This Week In Cubs History – 03/04/07

Greetings from the desert….

Highlights from this week in Cubs History includes Andre Dawson signed with the Cubs in 1987, the Tinkers to Evers to Chance famous infield was completed, Hack Wilson was elected to the Hall and the Cubs played their first game in Mesa.

Now to the ‘Way Back Machine’….

March 4

  • 2004 – Commissioner Bud Selig announced Major League Baseball will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day in every ballpark on April 15th
  • 1994 – Michael Jordan had his first at bat during Spring Training
  • 1984 – Michael Billek, born
  • 1948 – Leron Lee, born (Uncle of Derrek Lee)
  • 1886 – The National League adopted the stolen base and the four-foot by seven-foot pitcher’s box
  • 1884 – Club owners agreed to provide two separate team benches to minimize fraternizing among opposing players during games

March 5

  • 1961 – Steve Ontiveros, born
  • 1945 – With wartime restrictions still in effect, the Cubs were among seven teams that conducted Spring Training in Indiana
  • 1941 – Dodgers president Larry MacPhail issued instructions that all Dodger players must live in Brooklyn
  • 1916 – The National League meeting announced that ‘some of the diamonds’ did not measure properly. The Cubs pitching distance was brought into question and John Heydler (National League President) ordered an engineer’s certification

March 6

  • 1987 – Andre Dawson (1987-1992) signed a one-year contract with the Cubs for $650,000. Dawson offered to sign a contract with the dollar amount left blank so he could play on the natural grass at Wrigley Field to save his knees. Dawson hit 49 home runs and won the National League MVP Award that season.
  • 1973 – Terry Adams, born
  • 1948 – The Braves traded Bama Rowell, Ray Sanders and a reported $60,000 to the Dodgers for Eddie Stanky (1943-1944). This trade opened a spot in the Dodgers infield for Jackie Robinson.
  • 1933 – Ted Abernathy, born
  • 1906 – In his first year as owner of the Cubs, Charles W. Murphy (Owner, 1905-1914) put the finish touch on the Cubs success during the early 20th Century. Murphy traded Hans Lobert (1905) and Jake Weimer (1903-1905) to the Reds for Harry Steinfeldt (1906-1910). Steinfeldt became the third baseman in the famous infield of Tinkers to Evers to Chance.
  • 1886 – Bill Sweeney, born

March 7

  • 1979 – Hack Wilson (1926-1931) was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Special Veterans Committee
  • 1978 – Steve Bilko, died
  • 1960 – Joe Carter, born
  • 1893 – In arguably the most significant rule change in Major League History, the National League eliminated the pitching box and added a pitcher’s rubber five feet behind the previous back line of the box and established the modern pitching distance of 60 feet six inches.

March 8

  • 1999 – Joe DiMaggio, died
  • 1971 – Neil Finnell, born
  • 1952 – The Cubs played their first game in Mesa, AZ and beat the Indians, 5-4 before a crowd of 4,000 fans at Rendezvous Park. The Cubs had spent the past 30 spring training seasons (1921-1951) on Catalina Island before relocating. Mesa community leader Dwight “Pat” Patterson was the moving force in convincing the Cubs to sign a 2-year contract to play in Mesa. In 1991, the field at HoHoKam Park would be named after him.
  • 1900 – The National League decided to go with 8 teams. Those eight cities would remain the same for 53 years until the Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953.
  • 1881 – The NL met and adopted an 84-game schedule. An enterprising newsman was able to get the various magnates to predict the winner in the coming pennant race; the Chicago club was the consensus choice with 5 votes.

March 9

  • 2005 – Current and former big leaguers, as well as baseball executives, were issued subpoenas to appear on March 17th by the House Committee on Government Reform. Sammy Sosa was among the list of players subpoenaed.
  • 1981 – Clay Rapada, born
  • 1979 – Koyie Hill, born
  • 1965 – Benito Santiago, born
  • 1963 – Terry Mulholland, born
  • 1943 – The Dodgers traded Babe Dahlgren (1941-1942) to the Phillies for Lloyd Waner and Al Glossop (1946)
  • 1922 – Rogers Hornsby (1929-1932, Manager 1930-1932) signed a three-year contract with the Cardinals for $18,500 per season. At the time Hornsby was the highest paid player in National League History.

March 10

  • 1995 – Michael Jordan retired from baseball, citing the labor unrest as the reason, and returned to the NBA.
  • 1963 – Non-roster player, Pete Rose, made his debut
  • 1934 – Jimmie Foxx (1942, 1944) ended his holdout with the A’s. The 1933 Triple Crown winner and AL MVP accepted a reported $18,000

Will the Cubs make any History this week?

Sources –,,,, the Vine Line and Day by Day in Cubs History

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax