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10-23-2007, 02:41 PM
Oct 23

» Three Finger Brown comes back to face Jack Coombs, who takes a 2–1 lead into the 7th. The A's get to Brown for five runs and a 7–2 win. The crowd of 27,374 is the Series' largest. The A's .316 BA is a World Series record. For this World Series, cork-center balls were secretly used for the first time, and will be used in the ML starting next year. Previously, rubber center balls were used.

» The Chicago grand jury indictment adds the names of former featherweight boxing champ Abe Attell, Hal Chase, and Bill Burns as go-betweens in the WS Black Sox scandal. Confessions, later repudiated, are signed by Ed Cicotte, Joe Jackson, Lefty Williams, and Happy Felsch.

» Babe Ruth makes a post-season appearance in a Giants uniform, as the Giants defeat the Baltimore Orioles 9–0. Ruth hits a home run over the RF roof at the Polo Grounds. The game is a benefit for destitute former Giants owner John Day.

» In South Bend, Indiana, the Babe Ruth All Stars, including Johnny Mostil, Marty McManus and Urban Shocker, beat the local South Bend Indians 7-3 in a game called after six innings because of a late start. The all stars were delayed two hours when their vehicle broke down, as researched by historian Kevin Paczkowski. The Babe is 3-for-4 and hits a home run estimated at 600 feet. In preparation for the Babe's visit, the local team stocked up on baseballs at a cost of $1.23 each: in Montreal on October 17, the Babe hit 36 into a nearby river, according to the South Bend Tribune, and the ensuing game had to be stopped for lack of balls. Babe's squad will tie tomorrow when the Indians pitch the Giants Fred Fitzsimmons, who lives nearby. Joining Freddie is Fred Lindstrom.

» Bill Purdy, who hit .355 in his 2nd year with the Reds, scores a touchdown for the Green Bay Packers against the New York Yankees. Purdy's score comes on a 5-yard run.

» Brooklyn announces Wilbert Robinson is through as manager and the club will be called the Robins only in the past tense. Max Carey, a no-nonsense sort, will take over next year.

» P. K. Wrigley buys more shares in the Cubs and replaces William Walker as president. He gives player/manager Charlie Grimm complete control.

» Dodger President, Branch Rickey, announces that Jackie Robinson has signed to play with Brooklyn's Triple A team in Montreal. The 26-year old Negro League star will be the first black player to play in organized baseball since 1884.

» Branch Rickey contends that the farm system saved baseball during the Depression. He asks Congress for legislation that will protect it from monopoly suits.

The AP picks Giant manager Leo Durocher as Manager of the Year.

» Charlie Finley reveals that he will not release Dick Williams from his contract unless he receives adequate compensation from the team that signs him. Williams had resigned following the World Series victory two days earlier.

» The Cubs trade sweet-swinging Billy Williams, a fixture at Wrigley for 16 years, to the A's for 2B Manny Trillo and pitchers Darold Knowles and Bob Locker.

Wally Yonamine, an American of Japanese descent, becomes the only non-Japanese manager ever to win the Japan Series when his Chunichi Dragons beat the Lotte Orions.

» Billy Martin is involved in a barroom altercation with Joseph Cooper, a Minnesota marshmallow salesman. Cooper requires 15 stitches to close a gash in his lip.

» Despite an uncharacteristic poor performance (9 hits, seven walks) Fernando Valenzuela goes the distance in the Dodgers' 5–4 come-from-behind win. The deciding run scores on a double play. Starter Dave Righetti lasts just two innings, walking two and allowing five hits, but reliever George Frazier takes the loss. Ron Cey has a 3-run homer for LA. Starters Valenzuela and Righetti are the first two Rookies of the Year to oppose each other in the World Series since Willie Mays and Gil McDougald in 1951.

Joe Torre signs a 3-year contract to manage the Braves.

» In a dramatic finish, Joe Carter of the Blue Jays homers off of Mitch Williams with 2 men on base in the bottom of the 9th to give Toronto an 8-6 victory and the World Championship. Lenny Dykstra hits his 4th homer of the Series for the Phils. Paul Molitor is named the WS MVP.

Mike Piazza is the unanimous choice for National League Rookie of the Year. Selected as a favor to a friend of Tommy Lasorda's on the 62nd round of the 1988 draft, Piazza is the first rookie since Walt Dropo in 1950 to hit .300, collect 30 homers, and 100 RBIs. No NL rookie has done that since Wally Berger in 1930.

» The Cardinals hire Tony LaRussa as manager, replacing Mike Jorgenson.

The Yankees name Bob Watson GM, replacing Gene Michael.

Plans are approved for a new $320 million stadium for the Seattle Mariners.

» The Yankees even the Series by scoring twice in the 10th inning for an 8-6 win. Jim Leyritz ties the game in the 8th with a home run off Mark Wohlers as the Braves blow a 6-run lead. John Wetteland saves the game for Graeme Lloyd.

» Rookie Livan Hernandez wins for the second time as Florida holds off Cleveland for an 8-7 victory in Game 5. Down 8-4, the Indians fight back with three in the 9th but strand the tying runner on base. Moises Alou hits a 3-run homer for Florida, while Sandy Alomar matches him for the Tribe.

» David Bell drives home a run in the bottom half of the 8th inning to lead the Giants to a 4–3 victory to even the Series at two games apiece. Troy Glaus homers for Anaheim and Todd Worrell gets the win in relief for the Giants.

Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak being broken by Cal Ripken Jr. in 1995 is voted as baseball's most memorable moment by the fan participating Major league baseball and MasterCard promotion. Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, Jackie Robinson becoming the first black to play in major league baseball, Mark McGwire breaking Roger Maris' single-season home run record and Lou Gehrig's farewell speech were also in the top five events selected by the fans.

Joining Roberto Clemente and Thurman Munson, Darryl Kile will become the third player to appear on the 2003 Hall of Fame ballot before the mandatory five-year waiting period. The 33-year-old Cardinal pitcher, who died of heart disease, was found dead in his Chicago hotel room in June.

For 14th time in World Series history, a walk off home run ends Game 2 as Scott Podsednik's ninth inning blast at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field beats the Astros, 7-6. In 1960, Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski was the first player to accomplish the feat as his game-ending homer makes the Pirates World Champions.

On the verge of the first World Series game in Texas, much to the chagrin of the Astros, MLB rules Houston must play Game 3 of the Fall Classic with its Minute Maid Park roof open. During the regular season, the team had a much better record (38-17) when ballpark was enclosed than in games started in open air (15-11) .

Extending his scoreless streak to 24 1/3 postseason innings, dating back to 2003 with the Twins, Kenny Rogers blanks the Cardinals for eight innings as the Tigers beat the Cardinals 3-1 to even the World Series at a game a piece. The "Gambler's" recent play-off success comes under suspicious as TV cameras spot an unknown dark spot on the right-hander's pitching hand in the first inning which he claims to be only mud

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

10-23-2007, 06:27 PM
Great stuff!

Two things:

- Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown was from my home town.

- The Indians' luck hasn't changed.


10-23-2007, 06:35 PM
Great stuff!

Two things:

- Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown was from my home town.

The land of covered bridges?

10-24-2007, 08:48 AM
» Rookie Livan Hernandez wins for the second time as Florida holds off Cleveland for an 8-7 victory in Game 5. Down 8-4, the Indians fight back with three in the 9th but strand the tying runner on base. Moises Alou hits a 3-run homer for Florida, while Sandy Alomar matches him for the Tribe.

Also in 1997, Eric Gregg is found to have the largest strike zone known to man - giving Livan Hernandez the outside corner...of the batter's box. :wink:

10-24-2007, 10:46 AM
Great stuff!

Two things:

- Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown was from my home town.

The land of covered bridges?

Yep. Parke County (backwoods) followed by Terre Haute.

10-25-2007, 08:37 AM
Oct 25

» Before 33,228 at the Polo Grounds, the Giants put three hits together off Coombs in the last of the 9th for two runs and a 3–3 tie. The A's Eddie Plank comes on in the 10th and gives up the winning run in the 4–3 contest. Relief specialist Doc Crandall gets the win after working two scoreless innings.

» Dodger manager Leo Durocher signs his 1944 contract, which calls for a base salary of $20,000 plus $5,000 for every 100,000 fans over 600,000.

» The Houston Colts announce that the team has hired Gabe Paul as GM. Paul will clash with majority owner Roy Hofheinz and will leave the following spring for Cleveland.

» Leo Durocher becomes manager of the Cubs, replacing head coach Lou Klein (48-58).

» The Cubs trade 6-time 20-game winner Ferguson Jenkins to the Rangers for 3B Bill Madlock and utility man Vic Harris. Fergie has led the Cubs in wins in each of the past seven seasons, the only pitcher ever to do so and then be traded. Meanwhile, the Giants trade 3-time home run champion Willie McCovey, a Giant since 1959, together with a minor leaguer, to the Padres for P Mike Caldwell.

» The Padres Gaylord Perry becomes the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in each league. Perry copped the National League honors with a 21-6 record and a 2.72 ERA. his is the 13th straight season that Perry has won 15 or more games.

» Back-to-back home runs by Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager off Yankee ace Ron Guidry give the Dodgers their 3rd consecutive win 2–1.

After his club loses game five of the World Series, Yankee owner George Steinbrenner scuffles with two (he says) fans in a hotel elevator and emerges with a fat lip and a broken hand.

» White Sox pitcher LaMarr Hoyt, who led the American League with 24 wins but whose 3.66 ERA was not among the league's 15 best, wins the AL Cy Young Award, beating out the Royals Dan Quisenberry and the Tigers Jack Morris.

» The Angels announce that they will not offer 7-time batting champion Rod Carew a new contract for the 1986 season, effectively ending his 19-year career. Carew finishes with 3,053 hits and a .328 career batting average.

The Blue Jays name 3B coach Jimy Williams manager, replacing Bobby Cox, who resigned to become GM of the Braves.

» Trailing 5–3 with two out and no one on base in the bottom of the 10th inning, New York rallies to win game six of the World Series 6–5 and force a deciding 7th game. After Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell, and Ray Knight single, Bob Stanley uncorks a wild pitch that permits the tying run to score, and a hobbled Bill Buckner lets Mookie Wilson's slow bouncer skip through his legs, allowing Knight to score the winning run. Reliever Calvin Schiraldi absorbs the loss.

» Series MVP Frank Viola and reliever Jeff Reardon hold the Cardinals to six hits as the Twins capture game seven 4–2 to win their first World Championship in Minnesota. The franchise's last World Championship came in 1924 as the Washington Senators.

» The American League matches the National League by making Tim Salmon the unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year. The Angels outfielder hit .283 with 31 homers and 95 RBIs.

» Anheuser-Busch, which has owned the Cardinals for 42 years, announces plans to sell the team.

The Braves take a 3-games-to-1 lead in the Series with a 5-2 win behind Steve Avery. Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, and Ryan Klesko all homer.

» Cleveland evens the Series for the 3rd time with a 4-1 victory behind Chad Ogea. Ogea helps himself with the bat, getting a single and double in two trips to the plate, and knocking in a pair of runs.

» The Yankees defeat the Mets, 3-2, to take a commanding 3-games-to-1 lead in the Series. Derek Jeter homers off Bobby Jones on the 1st pitch of the game for the Bronx Bombers. The Yankee bullpen saves the game with four 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Mike Piazza becomes the first player to hit a World Series home run at both Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium. The backstop’s third inning homer off Denny Neagle are the only two runs the Mets will score .

Yankees OF Darryl Strawberry is arrested and jailed after leaving a treatment center following a weekend drug binge.

The first World Series game ever to be played in the state of Texas proves to be memorable as White Sox Geoff Blum’s 14th inning solo home run (3Oth MLer to hit a HR in first WS AB) becomes the beginning of the end of the longest Fall Classic contest ever played. The 7-5 victory, which gives the Chicago a commanding 3-0 advantage over the Astros, takes 5 hours, 41 minutes to complete and the 14 frames equals the number of innings the Red Sox needed to beat the Dodgers in Game 2 of the 1916 series.

Mark Buehrle becomes first pitcher to start and save consecutive World Series contests. After receiving a no-decision starting Game 2, the 26-year old southpaw gets the final out in the 14th inning of Game 3 to record a save as the White Sox beat the Astros, 7-5.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

10-26-2007, 08:47 AM
Oct 26

» The Washington Post headlines a rumored trade with Walter Johnson going to Detroit for Ty Cobb. Detroit president Frank Navin scoffs at the story, saying he would never trade Cobb, but praising Johnson "as the best pitcher in the country."

» Chief Bender cruises to his second victory, a 4-hit 13–2 breeze. The A's cap the win with a 7-run 7th, battering three tired Giant hurlers, Red Ames, Hooks Wiltse, and Rube Marquard. Overall, the Giants manage just 13 runs and a .175 BA off Chief Bender, Jack Coombs, and Eddie Plank. Because of the NL's extended playing season, this is the latest ending ever for a World Series, until the "Earthquake Series" of 1989.

» Miller Huggins, who managed the Cardinals to a 3rd-place finish, is signed to run the Yankees by owner Jake Ruppert. Co-owner Til Huston, who favored Wilbert Robinson for the job, has a falling out with partner Ruppert and will sell his half interest to Ruppert in 1923.

» Frank Chance signs to manage the White Sox replacing Kid Gleason, but he will resign February 17, 1924, because of illness. Coach Johnny Evers, named acting manager, will fill the job the entire season.

» Charles Comiskey dies at age 72. The White Sox owner and a pioneer player, he never recovered from the betrayal of the 1919 WS.

Tigers' slugging left fielder Hank Greenberg (.340, 41,150) is named the American League's Most Valuable Player with Indian hurler Bob Feller (27-11- 2.61) finishing second. Having won the award in 1935 as a first baseman, 'Hammerin' Hank' becomes the first player to win the MVP again playing a different position.

» Columnist Westbrook Pegler writes a critical piece about the off-field relationship between Dodger manager Leo Durocher, actor George Raft and well-known gamblers. This is the first of a number of articles that will lead up to the suspension of Durocher for the 1947 season.

» The San Francisco Seals (PCL), managed by Lefty O'Doul, finish a tour of the Orient that includes 5 games in Japan, one of which draws 100,000.

» The Baseball Writers of America select Yankee SS Phil Rizzuto as the AL MVP.

Branch Rickey resigns as president of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Walter O'Malley succeeds him. Rickey sells his 25 percent interest in the club for a reported $1.05 million.

After operating the team in the nation's capital ever since Clark Griffith took over as manager of the club in 1912, Calvin Griffith, president of the Washington Senators, makes decision to move his club to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

In a move designed to get a jump on the National League in the expansion race, the American League grants franchises to Washington and Los Angeles and okays the Senators move to Minnesota.

» Vida Blue wins the American League Cy Young Award by a 98-85 margin over the Tigers Mickey Lolich. Blue was 24-8 for the A's, posting 301 strikeouts, eight shutouts, and a 1.82 ERA.

Ferguson Jenkins wins the Cy Young Award in the National League.

» Commissioner Kuhn notifies Hall of Famer Willie Mays that if he accepts a position with Bally Manufacturing Corporation, owner of several gambling casinos, he must disassociate himself from ML baseball. Mays, a part-time coach and goodwill ambassador for the Mets, will relinquish his duties upon accepting Bally's job offer on October 29th.

» Steve Carlton wins the National League Cy Young Award for the 4th time, a record unmatched by any pitcher. The Phils 37-year-old lefthander, who led the NL in wins (23), innings (2952/3), strikeouts (286), and shutouts (6), was a previous winner in 1972, 1977, and 1980. He joins Walter Johnson and Willie Mays as the only players to be voted MVP or Cy Young winner 10 or more years apart.

» Aided by a blown call, a bungled pop-up, and a passed ball, Kansas City scores two runs in the bottom of the 9th to beat St. Louis 2–1 and even the World Series at three games apiece. The Cardinals are three outs away from the World Championship when Jorge Orta reaches base on a disputed infield single. The next batter, Steve Balboni, lofts a foul pop that Clark loses track of and lets fall untouched, then singles. After Darrell Porter's passed ball puts runners on 2B and 3B and Hal McRae is intentionally walked to load the bases, pinch hitter Dane Iorg singles home two runs to end the game.

» Minnesota evens the Series at three games each with a 4-3 win on Kirby Puckett's dramatic home run in the bottom half of the 11th inning.

» The Rangers hire Kevin Kennedy as manager.

» Cleveland stays alive with a 5-4 win in Game 5 of the WS. Orel Hershiser gets credit for the win, and Albert Belle, Jim Thome, Luis Polonia, and Ryan Klesko all reach the seats.

» The Indians jump out to a 2-0 lead over Florida, but the Marlins claw their way back and tie the score in the bottom of the 9th on a sacrifice fly by Craig Counsell. In the last half of the 11th, SS Edgar Renteria gets his 3rd hit of the game, driving home Counsell with the winning run, as Florida wins Game seven by a score of 3-2. The Marlins thus become the fastest team in baseball history to win a World Series title, three years quicker than the 1969 Mets. P Livan Hernandez is named Most Valuable Player of the Series.

» The Mets sign C Mike Piazza to a 7-year, $91 million contract, making him the highest–paid player in the game.

» Down 5-1 in Game three of the World Series, the Yankees bounce back to defeat the Braves, 6-5 in 10 innings. OF Chad Curtis' leadoff home run in the bottom half of the inning -- his 2nd of the game -- is the game-winner. Tino Martinez and Chuck Knoblauch also homer for NY, with Knoblauch's 2-run blast in the 8th tying the score at 5-5. Mariano Rivera picks up the win for the Yankees, hurling two scoreless inning of relief.

» The Yankees defeat the Mets, 4-2, to win their 26th World Series, 4-games-to-1. Luis Sojo's single in the top of the 9th drives home the winning run for NY. Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter homer for the Yankees, and Jeter is named the Series MVP. Derek Jeter becomes the first player to win the All-Star Game MVP and the World Series MVP honors in the same season.

Joining Hall of Famers Joe McCarthy (7) , Casey Stengel (7) , Connie Mack (5) and Walter Alston (4), Yankee manager Joe Torre becomes only the fifth skipper to win four World Series championships.

» When Russ Ortiz, tossing 5-0 shut-out strikes out Garret Anderson to begin the seventh, the Giants appeared destined to win their first World Series since 1954. Scoring six times in the 7th and 8th innings of Game 6, the Angels' rally from five runs down to stage the biggest comeback in Series history for a team facing elimination and beat the Giants, 6-5, forcing a Game 7.

Prior to Game 3 of the World Series, Edgar Martinez receives the Roberto Clemente Award, an honor is given to the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team. The Mariners designated hitter, a native of Puerto Rico like the award’s namesake, is involved Parent Project/Muscular Dystrophy, Children's Hospital, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

Curt Schilling becomes the first starting pitcher to win a World Series for three different teams. In addition to his Game 3 Red Sox victory over the Cardinals, his 8-2 lifetime post-season record includes wins for the Phillies (1993) and Diamondbacks (2002).

Willie Harris scores the game’s only run in the eighth inning as Jermaine Dye, the series MVP, singles the pinch hitter home giving the White Sox a 1-0 victory over the Astros and the team its first World Championship since 1917. For the second consecutive year, an American League team sweeps its National League opponent.

White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen becomes the first foreign-born manager to win a World Series as the ‘Wizards of Ozzie’ sweep the Astros in the Fall Classic.

Bobby Valentine becomes the first foreign manager to win the Japan Series in the 70-year history of Japanese baseball. Sweeping the Hanshin Tigers, the former Rangers and Mets skipper lead the Chiba Lotte Marines to their first league championship in 31 years.

Tadahito Iguchi becomes the first Japanese native to win a World Series ring as the White Sox swept the Houston Astros to win the Fall Classic in 88 years. Leaving the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks, the second baseman signed as a free agent with Chicago prior to the start of the championship season.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

10-29-2007, 10:55 AM
Oct 29

» Lefty Grove, the A's P who won 31 games, is named the AL's MVP. He led the league in strikeouts for the 7th straight season and topped all pitchers in winning percentage, ERA, and complete games.

Lefty Grove had a blazing fastball and a temper to match. By the time he had pitched 17 seasons, eking out a 300th win in his last appearance, both were gone. He arrived with a reputation for wrath, and led the American League in strikeouts seven consecutive years, victories four times (including 31 wins in 1931), ERA nine times (no one else ever did more than five), and winning percentage five times. Grove also led in shredded uniforms, kicked buckets, ripped-apart lockers, and alienated teammates.

Grove tested the saintly patience of Connie Mack, a placid patriarch who won his last three pennants mostly by handing Grove the ball. Eventually, Grove gained control over himself and the ball. As a rookie, he led the league in walks as well as strikeouts. Later, he learned to win with pinpoint control and guile. Connie Mack explained, "Groves was a thrower until after we sold him to Boston and he hurt his arm. Then he learned to pitch."

Mack called his star "Groves," for that's how Lefty's name appeared in box scores while pitching for Baltimore in the International League. He arrived there in the midst of a string of seven consecutive pennants, and Baltimore was not required to sell its stars to the majors. Grove was 25 before he could reach the Athletics, after Mack paid $100,600 for him, topping the flat $100,000 the Yankees had paid the Red Sox for Babe Ruth.

The nine seasons Grove pitched for Philadelphia were his best. The team won three pennants, but crowds dwindled, tiring of victory and pinched by the ongoing Depression. Grove was sold to the suddenly rich Red Sox, whose new owner, Tom Yawkey, was buying up star players. Though Grove had led the league with 24 wins in 1933, his first year with Boston, 1934, was a sore-armed struggle. He bounced back in 1935 with his final 20-victory season, but won by craftily working hitters.

Grove had largely overcome his uneasiness with strangers. He came, with a limited education, from a hard life in the bituminous hills of western Maryland. It took him time to adjust to being a national celebrity. When he had a rubber stamp made with his facsimile autograph, so as to accommodate as many fans as possible, he was branded an illiterate who couldn't write his name. If there was one thing he could write, it was his signature; it appeared on a string of lucrative contracts, first with Mack, then topped by Yawkey.

Grove went home between seasons to the hardscrabble town of Lonaconing, MD, and opened a bowling alley that became the social center of the region. He retired to become a genial townsman, his hair turning white, weight added to his 6'3" frame. He would smile when reminded of stories of his once-terrible temper. He'd shake his head when someone spoke of the game he lost while trying for an AL record-breaking 17th consecutive victory in 1931. The A's failed to get him a run, and, after the game's only hit (a bloop single), a substitute outfielder misjudged an ordinary line drive, and the winning run scored. In later years, Grove would have forgiven the player who misjudged the ball, if he could have remembered his name. He never forgot, or forgave, star fielder Al Simmons, who had taken the day off to visit a doctor. Despite missing that record, Grove left behind a bevy of honors, including a batting record: he fanned 593 times, the most ever by a pitcher. His ultimate honor came with his 1947 induction into Cooperstown.

» Happy Chandler, who had continued to serve in the U.S. Senate after becoming commissioner, resigns his political office. He will presently move the commissioner's quarters to Cincinnati.

» Arguably their best trade ever, the White Sox send C Joe Tipton, who hit .204 in his one season in Chicago, to the Athletics for young Nellie Fox.

Nellie Fox

The 5'10" 160-lb Fox was long one of the top AL second basemen. After an unimpressive 1948 rookie season, Fox was traded to the White Sox for catcher Joe Tipton. He became a vital member of the Go-Go Sox for 14 seasons, noted for his tobacco-chewing and aggressive play. He withstood injury and illness to establish a record for consecutive games at second base, playing 798 straight (August 7, 1956 through September 3, 1960).

Teaming first with Chico Carrasquel and then with Luis Aparicio, Fox gave the team strength up the middle. Hard work made him a reliable hitter (six .300-plus seasons) who rarely struck out. He led the AL in fewest strikeouts 11 times and he struck out only 216 times in 9232 career at-bats, the third-best percentage in ML history. In 1959, when the Sox won their first pennant in 40 years, he was AL MVP. The White Sox retired his uniform number, 2, and he was elected to the Hall of Fame by the veteran's committee in 1997. (RL)

» Early Wynn of the White Sox wins the Cy Young Award, getting 13 of the 16 votes.

» Tom Seaver is voted the National League Cy Young Award.

An intelligent, hard-working perfectionist and the quintessential professional, Seaver was the first true star for the Mets and led them to their miracle World Championship in 1969. In his 10 years in New York from 1967 to 1977, he won 25% of the Mets' games. The 17th 300-game winner in major league history, Seaver set a major league record by striking out 200 or more hitters in 10 seasons, nine in a row from 1968 to 1976.

Seaver came to the Mets via a strange lottery: In 1966, the Braves offered him $40,000, but the NCAA and baseball commissioner William Eckert voided the offer and made Seaver, still at USC, available to any team willing to match the Braves' offer. The Phillies, Indians, and Mets were willing and, in a drawing held in the commissioner's office, the Mets were picked out of a hat. Seaver was an immediate star, picked to the All-Star team in his first season when he won 16 games for a Met team that won just 61 games, and captured Rookie of the Year honors.

