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Baseball history unpacked, March 15

A thrice-weekly digest, replete with #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB factoids, gathered from reputable sources. Jon Jay’s natal anniversary, and other stories.

Divisional Round - Washington Nationals v Chicago Cubs - Game Three
Happy birthday, Jon Jay!
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/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:

  • 1885 - A lower court in New York, NY decides that playing baseball on Sunday is a crime. This decision will be overturned, but it will be appealed. (2)
  • 1912 - Legendary pitcher Cy Young retires from baseball with 511-315 win-loss record.
  • 1925 - Chicago Cubs shortstop Rabbit Maranville breaks his leg sliding into third base in an exhibition game in Los Angeles, CA. At 33, the injury threatens to end his career, but Maranville will be back in the lineup by May 24th. (2)
  • 1971 - Bernice Gera, a 39-year-old New York, NY housewife, files a lawsuit against organized baseball, claiming violation of her civil rights. Mrs. Gera had completed an umpire school and signed a contract to work in the New York-Penn League, only to see the deal be voided six days later with no explanation. Gera will eventually umpire one game before quitting. (2)
  • 2010 - The Major League Baseball Players Association circulates an expanded list of “dangerous contaminated supplements,” which now contains 104 products. These nutritional supplements are legal but potentially contaminated, and could cause false positives under Major League Baseball’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. (2)
  • 2011 - Commissioner Bud Selig forms a twelve-person committee to study the origins of baseball, with newly-appointed official historian John Thorn as its chair. The issue has been rekindled with the publication this week of Thorn’s book, Baseball in the Garden of Eden, which casts doubt on the role of Alexander Cartwright in laying down the fundamental principles of the game. Ironically, Cartwright was promoted as the “real” founder of the game to counteract the unfounded legend that Abner Doubleday had laid down the first baseball diamond in Cooperstown, NY in 1839. Thorn argues that the game is in fact much older than once thought, with traces found in 18th century records. (2)

Cubs birthdays: Roscoe Coughlin, James Casey, Dick Scott, Bob Locker, Bobby Bonds**, Freddie Bynum, Jon Jay, Trayce Thompson. Also notable: Harold Baines HOF**

Today in history:

  • 44 BC - Julius Caesar is stabbed to death by Brutus, Cassius and several other Roman senators on the Ides of March in Rome.
  • 1493 - Christopher Columbus returns to Spain after his first voyage to the New World.
  • 1820 - Maine admitted as 23rd state of the Union.
  • 1971 - Chatrooms make their debut on ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet.

Common sources:


**Bonds has by far the better statistical case, but Baines got in.

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.