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This Week in Baseball History

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by Bradley Woodrum

The 1898 Cleveland Spiders, some of whom deigned to wear their uniforms for the team photo shoot.

Join us as we dive into the exciting annals of baseball history!

  • March 25, 1898: The Cleveland Spiders begin their season with a loss to the New York Metropolitans. The driver of the team train could not find the New York team’s stadium, forcing the Spiders to forfeit to the Metropolitans, a team defunct since 1887.
  • March 27, 1991: At a charity luncheon in Pittsburgh, Barry Bonds meets Cecil Fielder for the first time, giving him the nickname “Cecil Fielder.”
  • March 24, 1902: St. Louis Brown left fielder Jesse “Crab” Burkett vows to repeat as the National League’s batting champ. Instead, he dies almost immediately, succumbing to heart disease 52 years later.
  • March 24, 1956: A 35-year-old Warren Spahn pitches an immaculate inning against the Chicago Cubs.
  • March 30, 1940: Bucky Walters, fresh off his Cy Young season, pitches in his final Spring Training game, but tears two ligaments in his left arm. Foregoing surgery, which had yet to be invented, Rogers manages only to pitch 305 innings with a disappointing 2.45 ERA.
  • March 27, 1998 As a part of an elaborate fundraising sideshow, Jose Canseco eats a live bear.
  • March 29, 2009: Outfielder Matt Joyce hits three triples in an exhibition game against the Cleveland Spiders.
  • March 29, 2005: The Mariners’ new third baseman, Adrian Beltre, plays a walk-on role in the off-broadway, one-night-only production of Rocky VI at the Seattle Theater. It receives generally good reviews.
  • March 25, 1970: Historians at New York University uncover league rosters and newspaper extracts that conclusively proved Dave Orr did not and never did exist, but rather he was a mascot-type caricature based on the “Milton” character from the movie Office Space.
  • March 28, 1998: Jose Canseco creates international buzz after he punches Alrakis, a star visible in the northern hemisphere.
  • March 30, 1991: In an interview for the Chicago Tribune, long time Indians manager Lou Boudreau is quoted as saying the “Cleveland Spiders are the league’s best kept secret.” The interview is cut short as a young Bud Selig ushers Bordreau out of the room.
  • March 26, 1998: In a Spring Training game, the Toronto Blue Jays hit back-to-back-to-back home runs, all hit be Jose Canseco after he refuses to yield the batter’s box to the on-deck hitters.
  • March 25, 1980: After going unsigned in 1979, Neal Cotts is finally born and signed by the Oakland Athletics.
  • March 26, 1898: Cleveland Spiders left fielder Jesse “Crab” Burkett writes an op-ed in the Cleveland Sentinel, proposing the New York Metropolitans don’t in fact exist anymore, and that they may never have existed.
  • March 27, 1973: A 46-year-old Vin Scully takes batting practice with Los Angeles Dodgers. After hitting two home runs, the famed announcer goes onto the live radio broadcast and — like only Vin Scully can — begins a 15-minute, expletive-filled rant about communism, the Vietnam conflict, and the Internet.
  • March 24, 2017: Playing in the final exhibition game of his career, Jose Canseco experiences forearm tightness and is forced to leave the game after 2.1 IP. In the postgame interview, he thanks the Cleveland Spiders for the opportunity, clears his throat, then eats all of space-time.

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