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Baseball history unpacked, January 24

A M-W-F digest, replete with #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB content, gathered from reputable sources. Game time, pitch clock manipulation, and other stories. Happy birthday, Jose Quintana!

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:

  • 1900 - The A.J. Reach Company is granted a patent for protective headgear known as the “Reach Pneumatic Head Protector.” It won’t gain acceptance, though a few players, notably Roger Bresnahan, will occasionally wear it. (2)
  • 1913 - In a story in the New York Times, Detroit Tigers President Frank Navin blames the length of the games on the coaches’ boxes. Navin, reacting to American League President Ban Johnson’s complaint that too many games the previous season had taken two hours to play, says the boxes should be moved back so that the catcher can give the pitcher his signals more quickly. From where they are now, he said, the coaching players can detect the catcher’s signals unless he takes a lot of time to hide them. Navin said this slow signaling is the reason for the longer games. (2)
  • 1939 - Eddie Collins, Willie Keeler and George Sisler are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Sisler set a major league season-record (later broken by Ichiro Suzuki) with 257 hits in 1920 and batted .420 in 1922 on his way to a .340 career batting average. Collins batted an even .333 for his career and stole 744 bases as a member of four World Series Champions. Keeler, who “hit ‘em where they ain’t”, batted .341 and collected 2,932 hits. (1,2)
  • 1955 - In an effort to speed up the game, Major League Baseball announces a new rule which requires a pitcher to deliver the ball within 20 seconds after taking a pitching position. (2)
  • 2001 - In what is believed to be an historical first, 68 major league umpires participate in a pre-season session to practice calling strikes as defined by the rule book. With the help of minor league players wearing tapes nine inches above their belts, the men in blue get a good look at pitches, normally called balls, which now will considered a strike as the correct interpretation of the zone will be enforced this upcoming season. (2)
  • 2006 - The Chicago Cubs and starting pitcher Wade Miller agree to a one-year contract that will pay $1 million in salary and up to another $1 million in bonuses based on the number of starts he makes. (2)

Cubs Birthdays: Bunk Congalton, Cliff Heathcote, John Briggs, Ron Dunn, Tim Stoddard, José Quintana*.

Today in History:

  • 41 - Claudius succeeds his nephew Caligula as Roman Emperor after the latter’s assassination by officers of the Praetorian Guard.
  • 1616 - Dutch mariners Jacob Le Maire and Willem Schouten are the first Europeans to discover Le Maire Strait, Tierra del Fuego - go on to round Cape Horn.
  • 1722 - Tsar Peter the Great begins civil system.
  • 1848 - James Marshall finds gold in Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California.
  • 1899 - Rubber heel for boots or shoes patented by American Humphrey O’Sullivan.
  • 1935 - First canned beer, “Krueger’s Cream Ale,” is sold by American company Krueger Brewing Co.

Common sources:

*pictured.

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. We are trying to set the record as straight as possible. But it isn’t brain surgery.

Also, the ‘history’ segment is highly edited for space and interest. Of course a great many other things happened on those days. We try to follow up on the interesting or unfamiliar ones.

And everything is subject to editorial oui.

Thanks for reading.