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Baseball history unpacked, March 17

A thrice-weekly digest, replete with #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB factoids, gathered from reputable sources. The KB Show and other big stories today.

Spring Training 2014
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:

  • 1871 - The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players is founded, setting the stage for the future National League in 1876. The entry fee for a National Association franchise is set at $10. (1,2)
  • 1886 - The Sporting News, the weekly that will become “The Baseball Paper of the World,” publishes its first issue. (2)
  • 1953 - Bill Veeck says that he will accept an offer of $2.475 million for his 80 percent of the St. Louis Browns stock. Baltimore Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro seeks a syndicate to buy Veeck out. The group will eventually purchase 206,250 shares at $12 per share. (1,2)
  • 1965 - Jackie Robinson is signed as a member of the ABC-TV major league baseball broadcast team, becoming the first black broadcaster to receive a network position. ABC provides the first-ever nationwide baseball coverage with weekly Saturday broadcasts on a regional basis. (2)
  • 1984 - Ferguson Jenkins announces his retirement. The 1971 National League Cy Young Award winner, Jenkins posted a record of 284-226 with 3,192 strikeouts and a 3.34 ERA in 4500 innings pitched in a 19-season major career. He will be elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1991. (2)
  • 2005 - During more than 11 hours of hearings by the Committee on Government Reform concerning major league players’ use of steroids, Mark McGwire refuses to talk about the past and does not deny taking performance enhancing drugs. Other players testifying include Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and former big leaguer Jose Canseco, whose recent book, Juiced, prompted the congressional hearing. Palmeiro will be found guilty of steroid usage later this year. (2)
  • 2015 - Agent Scott Boras lashes out at the Cubs, convinced that they want to send the hottest prospect in baseball, 3B Kris Bryant, to the minor leagues to start the season. Boras is convinced this is simply a cost-cutting move that makes no sense if the Cubs really want to win. Fans are also clamoring to see Bryant make the team, given he’s leading all players with 6 homers in spring training games so far. However, team President Theo Epstein explains that he is concerned that Bryant needs more work on his defense before he’s ready for the Show. (2)
  • 2018 - In the sort of weirdness that only happens in spring training, the Rangers play a couple of innings against the Royals with a double play combination composed of Rougned Odor at second base and Rougned Odor at shortstop. It is a first time the two brothers, who share a first name but have different middle names, have played together in a professional game.

Not to be outdone, the Blue Jays field a line-up straight out of the 1990s in their 11-3 win over the Canadian junior national team. The team features an infield of Clemens, Biggio, Bichette and Guerrero, with Dwight Smith Jr. in left field and Grudzielanek at DH. They are all sons of major leaguers, except for Grudzielanek, who is Mark’s nephew. Joining them by pitching a perfect eighth inning in 17-year-old Braden Halladay, son of the late Roy Halladay, who qualifies to play for the Canadians by virtue of having been born in Toronto, ON. (2)

Cubs birthdays: Fred Pfeffer, Bill Gannon, Charlie Root, Hy Vandenberg, Hank Sauer, Jerry Tabb, Bill Mueller, Scott Downs.

Today in history:

  • 45 BC - In his last victory, Julius Caesar defeats the Pompeian forces of Titus Labienus and Pompey the Younger in the Battle of Munda.
  • 180 Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius dies leaving his son Commodus, aged 18, as sole emperor.
  • 1521 - Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reaches the Philippines.
  • 1756 - St. Patrick’s Day is first celebrated in NYC at the Crown & Thistle Tavern.
  • 1905 - Albert Einstein finishes his scientific paper detailing his Quantum Theory of Light, one of the foundations of modern physics.

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.