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Baseball history unpacked, February 27

A thrice-weekly digest, replete with #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB factoids, gathered from reputable sources. Rules in the news, notable passings, and other stories on this date in baseball history.

Happy birthday to ‘the professional hitter’, Matt Stairs.
Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images

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:

  • 1895 - Responding to the complaints of senior citizens like Cap Anson, the National League restricts the size of gloves for all fielders, save catchers and first basemen, to 10 ounces, with a maximum circumference of 14 inches around the palm. In other words, less than 4½ inches across. The NL also rescinds the rule forbidding “intentional discoloring” of the ball, thus allowing players to dirty the baseball to their satisfaction. (2)
  • 1901 - The National League Rules Committee decrees that all foul balls are to count as strikes, except after two strikes. To cut the cost of lost foul balls, the committee urges that batsmen who foul off good strikes are to be disciplined. The American League will not adopt this rule for several years. Other new rules: catchers must play within 10 feet of the batter; a ball will be called if the pitcher does not throw to a ready and waiting batter within 20 seconds, and players using indecent or improper language will be banished by the umpire. A ball will be called when a batter is hit by a pitch, but, in a mail vote, the owners will rescind this in April, and a HBP will earn a batter first base. (1, 2)
  • 1908 - The sacrifice fly rule is adopted. No time at bat is charged if a run scores after the catch of a fly ball. The rule will be repealed in 1931, then reinstated (or changed) several times before gaining permanent acceptance in 1954. (1,2)
  • 1931 - E.S. Barnard, recently reappointed American League president, dies at 57. He had succeeded Ban Johnson in 1927. (2)
  • 1935 - Babe Ruth signs a contract with the Boston Braves. Released by the New York Yankees only one day earlier, Ruth will serve the Braves as a player, coach, and team vice-president. (2)
  • 2011 - The “Duke of Flatbush,” Hall of Famer Duke Snider, dies in Escondido, CA at age 84. Snider was a power-hitting centerfielder for the great Brooklyn Dodgers teams of the 1950s and is immortalized in Terry Cashman’s song “Willie, Mickey and the Duke”. (2)
  • 2018 - The MLBPA files a grievance against four teams — the Marlins, Rays, Pirates and A’s — accusing them of not investing the money they are obtaining through revenue sharing in the on-field product, as is specified in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. This action is the latest salvo in a war of words between players and ownership that was started by the slow free agent market, resulting in over 100 players still being unsigned when spring training opened two weeks ago. (2)

Cubs birthdays: Bud Teachout, Leroy Herrmann, Sammy Taylor, Carl Warwick, Ron Hassey, Matt Stairs, Willie Banks, Craig Monroe, Adam Morgan. Also notable: Hilton Smith HOF.

Today in history:

Common sources:


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.