During the Cubs 1917 season something happened that had never happened, and hasn't happened since. On May 2, at Chicago's Weeghman Park (the name had not yet been changed to Wrigley Field), there was a double no-hitter.
On the mound for the Cubs that day was James "Hippo" Vaughn. Vaughn, nicknamed "Hippo" for his size, is generally considered one of the overlooked heroes of baseball. He won 20 games for the Cubs five times, including 1917 when he won 23 games. On May 2 he was on the mound pitching against the Reds Fred Toney. It sounds improbable, even impossible, but both Toney and Vaughn threw no hitters through nine innings. Vaughn struck out 10, Toney 3. Both men walked two and a Red reached base on an error, but neither pitcher gave up a hit through nine.
With one out in the tenth inning Vaughn gave up his first hit to Reds SS Larry Kopf. Kopf reached third on a error by centerfielder Cy Williams and eventually scored on a hit by Jim Thorpe. With the Cubs trailing 1 - 0 Toney took the mound in the bottom of the tenth. He retired the side and finished the game with a ten inning no hitter.
Can you imagine a double, nine inning no hitter happening today?
James "Hippo" Vaughn
1917 was also an interesting year for baseball because it was in April of that year that the United States officially entered WWI. In recognition of the country's participation in the "Great War," five major league clubs wore American Flag patches on their left sleeve. Along with the Cubs, the other four teams to wear the patch were the White Sox, Brooklyn Dodgers, Detroit Tigers and Washington Senators.
Here's our re-creation of the 1917 Cubs jersey, the only year that this style was worn.
Let's start off Cubs week at the beginning. In 1876 the White Stockings (later to be named the Cubs) were part of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players. The club's President, William Hulbert, felt that the NAPBP had too many teams and no real structure. He spearheaded the effort for the most successul and wealthiest teams to break out on their own. The other owners agreed so the teams in Cincinnati, St. Louis, Louisville, Hartford, New York, Boston and Philadelphia broke out on their own to form the National League.
The White Stockings started the first NL season with a win over Louisville. On the mound on that April afternoon was Al Spalding, the best pitcher in the game at the time. In the first ever National League White Stockings game, Al threw the first ever shut out, 4 - 0. Years later Spalding would go on to start a sporting goods company that you may have heard of.
While Spalding was the ace pitcher, the true star of the team was Cap Anson. Anson played for the White Stockings from their inception through 1897. He was the biggest name in baseball, probably the first true "star" of the game. His name was on candy, bats and other merchandise, and he attracted a crowd everywhere he went. He was known primarily for his bat, finishing his career with a .329 average. His birth name was Constantine but was nicknamed Cap because he always seemed to end up as the captain of every team he palyed for. He spent his entire career as a White Stocking and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
The White Stockings went on the finish the 1876 season with a 52 - 14 record and the first ever National League pennant. Spalding alone was 47 - 13, winning all but five of Chicago's games.
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Get ready for opening day with the Mitchell & Ness MLB Hot Corner Hoody!
“People ask me what I do in the winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
Pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training today and following closely behind are the positon players, who are required to report in two weeks. We thought we'd kick off the beginning of spring training with the release of the Mitchell & Ness No Hitter Tee! Check out some of your favorite teams below:
February 17, 2010 | E-mail | Comments
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