October 25, 2003

Baseball History 8

A lot of these courtesy of the Baseball Almanac.


The Chicago Cubs got their name after the rival Federal League raided the roster and signed away most of their veteran players. Newsmen coined the nickname ‘Cubs’ to describe the youngsters left on the team.

The Dodgers were originally known as the ‘Trolley Dodgers’, and have also been known as the Robins, Bridegrooms and Superbas.

The Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins both started life as the Washington Senators.

Then-owner Charlie Finley offered pitcher Vida Blue a bonus to change his first name to “True”. Vida refused.

In 1938, Cinncinati pitcher Johnny Vander Meer pitched consecutive no-hitters, beating Boston 3-0 and Brooklyn 6-0. In all, the lefty had a string of nine straight wins.

Joe McGinnity pitched complete game victories in both halves of a double header three times, all within the same month of the same season (August, 1903). He was already nicknamed ‘Iron Man’ because he worked in a foundry in the off-season. This just confirmed the moniker.

The first feature length baseball movie was released in 1915 and its title was Right Off The Bat.

In 1944, “Red” Barret of the Boston Braves threw only fifty-eight pitches during a nine inning complete game. Barrett's Braves shutout the Reds 2 - 0 and the game set major league records for least number of pitches known to have been thrown by a single pitcher in a complete game and shortest game played at night (one hour and fifteen minutes).

St. Louis owner Bill Veeck had everyone in stitches after substituting a midget to pinch-hit during the first inning in game two of a doubleheader. Eddie Gaedel, a three-foot, seven inch dwarf, emerged from a cake wearing the number 1/8 during pre-game festivities, then took the plate for center fielder Frank Saucer and walked on four balls. His strike zone had been measured at 1½ inches tall.

Abraham Lincoln played an early version of baseball, a sort of cross between Rounders and Cricket. This account appeared during his presidency:
"At about six o'clock, the President, who was prevented from appearing earlier on account of the semi-weekly Cabinet meeting, came on the ground and remained until the close of the game (Washington Nationals 28 vs Brooklyn Excelsiors 33), an apparently interested spectator of the exciting contest." - in the Washington National Republican (09-18-1866)

Posted by Ted at October 25, 2003 01:00 AM
Category: History

the NY Yankees were first known as the Baltimore Orioles, then the New York Highlanders, then the Yankees...

the current Baltimore Orioles began life as the St. Louis Browns...

Posted by: glenn at October 25, 2003 01:24 AM

I'd read something about that but couldn't get it straight. Apparently there have been at least three different 'Baltimore Orioles' teams over the years, one NL, one or more AL, and a minor league franchise that was a powerhouse of the time. I wasn't sure about the Oriole/Yankees connection. Thanks!

Posted by: Ted at October 25, 2003 09:20 AM

Interestingly, the old National League Baltimore Orioles became the American League Orioles. The team was put out of the NL in the big contraction of 1899. (They went from something like 12 or 14 teams down to 8.)
When the AL started in 1901 the ex-NL Baltimore Orioles joined with many of the same players from the '99 team. In 1903 they moveed to New York.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at October 25, 2003 10:00 PM

My husband's grandfather was a sportswriter and later became the traveling secretary for the team back in the 20's/30's - he coined the "Yankees" name while writing about them

Posted by: donna at December 11, 2003 12:22 PM
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