In 1969 he won his first of three Cy Young Awards with a 25-7 record and a 2.21 ERA and led the NL in wins and winning percentage. On July 9, Seaver lost a perfect game when rookie Jimmy Qualls of the Cubs singled with one out in the ninth. The game was more important, however, since the Mets won 4-0, and began to make their move on the Cubs on their way to the World Championship. In Game One of the LCS against the Braves, Seaver was pinch hit for in the eighth inning, down 5-4, and emerged the winner over Phil Niekro as the Mets rallied for five runs. Seaver had less luck in Game One of the World Series, as he surrendered a homer to the Orioles' first batter, Don Buford, and lost 4-1. He came back to win a 2-1 ten-inning thriller in Game Four, helped by Ron Swoboda's game-saving catch in the ninth inning.

Seaver picked up where he left off the next season. On April 22, 1970, he struck out 19 Padres, including a record 10 in a row to end the game, to tie the then-ML record for a nine-inning game, set by Steve Carlton. Although he didn't duplicate his 20-win season, he led the league in strikeouts (283) and ERA (2.81). Seaver himself felt that 1971 was his best season; he compiled a 20-10 record and led the league for the second year in a row in with a 1.76 ERA and 289 strikeouts.

Overshadowed by Steve Carlton in 1972, in 1973 Seaver became the first non-20-game winner to win the Cy Young Award when he led the NL in ERA (2.08) and strikeouts (251) and tied for the lead in complete games (18) while leading the Mets to another improbable pennant. In Game One of the LCS, Seaver drove in the Mets' only run and almost made it stand for the victory, walking none and striking out 13, but he gave up solo homers to Pete Rose and Johnny Bench in the eighth and ninth innings to take the loss. The Mets' chronically weak offense often let him down during his career, but never so glaringly. He did come back in Game Five to win the clincher 7-2, giving up only one earned run. He took a no-decision in the Mets' 11-inning 3-2 loss in Game Three of the World Series, striking out 12 in eight innings. He pitched another strong game in the sixth contest, surrendering two runs in seven innings, but once again lost a tough one 3-1.

A sore hip caused Seaver's worst season in 1974 with an 11-11 record and his first ERA over 3.00 (3.20). He bounced back in 1975 with his last great season for the Mets, going 22-9 and leading the league in strikeouts, wins, and winning percentage to capture another Cy Young trophy. In September, Seaver put together a seven-game winning streak, including another near no-hitter against the Cubs, broken up by Joe Wallis. By 1976, Seaver was having trouble with Met general manager M. Donald Grant over Seaver's salary and how the team was being run, and the two traded private and public taunts. On April 17, 1977, Seaver pitched his third one-hitter against the Cubs, a single in the fifth by Steve Ontiveros keeping him from the elusive no-hitter. Two months later, on June 15, the bomb dropped. Seaver was unceremoniously dealt to Cincinnati for four players, Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, and Dan Norman, a trade that ripped out the hearts of New York fans. Seaver completed his last 20-win season with the Reds, finishing with a combined 21-6 mark and leading the NL with seven shutouts. Almost exactly a year from the trade, on June 16, 1978, Seaver finally got his no-hitter, blanking the Cardinals 4-0. Seaver had four winning years with the Reds, including 1979, when he went 16-6 and led the NL in winning percentage and shutouts (5). He took another tough no-decision in the LCS when he left Game One after eight innings tied 2-2 with the Pirates' John Candelaria; Pittsburgh won in the 11th inning. In the strike-shortened 1981 season, Seaver went 14-2 and led the majors in victories but lost a controversial Cy Young vote to rookie sensation Fernando Valenzuela.

After Seaver slumped to 5-13 in 1982, the Reds completed the circle by trading The Franchise back to the Mets for three players. Although compiling only a 9-14 record (due mostly to the Mets' usual poor offense; his ERA was a better-than-average 3.55), fans were outraged when he was claimed by the White Sox after he was mysteriously left unprotected in the free agent compensation pool. He won 15 games for the White Sox in 1984, and 16 in 1985 when he set several career standards. On August 4 in Yankee Stadium, he won his 300th game, a 4-1 complete game on a six-hitter. On October 4, he moved past Walter Johnson into third place on the all-time strikeout list. After getting off to a slow start the following season, he was dealt to Boston (closer to his Greenwich, CT home), where he finished his career. An ankle injury prevented him from appearing against the Mets in the World Series, and the Red Sox released him following the season. Seaver tried to latch on with the Mets in 1987, but called it quits when he wasn't satisfied with his performance while getting into shape. After sitting out the 1988 season, Seaver was named to replace newly named National League president Bill White in the Yankee broadcast booth, and replaced Joe Garagiola for NBC Saturday telecasts with Vin Scully.

» Bill Giles, the Phillies vice president for the past 11 years, heads a group of investors which purchases the club for just over $30 million, the highest price paid to date for a ML club. Giles is the son of longtime National League president Warren C. Giles.

» Cardinals pitcher Joaquin Andujar is suspended for the first 10 games of the 1986 season as a result of his game seven tantrum during which he twice bumped home plate umpire Don Denkinger.

» Padres pitcher LaMarr Hoyt is arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border for possession of illegal drugs, the 3rd time he has been arrested on drug charges. He will be sentenced to 45 days in jail on December 16th.

Buck Showalter replaces Stump Merrill as the Yankee manager. During his four-year reign as the Bronx Bomber skipper, the 36-year old will compile a 313 -268 (.539) record capturing the AL manager of the Year award and AL East title in 1994 and first AL wild card the following year.

Commissioner Bud Selig says major league baseball is considering eliminating two teams could by the start of next season. Contraction would include the Montreal Expos and either the Minnesota Twins or the Florida Marlins.

Matt Williams becomes the first player in World Series history to hit home runs with three different teams. He homered in the Fall Classic for the Indians in 1997 and the Giants in 1989.

Bringing the total to seven this month, three new managers are named including Ned Yost (Brewers), Ken Macha (A's) and Eric Wedge (Indians). Being younger than two of his players (Ellis Burks and Omar Vizquel), the Tribe's skipper, at the age of 34, becomes youngest manager in the major leagues.

Silas Simmons, the oldest baseball player who ever lived, passes away at St. Petersburg's Westminster Suncoast retirement community in Florida. The 111-year old was a southpaw hurler in the Negro Leagues for 17 years played for the Homestead Grays, New York Lincoln Giants, and Cuban All-Stars.

Silas Joseph "Si" Simmons (October 14, 1895? - October 29, 2006) was an American semi-professional and professional baseball player for African-American teams in the pre-Negro League era, and became the longest-lived professional baseball player in history. The previous record was held by Chet Hoff, who died at age 107 in 1998.

Simmons was born in Middletown, Delaware. He was a five-foot-ten, left-handed pitcher/outfielder, and began playing for the Germantown Blue Ribbons, a semi-pro team, in 1911. In 1913, the Blue Ribbons became a professional team and were renamed the Homestead Grays, a team that quickly became a Negro League powerhouse.

As late as 1926, Simmons pitched for the New York Lincoln Giants of the Eastern Colored League and appeared in at least one game in 1929 for the New York-based Cuban Stars (East) of the Negro National League. During his career, Simmons played on the same team as Hall of Famer Pop Lloyd and against Hall of Famers Judy Johnson and Biz Mackey.

Simmons ended his baseball career soon after 1929. He and his wife Mary had five children and settled into life as a porter and eventually as an assistant manager at Rosenbaum's Department Store in Plainfield, New Jersey. In 1971, he retired to St. Petersburg, Florida, where he lived for the rest of his days. Simmons was married at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by Rev. John L. Lee September 15, 1915 to Mary L. "Mamie" Smith (July 19, 1896- ca. 1944) for 29 years until her death. Silas was then married in 1957 for 40 years to his second wife, Rebecca Jones (1901-1997), before her death August 20, 1997 at the age of 96. He outlived all 5 of his children and had 9 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

In the fall of 2005, baseball history buff and genealogist David Allen Lambert of the New England Historic Genealogical Society rediscovered Silas. Lambert alerted fellow baseball historians associated with the Negro Leagues, who proceeded to interview this link to early baseball. In May 2006, Dr. Layton Revel – founder of Texas-based Center for Negro League Baseball Research – met and interviewed Mr. Simmons. Dr. Revel organized the 111th birthday celebration for Simmons, in 2006. The celebration included around 30 former Negro League players from around Florida. A plaque was presented to Silas on his birthday on behalf of the Society for American Baseball Research by the genealogist David Allen Lambert. He was also presented a team jersey with number "111" from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Simmons celebrated his last birthday on October 14, 2006, and died 15 days later at the Westminster Suncoast Nursing Home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, and baseballibrary.com

10-30-2007, 09:48 AM
Oct 30

» Clark Griffith is named manager at Washington, beginning a stand in the Capital as manager, then owner, that will last until his death in 1955.

» The Giants pay $65,000 and 3 players to Baltimore for Jack Bentley, “another Babe Ruth.” Bentley hit .349 and was 13–1 as a pitcher in 1922 (41–5 since 1920). The 3 players are to be delivered by March 20, 1923, and if not satisfactory to Baltimore, the Giants will pay $2,500 per man instead.

In Game Five of the 1924 World Series, Bentley pitched the Giants to a 6-2 win over the Senators and hit a two-run homer off Walter Johnson. However, he lost Game Two 4-3 and dropped the finale in relief when Earl McNeely's double-play grounder hit a pebble and bounced over third baseman Fred Lindstrom's head in the 12th inning after two other fielding blunders.

Bentley was an excellent hitter; while going 13-8 in 1923, his first year with the Giants, he hit .427 in 89 at-bats, including a league-leading 10 pinch hits in 20 pinch at-bats. He had been acquired after going 41-5 in three years with the Baltimore Orioles of the International League. Also playing in the outfield and at first base, he had hit .349 for Baltimore in 1922 and was considered "the next Babe Ruth." After going 16-5 in 1924, weight problems took their toll in 1925, as he went 11-9 with a 5.04 ERA, and he was traded to the Phillies. Playing first base in Philadelphia, he hit .258 in 75 games, pitching only eight times, and returned to the Giants near the end of the season.

» Branch Rickey signs Jackie Robinson to a Montreal (IL) contract for 1946. Black P John Wright also signs.

» The Dodgers sell Ebbets Field to a real estate group. They agree to stay until 1959, with an option to stay until 1961.

» Joe Stanka of the Nankai Hawks wins the Pacific League MVP award. With a season record of 26-7, Stanka pitched his team to three straight victories over the Yomiuri Giants to win the Japan Series. In his career with the Hawks (1960-65), and later with the Taiyo Whales (1966), he will win 100 games, the record for an American pitcher.

» Arthur Allyn announces that his White Sox will play nine games in Milwaukee in 1968. Chicago will become the first American League team to play regular season games outside its own city since 1905.

» The Rockies trade long-time favorite Dante Bichette to the Reds in exchange for OF Jeffrey Hammonds, P Stan Belinda, and cash. No word on the fate of Dante's Denver restaurant.

Signing a three-year, $2 million contract, broadcaster Bob Brenly, 46, is named as manager of the Diamondbacks. The former major league catcher replaces Buck Showalter, the clubs' only manager, who was let go at the end of the season.

» Roger Clemens and Mariano Rivera hurl the Yankees to a 2-1 victory in Game Three of the World Series. Jorge Posada homers for New York while Scott Brosius' 6th-inning single drives home the winning run. Brian Anderson takes the loss for Arizona.

George W. Bush becomes the eighth president to attend a World Series game and the first since Dwight D. Eisenhower to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Wearing a New York Fire Department windbreaker in honor of the heroes of the September 11 attacks, the Commander in Chief walks to the mound by himself, gives a thumbs up, and throws a perfect strike to the Yankees' backup catcher much to the delight of the stadium faithful.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

10-31-2007, 08:44 AM
Oct 31

"...we Dodgers even disliked Halloween because its colors were orange and black." -DUKE SNIDER, Dodger outfielder joking about Brooklyn's intense rivalry with the Giants with team colors of orange and black.

» Ban Johnson writes a letter to NL president Nick Young seeking peace, based on parity as a ML for the AL.

» The St. Louis Cardinals release spitballer Burleigh Grimes.

Burleigh Grimes was the last legal spitball pitcher in the majors. In a 19-year career that ended in 1934, he often faked the spitter to keep batters guessing.

Grimes never shaved on days he pitched, because the slippery elm he chewed to increase saliva irritated his skin. His growth of stubble added to his ominous mound presence and led to his nickname, Ol' Stubblebeard. The belligerent pitcher never permitted a batter to dig in at the plate. It was said Grimes's idea of an intentional pass was four pitches at the batter's head.

During the 1920s, Grimes was a standout, twice leading the league in victories and five times topping the 20-win mark. He was durable, leading the league four times in starts and three times in innings pitched. After five straight winning seasons for Brooklyn, his 19 losses in 1925 topped the NL. Following a 12-13 mark in 1926, he was traded to the Giants and was 19-8 in his one season for New York. He peaked as a 25-game winner for Pittsburgh in 1928.

Grimes carried his cantankerous ways with him as manager of the Dodgers, though the team was rarely in a game long enough to make battling tactics pay off. He took over a bedraggled club that had frustrated Casey Stengel in 1937. His chances of developing a winner were undermined when new boss Larry McPhail brought shortstop Leo Durocher to the team. Grimes and Durocher were both battlers, but Durocher was brash and charming, while Grimes was simply pugnacious. Grimes was also frustrated when McPhail signed Babe Ruth as a first base coach and batting practice attraction. Ruth would belt ball after ball over the screen into Bedford Avenue, but his attention span would lapse in the first base coaching box. By 1939 Burleigh and the Babe were gone. Durocher began his managerial career and a new era came to Brooklyn.

A decade of minor league managing followed for Grimes, during which he never ceased his aggressive baseball behavior. Although he was a genial companion off the field, he raged at every close decision against his team. He was suspended in 1940 while managing Grand Rapids (Michigan State League) for an altercation with an umpire. He died of cancer at age 92, twenty-one years after the Veterans Committee selected him for Cooperstown.

» After touring Japan with the Giants, Commissioner Ford Frick says that Japanese baseball is the equivalent of Class A in the U.S.

» Yogi Berra says that the Yankees returned the money collected in fines to the players involved in the Copacabana fight.

By 1957, Billy Martin had already earned a stellar reputation as a pinstriped psychotic. But it was his brouhaha (along with teammates Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Hank Bauer and Whitey Ford) with fellow patrons of Manhattan’s exclusive Copacabana club that really put him on the map—and on the road.

George Weiss blamed Martin for the infamous altercation at the Copacabana, where several Yankees had gathered to celebrate Martin's 29th birthday on May 16, 1957. While it was Hank Bauer who decked a patron in the nightclub and Mantle and Ford were hardly unwilling participants in Martin's nightlife, Weiss dismissed the protestations of manager Casey Stengel and traded Martin to Kansas City a month later.

In four decades as a player, manager and mentor, Martin beat the snot out of two team traveling secretaries, a pile of players and fans, bouncers, sportswriters, a cabdriver, a marshmallow salesman and—most brutally—his liver. “A lot of people looked up to Billy,” Jim Bouton wrote in his memoir, Ball Four. “That’s because he just knocked them down.”

» A federal judge rules that Birmingham, AL, laws against integrated playing fields are illegal, eliminating the last barrier against integration in the Southern Association.

» Gaylord Perry wins the AL Cy Young award by a 64-58 margin over Chicago's Wilbur Wood. Perry won 24 games for the 5th-place Indians.

» The Astros trade P Jerry Reuss to the Pirates for C Milt May. Reuss will finally put it all together in Pittsburgh and win 58 games in four seasons.

Tom Seaver wins the National League Cy Young Award, the first time the honor has gone to a player with fewer than 20 wins. Seaver was 19-10 and led the league in ERA (2.08) and strikeouts (251).

» Cubs’ 2B Ryne Sandberg, who retired last year in the middle of a 4-year, $28.4 million contract, announces that he will return for the 1996 season.

» In a thrilling contest, the Yankees defeat the Diamondbacks, 4-3 in 10 innings, to tie the Series at two games apiece. For the first time since Philadelphia A's Mule Haas hit a game-tying two-run homer in Game 5 of the 1929 World Series, a team comes from behind to tie a Fall Classic game in the ninth and goes on to win in extra innings. Tino Martinez's 2-out, 2-run home run in the bottom of the 9th ties the game, and Derek Jeter's blast in the bottom of the 10th wins it for New York. Both homers come off Byung-Hyun Kim who relieved Curt Schilling in the 8th inning. Mariano Rivera gets the win in relief for the Yankees.

Although offered approximately $4.5 million for a three-year extension, four times the amount of his previous salary, Theo Epstein decides to leave the BoSox after being the youngest general manager to lead a team to a World Championship. The split with team president Larry Lucchino, who hired the 18-year Yale undergraduate as an Oriole intern, then gave him a position with the Padres before bringing the ‘Boy Wonder’ Boston, takes the Red Sox Nation by surprise.

Joining Don Mattingly (Yankees,1987),Cal Ripken Jr. (Orioles,1991), Frank Thomas (White Sox, 1995), Jeff Bagwell (Astros, 1995), Manny Ramirez (Red Sox, 2002), Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols becomes the sixth player to get a perfect score (100) in the annual player rankings. The Elias Sports Bureau rating, which was created as part of the settlement of the 1981 strike to determine compensation for the loss of a free agent, takes into account a player's plate appearances, batting average, on-base percentage, home runs and RBIs compared to others playing the same position during the two past seasons.

The Astros announce the club will not exercise their option on first baseman Jeff Bagwell for the 2007 season, paying instead the $7-million buyout of the first baseman's contract. The 38-year old perennial All-star, who played 2,150 games during his 15 seasons with the team,is the franchise all-time leader in home runs, RBIs and walks.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com,espn classics, and baseballibrary.com

10-31-2007, 05:13 PM
Happy Halloween Bud from everyone on the Rangers Board!

11-01-2007, 10:45 AM
hey menchie, thanks for the well wishes

hope y'all had a great Halloween, too

I've got pictures of Nina in her costume, I'll send them to you later

11-01-2007, 11:08 AM
Nov 1

"You gotta to be a man to play baseball for a living, but you gotta to have a lot of little boy in you, too." -ROY CAMPANELLA, Dodger catcher

» Averages for the first 154-game season show that Dan Brouthers of Brooklyn was the top hitter at .335, and Cy Young the top pitcher with 36 wins and 11 losses.

» Former Providence P Charles Sweeney is convicted of manslaughter in San Francisco.

» P John McCloskey, 3–2 with the Phils, has better luck off the field. An investment in the Cripple Creek, CO, mine pays off with a rich gold strike.

McCloskey was a catcher in the semi-pro Texas League who helped organize the professional Texas League in 1888. It was the first of five minor leagues he founded. He spent 36 seasons managing 30 different clubs, and, including his time as a player and umpire, he logged 44 years in organized ball.

» Connie Mack begins cleaning house, asks waivers on Jack Coombs, Eddie Plank, and Chief Bender. Colby Jack goes to Brooklyn (National League). Plank and Bender escape Mack's maneuvering by jumping tfo the Federal League. Although all have some life left in their soupbones, they are near their careers' end, and departure is more sentimental than serious. Mack's excuse: retrenchment. Despite the pennant, Philadelphia fans did not support the A's and the club lost $50,000.

» Harry H. Frazee, New York theater owner and producer, and Hugh Ward buy the Red Sox for $675,000 (one report puts the figure at $750,000) from Joseph Lannin. Bill Carrigan announces that he will retire as Red Sox manager to pursue his interests in Lewiston, Maine.

» Outfielder Alex Burr is killed in France on his 25th birthday, the 3rd major leaguer to die of WWI. MLB players killed in WWI include Alex Burr, Larry Chappell (in eight days), Eddie Grant, Ralph Sharman, and Bun Troy. World War two ML casualties will be Elmer Gedeon, James Trimble and Harry O'Neill. Bob Neighbors will be listed as Missing in Action in Korea to complete the casualty list. There will be no ML players killed in Korea.

» Former A's C Ira Thomas buys the Shreveport club in the Texas League for $75,000. Other former players who own pieces of minor league clubs include Ty Cobb (Augusta), Eddie Collins (Baltimore), and George Stallings (Rochester).

» Larry MacPhail enters the army. The Dodgers look to St. Louis for leadership. After 2 decades in St. Louis, Branch Rickey splits with owner Sam Breadon. He will sign to become GM at Brooklyn.

Few executives had as profound an impact on the game as Larry MacPhail. In Cincinnati (1934-36) MacPhail introduced night baseball and commercial air travel to the majors. He laid the groundwork for the Reds' 1939-40 pennant winners, and he departed in controversy before they won, a trademark of his career. He went to Brooklyn in 1938. In his first year, the franchise made money for the first time since 1920. MacPhail hired Babe Ruth as coach to generate interest and, anticipating Charlie Finley years later, brought the "stitched lemon," a yellow baseball, to spring training.

MacPhail's presence inaugurated the modern era of Brooklyn baseball. In the 38 years before MacPhail, the Dodgers had won three pennants; in the 20 years following his arrival they won seven and lost in playoffs two times after finishing tied for first. MacPhail also brought Red Barber with him from Cincinnati to introduce daily game broadcasts in New York, ending a gentleman's agreement among the three local clubs not to do so.

In 1941, there was jubilation following the Dodgers' clinching of their first pennant in 21 years. In the excitement, MacPhail was left on a platform at the 125th Street Station, expecting to board the team train to meet a jubilant crowd at Grand Central Station. Manager Leo Durocher had decided to skip the stop in an attempt to keep the players on board. A furious MacPhail fired Durocher on the spot, something he did numerous times, many of which he seemed not to remember later. According to Durocher, "There is a thin line between genius and insanity, and in Larry's case it was sometimes so thin you could see him drifting back and forth."

MacPhail began as a protege of Branch Rickey, and Rickey replaced him in Brooklyn when MacPhail went into the army in 1942. MacPhail was a veteran of WWI as well, and had been in a group of plotters who had nearly succeeded in kidnapping Kaiser Wilhelm.

After the war, MacPhail joined the Yankees, and he had three managers (Joe McCarthy, Bill Dickey, and Johnny Neun) quit on him in 1946. He also came close to arranging what would have been one of the biggest trades in ML history while drinking with Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey. The pair allegedly agreed to swap Ted Williams for Joe DiMaggio, but when they sobered up Yawkey asked for Yogi Berra as well, and the deal was nixed.

Following the Yankees' victory over Rickey's Dodgers in the exciting 1947 Series, MacPhail upstaged the clubhouse victory party by unleashing a barrage of insults, punching a writer, and announcing his resignation in a drunken stupor. Topping Webb bought him out the next day.

The innovative, tempestuous MacPhail started a family baseball tradition. His son Lee became president of the American League, and his grandson Andy was general manager of the 1987 World Champion Minnesota Twins.

» League statistics show the White Sox Luke Appling leading the AL hitters with .328, the lowest since Cobb hit .324 to lead in 1908. Conversely, of course, the pitchers' marks were topped by Spud Chandler's 1.64 ERA, the best since 1919. Spud also has the best percentage at .833, on a 20-4 won-lost mark. The White Sox aging OF Wally Moses stole 56 bases after stealing only 3 two years before. The veteran Mel Ott hits only .234 for his Giants, but he still has 18 homers -- all in the Polo Grounds.

» Total attendance in the 2 leagues is 8.9 million. No team draws over a million, as Detroit leads with 923,000.

» The right foot of Cleveland owner Bill Veeck is amputated, a result of a war injury in the South Pacific 2 years before. Veeck has had a tremendous impact on promotion in a half season of ownership. A minor but typical change is the regular posting of NL scores on the Cleveland scoreboard, a departure from the long-standing practice of both leagues.

» Gillette buys the World Series television rights for $1.37 million, the money to be dedicated to the players pension fund.

» Sandy Koufax becomes the first 3-time winner of the Cy Young Award. He is a unanimous winner for the 2nd-straight year. This is the last year that only one award is given for pitchers in both of the MLs.

» Denny McLain is the unanimous American League winner of the Cy Young Award.

» Thirty-eight-year-old Doug Rader, who spent the last three seasons as manager of the Padres' Triple-A farm club, will pilot the Texas Rangers. The former infielder becomes the club's 12th manager in its 12-year life.

» Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott returns to take over the day-to-day operations of the Reds following her 9-month suspension for using racial and ethnic epithets.

» The major league All-Star team opens their 8-game series in Japan with a 6–5 loss to the Japan All-Stars. Players include Cal Ripken, Sammy Sosa, Steve Finley, Brady Anderson, Mike Piazza, Hideo Nomo, Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, and Shane Reynolds.

» The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum opens in its new home in Kansas City, Missouri. It had been occupying a temporary site there for four years.

» In an amazing case of history repeating itself, the Yankees again come from two runs down with two outs in the 9th inning to defeat the Diamondbacks, 3-2 in 12 innings. Byung-Hyun Kim is again victimized, this time by Scott Brosius' 2-run home run in the 9th. Alfonso Soriano's single wins it in the 12th. Steve Finley and Rod Barajas homer in the 5th for Arizona's runs.

In a move designed to prepare its next manager, the Yankees' promote hitting instructor Don Mattingly to bench coach to assist Joe Torre for next season. The Bronx Bomber All-Star first baseman replaces Lee Mazzilli, who will not be brought back by New York.

The Seibu Lions of the officially agree to release Daisuke Matsuzaka, giving the 26-year-old Japanese League pitching sensation an opportunity to play in the United States. It is reported the team plans to charge an American major league club $30 million just for rights to negotiate with the former 2006 World Baseball Classic and 2004 Olympic team standout.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

11-02-2007, 10:25 AM
Nov 2

» The American Association of Professionals is founded with the motto "Liberty to All." The members are St. Louis, Cincinnati, Louisville, Allegheny, Athletic, and Atlantic. This AA will be considered a major league.

» The Athletics are sold to a syndicate headed by Henry C. Pennypacker. The three long time partners, Sharsig, Simmons, and Mason, still hold a sizable block of stock.

» Henry Chadwick, called the "Father of Baseball," visits President McKinley in Washington to propose that Army regiments be provided with baseball equipment. This is Chadwick's first presidential interview since his visit with President Lincoln in 1861.

» Former St. Louis Browns manager George Stovall is the first ML player to jump to the Federal League, signing to manage Kansas City. With glib salesman Jim Gilmore as its president, and backed by several millionaires, including oil magnate Harry Sinclair and Brooklyn baker Robert Ward, the Feds declare open war two weeks later by announcing they will not honor the ML's reserve clause. It will prove a long, costly struggle, similar to the American League's beginnings, but with more losers than winners.

» Former St. Louis Browns manager George Stovall is the first ML player to jump to the Federal League, signing to manage Kansas City. With glib salesman Jim Gilmore as its president, and backed by several millionaires, including oil magnate Harry Sinclair and Brooklyn baker Robert Ward, the Feds declare open war two weeks later by announcing they will not honor the ML's reserve clause. It will prove a long, costly struggle, similar to the American League's beginnings, but with more losers than winners.

» E.S. Barnard completes his 3-year contract as president of the American League. Among Barnard's innovations have been the establishment of an umpire's school and the recodifying of the rule book. He also led the effort to eliminate the sacrifice fly scoring rule (with inflated averages resulting from the livelier baseball, the batter no longer needed the benefit of not being charged a time at bat when his fly ball advanced a runner).

» American League batting champ Charlie Gehringer is named MVP by the BBWAA receiving 78 out of a possible 80 points. Joe DiMaggio is a close second four points behind while Tiger teammate Hank Greenberg, who knocked in 183 runs, is a distant 3rd. Gehringer is the 3rd Tiger in four years to medal.

Japan, where baseball has been banned as an undesirable enemy influence, mourns the death of Eiji Sawamura. The Japanese pitcher, who is killed in action in the Pacific, became a national hero by striking out Babe Ruth in an exhibition game.

» The National Labor Relations Board files unfair labor practices charges against the Indians on a claim the club fired a ticket seller at the union's request. This is the first case against baseball under the Taft-Hartley Act.

The Labor-Management Relations Act, commonly known as the Taft-Hartley Act, is a United States federal law that greatly restricts the activities and power of labor unions. The Act, still largely in effect, was sponsored by Senator Robert Taft and Representative Fred A. Hartley, Jr. and passed over U.S. President Harry S. Truman's veto on June 23, 1947, establishing the act as a law. Truman had described the act as a "slave-labor bill", adding that it would "conflict with important principles of our democratic society".[citation needed] The Taft-Hartley Act amended the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA, also known as the Wagner Act), which Congress had passed in 1935.

» Roger Maris nips Mickey Mantle for the American League's Most Valuable Player award, 225-222, the 2nd-closest vote ever, after the DiMaggio-Williams race in 1947.

CBS becomes first corporate owner of a major league team buying eighty percent of Yankees for $11,200,000.

» The Braves trade Hank Aaron to the Brewers for OF Dave May and a minor league pitcher to be named later. Aaron will finish his ML career in Milwaukee, where he started it in 1954. Meanwhile, Aaron, the home run king of American baseball, and Sadaharu Oh, his Japanese counterpart, square off for a home run contest at Korakuen Stadium. Aaron wins 10–9.

» Nolan Ryan and Joe Morgan are the top names available in the reentry draft held at New York's Plaza Hotel.

» The Expos finally sign their top draft pick, Pete Incaviglia, and then trade him to the Rangers for infielder Jim Anderson and a minor league pitcher. Incaviglia, who refused every chance to sign with Montreal, will blast a team-record seven homers in spring training.

» Oakland SS Walt Weiss becomes the 3rd consecutive A's player to win the American League Rookie of the Year award, joining sluggers Jose Canseco (1986) and Mark McGwire (1987).

» The Yankees name Joe Torre as their new manager, replacing Buck Showalter.

» Toni Stone, the first female to play professional baseball at a big league level, dies at age 75. Stone played 2B for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro League in 1953.

aka Marcenia Lyle Alberga (real name)

Born: July 17, 1931
Died: Nov. 2, 1996

Second Baseman
1953 - Indianapolis Clowns
1954 - Kansas City Monarchs
1993 - Inducted to Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, Long Island, N.Y.

Toni Stone maybe one of the best ballplayer you've never heard of.

As a teenager she played with the local boy's teams,in St.Paul, Minnesota. During World War ll she moved to San Francisco, playing first with an American Legion team, and then with the San Francisco Sea Lions, a black, semi-pro barnstorming team. She drove in two runs in her first time up at bat.

She didn't feel that the owner was paying her what they'd originally agreed on, so when the team played in New Orleans, she jumped ship and joined the Black Pelicans. From there she went to the New Orleans Creoles, part of the Negro League minors, where she made $300 a month in 1949.

The local press reported that she made several unassisted double plays, and batted .265.( Although the all American Girls Baseball League was active at the time, Toni Stone was not eligible to play. The AAGBL was a "white only" League, so Toni played on otherwise all-male teams. In 1953, Syd Pollack, owner of the Indianapolis Clowns, signed Toni to play second base, a position that had been recently vacated when Hank Aaron was signed by the Boston (soon to be Milwaukee) Braves. Toni became the first woman to play in the Negro Leagues. The Clowns had begun as a gimmick team, much like the Harlem Globetrotters, known as much for their showmanship as their playing. But by the 50's they had toned down their antics and were playing straight baseball.

Although Pollack claimed he signed Toni Stone for her skill as a player, not as a publicity stunt, having her on the team didn't hurt revenues, which had been declining steadily since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the Majors, and many young black players left the Negro Leagues. Stone recalls that most of the men shunned her and gave her a hard time because she was a woman. She reflected that, " They didn't mean any harm and in their way they liked me. Just that I wasn't supposed to be there. They'd tell me to go home and fix my husband some biscuits or any damn thing. Just get the" hell away from here."

The team publicized Toni Stone in interviews on posters, and on the cover of the Clowns' program. And she got to play baseball, appearing in 50 games in 1953, and hitting .243. In 1954, Pollack sold her contract to the Kansas City Monarchs, an all-star team that had won several pennants in the "Colored World Series" and for whom Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige had both played. When Stone left the Clowns, Pollack hired Connie Morgan to replace her at second base and signed a female pitcher, Mamie "peanut" Johnson, as well.

She played the 1954 season for the Monarchs, but she could read the hand writing on the wall. The Negro Leagues were coming to an end, so she retired at the end of the season. She was inducted into the Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 1993. She is Honored in two separate sections in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown; the "Women in Baseball" exhibit, and the Negro Leagues section.

Toni Stone's most memorable baseball moment came when she played against the lenendary Satchel Paige in 1953 " He was so good," she remembered, " That he'd ask batters where they wanted it, just so they'd have a chance. He'd ask '"You want it high? You want it low? You want it right in the middle? Just say. People still couldn't get a hit against him. So I get up there and he say, "hey, T, how do you like it? And I said, It doesn't matter just don't hurt me". When he wound up--he had these big old feet--all you could see was his shoe. I stood there shaking, but I got a hit. Right out over second base. Happiest moment in my life.

» The Rangers trade OF Juan Gonzalez, P Danny Patterson and C Gregg Zaun to the Tigers in exchange for pitchers Justin Thompson, Alan Webb and Francisco Cordero, OF Gabe Kapler, C Bill Haselman, and IF Frank Catalanotto.

Seattle announces that superstar Ken Griffey Jr. is requesting a trade closer to his home. The Mariners agree to try to trade him during the off season.

The St. Paul voters reject a referendum on a sales tax increase to cover 1/3 of the $325 million needed for the stadium. The plan called for the Twins to pay 1/3 and the legislature would provide the funding for the other 1/3.

After a 15-year big league career, first baseman Will Clark announces his retirement. 'The Thrill' ends his playing days with the McGwire-less Cardinals supplying the Redbirds with much needed offense (.345,12 HRs and 42 RBIs) in a two-month span after being traded from the Orioles.

Wrigley Field has been granted preliminary landmark status by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. Any plans to refurbish or tear down Cubs' home since 1916 will have to be reviewed by this panel.

After a grounds keeper finds a grenade in the Wrigley Field turf, police bomb and arson investigators are called to evaluate the right field discovery. The rusty, hollowed-out shell turns out to be harmless and its origins remain a mystery.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, Negro League Baseball Association, and baseballibrary.com

11-05-2007, 09:44 AM
Nov 5

» Sportsman's Park in St. Louis is leased for five years by Ban Johnson and Charles Comiskey for an American League team; two weeks later the Milwaukee franchise is officially transferred.

» The Court of Appeals upholds a ban on Sunday baseball in Washington, DC.

» Sacramento's Tony Freitas pitches the first night game no-hitter, stopping Oakland (PCL), 2–0, in nine innings.

» Burleigh Grimes is named to the Dodger manager. The former Brooklyn spitballer will be replacing Casey Stengel who was fired last month during the World Series after compiling a 208-251(.453) during his four-year tenure.

» Former Washington hurler Walter Johnson, who won 416 games for the Senators, goes down in defeat as a Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland.

Ty Cobb is supposed to have said that his greatest embarrassment was batting against Walter Johnson on a dark day in Washington. An uncommonly mellow acknowledgment of human frailty by cranky Ty, it was surely God's truth about gentle Walter. In an era lacking electronic speed guns, Johnson was generally thought to throw the fastest ball in the game. A 6'1" righthander with long arms, he threw his hummer with an easy sidearm motion. Contemporaries recalled his pitches as nearly invisible, arriving with a "swoosh" and smashing into the catcher's mitt like a thunderclap. In 21 seasons with the Washington Senators (10 in the second division), Johnson won 417 games. Only Cy Young won more (and only Young and Pud Galvin lost more). There was no pitching category in which he did not excel. In 1914, for example, he led the AL in wins, games, starts, complete games, innings, strikeouts, and shutouts. He eventually amassed 110 shutouts, the most ever. His 38 1-0 wins are, by far, an all-time record.

Among his accomplishments were 16 straight wins (1912); a string of 56 scoreless innings, and a 36-7 (1.09) mark in 1913; five wins, three of them shutouts, in nine days (1908); 66 triumphs over Detroit, the most for any AL pitcher against any one team; 200 victories in eight seasons, 300 in 14. He had his disappointments: 65 of his losses were by shutouts, 26 of them by 1-0 scores (both records); he lost six of eight duels with formidable Red Sox lefty Babe Ruth; and for all of Ty Cobb's dark-day embarrassments, he batted .335 in 67 games against Johnson.

Forgetting the numbers, what pleased people most was that Johnson combined extraordinary baseball talent with a wholly admirable character. In a rowdy game, he was mild, modest, decent, friendly, and forbearing. Across the nation, beyond the confines of baseball, he personified values that Americans respected. He persisted into the lively ball era and the Jazz Age with his old-fashioned, almost Lincolnesque virtues intact. Sportswriters rarely found him less than chivalric and dubbed him "Sir Walter" and the "White Knight."

He was Kansas-born of a farm family which ventured West to try its luck in the California oil fields. When Washington got him, he was going on twenty, and burning up a semi-pro league in southwestern Idaho. The story has it, a fan, a traveling liquor salesman, or an old-time umpire writing east about the young phenom, but only purse-poor Washington and its manager, Joe Cantillon, acted in time. Already interested in a fleet Western Association outfielder named Clyde Milan, Cantillon sent an injured catcher west to scout the pair. He corralled them both; Johnson signed for a $100 bonus, train fare, and a big league salary of $350 a month.

He was not an overnight success. The fastball was undeniable, but he was susceptible to the bunt and to the confusions of inexperience and an eighth-place club. After going 13-25 his third season (1909), he turned things around and became the AL's premier pitcher. For the Senators he was both starter and relief ace. Ultimately, he was 40-30 in relief, with 34 saves. The legend grew with him. He acquired nicknames deriving from the machinery that best exemplified the overwhelming speed of his fastball: "Barney," for Oldfield, the mile-a-minute auto racer; and "Big Train," for America's impressive, highballing railroads. Still, the image of the kindly fellow prevailed; one who, comfortably ahead in a late inning, might ease up to allow a weak batter or an old friend a hit; who never blamed teammates for losses, however grievously they erred; who never drank, cussed, or argued with umpires; who never deliberately threw at hitters, although his long career contributed to his setting the ML career mark with 206 hit batsmen. Cobb said he'd move up in the box and crowd the plate knowing he would never get a brush-back pitch from Sir Walter.

Johnson's control was exemplary. His catchers swore by him. In 802 games, he gave up a mere 1,405 walks, less than one every 4.1 innings. But he had wild streaks and still has a piece of the AL record for wild pitches in one season (21).

As the years wore on, Johnson became a Washington landmark. He was tempted during the Federal League uproar, and actually signed with the Chicago Whales, but revoked the contract when penny-pinching Clark Griffith made an emergency trip to Kansas to up the ante and restore him to his pedestal. Finally, in 1924, with the shrewdest trades of his life, Griffith put together Washington's first pennant winner. Going 23-7 at age thirty-seven, Johnson was finally in a World Series. His performance against the Giants in the seventh game is one of baseball's favorite stories. Appearing in relief, two days after pitching a complete game, he held the Giants scoreless for four innings until Early McNeely's 12th-inning grounder deflected off a pebble, over Freddie Lindstrom's head, allowing Washington's winning run to score. In 1925, with another 20 wins from Johnson, the Senators repeated. This time, after winning two from the Pirates, Johnson lost Game Seven. Rain and Roger Peckinpaugh's errors helped, but he was rapped for 15 hits and deserved the 9-7 loss.

When his glorious career wound down, Johnson tried his hand at managing: Newark for a season, Washington (1929-32), and Cleveland (1933-35). His .551 winning percentage was respectable, but the manager never measured up to the player. He was considered too easygoing. But he was among the select group admitted to the Hall of Fame when it first opened.

» Denny McLain is the unanimous choice as American League MVP.

He was brash. He was flamboyant. He had a lounge act in Las Vegas. He performed on TV shows, including Ed Sullivan's. He paraded about in a white mink coat. He was Hall of Fame shortstop Lou Boudreau's son-in-law. He was also convicted of racketeering and smuggling cocaine and spent time in jail. And, for a while, Denny McLain was one of the finest pitchers in baseball.

In 1968 McLain was the league MVP and a unanimous Cy Young Award winner, going 31-6 with a 1.96 ERA, 28 complete games, and 280 strikeouts. He was the first 30-game winner since Dizzy Dean in 1934, and helped the Tigers to their first World Championship since 1945.

McLain first came up in 1963 and he showed early flashes of brilliance, winning 16 games in 1965, 20 in 1966, and 17 in 1967. He might have won 20 in 1967, if not for an unexplained accident at home where he hurt his toe and missed his last six starts. His teammates, manager, and Tiger fans thought he was dogging it, and he was blamed for the Tigers' close second-place finish in a wild, four-team scramble for the AL pennant.

Starting 1968, he could do nothing to erase the fans' memory of the previous season. He was booed at home after commenting that Detroit's fans were "the world's worst." But soon the victories started to pile up. He won nine straight starts from mid-June to mid-July to stretch his record to 18-2. On September 1, he converted a Boog Powell line drive into a triple play to preserve his 27th victory. He was in the dugout when he won his 30th, a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over Oakland. In his 31st victory, he had a 6-1 lead over the Yankees, so he grooved a pitch to Mickey Mantle in Mantle's last game in Tiger Stadium. Mantle crashed what would be his next-to-last career homer, passing Jimmie Foxx on the all-time home run list. McLain would have won 33 games if not for two consecutive 2-1 losses.

In the 1968 World Series, McLain lost both starts in which he opposed the Cardinals' Bob Gibson, who had won 22 games and set a major league record with a 1.12 ERA. But McLain won Game Six on two days' rest, setting up teammate Mickey Lolich to beat Gibson in the seventh game.

Many thought that his nonstop off-season partying would adversely affect McLain, but his lifestyle didn't stop Tiger management from awarding their cocky ace the team's first $100,000 contract. McLain responded by winning a second Cy Young Award (he shared it with the Orioles' Mike Cuellar) with a 24-9 mark and a team-record nine shutouts. But things started to unravel midway through the 1969 season. He angered manager Mayo Smith by not showing up until the fourth inning of the All-Star Game, which Smith wanted him to start. Then Sky King left before the game was over, flying out in his private Cessna.

In 1970 things fell apart. On April 1, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn suspended McLain for three months for a 1967 bookmaking incident. In August McLain filed for bankruptcy, then dumped ice water on a couple of Detroit writers. On September 9, Kuhn suspended him for the rest of the season for gun possession. Finally, on October 9, after a dismal 3-5, 4.65 season, he was traded to the Senators. Amid constant run-ins with no-nonsense Washington manager Ted Williams, McLain lost 22 games in 1971. He spent the 1972 season in Oakland and Atlanta. At the age of 28, his fastball and money were gone and his career was over. He put on weight. He tried several businesses, all of which failed. In the early 1980s, he spent over two years in jail before being granted a new trial and being released early in 1989. As he began to reassemble his life, he played the organ in a Michigan bar where Leon Spinks was the bartender, while listening to offers from promoters looking to get him back in the spotlight.

» New American League franchises in Seattle and Toronto fill up their rosters by selecting 30 players apiece from unprotected players on other AL rosters. OF Ruppert Jones (Seattle) and IF-OF Bob Bailor (Toronto) are the first choices.

» Former Pirate, Yankee and Mariner P Rod Scurry dies of cardiopulmonary arrest at age 36.

Scurry had one of the best curveballs of his day, but the ace reliever's career fell apart due to his cocaine habit. His best season was 1982, when he had 14 saves and a 1.74 ERA while going 4-5 for the Pirates.

Scurry pitched a seven-inning minor league no-hitter, beating Richmond 2-0 on July 25, 1977 while with Columbus (International League).

» Yankee SS Derek Jeter is the unanimous choice for American League Rookie of the Year. Jeter was the Yanks Opening Day shortstop, the first rookie to start at SS for New York since Tom Tresh in 1962.

» In what Bud Selig says is Phase one of a realignment of the major leagues, his Milwaukee Brewers move from the American League to the National League.

Davey Johnson resigns as manager of the Orioles just hours before he is named the American League Manager of the Year. Baltimore owner Peter Angelos had refused to give Johnson a vote of confidence after saying earlier that Johnson would be back in 1998.

» After two days of play in the 1999 Intercontinental Cup tourney in Sydney, Australia, the USA has a 2–0 record. Yesterday, they won 4–0 over Japan by scoring four runs in the 9th, three on Dan Held's home run. Cuba beats Taiwan, 1–0, to avenge a loss yesterday to Cuba. Australia beats Italy after winning yesterday, 4–3 over the Netherlands, behind Shayne Bennett of the Expos.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

11-06-2007, 09:13 AM
Nov 6

» The Sporting News publishes the official National League averages, which show King Kelly as the batting champ with a .388 average, 17 points ahead of Cap Anson. The paper previously had printed its own stats showing Anson ahead, .374 to .366.

Kelly, who played every position, was one of the greatest players of his era. Beginning his career with the Reds in 1878, he soon was given the title King of Baseball, and became the number one idol of the nation. Joining Chicago in 1880, Kelly sparked Cap Anson's team to five NL titles. He performed on eight pennant winners in 16 seasons and hit .300 or better eight times. His .354 in 1884 and .388 in 1886 led the NL. He led the league three times each in doubles and runs scored, and he is one of ten NL players to have scored a league-record six runs in one game. Kelly won renown for his daring baserunning, stealing at least 50 bases for four successive years, with a high of 84 for the Braves in 1887. He once stole six bases in one game. His sensational baserunning and sliding led fans to cheer him on, yelling, "Slide, Kelly, slide!"

After Kelly was traded to the Braves for a record $10,000 in one of the biggest deals in baseball's early history, Chicago fans were so upset they boycotted their team, except when Boston played there. Joining the Players' League in 1890 as Boston's player-manager, Kelly's team captured the league championship by posting an 81-48 record. After serving as player-manager for Cincinnati-Milwaukee of the American Association for part of 1891, Kelly returned to Boston and helped the Braves win titles in 1891 and 1892. He played a few games for the Giants in 1893, then drifted to the minors, managing Allentown in the Pennsylvania State League and Yonkers in the Eastern League.

Imaginative and quick-thinking, Kelly was credited by Cap Anson with devising the hit-and-run play, although this is disputed. He studied the rules and found ways to get around them, causing the league to make changes. Colorful both on and off the field, Kelly acted with flair and was admired and adored by fans. He wore the finest tailored clothes and the most current styles. American billboards featured the handsome, happy-go-lucky Irishman as the nation's best-dressed man. Kelly supplemented his income with off-season stage appearances and wrote Play Ball. Following his retirement from baseball, he opened a saloon in New York. In 1894, en route to Boston to appear at the Palace Theater, he died of pneumonia at age thirty-six.

» The Pirates trade SS Dick Bartell, a .320 hitter, to the Phillies for defensive star SS Tommy Thevenow, and P Claude Willoughby. The Phils get the better of the shortstop swap, while Willoughby lives up to his nickname "Flunky."

» P Sad Sam Jones, after 21 successive but not always successful American League seasons, is released by the Chicago White Sox.

Sad Sam's 22 consecutive seasons pitching in one league (the American) is a ML record shared with Herb Pennock, Early Wynn, Red Ruffing, and Steve Carlton. The native Ohioan was sent from Cleveland to the Red Sox in a 1916 trade for Tris Speaker, who was in his prime. In 1918, Jones's first season in a starting rotation, he went 16-5 (league-best .762 winning percentage). He won 23 games for the fifth-place 1921 Red Sox, with a league-high five shutouts. But his finest seasons may have been 1923, when he was 21-8 as the Yankees' ace, hurling a September 4 no-hitter against the Athletics and leading New York to their first World Championship. His relief work in the final game of the Series clinched it for the Yanks.

Bill McGeehan of the New York Herald-Tribune dubbed him Sad Sam because, to him, Jones looked downcast on the field. Jones told Lawrence Ritter that the reason he looked downcast was because, "I would always wear my cap down real low over my eyes. And the sportswriters were more used to fellows like Waite Hoyt, who'd always wear their caps way up so they wouldn't miss any pretty girls." Jones' sharp-breaking curve also earned him the name Horsewhips Sam. Like most pitchers of his day, Jones relieved as well as started, and his eight saves in 1922 led the AL. He lost a league-high 21 in 1925 as the Yanks dropped to seventh. Waived from St. Louis to Washington in 1927, Jones rebounded to top the 1928 Senators' staff with a 17-7 record. His 15-7 finish in 1930 marked his last outstanding season.

» The three DiMaggio brothers play together for the first time, making up an outfield for an all-star team in a West Coast charity game.

» Dodgers President Walter O'Malley denies the farm system constitutes a monopoly. He cites the Dodgers' deficit in 1950.

» Answering rumors that senior consultant Rickey wants Stan Musial to retire, Cardinals owner August Busch says The Man will play until it is time to become a club vice president. Further, Bing Devine is still running the club.

» Denny McLain and Mike Cuellar finish dead even in American League Cy Young Award voting.

» The Dodgers Mike Marshall becomes the first relief pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. Ironman Marshall set ML records with 106 appearances and 208 innings in relief.

» Willie Hernandez wins the American League MVP Award, joining Rollie Fingers as the only relief pitchers to be named MVP and Cy Young Award winner in the same season. Kent Hrbek is 2nd with Dan Quisenberry third. Boston's Tony Armas is the 7th, despite winning the home run and RBI titles; the last player to lead in those categories and not win was Ted Williams.

