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:
- 1910 - Ban Johnson, American League president, declares Tigers outfielder Ty Cobb the league’s batting champion after questioning Nap Lajoie’s “suspicious” eight-hit performance in a doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns on the season’s last day. (2) (LaJoie had five bunt hits while the third baseman was playing back, on purpose)
- 1921 - In defiance of a Kenesaw Mountain Landis ban on World Series participants playing post-season exhibitions, Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel and Bill Piercy launch a barnstorming tour in Buffalo. Five days later, they cut it short in Scranton. In the meantime Ruth openly challenges Judge Landis to act. The judge does, fining the players their World Series shares ($3,362.26), and suspending them until May 20th of the following season. Judge Landis also outlaws gentleman’s agreements and cover-ups of players optioned to the minors without proper paperwork. He declares six players free agents, including Heinie Manush, who will ride a 17-year career .330 batting average into the Hall of Fame in 1964. (2)
- 1960 - In the first structural change since 1900, the National League votes to admit Houston and New York into the Senior Circuit. The two expansion teams will begin play in 1962. (1,2)
- 1969 - The New York Mets win their fourth straight game from the Baltimore Orioles with a 5-3 triumph behind pitcher Jerry Koosman, who throws a five-hitter, to take the World Series in five games. In the third inning, Baltimore takes a 3-0 advantage after home runs by pitcher Dave McNally and outfielder Frank Robinson. After a strong argument by Mets manager Gil Hodges in the bottom of the sixth inning, Cleon Jones is awarded first base when shoe polish on the ball proves he was hit by a pitch, and Jones scores on a home run by Donn Clendenon. An inning later, Al Weis ties the game, 3 3, with a solo home run, and in the 8th, Ron Swoboda’s double and two Baltimore errors give New York two more runs and the World Championship. Clendenon is named Series MVP. (1,2)
- 1974 - Pitcher Ken Holtzman, who hasn’t batted in the regular season because of the designated hitter rule, belts a third-inning home run off Andy Messersmith in Game 4 and gets the 5-2 victory. Rollie Fingers holds the Dodgers in relief and Oakland takes a 3-1 Series lead. Holtzman will remain the last pitcher in American League history to hit a home run at home until two-way player Shohei Ohtani rewrote the record book in the 2020s. (1,2)
- 2005 - The Chicago White Sox clinch the American League pennant with a 6-3 victory over the Angels at Angel Stadium. Jose Contreras becomes the fourth consecutive White Sox pitcher to throw a complete game, the first time this has happened since the 1956 New York Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers behind five straight complete games from Whitey Ford, Tom Sturdivant, Don Larsen (who pitched a perfect game), Bob Turley and Johnny Kucks. This is the White Sox’s first trip to the World Series since 1959. (2)
- 2016 - The Dodgers even the NLCS at one win apiece with a 1-0 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Adrian Gonzalez accounts for all the offense with a solo homer off Kyle Hendricks in the second inning, while Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen combine on a two-hitter. (2)
- 2019 - The Angels hire Joe Maddon, who spent 31 years in their organization before managing the Rays and Cubs, as their new manager, replacing Brad Ausmus. (2)
Today in history:
- 1384 - Jadwiga is crowned King of Poland, despite being a woman.
- 1579 Francis Drake sights land in the Philippines after crossing the Pacific Ocean aboard the ‘Golden Hind.’
- 1813 Battle of Leipzig, largest battle in Europe prior to World War I, Napoleon’s forces defeated by Prussia, Austria and Russia.
- 1943 - Chicago Mayor Ed Kelly opens city’s new subway system.
- (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 (this also includes the history bullets). Thanks for reading, and thanks also for your cooperation.