Tuesday, January 14, 2014

JOBC Cubs Almanac--January 14

Today's Featured Cub Fan: Ray Kroc

On this day in 1984, Ray Kroc passed away. He is one of the most famous entrepreneurs in history, the man who made McDonald's golden arches famous around the world, and he grew up in Oak Park--a die-hard Cubs fan.

When he became a multi-millionaire he tried to rescue his favorite team from Wrigley family ownership, which he felt was ruining the team. He asked his good buddy George Halas to serve as intermediary with the Wrigley Family, to convince them to sell.

At the time (this was the early 70s), Phillip K. Wrigley was a disinterested owner, barely paying attention to his team. Nevertheless, he refused to sell the Cubs to Kroc because he had made a deathbed pact with his father never to sell the team.

Frustrated by his inability to buy his favorite team, Kroc settled on buying the San Diego Padres in 1974. He spent a fortune on the team and transformed them into a winner.

When he died in January of 1984, the Padres pledged to dedicate the season to their beloved owner. If memory serves, that team did manage to make it all the way to the World Series that season.

Unfortunately, the team they discarded on the side of the road on the way to that pennant was the team of Ray Kroc's childhood: The Chicago Cubs.

Today's Featured Baseball Card: Jack Taylor

(1906 Baseball Card)

Future Cubs pitcher Jack Taylor was born on this day in 1874. He had two stints with the Cubs 1898-1903, and 1906-1907. This card came out in 1906, when he was with St. Louis. The Cubs traded him to the Cardinals for one of the greatest Cubs players of all-time, Mordecai Brown, because Cubs owner James Hart was convinced that Taylor had fixed an exhibition game against the White Sox. Although Taylor came back to the Cubs in 1906 (under a new owner), and pitched for the winningest team of all-time (the 1906 Cubs), and the 1907 champs, they never really trusted him again and wouldn't let him pitch in either World Series—just in case.

Nickname of the Day: Brakeman

Jack Taylor was known as the Brakeman by his teammates. The brakeman was the person who would walk the length of a train atop the cars while the train was in motion and turn the brake wheel on each car to apply the train's brakes. That's the role Brakeman Jack Taylor had on the Cubs pitching staff early in his career—he would put the brakes on Cubs losing streaks.

Taylor is most remembered for a record that will never be broken. From June 20, 1901 until August 9, 1906, The Brakeman threw 187 consecutive complete games, along with 15 additional relief appearances without being removed from a game—giving him 202 straight appearances without being removed. This stretch included occasions where he pitched both ends of a double header, an 18 inning game, and two 14 inning games. He was 34 when he retired just before the Cubs last World Series Championship season.

Read his full story at the Baseball Biography Project.

Other Cubs Birthdays

~Hank Gornicki 1911 (Cubs 1941)
Hank was acquired from the Cardinals. The Cubs pitched him in one game in 1941, didn't like what they saw, voided the deal, and sent him back to the Cardinals. The Pirates later gave him a longer shot in the big leagues, but his stint with that team was interrupted by his service in the war.

A/V Club

Humphrey Bogart passed away on this day in 1957. Bogie was a big baseball fan, as is obvious in this clip...