February 12 in Baseball History

February 12, 1878

“After designing the device last season to protect his team’s promising, but skittish, catcher James Tyng, Fredrick Thayer receives a patent for his innovative invention, the catcher’s mask. The Harvard captain, who will never play in a major league game, designed an oblong wire frame modeled after a fencing mask with eyes holes that supports a series of strategically-placed pads made from animal skins.”

But did it have a custom vinyl 3D-wrap tho?

 

February 11 in Baseball History

February 11, 1997

“General Mills, the makers of Wheaties, unveils three new Jackie Robinson cereal boxes to be sold in stores nationwide. The Dodgers’ Hall of Fame infielder will be the first athlete to be honored on all three varieties of Wheaties: Original Wheaties, Honey Frosted Wheaties, and Crispy Wheaties ‘n’ Raisins.”

The first of what I’m sure will be many appearances for Jackie Robinson in this corner of the blogosphere…

February 9 in Baseball History

February 9, 1971

“Satchel Paige becomes the first Negro League star to be selected to the Hall of Fame. The right-hander, the oldest player in the majors to make his big league debut, became a legend during his professional career, which lasted from the 1920s until 1965, playing in several different Negro Leagues and with the Indians, Browns, and A’s.”

Kind of speaks for itself I think.  I’m going out on a limb I think when I say we won’t be seeing another 45-year playing career anytime soon.

February 7 in Baseball History

February 7, 2009

“The Sports Illustrated website reports Alex Rodriguez is one of the 104 players who tested positive for steroids in 2003. The testing, which was intended only to determine the extent of steroid use by players at the time, revealed the Ranger shortstop was using Primobolan, an anabolic substance.”

A-Rod?!?  At this point there’s probably not too many players I’d be surprised about getting popped for PED use, but this was a shock for me.  I always think about how football basically looks at this sort of thing as a normal course of business, while baseball takes it seriously for the (always subjective) “integrity of the game.”

February 6 in Baseball History

February 6, 1921

“The New York American League franchise announces the purchase of a ten-acre plot of land for $675,000, from the estate of William Waldorf Astor, to be used as the future site of Yankee Stadium. The club’s new ballpark, located on the west side of the Bronx, will sit directly across the Harlem River from the Polo Grounds, the team’s current home for the past ten years as tenants to the Giants.”

Pretty big day in the life of the Bronx Bombers!

February 5 in Baseball History

No, not THAT Hammer…

February 5, 1934

“A day before Babe Ruth’s 39th birthday, future all-time home run leader Hammerin’ Hank Aaron is born in Mobile, Alabama. The slugger, who will finish his career hitting 755 home runs playing for the Braves and Brewers, will surpass the ‘Bambino’s’ all-time record of 714 home runs in 1974, after receiving much hate mail from people who did not want to see a black man break baseball’s hallowed mark.”

Happy Birthday, Hank!

February 3 in Baseball History

February 3, 1961

“Charlie Finley douses an old school bus bearing the sign ‘the Kansas City-to-New York shuttle’ with gasoline and sets it on fire in the left field parking lot of Municipal Stadium. As the vehicle becomes engulfed in flames, the new owner of the A’s tells reporters the stunt symbolizes the end of the team sending talented young players to the Yankees in exchange for major leaguers well past their prime, a practice deeply resented by the Kansas City fans.”

 

Another bananas story that would be much bigger today.  Maybe a Braves owner could set fire to an old airplane symbolizing the end of the home team shipping off every breathing ball player.

February 2 in Baseball History

February 2, 1876

“The National League is officially formed with franchises located in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Hartford, Louisville, New York, Philadelphia and St. Louis. The Hartford Dark Blues will play its second season in Brooklyn, being renamed the Hartfords, before the charter team is disbanded in 1877.”

Hrrmmmm.  Only the anniversary of the start of professional sports as they exist today. No biggie.

Can’t wait for some travel team to model a full-dye sublimated uniform set on the 1876 Hartford Dark Blues….

February 1 in Baseball History

February 1, 1976

“Mike Marshall is arrested by the East Lansing police for taking batting practice on the campus of Michigan State University. MSU officials had asked the Dodger reliever not to hit baseballs near the tennis courts, fearing for the students’ safety.”

Wait, WHAT!

That would break twitter, espn, and facebook all at once these days!  Bonkers!

Glad I never had to worry about that when I was younger….

January 31 in Baseball History

This will be a fun new daily series. Travel baseball is, for most of us, heavily focused on the present and future, understandably so.  That being the case, I don’t think it hurts to look to the past for context, anecdotes, or just something interesting.

Kicking this off with today, January 31:

“1961 – Houston voters approve financing for a domed stadium, removing the last hurdle to gaining a major league franchise for the Texas city. The Astrodome, the eighth wonder of the world, will be the result of today’s approval and will serve as the Astros’ home from 1965-1999.”

Love this one!  How many of the indoor facilities that are so much a part of travel baseball are part of the family tree of the Astrodome?  Climate-controlled baseball! Yeah!