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Baseball history unpacked, January 1

A M-W-F digest, replete with #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB content, gathered from reputable sources. Ice Hockey in Wrigley Field and other stories.

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:

  • 1923 - Hall of Fame outfielder Willie Keeler dies in Brooklyn, NY, at the age of 50. In 19 major league seasons, Keller hit .341, amassed 2,932 hits, and won consecutive batting titles in 1897 and 1898. (2)
  • 1943 - Negro League star Josh Gibson suffers a nervous breakdown and is admitted to St. Francis hospital for rest and treatment. He will be released in time to go to Hot Springs, AR, to get in shape for the baseball season. (1,2)
  • 1961 - Briggs Stadium, home of the Detroit Tigers, is officially renamed “Tiger Stadium”. (1,2)
  • 1970 - Chub Feeney begins his 16-year presidency of the National League taking over for Warren Giles, who held the position for 18 years. (1, 2)
  • 1974 - Lee MacPhail takes over as American League president, succeeding Joe Cronin, who retires. MacPhail will serve in this role until 1984. He will join his father, Larry MacPhail, as a member of the Hall of Fame in 1998. (1,2)
  • 2009 - Major League Baseball launches MLB Network, a cable and satellite television channel based out of Secaucus, NJ. The channel debuts in nearly 50 million cable and satellite homes - the largest debut in cable television history, exceeding any other cable television launch by approximately 20 million homes. (2)
  • 2009 - The friendly confines of Wrigley Field see a different type of action as the ballpark is fitted with an outdoor hockey rink to welcome an afternoon NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings. The event is a huge success with 40,818 in attendance and a huge television audience in place to watch the Wings beat the Hawks, 6-4. Other ballparks are lining up to host future editions of what will become an annual New Year’s Day event. (2)
  • 2020 - Don Larsen, who threw the only perfect game in World Series history in Game 5 in 1956, dies at age 90. (2)

Cubs Birthdays: Hugh Nicol, Ned Garvin, Tom Downey, Hack Miller, Teddy Kearns, Ethan Allen, Randy Bobb, Roberto Rivera. Also notable: Tim Keefe HOF, Hank Greenberg HOF.

Today in History:

  • 45 BCE - The Julian calendar takes effect for the first time, by edict of Roman consul Julius Caesar.
  • 990 - Russia adopts Julian calendar.
  • 1724 - Glassblower Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit proposes system for making thermometers and the Fahrenheit temperature scale in a paper to the Royal Society of London and is elected a fellow on its basis.
  • 1804 - Haiti gains independence from France (National Day), making it the only state ever founded by former slaves and without slavery.
  • 1863 - Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln to free slaves in US confederate states.
  • 1896 - German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen announces his discovery of x-rays.
  • 1943 - Chicago Black Hawks field first trio of brothers to play together in an NHL game; Max, Doug and Reggie Bentley appear for the Hawks in a 6-5 win over the New York Rangers at Chicago Stadium.

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.