» In Chicago, the ML owners decisively reject a proposed labor agreement that would have ended a 3-year stalemate. The 18-12 vote threatens to plunge baseball back into full-fledged hostilities between the owners and players' union.

» The Red Sox trade Ps Aaron Sele and Mark Brandenburg and C Bill Haselman to the Rangers in exchange for C Jim Leyritz and OF Damon Buford.

» Cubs fireballer Kerry Wood, with a 13–6 record, wins the National League Rookie of the Year award. Wood held batters to a NL best .196 average and was 3rd in the NL in strikeouts with 233 in just 166 2/3 innings.

» Mariners relief P Kazuhiro Sasaki wins the AL Rookie of the Year award. He is the second-oldest player to ever win rookie honors; only Sam Jethroe, who played in the Negro Leagues before the Braves, was older.

» Gold Glove award winners are announced. Ivan Rodriguez wins his 10th straight to tie Johnny Bench for the most by a catcher, Greg Maddux wins his 12th straight to extend his NL record for pitchers, and Roberto Alomar wins for the 10th time, the most ever for a 2B.

Denying its a negotiating ploy, Commissioner Bud Selig is given the authority to "begin the process" of eliminating two 'to be announced' teams by the major league owners by a 28-2 vote. Donald Fehr, the Players Association executive director, calls the action of possibly eliminating the Expos, Twins or Marlins most imprudent and unfortunate and the worst manner in which to begin the process of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement.

» Citing Dusty Baker's reluctance to stay with the organization, an unhappy general manager Brian Sabean announces the Giant skipper of the last 10 years will not be back to manage in San Francisco next season. The National League pennant-winning skipper has supposedly expressed an interest in the Cubs and Mariners.

Thirty-nine year old southpaw Randy Johnson wins his fifth (fourth consecutive with the Diamondbacks) Cy Young Award. The 'Big Unit' with 24 victories, 334 strikeouts and an 2.32 era becomes the first National League hurler since Dwight Gooden in 1985 to win pitching equivalent of the triple crown.

After refusing to remove his Los Angeles Dodgers hat at a City Council meeting, Charles Littleton recieves 50,000 volts into his body as he is TASERed by Saginaw (MI) police. The 22-year old Saginaw Valley State University student, who was attending the meeting to gain extra credit for a sociology class, became unruly, according to police, after being asked to take off his baseball cap.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

11-07-2007, 09:35 AM
Nov 7

» The Brotherhood and its backers meet to begin preliminary work on the organization of a Players' League. The players believe "that the game can be played more fairly and its business conducted more intelligently under a plan which excludes everything arbitrary and un-American."

» Morgan G. Bulkeley, first president of the National League and later governor of Connecticut and U.S. senator, dies. As president of the Hartford club, he presided over the NL's first meeting and headed the league for one year.

» The Cubs get Rogers Hornsby from the financially strapped Braves in exchange for $200,000, IF Fred Maguire, P Percy Jones, C Lou Legett, former A's P Harry Seibold, and P Bruce Cunningham. Braves owner-president Emil Fuchs also decides to be his own manager. He'll be the last manager with no pro playing experience until Ted Turner's one game, in the 1970s. Under Fuchs, the Barves will finish 56-98, good for last place.

"Any ballplayer that don't sign autographs for little kids ain't an American. He's a Communist." -ROGERS HORNSBY, Hall of Fame player and manager

Baseball's greatest righthanded hitter always stood in the far back corner of the batter's box and strode into the pitch with a perfectly level swing. Catchers frequently called low and away against him, but his diagonal stride brought those pitches comfortably within reach. High and inside, he said, was hardest to hit, because his move edged him so close to the pitch. Often he simply leaned away, and umpires who respected his judgment of the strike zone would call a ball.

At the plate, Hornsby was imperturbable. He never argued with umpires, and was never thrown out of a game. He hit line drives to all fields, and was swift down to first and going for extra bases. His power was formidable; he led his league four times in doubles, once in triples, and twice in home runs, and his 289 HR as a second baseman are an all-time record. He hit safely in 33 consecutive games in 1922. Only thirteen players have amassed more than his 1,011 extra-base hits, and just six have topped his .577 career slugging average. Only Ty Cobb exceeded his .358 lifetime batting average, and no modern player (four did it before 1900) ever hit higher than his .424 in 1924. Since he could hit them all, he feared no pitcher. He disdained golf, he once explained, because when he hit a ball, he wanted someone else to chase it.

Hornsby came to the Cardinals as a shortstop, but was tried at third, and even in the outfield. By 1920 he was settled at second. No disgrace in the field, he led the NL in various categories, ending with a .957 career fielding average. As a shortstop in 1917 he tied a ML record with 14 assists in a game. He was known for the difficulty he had with pop flies, due to a balance problem when going back and looking up.

Outwardly, Hornsby was clearly made in the heroic mold. Handsome, dimpled, rosy-cheeked, forthright, professional, spirited, and motivated, he had the statistics to prove his preeminence. When Sam Breadon traded him to the Giants in 1926, following his first MVP year and at the height of his popularity as a World Series-winning player-manager, St. Louis rocked in a hurricane of protest. But Breadon had had a bellyful of Hornsby. The other side of the man was a barbed-wire personality, cold, contentious, and brutally frank. He had a big problem dealing with authority. Owners and front-office men invariably saw him at his most belligerent. His hazel eyes locking into theirs, he told them to get out of his clubhouse, stop harassing his players, mind their own business, and leave him alone or get someone else to do the job.

For Breadon, already infuriated by his employee's verbal abuse, the last straw was a contract dispute. Hornsby wanted three years at $50,000 each. Breadon, always nervous about money, offered one year, lost patience with the impasse, and dealt him away for Frank Frisch and Jimmy Ring, a better trade for St. Louis than it first seemed. The Rajah then added insult to injury by pushing Breadon for top dollar for the 1,167 shares of Cardinal stock he had acquired at Branch Rickey's departure. He got it, too. He received $100,000 even though every club in the league had to ante up to pay for it.

In New York, Hornsby had grudging admiration for manager John McGraw, and served as deputy manager in his absence. He won few friends among the players, however, and had no admiration at all for the management. Owner Charles Stoneham and his subordinates suffered the rough edge of Hornsby's tongue in public, and Stoneham was so angry that he took a fraction of the hero's value from the Braves to get rid of him after one season.

Boston liked him, and his .387 average, but could not refuse the Cubs' offer of $200,000 and five players in a trade after the 1928 season. The Rajah won his second MVP award in 1929 (.380, 39 HR, 149 RBI, and a league-leading 156 runs scored) as the Cubs took their first pennant since 1918. Hornsby was cool, distant, and professional with everyone, though still outspoken. A broken leg kept him out of action in 1930, and shortly before season's end he replaced Joe McCarthy as manager.

He led the Cubs to third place in 1931, batting .331, but was fired in mid-1932. A heel spur had kept him from playing much, but the club was doing well. Again, it was front-office trouble that got him ousted. Gambling on horses, a lifelong compulsion, had him in debt. Even scoldings by Commissioner Landis were received in chill silence or were bluntly rebuffed. Under Charlie Grimm, the club clinched the pennant, and its smoldering dislike for Hornsby ignited when the team did not vote him a World Series share.

Hornsby played out his career as a pinch hitter, hitting .300 for both St. Louis teams. He then managed the Browns and a succession of minor league teams. Bill Veeck brought him back in 1952 to manage the Browns again, and Gabe Paul gave him a shot with Cincinnati. In 1961 he scouted for the about-to-be New York Mets, and then he coached for them in 1962. Through it all, he never changed. He didn't smoke or drink, not even coffee. To preserve his unparalleled batting eye, he refused to read or go to the movies. He was an old-time lobby-sitter, and would talk endlessly about hitting to anyone who wanted to learn, though he never understood why ordinary players didn't become Hornsbys by heeding his instructions.

» Representative Emanuel Celler's committee issues financial data from 1945-49 that differs with Walter O'Malley's numbers. According to Celler, the Dodgers made a profit of 2.364 million dollars from 1945-49; the Dodgers' "loss" of $129,318 in 1950 included a $167,000 loss due to the promotion of the Brooklyn Dodgers professional football team. In his continuing investigation into antitrust violations, Celler says that evidence in his committee suggests altering the reserve clause in that it does limit players.

» C Elston Howard becomes the first black ever voted American League MVP. New York's Howard tops Detroit's Al Kaline 248 to 148.

The Yankees' first black player, Howard was forced to play the outfield through much of his first five seasons because Yogi Berra was behind the plate. By 1960, Howard was the starting catcher and Berra was more often in the field. Howard was an exceptional defensive catcher; his .993 career fielding average is one of the highest ever, and he pioneered the use of a hinged catcher's mitt that led to the modern one-handed catching techniques. He was also highly regarded as a handler of pitchers. He was named to the AL All-Star team nine consecutive years.

Howard was a strong hitter, three times topping .300, with a high of .348 in 1961. He hit from an exaggerated spread stance when he came up, which he modified later in his career. He was AL MVP in 1963, as much for his leadership as for his .287 BA, 28 homers and 85 RBI. He led the Yankees to their fourth straight pennant in a year when Maris and Mantle were often out with injuries.

After playing in nine WS with the Yankees, he was traded to Boston in August of 1967 and helped Boston to that season's pennant. In 1969 he returned to the Yankees, where he served as a coach for eleven years. Howard and Pee Wee Reese share the record for playing on the most WS losers.

» With their home attendance below 800,000 for the past two seasons, the National League orders the Braves to stay in Milwaukee in 1965, but permits a move to Atlanta in 1966.

» Orlando Cepeda of the Cards is the first unanimous selection as National League MVP.

In his first ML game, the Giants' first regular-season game in San Francisco, Cepeda homered to help beat Don Drysdale and the Dodgers. It was a fitting beginning to a spectacular career that included nine .300 seasons and eight seasons with 25 or more homers. Bill Rigney, his manager for his first two ML seasons, called him "the best young righthanded power hitter I'd seen." He won Rookie of the Year honors in 1958 when he belted 25 homers, led the NL with 38 doubles, knocked in 96 runs, and batted .312. As a sophomore, he upped his figures to 27 home runs, 105 RBI, and .317. In 1961 he moved to first base, trading positions with Willie McCovey, and led the NL in home runs with 46 and RBI with 146, becoming more popular in San Francisco than teammate Willie Mays. Cepeda wrecked his knee in 1965, and was accused of malingering. Ultimately, he was traded to the Cardinals for Ray Sadecki.

The 6'2" 210-lb slugger led St. Louis to a pennant in 1967, topping the NL with 111 RBI and batting .325. Cepeda was nicknamed "The Baby Bull" after his father, "The Bull," an outstanding slugger sometimes called "The Babe Ruth of Puerto Rico." After his retirement as a player Cepeda served time in prison for marijuana smuggling. He admitted his guilt and served his time, but it is likely that the incident was a factor in delaying his election to the Hall of Fame until 1999.

For the second time in three years, Reds' catcher Johnny Bench (.270, 40 ,125) wins the National League MVP award.

» Boston's Jim Rice outpoints New York's Ron Guidry, 353-291, to win the American League MVP Award. Rice led the league in hits (213), triples (15), home runs (46), RBI (139), and slugging (.600), and became the first AL player to accumulate 400 total bases in a season since Joe DiMaggio in 1937.

» Art Howe, who played for Houston from 1976-83, is named manager of the Astros, while Jim Lefebvre is named manager of the Mariners.

» Baltimore's Gregg Olson becomes the first relief pitcher to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

» Cleveland's Sandy Alomar Jr. wins the American League Rookie of the Year Award unanimously, joining Carlton Fisk and Mark McGwire as the only players to do so.

» Former P Mitch Williams is cleared of rape charges filed against him by a Kentucky woman in February 1994.

Baseball signs a $1.7 billion, 5-year deal with Fox, NBC, ESPN, and Liberty Media.

» The Yankees trade P Kenny Rogers to the Athletics in exchange for a player to be named.

» Sandy Alderson, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner's office announces that baseball will try to bring back the high strike next season.

Thanks to Luis Garcia's ninth inning tie-breaking home run, Mexico upsets the United States Olympic baseball team in the quarterfinals of the qualifying tournament, 2-1, was knocked out of the by The loss in Panama means the squad be unable to defend its gold medal the next summer in Athens.

After refusing a $60 million, four-year extension from the Red Sox last winter, Nomar Garciaparra signs a one-year deal with the Cubs, the team he was traded to in July, for $8 million. The all-star shortstop, who is coming off an injury- plagued season, can increase the value of the contract with bonus incentives based on performance and playing time to $11 million.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

11-07-2007, 11:17 AM
Thanks again, Bud. I read this entry every day, and enjoy it.

11-08-2007, 10:01 AM
you're welcome

this time of year there's not much happening with baseball history so I add a few profiles just to make it interesting

11-08-2007, 10:28 AM
Keep up the great work, Bud.

Where the heck is today's fix? :)

11-08-2007, 10:45 AM
here you go, today's fix is a little hefty, lol

Nov 8

» Mike "King" Kelly, probably the most popular baseball player of the 19th century, dies of pneumonia in Boston.

» Umpire Silk O'Loughlin runs for a state assembly seat as a Democrat and loses.

Legendary O' Loughlin holds the umpires' record for calling the most no-hitters with seven. He often answered arguing batters with the following: "I have never missed one in my life and it's too late to start now. The Pope for religion, O'Loughlin for baseball. Both infallible."

» At a meeting to depose Ban Johnson, a new 12-team National League, made up of the dissenting 11 teams plus one of the five teams loyal to Johnson, is agreed to. John Heydler will be its president and Judge Landis the proposed chairman of the new commission. With no stomach for another war, four of the five American League clubs still backing Johnson agree to a joint meeting November 12th in Chicago.

Landis was granted absolute power over the game as commissioner in 1920 after the Black Sox scandal had tainted the game. He exercised his authority tyrannically until his death in 1944, with no recourse from his decisions available or public criticism of them permitted. Although he was harsh and narrow-minded, and often arbitrary and inconsistent, he persuaded most Americans that the integrity of the national pastime had been restored.

Landis was a judge in an Illinois federal district court when he came to the attention of baseball's establishment during the Federal League's antitrust suit, which was heard in his court. A Federal League victory would have destroyed baseball's unique monopoly status, and Landis won the owners' gratitude by stalling his decision until the Feds had collapsed and their suit was withdrawn. The three-man National Commission, which had ruled baseball since 1903 under the leadership of Ban Johnson, had been weakened by owner disputes and grievances, and collapsed in the aftermath of the Series scandal. Judge Landis was the first and only choice for commissioner.

Named after a Civil War battle, young Kenesaw was meagerly educated and minimally trained for the law. Still, his craggy face, shock of white hair, and flamboyant style were captivating. In his first years as commissioner he banished 15 players, including the eight Black Sox, and at one time had 53 players ineligible. Though he did not treat his victims equally or, in some cases, fairly, the numerous bribe offers, thrown games, and betting plots that arose showed baseball's corruption to be far deeper than once believed, and his no-mercy stance was accepted, if not applauded.

Landis was opposed to the development of farm systems and made free agents of numerous players he decreed to have been "covered up" in the minor leagues, but he was unable to eradicate the practice, which preserved many of the faltering leagues. He loved the World Series, conducted it personally, and was constantly photographed at games with his chin on the railing of a front row box. He was also a strong supporter of both the Hall of Fame and the All-Star Game, pushing hard to continue the mid-summer exhibitions during WWII. Landis was inducted to the Hall of Fame himself in 1939, and no commissioner since has enjoyed such power.

» Ford Frick, National League publicity director, is named league president. He will eventually become commissioner.

» Commissioner Happy Chandler and player reps agree on the split of the TV-radio rights from the World Series.

» C Yogi Berra of the NY Yankees wins the first of his three MVP awards.

» Charlie Metro, head coach of the Cubs college of coaches from June 4th to season's end (43-69), is fired.

The College of Coaches was an unorthodox strategy employed by the Chicago Cubs in 1961 and 1962. After the Cubs finished 60-94 in 1960, their 14th straight second-division finish, Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley announced in December 1960 that the Cubs would use eight coaches as managers, rather than the traditional one-manager approach. Wrigley argued at the time, "Managers are expendable. I believe there should be relief managers just like relief pitchers." He also contended that the manager system led to constant turnover.

The Cubs front office argued that under this system, players would be exposed to the wisdom and experience of eight coaches instead of just one field manager. Four would serve in the minors, while four would serve with the Cubs. Each member would serve as "head coach" before rotating back to the minors. The original "faculty" of the College of Coaches consisted of El Tappe, Goldie Holt, Bobby Adams, Harry Craft, Verlon Walker, Rip Collins, Vedie Himsl and Charlie Grimm.

The original idea was for the eight men to rotate through the entire organization from the low minors all the way to the Cubs, ensuring that players would learn a standard system of play. However, in practice, players were often confused by this system. It was not always clear which coach would be in charge for a given game, and occasionally the various coaches were at odds with each other. Each coach brought a different playing style and a different lineup.

Without firm and consistent leadership, chaos reigned in the Cubs' dugout. The head coach position rotated between four different men in 1961 and three more in 1962 — two were holdovers from 1961 — and all seven had losing records, despite managing teams with future Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, and Lou Brock.

The College of Coaches, which has never been attempted by another Major League Baseball team, remains widely ridiculed and is often cited as a prime example of the ineptitude of the Cubs' front office over the past 60 years.

» Free agent Richie Zisk, formerly of the White Sox, signs a 10-year $2.3 million contract with the Rangers.

A three-time minor league home run champ, Zisk replaced Roberto Clemente as Pittsburgh's right fielder in 1973. He moved to left field to accommodate stronger-armed Dave Parker in 1975. From 1973 to 1976, Zisk averaged .299 with 17 HR a season, but felt unappreciated among the Parkers and Stargells, saying he was "buried alive in Pittsburgh." Manager Danny Murtaugh thought Zisk was a lazy dreamer. Zisk welcomed his trade to the White Sox for Goose Gossage and Terry Forster after the 1976 season and reached career highs of 30 HR and 101 RBI in 1977. He then signed a lucrative ten-year contract with Texas as a free agent. After three Ranger seasons, Zisk was traded to Seattle and hit .311 as a DH in 1981, setting a Mariner record with homers in five straight games, and earning AL Comeback Player of the Year honors. After multiple knee operations and a wrist injury, he retired after 1983.

Bucky Harris dies on his 81st birthday in Bethesda, Maryland. The 'Boy Wonder' was a player-manager for the Senators in the 1920's.

"First in war, first in peace, and last in the American League," ran the old saw about Washington, but in 1924 the perennial AL tail-ender Senators were World Champions. In his first season at the helm was 27-year-old Bucky Harris, the youngest regular ML manager and the team's second baseman. Washington's rugged "Boy Manager" led by example and earned the respect of such veterans as Walter Johnson, Sam Rice, and Roger Peckinpaugh.

In the 1924 World Series against the Giants, Harris batted .333 and hit two home runs. He also set records for chances accepted, double plays, and putouts in the exciting seven-game affair. His base hit in the eighth inning of the deciding contest tied the score, and the Senators rallied in the twelfth to clinch Washington's one and only World Championship. It was in that contest that Harris the manager won acclaim. His strategy of replacing righthanded starter Curly Ogden with lefthander George Mogridge after only two batters forced the Giants' hard-hitting Bill Terry out of the lineup.

Harris learned baseball in the mining region of northeastern Pennsylvania. After leaving school at 13, he worked in a local colliery. Hughie Jennings, another future Hall of Famer from Harris's home town of Pittston, arranged for the scrappy youngster's first job in pro ball, in 1915. Harris reached the majors in 1919.

An exceptional fielder, he topped AL second basemen in putouts four times and in double plays a record five straight times (1921-25). An adequate hitter with base stealing ability, Harris had a knack for being hit by pitches. An outstanding basketball player, he played professionally with local Pennsylvania teams during the off-season, until concerned Washington officials ordered him to cease.

Under Harris, the Senators repeated as AL champs in 1925, but lost a hard-fought seven-game Series to the Pirates. After suffering his first losing season in 1928, he was traded to, and named manager of, the Tigers. Except for a few appearances at second base, Harris was a bench manager from then on. He spent five unsuccessful seasons directing the Tigers, one with the Red Sox, and then eight more with the Senators, never finishing higher than fourth. Despite the many losing campaigns, Harris was regarded as a knowledgeable manager and was extremely popular with his players. His patient, gentlemanly manner inspired such loyalty that when the Phillies fired Harris in mid-1943, his players threatened to strike.

Between ML jobs, Harris managed in the International and Pacific Coast leagues. In 1947, he led the Yankees to a World Series victory, and was named TSN Manager of the Year. He was dropped abruptly a year later after a 94-60 third-place finish. Though he managed for another seven years, Harris never again landed in the first division.

Harris also served as assistant GM of the Red Sox and scouted for the White Sox. Named a special assignment scout with the expansion Washington Senators in 1963, he finished where he had begun his ML career a half century earlier. Harris, the youngest man to lead a major league team to a World Series victory, was elected, as a manager, to the Hall of Fame in 1975 by the Veterans Committee.

» Atlanta's Dale Murphy wins his 2nd consecutive National League MVP Award, joining Ernie Banks, Joe Morgan, and Mike Schmidt, who also accomplished that feat. Murphy hit .302 with 36 home runs, 121 RBI, and 30 SBs this season, and received 21 of a possible 24 first-place votes.

"I'm a natural left-hander, but I throw right-handed because that's the way I learned. But I eat and drink left and write left. I'm amphibious." -DALE MURPHY, Braves outfielder (1976-90).

» Free-agent slugger Darryl Strawberry signs a 5-year contract with his hometown Dodgers, formally ending his 8-year stay with the Mets. He is the Mets all-time home run leader with 252.

» Cal Ripken, Jr. is named the American League MVP, beating out Cecil Fielder of Detroit. The Gold Glove third baseman hit .323, 34 homers, and 114 RBIs.

» The Mets announce GM Steve Phillips will take a paid leave of absence while a threatened sexual-harassment lawsuit against him is resolved. Phillips acknowledges having had an extramarital affair with the woman, but denies having harassed her. Frank Cashen will replace Phillips on an interim basis.

Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa is named the National League MVP. Sosa hits 66 homers and led the National League in RBIs while carrying the Cubs to the playoff.

» The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for Shoeless Joe Jackson to be honored. The resolution stops short of calling for his induction into the Hall of Fame. "It is worthy for this body to take a few minutes to stand up for fairness and right an old wrong," said Rep. Jim DeMint, the author of the resolution who represents Jackson's hometown of Greenville, S.C. Jackson was eligible for the Hall of Fame until 1991 but was never voted in either by the Baseball Writers' Association of American or the veterans committee. In 1991, the Hall's board adopted a resolution prohibiting players on the permanently banned list. The resolution now goes to the Senate.

The Dodgers trade disgruntled OF Raul Mondesi and P Pedro Borbon to the Blue Jays for All-star OF Shawn Green and IF Jorge Nunez. Green said he wanted to play in a metropolitan city with a large Jewish population, but apparently the California native didn't include Toronto in that.

Jason Bay (.282 ,26, 82) becomes the first Pirate, as well as the first Canadian, to win the National League Rookie of the Year. The 26-year old British Columbia native married to his college girlfriend, Kristen, two days ago.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, and baseballibrary.com

11-09-2007, 09:20 AM
Nov 9

» Frank Chance is sold to the Cincinnati Reds by the Cubs; when all National League clubs waive claims to him in December, the Reds free him to manage the Yankees.

"Baseball's Sad Lexicon", also known as Tinker to Evers to Chance after its refrain, is a 1910 baseball poem by Franklin Pierce Adams. The poem is presented as a single, rueful stanza from the point of view of a New York Giants fan seeing the talented Chicago Cubs infield of shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers, and first baseman Frank Chance complete a double play.

The trio first appeared in a game together on September 2, 1902. They turned their first double play on the next day, September 3, 1902. Likely, this double play combination would have never existed if it were not for Frank Selee, the Cubs' crafty manager from 1902 to 1905 (Chance took over the managerial reigns midway through the 1905 season because Selee was forced to step down due to illness.) Selee saw that Chance, who was originally a backup to catchers Tim Donahue and Johnny Kling, would be better suited as a first baseman. Chance at first opposed the move and even threatened to quit, but ultimately obliged. He quickly forgot his ambitions to be a catcher. Tinker, originally a third baseman, also shifted positions with a move to shortstop. And Evers, who was originally a shortstop, was switched to back up second baseman Bobby Lowe because of Tinker's move. When Lowe broke his ankle in the September 2 game, Evers came in to replace him. Evers then became the starter, and (somewhat like Lou Gehrig famously did in the 1920s) would long remain in the job he originally won due only to another player's injury. The Adams poem has made them perhaps the most famed double-play combination in history.

Baseball's Sad Lexicon by Franklin Pierce Adams

This legendary poem pays tribute to Cubs shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers and first baseman Frank Chance. The author was Franklin Pierce Adams who was a Chicago Cubs fan, a sportswriter for the New York Evening Mail and a poet thanks to an article that his editors said was too short — making him pen Baseball's Sad Lexicon to fill that space while on his way to cover a game at the Polo Grounds.

"(Johnny) Evers was a great player, a wonderful pivot man. But boy, how he could ride! (Frank) Chance used to say he wished Evers was an outfielder so he couldn't hear him." - Johnny Evers

Baseball's Sad Lexicon
by Franklin Pierce Adams ©
Published: New York Evening Mail (July 10, 1910)

These are the saddest of possible words:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly *****ing our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double-
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."

» Rabbit Maranville is waived to the Dodgers from the Cubs.

Rabbit Maranville was a 5'5" baseball clown with a goblin face full of laugh lines. His humor was antic and visible to the fans: handing an umpire a pair of glasses or mocking slow pitchers and ponderous batters in pantomime. Photographers loved him. He would pull the bill of his cap over one ear - baseball's oldest comic gesture - and jump into the arms of his biggest teammate. He was an after-hours roisterer, too. After a few drinks with kindred souls like banjo-playing Charlie "Jolly Cholly" Grimm, he became the hotel ledge walker, the goldfish swallower, the practical joker.

Nicknamed for his speed and rabbit-like leaps, he was always a superior fielder, famous for his unique basket catch of high infield flies. Consistency was his hallmark and greatest virtue. During his first tour with Boston, he led NL shortstops in putouts each year from 1914 to 1919 (except for 1918, which he spent in the Navy), assists twice, double plays three times, and fielding average once.

Although a well-established Boston favorite, he was traded to Pittsburgh in 1921 for outfielders Billy Southworth and Fred Nicholson, shortstop Walter Barbare, and $15,000. With the Pirates, he led shortstops in fielding average in 1923. When young Glenn Wright took over at short in 1924, Maranville shifted to second and again had the league's best fielding average. He was dealt to the Cubs after the 1924 season, but alcohol nearly did him in. He failed in a managerial opportunity with Chicago and was relieved of duties with his club in eighth place after 53 games.

Due to his instability, he moved around the league despite his star status. The Cubs waived him to Brooklyn. The Dodgers, who suffered many eccentrics gladly in their time, released him unconditionally halfway through 1926. The Cardinals, always bargain hunters, picked him up and optioned him to Rochester (International League), where he got his drinking under control. In 1928, with the Cardinals in trouble at shortstop, Branch Rickey brought Maranville back to bolster the infield in a pennant-winning season. Charley Gelbert arrived in 1929, and Maranville was sold back to the Braves. As always, his play in the field was remarkably consistent. From 1929 to 1933, despite aging, he never played fewer than 142 games a season. He was the league's top fielding shortstop in 1930, and second baseman in 1932.

During a spring training game against the Yankees in 1934, Maranville, a spry 42, was on the front end of a double steal. The throw went to second, and Maranville, trying to score from third, had Frank Crosetti's return throw beaten, but he slid into the rookie catcher blocking the plate and snapped the tibia and fibula in his left leg. The breaks took most of the season to mend, and when he tried to play in 1935, he was clearly not his old self. But he batted .323 in 123 games for Elmira (New York-Penn League) while managing in 1936, and played six games while skippering Albany (Eastern League) three years later, at 47.

Maranville stands first among all shortstops in putouts (5,139), third in assists (7,354), and second in total chances (13,124). He hit a creditable .251 in the dead-ball years from 1914-20 and improved to .265 in the lively-ball era thereafter. In two World Series (1914 and 1928), he had identical .308 averages. He was the cleanup hitter for the 1914 Braves. He hit 177 triples lifetime, which ties him with Stan Musial at 20th on the all-time list. Of his 28 home runs, 22 were inside the park, and in 1922, he set a still-standing ML record by going to the plate 672 times (the league high) without homering. Maranville was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1954, the year of his death.

» The White Sox release Luke Appling, who has been with the Sox since 1930, so he can become the manager of the Memphis Chicks (SA). He accepted the job with the Chicks on November 1. He'll be named minor league manager of the year, by The Sporting News, in 1952.

Voted the greatest living White Sox player in a 1969 fan poll, Appling was almost a member of the Chicago Cubs. After two years at Oglethorpe University, Appling signed with the Atlanta Crackers (Southern Association). He was sold to the Cubs late in the 1930 season, but thanks to the intervention of Milt Stock (Eddie Stanky's father-in-law), Appling joined the White Sox in a cash transaction that also involved little-known outfielder Doug Taitt. There was nothing remarkable about Appling's first two seasons. His arm was powerful, but his throws were inaccurate, and sometimes wound up in the stands. Worse yet was his penchant for muffing the most routine ground ball.

The arrival of Jimmy Dykes as manager in 1934 had a positive effect on the young shortstop. Dykes cajoled, pleaded, and instilled confidence. When Appling finally realized that he wasn't going to drive the ball out of spacious Comiskey Park, he adjusted his stance and became one of the most productive hitters of the decade. With a keen batting eye, the leadoff hitter would foul off pitch after pitch before selecting just the right one, or drawing one of his many bases on balls. Legend has it that on one occasion, Appling fouled off seventeen straight pitches before hitting a triple, and his 1,302 lifetime walks (with a high of 122 in 1935) ranks 25th all-time.

In his greatest year, 1936, Appling led the AL with a .388 average. It was the first batting title won by a White Sox player. He also had a club-record 27-game hitting streak and a seven-for-seven performance over three games. In 1943, at age 35, he won his second batting title. He hit .300 15 times.

Appling held down the shortstop position for nearly twenty years. In that time, he established ML shortstop records for games played and double plays and AL records for putouts and assists; all were later broken by Luis Aparicio. In spite of his everyday play, he acquired the epithet "Old Aches & Pains" through 20 years of complaining about his various physical ailments, the condition of the infield ("I swear, that park must have been built on a junkyard!" As it turned out, he was right), and salary disputes with General Manager Harry Grabiner. A $5,000 bonus promised him for winning the batting title in 1936 was later rescinded. In disgust he tore up his 1937 contract. Owner J. Lou Comiskey weathered the storm, and when Appling was ready to play, he was given a new contract. This time he signed on for another year, even thought it was $2,500 less than what he wanted. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964, Appling worked as a batting instructor for the Atlanta Braves in the 1980s and rekindled memories with a home run off Warren Spahn in the first Cracker Jack Old-Timers' Game.

» The U.S. Supreme Court decides 7-2 that baseball is a sport and not a business and therefore not subject to antitrust laws. The ruling is made in a case involving Yankee farmhand George Toolson, who refused to move from AAA to AA.

» Oakland releases Billy Williams, ending his Hall of Fame career with 2,711 hits, 426 home runs, 1,475 RBI, and a .290 average.

Sweet-swinging Billy Williams quietly carved out a Hall of Fame career. Often overshadowed by flashier players during his heyday, he was a dependable star for 14 full seasons as a Cub. From September 22, 1963 to September 2, 1970, he established a National League record of 1,117 consecutive games played that stood until Steve Garvey broke it in 1983. He also set NL marks for games played by an outfielder in one season (164 in 1965) and consecutive years with 600 or more at-bats (nine, from 1962 to '70, broken by Pete Rose). He tied major league records with five homers in two consecutive games (September 8 and 10, 1968), and four consecutive doubles in a game (April 9, 1969).

The Alabama native, inspired by the feats of Hank Aaron, signed with the Cubs in 1956. A lefthanded hitter, he batted better than .300 at every minor league level and had brief trials in Chicago in 1959 and 1960. Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby worked with him at Houston (American Association) in '60 as a roving instructor, and told the Cubs front office that Williams belonged in the majors. Hornsby proved correct. Williams batted .278 with 25 HR and 86 RBI in 1961 to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award, but received little publicity in light of Mickey Mantle's and Roger Maris's accomplishments that year. That was the first of 13 straight seasons in which Williams delivered at least 20 HR and 84 RBI.

Two of Williams's greatest games came in 1968; he hit for the cycle on July 17, and hit three homers on September 10. But he was stuck on a losing club, and overshadowed by the jovial Ernie Banks and the outspoken Ron Santo. The arrival of Leo Durocher, another flamboyant figure, brought winning back to the Cubs, with Williams leading the way. June 29, 1969 was designated Billy Williams Day at Wrigley Field; the man of honor broke Stan Musial's NL record of 896 consecutive games played, and went 5-for-9 as the Cubs took two from the Cardinals. Chicago seemed pennant-bound that year, but fell before the late-season charge of the "Amazing" Mets. While many of the Cubs slumped, Williams hit .304 in September.

Williams had his most productive season in 1970, leading the NL in hits and in runs scored, and finished second to Johnny Bench in HR (42) and RBI (129). In 1972, he hit .333 to win the NL batting crown. That July 11, he went 8-for-8 in a doubleheader. He finished second to Bench in the RBI race and in NL MVP voting, but was named TSN ML Player of the Year.

Williams never played in a World Series. His best chance came after he was traded to Oakland for Darold Knowles, Bob Locker, and Manny Trillo after the 1974 season. Williams was, by then, perfect for the DH role, and helped the A's to a fifth straight divisional title. But the Red Sox kept Williams and the A's from the WS with a sweep in the LCS.

Williams retired after batting .211 in 1976 and returned to the Cubs as a coach and batting instructor. He served Oakland in the same capacity in 1983-85, then went back to the Cubs. On his sixth try, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1987. The following year, he moved into Chicago's front office.

» University of Alabama 1B Dave Magadan, who led the NCAA with a .535 batting average last season, wins the Golden Spike Award as the outstanding amateur baseball player in the United States.

» Lou Piniella is named manager of the Seattle Mariners.

Drayton McLane Jr. officially becomes owner of the Houston Astros, purchasing the team from John McMullen for $115 million.

» The Mariners trade 3B Dave Magadan and cash to the Marlins in exchange for P Jeff Darwin.

Magadan, a lefthanded line-drive hitter, showed the same skills as cousin Lou Piniella. The Mets' second-round pick in the June 1983 draft, he was the offensive hero of the Mets' division-clinching game in 1986 during a late-season call-up. His playing time was restricted by the presence of Keith Hernandez and Howard Johnson, but he hit .300 while filling in for the injured Hernandez in 1989, and manager Davey Johnson often moved Howard Johnson to shortstop to get Magadan's bat into the lineup.

His performance earned him a more regular role in 1990, as he replaced the departed Hernandez at first base and played in a career-high 144 games, batting .328 and leading the league with a .425 on-base percentage. While he never duplicated his 1990 achievements, Magadan served as a valuable reserve over the next decade, including .300 seasons for Houston in 1995 and Oakland from 1998-99.

» Dodgers P Hideo Nomo (13–6) is named National League Rookie of the Year, becoming the 1st Japanese player ever to win a major American baseball award.

» At Yokohama, Japanese All Star Hideki Matsui hits a grand slam off Shane Reynolds. Reynolds retires 20 of the next 21 batters, but loses 6–4.

» It is revealed that Hall of Fame P Jim "Catfish" Hunter is suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the progressive, ultimately fatal neurological condition better known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Nicknamed Catfish for effect by A's owner Charles O. Finley when Hunter was signed for $75,000, other stories about the origin of the humble North Carolina farmboy's moniker are apocryphal. He was 26-2 with five no-hitters in high school, but nearly lost his chance to play pro ball when he suffered a foot wound in a hunting accident. He missed the 1964 season due to surgery, and made the A's in 1965. From then until 1977, Hunter didn't miss a start. Named to the All-Star team for the first of eight times in 1966, he first participated in '67, yielding only one run in five innings, but lost. On May 8, 1968 against Minnesota, he pitched the AL's first regular-season perfect game in 46 years. (Charlie Robertson in 1922 was the last; Don Larsen's came in the World Series in 1956.) Hunter received a $5,000 raise on the spot from Finley.

In 1970, his first season over .500 (18-14), Hunter tied for the AL lead with 40 starts. He then won 21 games each season from 1971 to 1973; his .750 winning percentage (21-7) in 1972 and .808 (21-5) in 1973 led the AL. In 1974 he won the Cy Young Award; his 25 wins tied him with Fergie Jenkins for the AL lead, and his 2.49 ERA stood alone at the top. In each of those four seasons, Oakland won their division, and three times were World Champions. Hunter was 4-0 with one save in seven A's WS appearances.

Hunter was declared a free agent for 1975 by arbitrator Peter Seitz when Finley failed to pay $50,000, half of Hunter's salary, to a life-insurance fund. Hunter signed with the Yankees for $3.5 million, by far the largest amount ever paid a player to that point, inspiring others, especially A's stars, to seek free agency. In 1975, his first season in New York, Catfish went 23-14, tying with Jim Palmer for the league lead in wins and topping the AL in complete games and innings pitched. However, he took the loss in the '75 All-Star Game. He helped the Yankees to three straight pennants (1976-78) despite declining effectiveness due to arm strain and diabetes. After going 2-9 in 1979, Hunter retired at age 33. Though continuing to assist the Yankees in spring training, his priorities remained on his farm in Hertford, NC.

A good hitting pitcher, Hunter batted .350 in 1971 (36-for-103) and .226 lifetime, with six home runs. He holds Oakland's all time top spots in wins (161), starts (340), innings (2,456), shutouts (31), and strikeouts (1,520). His World Series marks in five categories rank him among the top ten in history. Soft-spoken and humble, with a dose of country charm, Catfish was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.

» Kansas City Royals OF Carlos Beltran is named the American League Rookie of the Year. Beltran was the 1st rookie with 100+ RBI since Mike Piazza had 112 in 1993 and the 1st in the AL since Mark McGwire had 118 in 1987. He is the first rookie with 100 runs /100 RBI since Fred Lynn in 75.

After exercising Omar Daal's $4.5 million contract option for 2002 yesterday, the Phillies trade the right-hander to the Dodgers for minor league pitchers Eric Judge and Jesus Cordero. Philadelphia acquired Daal along with Travis Lee, Nelson Figueroa and Vicente Padilla in the 2000 deal which sent Curt Schilling to Diamondbacks.

Hoping to fill the void created by Steve Stone's resignation, the Cubs hire former Diamondback manager and current Fox television analyst to broadcast games on WGN. After spending twenty years in the broadcast booth, Stone left Chicago after his on-air comments concerning the team’s swoon in the wild card race angered manager Dusty Baker and some of the players.

After coming out of retirement to pitch for his home town team, Roger Clemens (18-4, 218, 2.98) becomes the oldest hurler to win the Cy Young Award. The 42-year old ‘Rocket’ has received the honor a record seven times and becomes the first to win the award with four different teams; Red Sox (1986-87, 1991), Blue Jays (1997-98), Yankees (2001) and the Astros (2004).

Joining Mariners’ new manager, Mike Hardware, Don Baylor is named the team’s batting coach, replacing Paul Molitor. The former major league skipper became available after the Mets announced a new coaching staff would be put in place to work with recently hired pilot, Willie Randoph.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, baseball-almanac.com, and baseballibrary.com

11-12-2007, 09:47 AM
Nov 12

» With Ban Johnson barred from the meeting, the 16 ML clubs settle their differences. The 12-team-league idea is discarded, and the two leagues will continue with their same identities. The owners unanimously elect Kenesaw Mountain Landis chairman for seven years. Judge Landis accepts, but only as sole commissioner with final authority over the players and owners, while remaining a federal judge (with his $7,500 federal salary deducted from the baseball salary of $50,000). The agreement will be signed on January 12, 1921, when he is to begin his duties.

The American League is Johnson's gift to baseball. Others were present at the creation, but it was Johnson's driving force, shrewd business sense, rigorous standards, and lively imagination that made the league a success.

He gave form and definition to the emerging role of baseball executive. After studying law but falling short of a degree at Marietta (Ohio) College, he became sports editor for the Cincinnati Commercial-Gazette. After Johnson 's friend Charlie Comiskey was fired as Reds manager after the 1894 season, they took over the faltering Western League, with Ban as president. It soon became known as the best-run circuit in baseball. A name change (to the American League) in 1900, combined with a series of swift, opportunistic maneuvers, outflanked the established NL, and by 1901 Johnson's league claimed major status. After some fine-tuning of franchises, the AL achieved the structure it held until 1954. In 1903 the NL was forced to accept its parity and agree to a World Series between league champions.

As boss, Johnson found no task too large or too small to merit his attention. He located millionaires to bankroll his teams, came down hard on rowdies and roughhousing on the field, appointed managers, arranged trades, and apportioned players. He arranged schedules to spread travel costs equitably, interpreted rules, levied fines and suspensions, issued statistics, and even recruited William Howard Taft as the first president to throw out an Opening Day ball. One of his most important contributions was to enforce respect for umpires as symbols of baseball's integrity.

He did it all with little grace and no humor. Johnson was hot-tempered, bullheaded, imperious, and uncompromising, not unlike many other tycoons of his time. But he was successful. His owners voted him $25,000 a year and his presidency for life.

During his term on the National Commission (the triumvirate, including the AL and NL presidents, that ruled ML baseball from 1903 until 1920), he was thought of as baseball's czar, but his downfall was inevitable. New AL owners were less willing to accept his high-handed decisions affecting their investments. Old friends were angered. Comiskey had once said, "Ban Johnson IS the American League!" But when he lost pitcher Jack Quinn to the Yankees on a Johnson ruling, the White Sox owner thundered: "I made you, and by God I'll break ou!"

Indirectly, he did. The Black Sox scandal caused the abolition of the National Commission and the establishment of Judge Landis as Commissioner of Baseball. Johnson's era had ended. He remained AL president, but Landis limited his duties, curtailed his power, and ultimately humiliated him. After promoting an investigation concerning charges that Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker had been involved in gambling fixes in 1919, he was persuaded to resign on October 17, 1927.

» Following the death of Phil Ball, wealthy owner of the St. Louis Browns, his estate sells the team to a syndicate headed by Donald L. Barnes and William O. DeWitt. As the new owners of Sportsman's Park, they announce their intention to install lights and bring night baseball to the American League, an idea endorsed by the Cardinals as well.

» The youngest of the three DiMaggio brothers, Dom DiMaggio, is bought for $40,000 by the Boston Red Sox from San Francisco (PCL).

P Victor Starfin wins his 42nd game in a 96-game season, leading the Yomiuri Giants to the pennant, and setting a post-1900 world record for season victories that will be equaled (by Kazuhisa Inao in 1961) but never broken. Starfin, the 6'4" son of Russian immigrants, was exempt from the military call-up of able-bodied Japanese. From 1936-55 he won 303 games, the first in Japanese baseball to top the 300 mark. Except for Sadaharu Oh, he is the only non-Japanese player in the Japanese baseball Hall of Fame.

» Alva Bradley wouldn't fire Oscar Vitt on his players' demand during the season, but he does now. Today he hires Roger Peckinpaugh to become Cleveland boss, the 2nd hitch for Peck.

Detroit's regular third baseman from 1915 through 1917, Vitt was a marginal ballplayer who never batted higher than .254. But he was a smart, scrappy baseball man who became a minor league manager and earned a reputation for leading aggressive teams to pennants. He was hired by the Indians to instill new life into the team in 1938 and finished third in 1938 and 1939, but his tactics were resisted by the Cleveland players. They petitioned for his removal in 1940, becoming known as The Crybabies, and lost the pennant they had been expected to win, finishing a game behind the first-place Tigers.

» The White Sox place OF Jim Rivera on a one-year probation after he is cleared of a rape charge.

Fred Hutchinson replaces Harry Walker as Cardinal manager. With the departure of 'the Hat', next season will be the first time in National League history without a player-manager.

The son of major league pitcher Ewart "Dixie" Walker and brother of 1944 NL batting champ Fred "Dixie" Walker, Harry is the only player to win a NL batting title playing for two teams in the same season (and the Walker brothers are the only major league siblings to each win a batting average crown). Harry was hitting .200 through May 3, 1947 when the Cardinals traded him to the Phillies. He pounded the ball for a .371 average the rest of the way to finish at .363. It was to be his only outstanding season.

It was Walker who, in Game Seven of the 1946 WS, drove in Enos Slaughter from first base with the winning run to defeat the Red Sox. He was called Harry the Hat because, at the plate, he would adjust his cap after every pitch. As a result of his tugging, he went through 20 caps a season. He became a manager, taking over the Cardinals from Eddie Stanky for most of 1955 and pinch hitting nine times. He managed Pittsburgh from 1965 through mid-1967 (twice bringing them in third) and Houston from 1968 through late 1972. He continued in baseball as a batting coach.

» Former Cincinnati manager Fred Hutchinson, 45, dies of cancer in Florida.

One writer said Hutchinson looked like a man who had just lost an argument to an umpire - something Hutchinson often did. He was hot-tempered, given to tossing furniture about the clubhouse and smashing light bulbs after frustrating defeats. But he was extremely well-liked as a player, and as a manager, commanded love and veneration from his players.

Hutchinson was an aggressive, relentless, and smart pitcher, but did not have overwhelming speed. His career with Detroit was interrupted by four years in the Navy, but he returned in 1946 and had five consecutive winning campaigns, averaging 15 victories a season. A lifetime .263 hitter, he was used 91 times in the pinch, with four home runs - one of them his last hit, in 1953. For several years he was the AL player representative.

Hutchinson replaced Red Rolfe as Detroit manager in mid-1952. He left after the 1954 season because the Tigers would not give him more than a one-year contract. From 1956 through 1958, he managed the Cardinals. Cincinnati's Frank Lane explained why he hired Hutchinson in 1959: "When I was general manager of the White Sox and Hutch was at Detroit, I went looking for him in Chicago one night to talk about something. I found him in a hotel room with several players, explaining the cutoff play on a blackboard. He was the first manager I ever knew who believed in night school. That impressed me."

Hutchinson won one pennant with the Reds, in 1961, but lost the World Series to the Yankees. He battled cancer until he was forced to resign in August of 1964. Named as a coach for the '64 All-Star Game, he moved with great effort and pain, but would not miss it. The Reds went on to finish second. When Hutchinson died at age 45 that November 12, he was voted Most Courageous Athlete and was honored by several chapters of the Baseball Writers Association with fundraising events for cancer research.

» The Dodgers complete an 18-game tour of Japan with a 9-8-1 record, the most losses ever for a ML club touring the Far East.

» Don Zimmer is named manager of the Texas Rangers, becoming the 10th manager in the club's 9-year history.

» Roger Clemens wins the American League Cy Young Award unanimously, joining Denny McLain (1968) as the only pitchers to do so.

» Arbitrator George Nicolau overturns the suspension of Yankees P Steve Howe for being too severe. The pitcher is resigned by the Yankees.

Steve Howe was a promising young reliever when he broke in with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1980. But although he had the presence and poise to become a star in the bigs, his quick success with the Dodgers was tempered by his even quicker spiral into the world of substance abuse. Howe ended up battling his inner demons as much as opposing batters, and at the end of his career, his most impressive statistic was his record-number of drug-related suspensions (seven).

A flame-throwing rookie with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Howe tallied up 17 saves in 1980, breaking Joe Black's club rookie record for saves. The first-year also notched seven wins with a 2.65 ERA, and was awarded Rookie of the Year honors at the close of the season, beating out Bill Gullickson of the Expos.

The reliever pitched considerably well with LA for the next two seasons, getting quality time out of the bullpen, registering ERAs in the mid-2.00s. 1983 started on a high note, as Howe held his opponents scoreless through his first 14 games. But then on May 29, 1983 came another "high note" -- Howe checked himself into a drug rehabilitation center to get treatment for cocaine addiction. In the winter before, the reliever had received help for substance abuse, and this relapse would be an omen of his inability to kick the habit. Howe was released from the center in late June, but was again suspended in late September after missing a club flight to Atlanta and refusing to take a urinalysis test. Howe actually finished with admirable stats, 18 saves and a 1.44 ERA, but despite his prowess on the mound, Howe was seen as trouble.

After Howe tested positive for cocaine three times in November, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn suspended him for the 1984 season to protect the "image of baseball." Howe wasn't the only player going to the sidelines for substance abuse, as Royals players Willie Wilson, Willie Aikens, and Jerry Martin all failed their own tests, setting off a trend in the 1980s that would see dozens of players enter clinics and absorb suspensions and fines.

Howe came back in 1985 with the Dodgers, appearing in 19 games before they released him in July. The reliever was picked up a month later, when the Minnesota Twins were searching for help in their bullpen. Howe floundered there, earning a 6.16 ERA over 13 games, and was released in September.

Howe's next five years read like a page out of Kerouac's On the Road. Howe jumped between two independent teams, a Mexican League team, the Texas Rangers, and unemployment, interspersing his organized baseball stints with collapses into drug dependency. In February 1991, Howe signed a minor-league deal with the New York Yankees, and as the tradition with donning the pinstripes, attempted to clean up his act.

But Howe was nailed again in June 1992, this time for purchasing a gram of cocaine in Montana. Commissioner Fay Vincent gave Howe a lifetime ban for violating a drug aftercare program, and the righty became the first player ever to be given a lifetime ban for substance abuse. That November, Howe was reinstated when an arbitrator argued that the pitcher depended on the cocaine for helping him with his Attention Deficit Disorder. The Bombers re-signed him, and after a brief stint in the minors, he was back at Yankee Stadium.

After the rest of the Yankee bullpen collapsed in 1994, Howe was given the job as full-time closer. He responded with aplomb, recording a 1.80 ERA and 15 saves. The next year he flopped, and his ERA rose three runs as he was relegated to set-up man. After going 0-1 with a save and a 6.35 ERA in 17 games in 1996, Howe was released.

» Ken Griffey Jr. is named American League MVP.

The Athletics sign free agent IF Dave Magadan.

» In the 1999 Intercontinental Cup tourney in Sydney, Australia, Cuban righthander Ciro Licea shuts out Team USA, 7-0 striking out 13. Team USA will play for the bronze medal against either Australia or Japan while Cuba, with its second win against the Americans in the tournament, will play the winner of that game for the gold medal.

One year after playing Class-A ball, Albert Pujols (.329, 37, 130) is named the National League Rookie of the Year by BBWAA. The Cardinal freshman set NL rookie marks RBIs (130), total bases (360)and extra base hits (88) and fell one home run shy of tying the National League rookie record of 38 established by Frank Robinson in 1956 as a member of the Reds.

Although disappointed not winning the award unanimously, Mariners outfielder Ichiro, who led the circuit in hitting, is named the American League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Chris Assenheimer of the Elyria (Ohio) Chronicle-Telegram voted for C.C. Sabathia (17-4) as his top choice citing the nine years of professional experience in Japan made Ichiro less of a rookie than Indian hurler Sabathia.

» Oakland SS Miguel Tejada wins the American League MVP award, Texas' Alex Rodriguez finishes second in the voting.

Thanks to Luis Garcia's ninth inning tie-breaking home run, Mexico upsets the United States Olympic baseball team in the quarterfinals of the qualifying tournament, 2-1. Being knocked out of the by the loss in Panama means the squad will be unable to defend its gold medal the next summer in Athens.

After refusing a $60 million, four-year extension from the Red Sox last winter, Nomar Garciaparra signs a one-year deal with the Cubs, the team he was traded to in July, for $8 million. The all-star shortstop, who is coming off an injury- plagued season, can increase the value of the contract with bonus incentives based on performance and playing time to $11 million.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

11-13-2007, 08:59 AM
Nov 13

» At the National League meetings, President Young announces that the Temple Cup Series has been discontinued, and that there will be two umpires per game next year.

William Temple, the president of the Pittsburgh Pirates, proposed in 1893 that a postseason series be played between the National League's first- and second-place teams. In the 1880s, there had been postseason play between the winners of the NL and the American Association, but in 1892 the NL absorbed the AA (becoming a 12-team circuit) and played a split season. That plan was roundly criticized, and was dropped after just one year; in 1893 the Pirates had finished second to the Boston Beaneaters, and Temple felt they had missed a series that was due them. The Temple Cup series was patterned after the earlier Dauvray Cup; permanent possession of the Cup, which cost $800, would go to the first team to win it three times. Lack of enthusiasm on the part of the players doomed the series; their apathy spread to the fans, who stayed away in droves in later years. The series was dropped after 1897, with no team taking the Cup, although the Orioles were close with two winning series; had they taken it seriously in their first two efforts, they would most likely have captured it. Instead, the league returned it to Mr. Temple; it is now in the Hall of Fame.

» Jacob Ruppert, Yankee owner, buys the Newark franchise in the International League. During the decade the Bears will dominate the league and send a steady stream of players to New York.

» Bucky Harris, who had been "Boy Manager" of the 1924 and 1925 American League champion Senators, is hired back by Washington to replace youthful Joe Cronin, who has been sold to Boston.

» Tiger owner Frank Navin dies while horse back riding. Walter Briggs will eventually become the new president.

» Lefty O'Doul's all-stars, including Joe DiMaggio, Ferris Fain, and Billy Martin, lose 3–1 to a Pacific League all-star team—only the 2nd time since 1922 that an American professional team has lost to Japan, and the first time to professional players.

In New York, O'Doul was called the Man in the Green Suit, exploiting an Irish-sounding name of French origin. But he was a hero in his hometown of San Fransisco, where his fame lives on through Lefty O'Doul's Bar.

O'Doul spent most of his career in the Pacific Coast Legue, first as a 12-8 pitcher in 1918. Sore-armed, he saw little action while with the Yankees in 1919, 1920 and 1922, but he went 25-9 for San Fransisco (PCL) in 1921. He earned his two major league decisions as a Red Sox reliever in 1923. Then his arm went dead.

He returned to the PCL, where he pitched unsuccessfully in 1924 and began his second career, as an outfielder, to make use of his great natural hitting ability. With Salt Lake, Hollywood, and San Fransisco (PCL) from 1924-27, O'Doul batted between .338 and .392 and hit with power. He was an OF for the Giants in 1928 before being traded to the Phillies, with cash, for the more-established Fred Leach - a lifetime .307 hitter.

Playing in 154 games for Philadelphia in 1929, O'Doul had 32 home runs and set a National League record with 254 hits, batting .398 to win the NL batting crown. He hit .383 in 1930, then was traded to Brooklyn in a five-player deal. His .368 average in 1932 again won him the NL batting title.

After spending 1934 with the Giants, he returned, at age 37, to the PCL. O'Doul managed the San Fransisco Seals from 1935-1951 (and other PCL teams through 1957), pitching and pinch hitting some, and becoming a renowned teacher of young players. He sent Joe DiMaggio up to the Yankees, claiming the most significant thing he did for his fellow San Franciscan was to change nothing.

Making annual visits to Japan in the 1930s as a baseball ambassador of good will, he became an idol of fans there. He took the attack on Pearl Harbor as a personal affront. O'Doul died in San Fransisco on December 7, 1969.

» In Japan, the touring Dodgers win the last game of their exhibition trip to finish with 14 wins, four losses, and a tie.

» Mayor Robert Wagner of New York announces preliminary plans for a 3rd ML. Chairman William Shea, of what will become the Continental League, says it is apparent that the National League is going to ignore New York City. He implies that the new league will be free to raid ML rosters.

» Following a meeting of National League owners, President Warren Giles says the league will not stand in the way of American League expansion to Seattle and Kansas City.

» Bob Gibson edges Pete Rose to win the National League MVP award. Fittingly in the year of the pitcher, it is the only year in which both MVPs are hurlers.

There have been few pitchers more intimidating or more dominating than Bob Gibson. His great physical stamina and tremendous concentration gave him an enormous edge enhanced by his willingness to pitch inside and sometimes hit batters. His 1968 season is one of the very best ever turned in by a pitcher, and his stellar World Series performances made him the toughest pitcher in the Fall Classic since Whitey Ford and brought him Hall of Fame election in 1981. With a blazing fastball, darting slider, good curve, and pinpoint control, from 1963 to 1972 Gibson averaged better than 19 wins per season. He struck out more than 200 batters nine times and led the NL four times in shutouts. In 1971 he no-hit the Pirates.

Two aspects of Gibson's career demand special mention. In 1968 he pitched 13 shutouts on his way to a 1.12 ERA, the second-lowest since 1893 in 300 innings. During one stretch Gibson allowed only two runs over 92 innings. His strikeouts to innings ratio approached 1.0, while he walked only 62 batters all season. At one point he won fifteen games in succession.

The second area in which Gibson proved phenomenal was World Series play. He won seven consecutive games and pitched eight straight complete games in World Series competition. Only Whitey Ford owns more World Series victories than Gibson, who is also second all-time in WS strikeouts. In the opening match of the 1968 classic, Gibson beat 30-game winner Denny McLain 4-0 and set a Series record by fanning 17 Tigers. His 35 total strikeouts in the 1968 WS were also a record. He won Game Four 10-1, but lost Game Seven 4-1, on two days' rest, to Mickey Lolich. Gibson lost a shutout in the seventh inning when Curt Flood uncharacteristically misjudged a routine fly ball.

Gibson won the clinchers in both the 1964 and 1967 Series. In Game Two of the 1964 Series against the Yankees, he lost 8-3 but kept it close until he was knocked out in the ninth inning. He won Game Five 5-2 in ten innings, taking a shutout into the ninth. Coming back on two days' rest for Game Seven, he won 7-5. In 27 innings, he had 31 strikeouts and a 3.00 ERA. In 1967 he beat Boston's Jose Santiago in the opener, 2-1, and in Game Four, 6-0, and bested Jim Lonborg 7-2 in the finale.

A sickly child who almost died, Gibson was found to have a heart murmur but went on to excel in basketball and baseball in high school. He accepted a basketball scholarship to Creighton University and was the first person inducted into the school's Sports Hall of Fame. In 1957 Bob agreed to sign with the Cardinals for $4,000 and reported to the Omaha farm club. After the baseball campaign was complete, he joined the Harlem Globetrotters for a season. His Omaha manager, Johnny Keane, had great confidence in him, but two trials with the Cardinals had produced a 6-11 record and not much of an impression on the St. Louis manager, Solly Hemus. However, when Keane replaced Hemus in 1961, he put Gibson in the starting rotation to stay. Gibson blossomed in 1963, going 18-9, as the Cardinals contended following the acquisition of fine-fielding shortstop Dick Groat.

Gibson retired as the winningest pitcher in Cardinals history. He became the second pitcher in history to fan 3,000 batters and also hurled 56 shutouts. His incredible career was accomplished despite a fractured leg (1962), a severely strained elbow (1966), a broken leg (1967), and badly torn ligaments and knee surgery (1973). After struggling through the 1975 campaign on bad legs, Gibson decided in early September that it was time to retire when light-hitting Pete LaCock powered a grand-slam home run off him.

Gibson proved quickly and repeatedly there simply wasn't an element of the game he hadn't mastered. From 1965 to 1973 he won nine consecutive Gold Gloves for fielding excellence. He often helped his cause with the bat, laying down a successful bunt or hitting up the middle. He had 24 regular-season home runs plus a pair in World Series play. In 1970 he batted .303 and was occasionally employed as a pinch hitter. After serving as former teammate Joe Torre's pitching coach with the Mets and Braves, Gibson returned to St. Louis as a baseball radio commentator and sports show host.

» For the first time in history, two players share the MVP Award. The NL co-winners are Willie Stargell, the Pirates spiritual leader, who batted .281 with 32 home runs; and the Cardinals Keith Hernandez, who led the NL in runs (116), doubles (48), and batting (.344).

» Ryne Sandberg wins the National League MVP Award, becoming the first Cub to do so since Ernie Banks in 1959. Sandberg hit .314 with 19 home runs and 32 stolen bases and led the NL in runs (114) and triples (19). He's a triple and homer short of being the first with 200 hits, 20 home runs, 20 triples, 20 doubles, and 20 steals.

» Dave Stewart, who went 9-5 for his hometown A's after being released by the Phillies in May, signs a 2-year contract with Oakland.

Overcoming physical and personal problems, Dave Stewart became a star in his native Oakland. Originally signed as a catcher by the Dodgers, the hard-throwing Smoke pitched well, in limited use, with Los Angeles, but struggled with Texas and Philadelphia. He earned some respect by successfully fending off a karate kick by Indians manager Pat Corrales, then flattening him, during a brawl on July 1, 1986. Encouraged that year by A's coach Dave Duncan to add a forkball to his fastball and slider, Stewart became a Cy Young Award candidate in 1987.

He led the club in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, complete games, and starts, becoming the second Oakland A's pitcher (with Vida Blue) to notch a 200-strikeout season. Preferring to pitch in hot weather, Stewart keyed the A's successful pennant effort in 1988 with his second straight 20-win season and became a respected team leader in the Oakland community.

On September 22, 1989 Stewart's 100th career victory made him the only pitcher of the 1980s with three consecutive 20-win seasons. He won two games in both the LCS and the World Series that year, the only man ever to do so, and was the WS MVP.

» Former Reds marketing director Charles Levy, in a deposition in support of fired Controller Tom Sabo's suit against the Reds, says Marge Schott referred to former Reds Eric Davis and Dave Parker as "million-dollar niggers." He also says she had a swastika arm band at home. Roger Blaemire, a former veep, testifies that he also heard her use racial slurs.

» San Diego 3B Ken Caminiti is named the MVP of the National League. After the All-Star break, Caminiti led all NL players with a.360 average, 28 homers, and 81 RBI. He sealed the Padres NL West title by going 4-for-4 on September 27 against the Dodgers Ismael Valdes.

The Blue Jays ink their ace pitcher Juan Guzman to a 2-year $9 million deal with incentives. Along with the just-signed Pat Hentgen and nabbing Roger Clemens next month, the Jays load up for next year.

» Babe Ruth hits new heights today: $126,500. That is the price paid for the ball he hit in 1923 for the first home run in Yankee Stadium. Mark Scala found the Ruth ball two years ago in the attic of his grandmother's house. The bid was $110,000 and the total price includes the auction house's 15 percent commission. Two year ago, the ball Eddie Murray hit for his 500th home run was sold for what one day could be $500,000. Michael Lasky, the founder of the Psychic Friends Network, paid $280,000 that was put in an annuity to be paid over 20 years. With interest, the annuity will be worth about $500,000, according to a spokesman for Lasky, who also operates as syndicated handicapper Mike Warren. The previous record for an auctioned baseball was $93,500 for the ball that went through Bill Buckner's legs in the 1986 World Series. That ball was bought by actor Charlie Sheen in 1992. Other auctioned items include: the bat Pete Rose used for his 4,191st hit, which tied Ty Cobb's career record, was sold by an unidentified Rose associate for $21,096; an autographed ball from President Franklin Roosevelt that he used to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the 1941 season opener at Griffith Stadium sold for $17,255, and a personal check signed Henry Louis Lou Gehrig sold for $15,306.

Becoming the first pitcher to win the American League Cy Young award unanimously in consecutive years, Red Sox hurler Pedro Martinez (18-6,1.74) has copped the 'top pitcher' honor three of the last four seasons.

Randy Johnson (21-6, 2.49, 372) wins his fourth Cy Young Award, his third straight as a member of the Diamondbacks. The 'Big Unit', who also won the honor in 1995 with the Mariners, is the second pitcher to win three consecutive Cy Young awards joining Greg Maddux who won four in a row from 1992-95.

The Giants select former Expo veteran skipper Felipe Alou to replace Dusty Baker as their new manager. The 67-year-old Dominican Republic native compiled a 691-717 record during his ten years at the helm with Montreal and was selected as the National League Manager of the Year in the 1994 strike-shortened season.

Eric Gagne, who saved 55 consecutive games for the Dodgers, becomes the ninth reliever to win a Cy Young Award. The runner up is Jason Schmidt of the Giants, the pitcher with the NL’s best won-lost percentage (17-4, 77%) and who also had an ERA of 2.34 to lead the circuit.

The Mets stage a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the construction of the 45,000-seat ballpark which will replace Shea Stadium in 2009. The new $800 million ballpark, named CitiiField in association with Citigroup Inc., will be reminiscent of Ebbets Field and will feature a statue of Jackie Robinson in a rotunda which will be named after the immortal Brooklyn Dodger infielder.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

11-14-2007, 09:15 AM
Nov 14

» Cleveland announces a new uniform design featuring dark blue stripes and piping. The new suit will inspire the nickname "Spider" because of the web-like pattern.

» Disgusted by the conduct of the Association and especially the perceived dominance of St. Louis president Von der Ahe, Brooklyn president Charles Byrne and Cincinnati owner Aaron Stern withdraw from the AA and join the National League. Indianapolis and Washington refuse to resign from the league, and that organization decides to go as a 10-club circuit.

» The National League rejects the American League as an equal, declaring it an outlaw league outside of the National Agreement, thus inaugurating a state of war. This follows the AL's announcement two days ago tht it has made arrangements to go into Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Two weeks later the AA makes it a 3-way battle.

» The Pittsburgh Pirates say the franchise may have to move unless a new municipal stadium is built to replace Forbes Field.

» The AP names Henry Aaron as the 1957 National League MVP with 239 votes. Stan Musial is a close 2nd with 230, and Red Schoendienst is 3rd with 221.

Aaron was normally not an excitable sort. One observer remarked that Aaron seemed to be looking for a place to sit down when he approached the batter's box. Robin Roberts once remarked that Aaron was the only batter he knew that "could fall asleep between pitches and still wake up in time to hit the next one."

On a muggy April night in Atlanta in 1974, relief pitcher Tom House carried a baseball in from the left-field bullpen. When he handed the ball that had eclipsed the most important record in baseball to the unemotional record breaker, House reported that there were tears in Aaron's eyes. Perhaps the emotion was in response to his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth's career record, but more likely it was in thanks that the ordeal was finally over. It was an ordeal similar to the one undergone by Roger Maris 13 summers earlier, one difference being that Aaron's pursuit of Ruth had racial implications to many. Aaron received hate mail and death threats and, when he failed to get number 714 at the end of the 1973 season, he left an entire off-season for speculation and building expectations. The tears may have been the reaction to a giant weight being lifted off his shoulders.

Aaron was able to become the all-time home run champ by sustaining a relatively unspectacular but remarkably consistent career. He was never hurt badly enough to be out of the lineup for an extended period of time. He was not a particularly aggressive base runner, so his legs suffered little wear and tear. He controlled his weight throughout his career. His remarkable physical condition allowed him to average 33 HR a year, hitting between 24 and 45 HR for 19 straight years. He drove in more than 100 runs 15 times, including a record 13 seasons in a row. He was an All-Star in each of the 23 seasons he played. Sometimes lost among the home run hullaballoo are Aaron's two batting titles and four Gold Gloves for his play in right field. He was consistent and dangerous, and he quickly gained the respect he was to enjoy through his entire career. Early in his career, the Braves played the Dodgers with Jackie Robinson at third. Aaron twice faked bunts, but Robinson didn't budge. After the game, Aaron asked him why he didn't move in. Robinson told him, "We'll give you first base anytime you want it."

Aaron had an understated style that could make him look lazy. He wasn't. He didn't play high school ball in Mobile, Alabama, which somehow hatched the strange story that he batted crosshanded early in his career. He played semi-pro ball when he was 15, and was the shortstop for two seasons with the Indianapolis Clowns in the Negro leagues. In May 1952, the Braves paid $7,500 for Aaron, who spent the next season and a half tearing up three different minor and winter leagues. He desegregated the Braves in 1954 after Bobby Thomson broke a leg in spring training to open a spot. Aaron joined a powerful lineup featuring Eddie Mathews and Del Crandall that needed a final link.

Aaron won his first batting title in 1956, his third ML season. He came close to the Triple Crown the following year with league bests of 44 homers and and 132 RBI, but he finished third in the batting race behind Stan Musial and Willie Mays. Aaron blamed an ankle injury (he twisted it when he stepped on a bottle thrown onto the field) for slowing him up at bat. One of those 1957 homers is reputedly Aaron's own favorite: the homer that clinched the 1957 NL pennant. For his efforts that season, he won his only MVP award. In the Braves' World Series win over the Yankees, he batted .393 with three more homers and seven RBI.

In 1959, Aaron won his second batting title with a .355 average and led the league in slugging with a .636 average. In that year's All-Star Game, he singled in the tying run in the eighth inning, then scored the eventual winner on Mays's triple. In 1963, he again threatened to win the Triple Crown. He led the league with 44 HR and 130 RBI, but again finished third in the batting race with a .319 average, beaten by Tommy Davis (.326) and Roberto Clemente (.320). He won HR titles in 1966, when he also won his final RBI crown, and in 1967, the Braves' first two seasons in Atlanta. The Braves won a wild NL Western Division race in 1969, but lost in the LCS in three games to the Mets, despite an Aaron homer in each game, seven RBI, and a .357 average.

It was around this time that Aaron was acknowledged to be a serious threat to Ruth's lifetime record. Heretofore soft-spoken and reserved, Aaron became more vociferous on the treatment of blacks in baseball's upper echelon. In 1970, soon after collecting his 3,000th hit, he stated frankly: "I have to tell the truth, and when people ask me what progress Negroes have made in baseball, I tell them the Negro hasn't made any progress on the field. We haven't made any progress in the commissioner's office. Even with Monte Irvin in there, I still think it's tokenism. I think we have a lot of Negroes capable of handling front-office jobs. We don't have Negro secretaries in some of the big league offices, and I think it's time that the major leagues and baseball in general just took hold of themselves and started hiring some of these capable people."

His quest for racial equality did not interrupt his chase of Ruth. In 1971, he had a career-high .669 slugging average and slammed 47 HR to climb to third place on the all-time list with 639, behind Ruth and Willie Mays. With 34 more in 1972, he passed Mays to go into second place. At the age of 39 in 1973, he cracked 40, the most HR ever for a player his age, ending the season one homer off the record. When the 1974 season opened, the Braves preferred he sit out the first series in Cincinnati so he'd hit the record shots in Atlanta. Aaron and Commissioner Bowie Kuhn thought not. And Aaron didn't leave people in suspense long, hitting a 3-1 pitch off Jack Billingham in his second at-bat on Opening Day, the first homer to be struck at the new Riverfront Stadium. He sat out the next game before the scene shifted back to Atlanta. On April 8, a Monday night game on national TV, he leaned into a 1-0 fastball from Dodger lefty Al Downing. He hit the ball with his weight on his front foot, as was his custom, on a slow arc into the left-field bullpen, where reliever House made a nice catch. As he jogged around the bases, easily and emotionlessly with his head down, he was congratulated by the Dodger infielders. He was met at home plate by a small mob, including his mother.

Aaron finished the year with 20 homers. Soon after the season was over, the Braves sent him to Milwaukee, where he hit 22 HR in two seasons for the Brewers. He finished his career tops all-time in HR, RBI, total bases, and extra-base hits, second in at-bats and runs (tied with Ruth), and third in games played and hits (3,771). He currently works in the Braves' front office.

» Reggie Jackson wins the AL MVP Award unanimously. The Oakland star led the league in runs (99), home runs (32), RBI (117), and slugging (.531). Jim Palmer is named the AL Cy Young winner.

Jackson became the first player to have a candy bar named after him, predicting that this would happen if he played in New York. Reggie could talk and Reggie could hit: a sportswriter's dream. The peak of his career came in a boisterous five-year stint with the Yankees, which he began by asserting that he was "the straw that stirred the drink," a statement that drew the ire of new teammate Thurman Munson and manager Billy Martin. But the outspoken, flamboyant, muscular outfielder was a winner wherever he went.

In 21 seasons, Jackson played on 11 divisional winners, six pennant winners, and five World Champions. He has a .357 lifetime World Series average, nearly 100 points above his lifetime regular-season average, and the best career World Series slugging average at .755. His total of 563 HR was sixth all-time when he retired. His 2,597 strikeouts, however, are first all-time.

If the Mets had been wiser, Jackson actually would have started his career in New York after playing at Arizona State. But the Mets selected a catcher, Steve Chilcott, with the first pick in the 1967 amatuer draft, and the A's got Jackson. Joe DiMaggio was a batting instructor with the A's in those years, and tried unsuccessfully to get the youngster to cut down his swing to reduce his strikeouts. In 1968 Jackson came close to setting an all-time strikeout mark, fanning 171 times. In 1969 he set career highs in HR with 47, RBI with 118, slugging average at .608, runs with 123, and walks with 114, leading the league in the last two categories. He also led the league in strikeouts for the second of four straight years with 142.

His success in 1969 was haunted by what could have been. In a weekend series in June in Boston, he had 15 RBI in 14 at-bats, including 10 with two homers on Saturday the 15th. On July 2, he hit three HR in Oakland against Seattle. By July 29, he had 40 HR and was 23 games ahead of Ruth's 1927 pace. He then stopped hitting. The slump lasted throughout the 1970 season and practically until the All-Star game in Detroit in 1971, where his mammoth blast over the right-field roof at Tiger Stadium would have left the stadium completely had it not struck a light tower. He made the 1971 All-Star squad only because of an injury to Tony Oliva.

Jackson was as aggressive on the bases and in the field as he was at the plate. In the 1972 LCS against Detroit, he twisted his knee sliding home, and he was forced to watch the World Series in street clothes. He came back with a vengeance in 1973. He won the MVP award with a .293 average and league-leading figures in HR (32), RBI (117), runs (99), and slugging average (.531). In the World Series against the Mets, Jackson was helpless in the three night games, getting only one hit in 10 at-bats. During the day, however, he was 8-for-17. In Game Six, he drove in two runs with a double, then scored the third Oakland run in the A's 3-1 victory over Tom Seaver. He hit his first Series homer in the third inning of the seventh game, a two-run shot that proved to be the difference in the clincher, and led the right-field bleachers in cheers throughout the game. He was named the Series MVP.

