geovany Soto*.
Today in history:
- 1502 - The present-day location of Rio de Janeiro is first explored.
- 1785 - Samuel Ellis advertises to sell Oyster Island (Ellis Island), no takers.
- 1929 - First feature talking motion picture taken outdoors, “In Old Arizona.”
- 1986 - First US federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. or MLK Day.
- (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.
Some of these items spread from site to site without being verified. That is exactly why we ask for reputable sources if you have differences with a posted factoid, so that we can address that to the originators and provide clarity if not ‘truth’. Nothing is posted here without at least one instance of corroboration. Thanks for reading.