1929 January

1st  OF Jim Bell of Cienfuegos becomes the first to connect for 3 HRs in one game during professional league play in Cuba. Bell’s feat occurs at Alda Park in a 15–11 victory over Club Havana.

3rd  A newspaper in Texas reports that a “Negro Fan Dies From Blow” resulting from being hit by a ball thrown by Art Shires, when with Waco, threw a ball into the stands. The article goes on to state that “Physicians reported that Lawson’s death was due to a spinal condition induced by the blow from the ball on the head.” Later Lawson files suit against both Shires and the Waco Baseball Association. The suit has not yet been tried. (unsourced clipping, Hall of Fame, Shires file).

15th  Meeting in Philadelphia, the Eastern Baseball club owners form the American Negro League. The league will comprise of Hillsdale, the Lincoln Giants, Baltimore Black Sox, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, Cuban Stars, and the Homestead Grays. Ed Bolton of Hilldale is elected president. It will disband in February 1930 for various reasons, one being the loss of the lease on Hilldale Park.

22nd  The Yankees announce they will put numbers on the backs of their uniforms, becoming the first baseball team to start continuous use of the numbers. The first numbers are based on positions in the batting order; thus, Ruth will wear number 3 and Gehrig 4. In a few weeks, the Indians announce that they, too, will put numbers on the uniforms and by 1931 all AL teams will use them; it will be 1933 before all NL players are numbered.