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Baseball history unpacked, May 29

A thrice-weekly digest, replete with #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB content, gathered from reputable sources. Happy birthday, James Russell! Baseball is a sport, not a business, and other fables.

Chicago Cubs v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/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:

  • 1880 - With George Wright in its lineup‚ Boston upsets Chicago, 11-10. Wright scores 2 runs and fields flawlessly‚ but will play no more games because of protests from Providence‚ which still has him “reserved.” The loss snaps Chicago’s win streak of 13‚ which they will top in a little more than a month (June 2-July 8). (2)
  • 1884 - Taking advantage of a ground rule change which scores balls hit over Chicago’s inviting 180-foot LF fence as home runs (instead of doubles)‚ five players hit round-trippers in the White Stockings’ National League home opener against Detroit‚ winning 15-5. Chicago will hit 142 homers — last year they hit 13 — during the 112-game season (more than 90 percent of them at home) to set a record that will last until the 1927 New York Yankees. The rule change appears to be unilaterally made by Cap Anson‚ and the other league owners will squawk to no avail. But the league will set a minimum distance of 210 feet for an outfield fence after the season. (2)
  • 1920 - The first-place Cubs make it six straight wins‚ beating the Cards, 8-5‚ in a game in which base stealing determines the outcome. For Chicago‚ a double steal by Charlie Hollocher and Dode Paskert helps‚ while the Cards drive Claude Hendrix from the mound in the eighth inning‚ then end the rally when Doc Lavan swipes third base‚ already occupied by teammate Jack Fournier. (2)
  • 1922 - The United States Supreme Court finds that baseball is primarily a sport and not a business in its ruling on the Federal Baseball Club v. National League case. In using this argument, the court rules that baseball is not subject to antitrust laws nor to standard interstate commerce regulations. (2)
  • 1930 - The Cubs’ scheduled game with the Reds is postponed due to the sudden death of Chicago pitcher Hal Carlson. (2) It’s quite a story. (3)
  • 1939 - The Cubs get Claude Passeau from the Phillies for Kirby HigbeJoe MartyRay Harrell and $50‚000. (2)
  • 1962 - Ernie Banks makes a spectacular return from his May 25th beaning with 3 homers and a double against the Braves at Wrigley Field. Three teammates hit home runs‚ but the Cubs lose to the Braves‚ 11-9. Amado Samuel hits his first major league homer and Joe Torre and Joe Adcock also connect. The Cubs outhit the Braves‚ 15-8‚ but an Andre Rodgers error in the third opens the way for six unearned runs. (2)
  • 1966 - Ron Santo’s 10th-inning homer gives the Cubs a 3-2 win over Atlanta. The day before‚ he beat the Braves with a three-run‚ 12th-inning homer in an 8-5 win. (2)
  • 1972 - Morris (Moe) Berg dies in Belleville, New Jersey, at the age of 70. In addition to playing 15 years in the major leagues, the multitalented Berg also gained distinction as an attorney, linguist, mathematician, and most curiously, as an American secret agent during World War II. (2)
  • 1993 - Jose Canseco, who three days earlier had a ball bounce off his head for a home run, pitches an inning in a blowout in Boston. The result? Besides the Rangers’ 15-1 loss, Canseco winds up having to undergo season-ending elbow surgery from his ill-advised outing. (1)
  • 2005 - Tuffy Rhodes is ejected from a Nippon Pro Baseball game for the ninth time in his career, breaking the record held by Masaichi Kaneda. (2)
  • 2012 - The Cubs beat the Padres, 5-3, with James Russell getting the save. He joins father Jeff Russell as the fourth father-son duo to both save a game in the majors. (2)

Cubs birthdays: Marty Honan, Jerry Hairston, Conner Menez.

Today in history:

  • 1453 - Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire falls to the Turks under Mehmed II; ends the Byzantine Empire.
  • 1787 - ”Virginia Plan” by James Madison and Edmund Randolph proposed to the Constitutional Convention advocating for a national government with three branches - legislative, executive, and judicial.
  • 1849 - Lincoln says “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

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