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Baseball history unpacked, August 16

A M-W-F digest, replete with #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB content, gathered from reputable sources, a little bit cheesy but nicely displayed. Happy birthday, to Yu Darvish, among others, farewell to Ray Chapman, Babe Ruth, and Bobby Thomson, and more.

Happy birthday! We still miss Yu.
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/MLB Photos via 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:

  • 1870 - Young pitcher Fred Goldsmith demonstrates at a public exhibition at the Capitoline Grounds in Brooklyn, NY that the curve ball is a real pitch and not simply an optical illusion, as he manages to make a ball bend around three parallel stakes placed in the ground. Henry Chadwick is among those in attendance and reports on the event in the next day’s paper. Goldsmith’s claim to have invented the pitch will be disputed by Candy Cummings, however. (2)
  • 1912 - In Chicago, the Giants score twice in the opening frame off Jimmy Lavender to knock out the would-be Giant-killer and go on to win, 7-4. Fred Merkle and Larry Doyle pull off a double steal in the inning, with Doyle on the front end. Jeff Tesreau puzzles the locals and the Cubs drop six games behind the Giants. (2)
  • 1920 - Cleveland SS Ray Chapman, 29, is beaned by a Carl Mays pitch. A righthanded batter who crowds the plate, Chapman freezes and fails to get out of the way of the submarine delivery. He is carried from the field and dies the next day from a fractured skull. Mays, a surly, unpopular pitcher, is the target of fans’ and players’ outrage. Chapman, a Cleveland favorite since breaking in in 1912, had been married the previous year. In October his wife will receive a full World Series share, $3,986.34. The incident has no effect on Mays’ pitching. One week later he will blank Detroit, 10-0, and go on to win 26 and lose 11. Joe Sewell will be called up to take Chapman’s place, and for 14 years he will be the hardest man to strike out in the Major Leagues. (1,2)
  • 1921 - The Braves’ Walton Cruise connects off the Cubs’ Pete Alexander for the second home run hit out of mammoth Braves Field. The first home run, also to right field, was hit by Cruise in 1917. There will be 38 home runs in Braves Field this year: 34 inside the park, three bounce home runs, and Cruise’s missile. Braves pitcher Dana Fillingim is the beneficiary of the offense as he beats Alexander, 8-6. (2)
  • 1930 - At Wrigley Field, the league-leading Cubs nip the Phillies, 10-9, in the first game of a doubleheader, then play to a 3-3 tie in 11 innings before darkness intervenes. In the first game, the Phils score eight runs in the seventh to take a 9-8 lead, but Gabby Hartnett’s drive wins the game for Chicago. Hack Wilson hits his 41st homer in the opener. The Phils manage just two hits in the nitecap, but take a 3-0 lead into the ninth. Chicago comes back when Riggs Stephenson scores on a balk, then Woody English cracks a two-run homer to tie. (2)
  • 1948 - Babe Ruth dies of throat cancer at age 53 in New York. He will lie in state at Yankee Stadium and be viewed by more than 100,000 mourners. (2)
  • 1992 - Greg Maddux allows four hits as the Cubs beat Houston, 1-0. Maddux goes the route, winning his 15th, beating Brian Williams. (2)
  • 1996 - The Padres and Mets play the first regular season major league game ever played in Mexico, and it isn’t pretty. The Padres take a big lead in support of Mexican native and starting pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, but the Mets close the gap with seven runs in the ninth inning in a 15-10 Padres triumph. San Diego OF Steve Finley homers. By doing so, he becomes the first major league player to have homered in three different countries. The series is moved from San Diego because of a perceived conflict with the Republican National Convention. The Padres take two of three games in “La Primera Serie” in Monterrey, Mexico. (2)
  • 2010 - Bobby Thomson, who hit what is arguably the most famous home run in baseball history - the Shot Heard ‘Round the World - dies at home in Savannah, GA. The memorable walk-off homer off Brooklyn’s Ralph Branca on October 3, 1951, sent the New York Giants to the 1951 World Series. Thomson was a star outfielder mostly with the Giants and Milwaukee Braves during the 1950s. (2)

Cubs birthdays: Terry Shumpert. Bret Barberie, Damian Jackson, Yu Darvish*, Martín Maldonado.

Today in history:

  • 1896 - Gold first discovered in Klondike, found at Bonanza Creek in the Yukon, Canada by George Carmack.

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.