Jackson sometimes revealed surprising humility. He once admitted that he'd settle for being "one half the player Willie Mays is." Modest or not, he led the A's to their third straight world title in 1974. But regular clashes with owner Charlie Finley in 1975 prompted Jackson to seek greener pastures. Finley swapped him to Baltimore in 1976, where he led the league in slugging for the third time. But the pull of the New York media circus was strong to Jackson, and in 1977 he set up his permanent press conference in the Bronx. There were continual fights and headlines, but also the first World Championships in Yankee Stadium in over a decade.

Game Six of the 1977 Series was Jackson's shining moment. He had already homered in each of the previous two games. In the fourth inning, he hit a two-run shot into the right-field seats on Burt Hooton's first pitch to him to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead. The following inning, he hit Elias Sosa's first offering into an identical location for another two runs and a 7-3 lead. In the eighth, when he knocked the first pitch he saw from Charlie Hough into the bleachers, he became the first player besides Babe Ruth to homer three times in a Series game, and the first ever to hit five home runs in one Series.

Jackson's dugout fights with Martin and the clash of personalities with owner George Steinbrenner drove him to California in 1982, where he led the league in HR with 39 and the Angels to a division title. He also led the league in strikeouts, with 156, for the first time in 11 years. His final years with the Angels were spent in the pursuit of Mickey Mantle's career home run total of 536, which he finally surpassed in 1986. He ended his career back in Oakland in 1987. He announced his intentions to retire before the season began, which created a grand farewell tour.

» The Yankees acquire 3B Eric Soderholm from Texas for three players (minor leaguers Rockey Burdette, Roger Slagle, Amos Lewis) to be named later. As noted in Yankees Coming, Yankees Going by Lyle Spatz, the Ranger release the players' names, a rules violation since they are still frozen on minor league rosters until December. The deal will be consummated on December 13, with Slagle's name omitted. Soderholm will hit .287 in 1980, then miss the 81 season because of illness, and retire.

» Free-agent OF Claudell Washington signs a 5-year contract with the Atlanta Braves.

» The Brewers release 39-year-old P Rollie Fingers, the major leagues' all-time saves leader with 341.

Almost as famous for his handlebar mustache as his pitching, the lanky righthander retired as the greatest relief artist in baseball, lasting 17 years. When he finally called it quits in 1985, Fingers held the major-league records for most career saves (341) and World Series saves (7).

Known for his control and durability, Fingers made it a point never to pitch more than two innings at a time in order to maintain his strength. Like many relievers, Fingers began his career as a starter. He began both the 1969, 1970, and 1971 seasons as a starter, but finished all three seasons in the bullpen. In 1972 he finally became a full-time reliever, winning 11 games in relief and saving 21 to lead Oakland to its first-ever World Series appearance. In the decisive seventh game against the Reds, Fingers worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth inning to preserve the 3-2 victory and the championship. He piled up another 22 saves with a 1.92 era in 1973 with two World Series saves, and led the AL in games in 1974 with 76.

In 1974 Fingers pitched the final two innings of the only four-pitcher no-hitter in baseball history as he, Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, and Paul Lindblad combined to blank the California Angels 5-0. Fingers shone in the World Series that year, earning the victory in Game One, then saved Oakland's other three victories over the Dodgers to win Series MVP honors. Fingers led the AL in appearances in 1975 with 75, but lost 11 games in relief in 1976.

Like many Oakland players, Fingers fled Charlie Finley, and signed on with San Diego as a free agent in 1977. He promptly led his new league in appearances with 78, and also led the league for the first time in saves with 35. He followed with 37 saves in 1978 to tie the then-ML record, even though he also lost 13 games in relief. He slumped to just 13 saves and a 4.50 ERA in 1979, then came up with a forkball to supplement his sinker and slider. In 1980 he saved 23 games and won 11 more games in relief.

After the season, San Diego believed Fingers, now 34, was past his prime and, in an 11-player deal, swapped Fingers and former Oakland teammate Gene Tenace to the Cardinals. Four days later, he moved to Milwaukee in a blockbuster 7-player swap. Fingers showed he still had plenty of arm left, though, leading the AL in saves with 28 with a 1.04 ERA and the 1981 Brewers to their first post-season appearance. Fingers figured in 55 percent of his team's victories, and won both the MVP and the Cy Young Awards. He pitched much of the 1982 season in pain, saving 29 games, but missed the entire 1983 season.

At the age of 38, Fingers came back in 1984 to post a 1.96 ERA and compiled 23 saves for a team that won only 67 games. In 1985 age finally caught up to Fingers, who slumped to a 5.04 ERA, and he was released by the Brewers at the end of the year.

» The Doubleday Publishing Company agrees to sell the World Champion Mets to Nelson Doubleday and Fred Wilpon for $80.75 million. The company had purchased the Mets for a then-record $21.1 million in 1980.

» Doug Rader, who piloted the Rangers from 1982-85, is named manager of the California Angels.

» Marge Schott issue a statement saying. "I am not a racist." On the 20th she will issue a statement saying her use of the word "nigger" and owning the Nazi arm band were not meant to offend.

» Texas star Juan Gonzalez beats out Seattle's Alex Rodriguez for the AL MVP. He averaged 1.08 RBI per game, the best ratio in the majors since 1938. He finished the year with 47 homers and 144 RBI.

A muscle-bound right-handed slugger, Juan Gonzalez developed into one of the most prolific RBI men to anchor a lineup since World War Two. A full-time player at the age of 21 and a two-time MVP before his 30th birthday, Gonzalez explained his propensity for bringing runners home merely by saying, "I concentrate more when I see men on base."
Gonzalez batted cleanup behind future Yankee centerfielder Bernie Williams on his youth league team in Puerto Rico, where both competed against Gonzalez' future teammate Ivan Rodriguez. In May 1986 the 16-year-old Gonzalez signed with the Texas Rangers as a free agent. He reached the major leagues in September of 1989, just over a month shy of his twentieth birthday. Over the course of two late season callups in 1989 and 1990, Gonzalez hit only five home runs and drove in nineteen runs in 150 at-bats.

When Texas gave their prize prospect a chance to be an everyday player in 1991, Gonzalez made the most of the opportunity, cranking 27 home runs and driving in 102. He followed that up with a league-leading 43 home runs the next season, despite an atrocious 143-to-35 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The free-swinging Gonzalez seldom let a hittable pitch pass unchallenged.

The following season Gonzalez broke through to true superstardom. Leading the league with 46 homers while driving in 118 runs, he raised his batting average 50 points to a .310 mark. Unfortunately, the young slugger paid a price for his burgeoning power. As Juan became more muscled, back problems hindered his flexibility and speed. After slumping to .275 with diminished power numbers in 1994, Gonzalez lost more than 50 games in 1995 to a herniated disk and a bone spur in his neck. Still, in just 90 games he belted 27 home runs and drove in 82.

In 1996 a leaner and more flexible Gonzalez reminded the baseball world of his awesome talent. Although a torn quadriceps muscle landed him on the disabled list in May, Juan won the AL MVP award on the strength of a .314 average, 47 home runs, and an astonishing 144 RBIs in just 134 games. In addition, he led the Rangers to their first AL West title. While the Rangers fell in four games to the Yankees in the Division Series, Gonzalez produced epic numbers in a losing cause, batting .438 with five home runs and nine RBIs. Gonzalez tied Jeffrey Leonard's 1987 NLCS record by homering in four straight post-season games and joined Reggie Jackson and Ken Griffey Jr. as the only players to hit five home runs in a single post-season series.

After the triumphs of 1996, 1997 began on a sour note. Torn ligaments in his left thumb kept the slugger out of the season's first 24 games. When he returned, he promptly picked up where he had left off, slamming 42 home runs and piling up 131 RBIs in 133 games. But the Rangers slipped below .500 to a third place finish.

In 1998, a scorching first half on a high-scoring Texas team produced historic numbers for Gonzalez. With 101 RBIs at the All-Star break he became the second player in history (following Hank Greenberg in 1935) to reach the century mark at baseball's mid-summer classic. The gargantuan total inspired speculation that he could break Hack Wilson's major league record of 191. Although unable to maintain that torrid pace, Gonzalez still finished with 157 RBIs, the most in the American League since 1949. Backed by a .318 average, 45 home runs and another AL West Crown for the Rangers, Gonzalez easily won his second AL MVP.

Unfortunately for Texas, a return to the playoffs included another matchup with the Yankees, who dispatched them in three straight first-round games en route to a World Championship. Part of a teamwide offensive collapse, Gonzalez managed just one hit in twelve at bats during the ALDS.

Gonzalez hit .326 in 1999 while topping 30 homers and 100 RBIs for the fourth consecutive year. But preoccupied with marital difficulties and his daughter's recurrent ear infections, which were bad enough to require surgery after the season, Gonzalez was exceptionally moody. In July, he made headlines when he refused to participate in the All-Star Game unless he was voted in as a starter. (He wasn't, and AL skipper Joe Torre dropped him from the team.) Two weeks later, he dropped out of the exhibition Hall of Fame Game, complaining his uniform pants were too big.

After the season, the slugger was traded to Detroit as the centerpiece of a blockbuster nine-player deal, becoming the first two-time MVP to be traded since Dale Murphy was sent from Atlanta to Philadelphia in 1990. Gambling that they would be able to extend his contract past the 2000 season, the Tigers reportedly offered Gonzalez an eight-year, $140 million contract soon after the deal was struck.

Gonzalez refused, which turned out to be the bigger gamble. He began the season badly, hobbled by foot pain and unable to adjust to the spacious dimensions of Detroit's new Comerica Park, where the left-center field fence stood nearly 400 feet from home plate. By mid-season he had announced that the Tigers would have to bring the fences in if they wanted to re-sign him as a free agent.

Detroit shopped Gonzalez before the trading deadline, but a deal that would have sent him to the Yankees for outfielder Ricky Ledee and two minor leaguers was scuttled when the outfielder made it clear that he didn't want to play in New York. After missing the last weeks of the 2000 season, he was granted free agency on November 1, and signed with the Cleveland Indians as a free agent on January 9, 2001.

Gonzalez saw another amazing season in 2001, hitting over .330 and passing both the 100-RBI and 30-homer markers while leading the Indians past the upstart Twins to the AL Central title.

» Former NL MVP Ken Caminiti is arrested in Houston on drug possession charges after being found with crack cocaine.

After Marvin Miller, former head of the players union, calls on Bud Selig to resign because of a conflict of interest with the Twins contraction and his ownership, the Commissioner reacts angrily. "St. Louis is closer to Minneapolis than Milwaukee is," misstates Selig in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Are the Red Sox going to benefit if Montreal is contracted? No. I don't think the Brewers will gain either. Its so outrageous and not worthy of comment," he comments.

esources for these posting are from baseballibrary.com

11-15-2007, 10:06 AM
Nov 15

» Cincinnati and St. Louis complete the first trade ever of reserved players, the Browns sending Hugh Nicol to the Reds for Jack Boyle and $400.

» The All-Americans beat Chicago, 7–4, in Los Angeles in the final game on the tour. On the 18th, Spalding's group sets sail for Australia.

» Kansas City also drops out of the AA.

» Cap Anson makes his stage debut in A Runaway Colt. Aside from forgetting a few lines Anson does quite well.

A premier batsman and leader, Anson is widely regarded as the foremost on-field baseball figure of the 19th century. He led the NL in hitting three times and was the first man to get 3,000 hits. As a manager, he took his Chicago team to five pennants. Counting five years in the National Association, he played 27 seasons at the highest level of baseball competition and was a regular each year. He was stern, iron-willed, and incorruptible, and his influence went far beyond the field as baseball became the national game.

After a year at Notre Dame, the 19-year-old Iowan turned pro in 1871 with the Rockford Forest Citys of the National Association, the forerunner of the NL. The following season, he joined the Philadelphia Athletics as a third baseman and first baseman. In five NA seasons, he hit over .350 four times. One of the first players signed by William Hulbert when he launched the NL in 1876, Anson helped the Chicago team (then called White Stockings) to the first NL pennant, hitting .356.

Although he'd played mostly as a third baseman and catcher in his early years, when he became playing manager in 1879, he put himself permanently at first base. The stocky six-footer was no artist in the field. He holds the all-time record for most errors committed by a first baseman, but he played at a time when gloves were not used and errors were common. Longevity also helped account for his error record.

He made up for his fielding shortcomings with his bat. In all but two of his 22 NL seasons, he topped .300. He led the league in 1879, 1881, and 1888, with his .399 in '81 his personal high. He led the league in RBI four times and five times drove in more than 100 even though teams played fewer than 100 games each season until 1884. Line-drive singles were his hallmark, although he twice led in doubles and totaled 532 two-base hits over his long career. He hit 96 home runs, but 21 came in 1884, when the White Stockings played at Lake Front Park, with a 180-foot left-field foul line. He had five homerless seasons.

Anson managed the White Stockings to three straight pennants from 1880 to 1882 and two more flags in 1885 and 1886. An innovator, he encouraged basestealing, devised hit-and-run plays, and was one of the first to rotate pitchers. The first manager to institutionalize preseason training, he laid down strict training rules for his players and sometimes enforced them with his fists. He had an explosive temper and could be a cruel bench jockey and umpire baiter. Many of the greatest stars of the 19th century played for him, but none outshone him.

Anson participated in baseball tours of England in 1874 and of the world in 1888-89. He improved the quality of play in his time and spread the game's popularity. He raised the caliber of players with his own integrity and principles. Yet, at the same time, he was a bigot who once pulled his team off the field rather than play against a team with a black player. He is often cited as a force in the banning of black players from ML baseball, an unwritten rule that persisted until 1947. That Anson was a racist is beyond question. The extent of his influence in keeping blacks out of the majors in the 19th century is debatable.

Anson became part-owner of the White Stockings in 1888, but he won no more pennants in the 1890s. The team was so linked with his image that when he finally left after the 1897 season, they were known for a while as the "Orphans." He managed the Giants for 22 games in 1898, then left baseball. When he later had financial problems, the NL attempted to establish a pension for him, but he rejected it. In 1939, he was named to baseball's Hall of Fame.

» Former Providence OF Paul Hines is arrested on charges of pick pocketing. The 69-year-old Hines made a famous play in a game on May 8, 1878 -- the disputed first unassisted triple play.

With Providence in 1878, Hines's career-high .358 average, four HR, and 50 RBI in 62 games were enough to earn him baseball's first triple crown. He hit over .300 eleven times. Rarely ranked among the leaders in fielding, he was famous for his running outfield catches. One such catch in 1878 began a triple play. Boston runners on first and third took off on a short fly over the shortstop's head which seemed a sure hit. Hines charged in from centerfield to make a spectacular shoestring catch, ran to third base to double off one runner, then threw to second base to catch the other and complete the triple play. Some of the game's participants later argued that both runners had rounded third before Hines tagged the base, thereby giving him an unassisted triple play. But newspaper accounts agree that Hines's contribution was two putouts and an assist.

» The rules are revised for election of modern players to the Hall of Fame. A runoff election is formulated as a way to qualify more players for selection, but it fails to meet its objective as no one reaches the 75 percent requirement in the runoff. Frank Chance, Johnny Evers, Miller Huggins, and Ed Walsh come closest.

» The baseball writers name Gil McDougald as American League Rookie of the Year.

The White Sox object to McDougald's accolade, offering the statistical accomplishments of their superlative rookie, Minnie Minoso.

» A $3.5 million offer for the Athletics is accepted from a St. Louis group and the sale of the 52% stock by the widow of the late Arnold Johnson is expected tomorrow. A sale of the remaining minority stock is expected.

» Roger Maris is voted American League MVP with 202 votes to 198 for Mickey Mantle and 157 for Jim Gentile.

When Maris hit his record 61st home run of the 1961 season, he became the owner of the most glamorous of all baseball standards, a mark he has held for nearly as long as his predecessor Babe Ruth did before Maris broke it. A great outfielder with a fine arm, an adept baserunner, and a team player willing to move baserunners and slide hard to break up double plays, Maris was a winner in two cities, appearing in more World Series than any other player in the 1960s and establishing himself as one of the dominant players of the first half of the decade.

In 1953 Maris signed with the Indians out of high school for a $5,000 bonus after turning down an athletic scholarship from the University of Oklahoma. He hit .325 at Fargo-Moorhead. Fargo today houses a Roger Maris museum. At Keokuk in 1954 manager Jo Jo White taught him to pull, and Maris hit 32 home runs. Using a 35-inch, 33-ounce bat, he broke into the major leagues with the Indians by going 3-for-5 on Opening Day 1957 against the White Sox, and the next day he hit his first big league home run, a grand slam game winner, in the top of the 11th inning. His 14 rookie homers were followed by 28 in his second season, which he started with Cleveland and finished with Kansas City. The Athletics acquired him along with Preston Ward and Dick Tomanek for Vic Power and Woody Held.

Seeking to restructure their team after finishing third in 1959, the Yankees, who had traded frequently with the Athletics in the late 1950s, obtained Maris from Kansas City with Kent Hadley and Joe DeMaestri for Don Larsen, Hank Bauer, Marv Throneberry, and Norm Siebern. In his first game as a Yankee, he hit two home runs, a double and a single, and he wound up with 39 home runs for the year, one behind Mantle's league-leading 40. He topped the league with a .581 slugging percentage and beat out Mantle for MVP honors by three points in the weighted voting. Although New York lost the 1960 World Series on Bill Mazeroski's home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game, prompting the firing of manager Stengel, a new Yankee dynasty marked by five consecutive AL crowns had begun.

Under new manager Ralph Houk in 1961, the Yankees fielded a set lineup, usually batting Maris third and Mantle fourth. The two preyed on American League pitchers, including the weak-armed staffs of Los Angeles and Washington, the league's two expansion franchises. Neck-and-neck with Mantle through September until Mantle was felled by an injury, the nation watched as Maris hit his 59th homer in the 155th game of the year, his 60th in game 159, and his 61st in the final and 163rd game of the season at Yankee Stadium off Tracy Stallard of the Red Sox in a 1-0 Yankee victory. The home run ball was caught by a 21-year-old truck driver, Sal Durante, who sold it to Sam Gordon, a Sacramento restaurant owner. Gordon displayed it for a while, then gave it to Maris.

Controversy surrounded the feat. There were those who claimed that Maris's achievement was tainted, because Maris, who played in 161 of the Yankees' 163 games that season, had more games to break the total of 60 that Ruth had accumulated in 1927 playing in 151 of the team's 155 games. (Each team played one tie game.) Commissioner Ford Frick ordered an asterisk attached to the record. With time, however, his ruling has been dwarfed by the feat itself and survives only as a piece of trivia surrounding the lore of Maris's chase of the record. Maris's great season included AL-leading totals of 142 RBI and 132 runs scored, and it led the Yankees to a World Series victory over Cincinnati. In addition to winning his second consecutive MVP award, Maris was awarded the Hickock Belt as best professional athlete of the year, and was named Catholic Athlete of the Year. He won numerous other plaques, as well as a Gold Glove.

The quest for the home run record weighed heavily on Maris, and the hair of his famed crew cut began to fall out from tension in the stretch run of the chase. The pressure he felt was exacerbated by his accurate assessment that he was never as popular with fans as he thought he should have been. A private man who seldom showed emotion, he irritated many reporters with his angry stubbornness and his fierce, combative integrity. "I'm impatient," he said of himself. "When I think something isn't right, I want it to be made right then and there. I don't believe in holding things in. When I'm impatient or dissatisfied I say something." Much of his impatience was aimed at himself. "You can always do better than you're doing," he said. "You have to try all the time." Shortly before his death from lymph-gland cancer in 1985, he said, "I always come across as being bitter. I'm not bitter. People were very reluctant to give me any credit. I thought hitting 60 home runs was something. But everyone shied off. Why, I don't know. Maybe I wasn't the chosen one, but I was the one who got the record."

The four intentional walks Maris drew in a 12-inning game in 1962 were indicative of the respect accorded him around the league following his 1961 season. Maris had his last great season as a Yankee in 1962. He had more than 30 homers and more than 100 RBI for the third year in a row, and the Yankees defeated San Francisco in the World Series. A hand injury plagued him in 1963 and robbed him of his power, and he never fully regained his home run form, despite making a partial comeback in 1964. Batting in a game in June 1965, he took a swing and felt something pop in his right hand. He was sidelined the rest of the year, but did not submit to surgery until the season was over. His 1965 injuries were a portent of the future for an aging Yankee team, which slid to a last-place finish in 1966. Maris played in only 95 games, pinch hitting in 20 more, and hit 13 homers.

In December 1966 Maris was traded to the Cardinals for Charley Smith, a much-traveled third baseman with a .240 career average. St. Louis moved Mike Shannon from the outfield to third base and played Maris in right field. The change was the only alteration of the lineup the Cardinals fielded in 1966 when they finished in sixth place, 12 games behind the Dodgers, but it was a significant one, as they won consecutive National League championships in 1967 and 1968 with Maris. He batted .385 for their 1967 World Championship team.

» The White Sox release Early Wynn so that the 299-game winner will be free to deal with other clubs, and earn his 300th.

The vanishing breed of scowling, intimidating pitchers is best typified by Hall of Famer and 300-game-winner Early Wynn. He walked into a Senators tryout camp and signed a pro contract at age 17. After three starts in 1939, he made the majors to stay in 1941. Armed with a blazing fastball and little else, Wynn gave scant evidence of his future in his 191 appearances with Washington. Seasons of 18 and 17 wins were offset by a league-high 17 losses in 1944 and 19 defeats, with a 5.82 ERA, in 1948.
Indians owner Bill Veeck obtained Wynn on December 14, 1948 with Mickey Vernon for Joe Haynes, Ed Klieman, and Eddie Robinson, one of the best deals in Indians' history. Wynn came under the tutelage of Cleveland pitching coach Mel Harder, who taught the portly righthander a curve, knuckleball, slider, and changeup. Wynn threw all his pitches with an easy, effortless motion. After a year of adjustment in 1949, he led the AL with a 3.20 ERA in 1950. He had the first of his 20-win seasons in 1951. With Bob Lemon, Mike Garcia, and, first, aging Bob Feller and then Herb Score, Wynn was in one of baseball's all-time great pitching rotations. In 1952 he won 23 games, Lemon and Garcia won 22 each, and the three were named Cleveland's Men of the Year. They made the Indians a close second to the Yankees in 1952 and 1953. In 1954 Wynn and Lemon tied for the AL lead with 23 wins and the Indians won a league-record 111 games before suffering a stunning World Series sweep to the Giants. Wynn allowed an RBI single and a home run to Series star Dusty Rhodes in losing Game Two.

Though he led the AL in strikeouts, Wynn suffered his first losing season with Cleveland in 1957 (14-17). That December, he and Al Smith went to the White Sox for Minnie Minoso and Fred Hatfield. In 1958, Wynn became the first ML pitcher to lead his league in strikeouts in consecutive years with different teams, but still posted a 14-16 record. But at the age of 39 in 1959 he led the White Sox to the AL pennant, leading the AL in wins (22-10), starts, and innings. He won Game One of the WS over the Dodgers 11-0, but was hit hard in his two other starts and lost Game Seven.

In the 1950s, Wynn was 188-119 with more strikeouts, 1,544, than any other pitcher. He led the league with four shutouts in 1960 and pitched well in his illness-curtailed 1961 season (8-2), but struggled to a 7-15 record in 1962 as his 300th win proved elusive. He was released that November and was cut during spring training in 1963, needing just one more victory for the landmark plateau. Signed by Cleveland, Wynn reached the milestone on July 13, 1963, going five innings to defeat the Athletics. He spent most of the year in the bullpen and retired after the season. He pitched more seasons (23) than any pitcher to that time, despite battling gout from 1951 on. Wynn believed in running and kept his legs in great shape. He also walked a record 1,775 batters.

Wynn's distinct personality led him to call the pitching mound his "office." He worked with a grim, fierce appearance, and might be best remembered for saying he would knock down his grandmother if she dug in against him. Feared on the field, Wynn was an easygoing, fun-loving practical joker off the field. A dangerous batter who is among the all-time pitchers' leaders in hits, he was used as a pinch hitter 90 times during his career and hit .270 or better five times.

Twins' pitcher David Goltz (14-13, 4.16) becomes the first player to be selected by the maximum thirteen teams in the first round of the free agent draft. He will sign a six-year, three-million dollar contract with the Dodgers.

» Cubs IF Steve Macko dies of cancer at the age of 27. He did not play at all in 1981 because of the illness, but hit .250 in 25 games in 1979-80.

» Twenty-five-year-old Bret Saberhagen becomes the 4th pitcher ever to win the American League Cy Young Award twice, getting 27 of a possible 28 first-place votes for his 23-6, 2.16 ERA season. He also won the award in 1985.

» The Arizona Diamondbacks, who will not begin play until the 1998 season, sign Buck Showalter to a 7-year contract as manager.

» The Astros sign free agent 3B Ken Caminiti to a multi–year contract as the Padres championship team begins to come apart.

» As reported by Pete Bjarkman, the one place Cuba seems less than invincible is in the Intercontinental Cup tournament, where the international powerhouse team loses in a second straight upset, this time to Australia, 4–3 in 11 innings. Cuba, which did not send its best team, also lost the Intercontinental Cup Gold Medal Game Two years ago in Barcelona, falling to Japan, this year's Bronze medal winner. The USA finishes 4th.

» Yankee right right-hander Roger Clemens (20-3, 3.51 ERA) wins the Cy Young Award for an unprecedented sixth time (Red Sox -1986, '87, '91 and Blue Jays -1997, '98). The 'Rocket' becomes the first Pinstripper to win the award since 1978 when Ron Guidry copped the honor.

Diamondbacks bench coach Bob Melvin is selected to be the Mariners' 12th manager in franchise history. The 41-year-old former major league catcher is replacing Lou Pinella, who asked to be release from his contract to take a job closer to his home and will pilot the Devil Rays next season.

The players’ association and owners agree to toughen the current penalties ( 10 days-first offense, 30 days-second offense and 60 days for the third time) for the use of steroids using a 50-game suspension for a first offense, 100 games for a second and then lifetime ban for a third. The agreement also adds the much needed testing for amphetamines which will result with mandatory additional testing if the test is positive the first time, with a second offense drawing a 25-game suspension, and a third offense meaning an 80 game suspension.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

11-19-2007, 12:53 PM
Nov 19

» At an National League meeting, it is decided that Buffalo's "Big Four" (Brouthers, Richardson, Rowe, and White) can play in Detroit next season.

» At an American League meeting at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Chicago, Ban Johnson says the AL chose not to renew the National Agreement with the National League, but sees no need for friction between the two.

» In one of their most important acquisitions ever, Indians GM Billy Evans sends $40,000 and two players to San Francisco (PCL) for OF Earl Averill. Averill asks for and gets $5,000 from the Tribe as part of the deal. He'll play 11 years in Cleveland, hitting .316.

The Veterans Committee named outfielder Averill to the Hall of Fame 34 years after his final season. He is still the Indians' all-time home run leader with 226 (thanks in part to the short fence in old League Park) and holds Cleveland career records in six offensive categories. His number 3 is one of only three retired by the Indians.

"The Earl of Snohomish" (his hometown) grew up in the state of Washington and played semi-pro ball before signing with San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League in 1926. After three .300 seasons in the PCL, including .354 with 36 home runs and 173 RBI in 1928, the 5'9" 172-lb lefthanded hitter was purchased for a reported $50,000 by Cleveland. On Opening Day, 1929, he became the first AL player to homer in his initial big league at-bat. His 18 HRs (then a team record) and .331 BA in his rookie season helped establish him as one of the Indian's most popular players. A graceful but unspectacular centerfielder, he led all AL outfielders that year with 388 putouts, but his arm, injured in high school, was not strong.

In 1930, Averill hit .339, and on September 17 walloped three home runs in the first game of a doubleheader and another in the second game to become the first ML player to hit four homers in a twin bill. His 11 RBI that day set an AL record. A dead pull hitter, he slammed 32 homers in both 1931 and '32. He became one of the most feared hitters in the league; on August 29, 1932, Red Sox pitchers walked him five consecutive times. He had an off-year (.288) in 1935, largely because he burned his hand testing Fourth of July fireworks, but he bounced back in 1936 to lead the AL with 232 hits, and hit .378, second only to Luke Appling's .388.

His line drive in the 1937 All-Star Game broke Dizzy Dean's toe, an injury that indirectly ended Dean's career. That same year, just before a June game, Averill suffered temporary paralysis in his legs. X-rays revealed a congenital spinal malformation which forced him to change his batting style. His BA and home run output slipped.

He was showered with gifts, including a new Cadillac, on "Earl Averill Day" in Cleveland in 1938. Cleveland fans were outraged the following June when he was traded to Detroit for marginal pitcher Harry Eisenstat and cash. Averill hit .280 in a part-time role for the 1940 pennant-winning Tigers. His son, Earl Douglas, played seven years in the majors.

» It is not a sunny day as the Browns hand manager Jim Bottomley his walking papers. Sunny Jim replaced Rogers Hornsby at mid-season.

» The National Professional Indoor Baseball League, headed by league president Tris Speaker, begins play. The league has 10 clubs, one in each then major-league city except Washington. Alas, it disappears within a month.

» American League President Will Harridge says there will be greater fines for managers who use abusive language while arguing with umpires.

» Mickey Vernon is hired as the first manager of the new Washington team.

» By the most overwhelming margin ever, the Reds Joe Morgan is named National League MVP. Morgan batted .327, with 67 SBs, and a league-leading 132 walks.

Morgan was a rare commodity, a speedy second baseman with power. The 5'7" 150-lb Little Joe was also one of the smallest number-three hitters in recent baseball history. Morgan ranks third all-time in walks behind Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. He is also the only second baseman to win consecutive MVP awards, in 1975 and 1976. In the batter's box, Morgan would flap his front elbow distinctively as a timing device, and he was a major component of the Big Red Machine, the first National League team to win consecutive World Series since the 1921-22 New York Giants.

Morgan started his career in the spacious Astrodome, and actually spent more years with Houston than with Cincinnati. He was the main player acquired by the Reds in a nine-player swap that sent Lee May to the Astros. Morgan's power was shown to better advantage in Riverfront Stadium, helped by coaching from Ted Kluszewski. Morgan doubled his home run output in two seasons. His first year in Cincinnati, he made the All-Star team for only the second time, and was named the game's MVP when he singled in the winning run in the bottom of the tenth. He ended up leading the league in walks with 115 and runs scored with 122.

In 1975 Morgan led the NL in walks for the third time with 132, while combining a .327 BA with 17 HR, 94 RBI, and 67 stolen bases. Morgan's MVP season sparked the team into the 1975 World Series against the Red Sox, one of the most exciting Series ever played. Morgan, as usual, was in the thick of the excitement. In Game Three, Morgan knocked in the winning run with a single in the 10th inning. In Game Four, he made the last out in a 5-4 Boston victory. In Game Five, he drew 16 pickoff throws at first just prior to a single by Bench and a three-run homer by Perez. In the seventh and deciding game, Morgan's RBI single in the top of the ninth gave the Reds their first World Championship.

In 1976 Morgan topped his previous power totals with a career-high 27 HR, became only the fifth second baseman to drive in more than 100 runs (111), and led the league in slugging average at .576. He also batted .320, stole 60 bases, and had an on-base average of .516 to earn his straight second MVP. The Reds then swept the Yankees in the Series.

In 1980 he went back to Houston, where he helped the Astros to a division title, and spent two years in San Francisco, almost leading the untalented Giants to a surprise pennant in 1982. Still productive, even if unable to match his earlier high standards, Morgan ended up on a geriatric Phillies team in 1983 with fellow Reds alumni Pete Rose and Tony Perez, making it as far as the World Series but losing in five games to Baltimore. He ended his playing career in Oakland in 1984 and then became an announcer for the A's and for ABC.

» The Astros sign reentry free agent Nolan Ryan, formerly of the Angels, to a 4-year, $4.5 million contract, making him the highest-paid player in the ML.

Baseball's all-time strikeout leader and author of a major-league record seven no-hitters, Ryan was in many ways the most remarkable pitcher ever to play the game. He was often maligned as a ".500 pitcher" despite his high strikeout totals, and he walked over 4.5 batters per nine innings each year until 1980, his 14th major-league season. But at the age of 42, Ryan -- still overwhelming hitters with a 95-mph fastball -- reached the unbelievable milestone of 5,000 strikeouts.

Growing up in little Alvin, Texas, Ryan was a high schooler with an awesome fastball but almost no control. The New York Mets selected him in the tenth round of the 1965 free-agent draft. In 1966, he blazed his way to 272 strikeouts, 127 walks, and 17 wins (all Carolina League highs at the time) at Greenville, frightening batters and catchers alike with his velocity. He missed most of 1967 in military service, and in 1968 the raw right-hander was rushed to the Mets.

Despite a chronic blister problem (he tried several remedies, including soaking his fingers in pickle brine) and a month on the disabled list, Ryan went 6-9 in 1968 with a 3.09 ERA and struck out 133 batters in 134 innings. Ryan also walked 75 batters, displaying a lack of control that plagued him early in his career. Ryan led his league in strikeouts six times in his first twelve major league seasons; each season, he was also the league leader in walks.

If Ryan's wildness made his coaching staff nervous, it scared the daylights out of opposing players. In a high-school playoff game, Ryan had thrown a fastball that fractured a hitter's arm. His next pitch broke the following batter's helmet. The third batter appealed to his coach for mercy, but eventually mustered the nerve to stand in and strike out on three pitches.

Major leaguers were often similarly humbled (or injured). One player was said to have incurred a concussion after being hit with a Ryan changeup, and even the great Reggie Jackson was quoted as saying he was "scared" to face Ryan.

In 1969 the pitching-rich Mets used the young flamethrower both as a starter and in relief. Ryan won the deciding game of the League Championship Series with seven innings of relief, and saved Game Three of the World Series as the Miracle Mets beat the mighty Orioles in five games. After opening the 1970 season with a one-hitter, Ryan struggled, and he grew unhappy with the big-city atmosphere of New York. In 1971 he requested a trade and the Mets obliged, sending him to the California Angels with three other players to obtain Jim Fregosi, arguably the worst deal in Mets history.

In California, Ryan enjoyed the tutelage of pitching coach Tom Morgan and veteran catcher Jeff Torborg, and the Ryan Express arrived. Pitching with a more compact motion in 1972, Ryan became the first righthander since Bob Feller to fan 300 batters in a season and won 19 games with a 2.28 ERA. In 1973 Ryan was even more overpowering, and became the fifth pitcher to toss two no-hitters in one season. He no-hit the Royals on May 15, and on July 15 he repeated against the Tigers, fanning 17 Detroit batters in the process. The final out came against first baseman Norm Cash, who originally entered the batter's box holding a wooden piano leg for a bat, expressing his awareness of the futility of his task. The usually stoic Ryan cracked a smile, and then got (a re-equipped) Cash to pop out.

In his next start, he was six outs from back-to-back no-hitters when Mark Belanger spoiled the bid. Ryan entered the final week of the season in striking distance of Sandy Koufax's all-time single-season strikeout record of 382, and in his last start he fanned 16 Twins in 11 innings to eclipse the record by one. He struck out Rich Reese for the record 383rd strikeout. In 39 starts that year, Ryan struck out 10 or more batters 23 times, yet he finished second to Jim Palmer for the Cy Young Award.

Already Ryan was the first pitcher with back-to-back 300-strikeout seasons, and he made it three in a row in 1974. He also threw his third no-hitter in his last start of the season, September 28, against the Twins. On August 20 that year, a sophisticated timing device clocked a Ryan fastball at 100.9 mph, putting him in the Guinness Book of World Records. An off-year in 1975 was highlighted by a fourth no-hitter (Ryan fooled Bobby Grich with a changeup to end it), and on August 23, 1975, Ryan underwent elbow surgery. He came back throwing as hard as ever, with 327 strikeouts in 1976, and was The Sporting News AL Pitcher of the Year in 1977, finishing 19-16, 2.77, with 341 strikeouts. Injuries hindered him again in 1978, but he was selected for his first All-Star Game start in 1979, before becoming a free agent at the end of the season.

Grabbing the chance to return to his native Texas, Ryan signed a three-year contract with the Houston Astros, and became baseball's first $1-million-per-year player. Ryan's performance fell off in his first season back in the NL, although he struck out Cesar Geronimo for his 3,000th career strikeout on July 4, 1980. He returned to form in the strike-shortened 1981 season. He led the NL with a 1.69 ERA and pitched his fifth no-hitter September 26 against the Dodgers. Although he was no longer an annual cinch to lead his league in strikeouts, Ryan still fanned nearly a batter an inning. When he struck out Montreal's Brad Mills on April 27, 1983, he broke Walter Johnson's all-time strikeout record. On July 11, 1985, the Mets' Danny Heep became his 4,000th strikeout victim.

The 1984 and 1985 seasons were filled with injuries and frustrations for Ryan, but 1986 marked a remarkable return to dominance for him, with 194 strikeouts in 178 innings, his best ratio since 1978. In the 1986 LCS, his two-hit, 12-strikeout effort in Game Five against the Mets earned no decision. In 1987 the forty-year-old Ryan continued to defy the calendar with 270 strikeouts in 212 innings and his second ERA title while becoming the only pitcher with 2,000 strikeouts in each league. Unfortunately, the Astros' dismal offense left him with an 8-16 record that cost him the Cy Young Award.

Ryan added yet another strikeout title with 228 in 1988, and in the off-season he signed with the Texas Rangers. In 1989 the forty-two-year-old struck out an AL-leading 301 batters, by far the most ever for a man his age, and had several near-no-hitters. Rickey Henderson's whiff on August 22nd became the 5,000th of Ryan's career. His sixth no-hitter came the following year, when he mowed down the defending world champion Oakland A's. Ryan threw yet another no-hitter on May 1, 1991 at the age of 44.

Over the years, Ryan's reputation as a tough, quiet country boy had always brought him a strong following. He was seen as a throwback to a simpler, grittier era. After a Ryan pitch grazed Chicago's Robin Ventura's arm during a game in 1993, the White Sox third baseman charged Ryan, hoping to knock the 46-year-old pitcher off of his feet. But Ryan stood his ground and caught his assailant in a headlock before subsequently delivering several blows to Ventura's head.

As it turned out, 1993 was Ryan's final season in the majors. He exited with an incredible array of accomplishments. Ryan is the only man to have struck out both Hank Aaron and Ken Griffey Jr., as well as both Roger Maris and Mark McGwire. He not only whiffed both Sandy Alomar, Sr. and Roberto Alomar but also whiffed another four father-son duos, along with 21 Hall of Famers and 47 Most Valuable Players. Yet perhaps the most telling story of Ryan's legacy is the lasting impact he has had on his fans. In 1993, the Texas Rangers hosted a special event at Arlington Stadium. All fans named either "Nolan" or "Ryan" in honor of the beloved pitcher were invited to participate in a parade around the field prior to an evening game. More than 1,000 fans turned out for the event.

His playing days over, Ryan turned his attention to running his ranches and becoming the main shareholder in a Double-A franchise, the Jackson Generals of the Texas League. Relocating the club to Round Rock, Ryan and his son Reid (who would become club president) saw a month-long vote among the townspeople result in the selection of the name "Express" for the team's moniker, yet another testament to the pitcher's popularity. In January 1999, Ryan was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility with 98.79% of the vote.

» Phillies 3B Mike Schmidt wins the National League MVP Award, joining Stan Musial and Roy Campanella as the only 3-time winners. Schmidt led the NL with 37 home runs and 119 RBI.

Free-agent Albert Belle signs a record five-year, $55 million deal with the White Sox making the left fielder the first $10 million a year player.

Sammy Sosa is selected as the National League MVP creating an historic Latin American sweep of the MVP awards with Ranger Juan Gonzales winning the award in the American League this season.

Twenty-four year veteran Jesse Orosco, who is the all-time leader in games pitched at 1,187 agrees to a one-year contract with the Padres estimated at $800,000, At age 45, the lefty reliever, who started his major league with the Mets in 1979 (traded by the Twins for Jerry Koosman), is the oldest player in the majors.

The Angels trade flychaser Jose Guillen (.294, 27, 104) to the Washington Expos for outfielder Juan Riveria and infielder Maicer Izturis. The Dominican Republic native, now playing for his sixth team in his 8-year career, was suspended by Anaheim after throwing a helmet during a tirade caused by being taken out for a pinch runner last September.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

11-20-2007, 11:19 AM
Nov 20

» The National League agrees to allow overhand pitching, but rules that pitchers must keep both feet on the ground throughout their pitching motion in order to reduce the velocity of their pitches. They still must throw the ball at the height requested by the batter. In addition, teams are now required to supply a separate bench for each club at their park to limit inter-team fraternization.

» The Joint Rules Committee reduces the number of balls for a walk from five to 4, establishing the four balls/ three strikes count that remains in effect a century later. It also eliminates an out on a foul tip if the catcher catches it within 10 feet of home plate.

» Seventeen-year-old Eiji Sawamura gives up one hit, a home run to Lou Gehrig, as the touring American all-stars win in Japan 1–0. At one point Sawamura strikes out four in a row -- Charlie Gehringer, Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Gehrig. The all-stars easily win the other 15 games against high school and post-college players. College players in Japan are prohibited from playing against foreigners.

Japan's Sawamura Award, the equivalent of the Cy Young Award, is presented in memory of Eiji Sawamura, the first Japanese native to achieve pitching glory. As a 17-year-old amateur in 1934, Sawamura held a visiting American all-star team scoreless until Lou Gehrig's ninth-inning homer made him a 1-0 loser. Joining the Yomiuri Giants, Sawamura became their first 30-game winner, going 33-10 in 1937. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Imperial Army and was killed in the battle for the Ryukyu Islands shortly before WWII ended.

Catcher Moe Berg shoots movie film showing the roofs of Tokyo. The film will allegedly be used as a guide by U.S. bombers during WWII.

» The writers name Cubs slugger Hank Sauer as the National League MVP. The Cubs finished in 5th place, despite Sauer's 37 home runs and 121 RBIs.

Sauer was a slow-footed slugger who didn't reach the majors to stay until 1948, when he was 31 years old. That season he hit 35 homers and drove in 97 runs for the Reds, but when he started poorly the next year, he was swapped to the Cubs. He found a happy home in Wrigley Field. In his first full month in Chicago he smacked 11 homers.

In 1952, when he led the NL in RBI and tied Ralph Kiner for the home run championship with 37, Sauer was the NL MVP. After a broken finger slowed him in 1953, he bounced back with 41 homers in 1954.

Sauer was the first player to twice hit three home runs in a game off the same pitcher. The Phillies' Curt Simmons was the victim. On August 28, 1950, just before Simmons went into the service, Sauer slugged three off him at Wrigley to lead a 7-5 win. Two years later, on June 11, 1952, again at Wrigley Field, Sauer hit three solo homers to beat Simmons, 3-0. Sauer finished up with the Giants, slugging 26 HR in their last season at the Polo Grounds before becoming a part-time player when they moved to San Francisco in 1958.

Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick states that he thinks the PCL will eventually reach ML status.

» The KC Athletics trade infielder Billy Martin, outfielders Gus Zernial and Lou Skizas, pitchers Maury McDermott and Tom Morgan, and C Charlie Thompson to Detroit. In exchange, the Tigers send outfielders Bill Tuttle, Jim Small, pitchers Duane Maas and John Tsitouris, C Frank House, SS Kent Hadley, and a player to come later.

» The Tigers trade Billy Martin and RHP Al Cicotte to Cleveland for relief P Ray Narleski and Don Mossi and SS Ossie Alvarez.

Billy Martin was one of baseball's most fascinating characters from the time he left the tough side of Berkeley, California, and entered pro ball in 1946. Martin played for Casey Stengel with the Oakland Oaks in 1948. Stengel loved him like the son he never had and admired his aggressive play. When Stengel became manager in New York, he had the Yankees obtain Martin.

Martin's Yankee career began in 1950 and ended abruptly on June 15, 1957, and Stengel couldn't do anything to save him. The trading of Martin and several other players to Kansas City on that date followed a highly publicized nightclub scuffle involving several Yankee stars, including Mickey Mantle and Hank Bauer. Martin was blamed for the mess.

Martin was a fine Yankee second baseman and Stengel's sparkplug. He lacked the ability of close friends Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford, but he did whatever it took to win. The only year New York didn't win the pennant while Martin was a Yankee was the year he was in the Army, 1954. His alertness saved the seventh game of the 1952 World Series for New York, 4-2. With two outs in the seventh and the bases full of Dodgers, Jackie Robinson lifted a pop-up near the pitcher's mound that seemed to freeze the Yankee infield - until Martin raced in to make a lunging catch.

In the Yankees-Dodgers rematch in 1953, Martin was the World Series MVP. He hit .500, set a six-game Series record with 12 hits, and singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth in the finale.

He enjoyed his best season in 1956, making the All-Star team and setting personal highs in homers (15) and RBI (75). He bounced around - and brawled around - the majors for four years after his 1957 Yankee departure. While playing for the Reds in 1960, Martin attacked Cubs rookie Jim Brewer during a game and broke Brewer's cheekbone.

Martin was with Minnesota when he retired as a player. He remained in the Minnesota organization, becoming the Twins' third-base coach and then, in 1969, their manager. He beat up Twins pitcher Dave Boswell and ignored owner Calvin Griffith, and he got himself fired in spite of winning the AL West title.

Martin repeated the pattern with Detroit (1971-73), winning the AL East in 1972, and Texas (1973-75), where he finished an amazing second in 1974 to capture the first of his four Manager of the Year awards. But maintaining the affection of management was a problem for him.

By the time Martin got to New York in August 1975, he was recognized as one of the best managers in the game, and he led the Yankees to a surprisingly easy 1976 pennant. Then owner George Steinbrenner signed Reggie Jackson, and the relative peace of the Yankee clubhouse became imperiled. During a series in Boston, Martin and Jackson almost came to blows as a national TV audience watched. But the Yankees won the 1977 World Championship all the same.

In July 1978, however, Martin suspended Jackson for bunting against orders, and later told the press that Jackson and Steinbrenner were liars. Martin was forced to resign. He returned to the Yankee helm in July 1979, only to be fired again in October after punching out a marshmallow salesman.

Martin then managed at Oakland (1980-82), where his "Billy Ball" - characterized as featuring the running game, the hit-and-run, and the suicide squeeze, but also including a league-leading total of home runs - revived an A's franchise that in 1981 won the AL West.

Martin was fired by the A's, hired by the Yankees (1983), fired by the Yankees, hired by the Yankees (1985), fired by the Yankees, hired by the Yankees (1988), and - after yet another nightclub brawl - fired by the Yankees once again. The five terms managing one club tied the major league record.

» Mickey Mantle is named the American League Most Valuable Player for the 3rd time.

» Mets P Tom Seaver (16-12) is named National League Rookie of the Year.

» San Francisco's Willie McCovey edges Tom Seaver as National League MVP.

» TSN announces Gold Glove fielding teams. Among newcomers are OF Amos Otis in the AL and Bobby Bonds in the NL.

» Jeff Burroughs, the Texas OF who batted .301 with 25 home runs and a league-leading 118 RBI, wins the American League MVP Award.

Burroughs was a top young power hitter, but by his late twenties had declined to the journeyman stage. The nation's first draft pick in 1969, he joined the Senators at 19. There, he often clashed with manager Ted Williams, though Burroughs later credited Williams for teaching him to concentrate. Burroughs hit 30 homers in 1973, his first season as the Rangers' regular right fielder. That set the stage for his MVP year in 1974, when he batted .301 with 25 homers and a league-leading 118 RBI. But the south wind at Arlington Stadium gave him fits (he fanned a league-high 155 times in 1976), and he profited from a trade to Atlanta, where he hit 41 homers with 114 RBI in 1977. Defensively, Burroughs was capable but slow. When he announced his goal was to win a Gold Glove, teammate Joe Lovitto said, "You won't make any errors. You don't get to a ball until it stops rolling."

» The Braves sign reliever Al Hrabosky, "the Mad Hungarian," a reentry free agent formerly with the Royals, to a 5-year pact worth $2.2 million.

A blazing fastball, used 90 percent of the time, made Hrabosky one of the most effective relievers of the 1970s. The chunky southpaw's nickname, The Mad Hungarian, came from his nationality, Fu Manchu mustache and long hair, and angry stomping to the back of the mound to psych himself up. He was TSN NL Fireman of the Year in 1975 with St. Louis (13-3, 1.67, 22 saves). When he wasn't selected to the All-Star team in 1974, St. Louis fans rallied behind him, honoring him with a "We Hlove Hrabosky Hbanner Hday." Traded in December 1977 to the Royals for reliever Mark Littell, in 1979 he signed a multi-million-dollar contract with the Braves via free agency, but recorded only 7 of his lifetime 97 saves with Atlanta. He later became a Cardinal broadcaster.

» Four days after his 20th birthday, Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden becomes the youngest player ever to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Gooden was 17-9 with a 2.60 ERA and a ML-leading 276 strikeouts.

» Brewers centerfielder Robin Yount edges the Rangers Ruben Sierra to win his 2nd American League MVP Award. Yount, who won as a SS in 1982, hit .318 last season with 21 home runs and 103 RBI.

» Oakland's Rickey Henderson edges Detroit's Cecil Fielder for the American League MVP Award. Henderson hit .325 with 28 home runs and a ML-best 65 stolen bases.

Due to his unruly behavior toward the umpires in Game 4 of the ALCS, Roger 'the Rocket' Clemens is suspended for the first five games of the 1991 season and is fined $10,000.

» The Yankees trade minor league P Mike DeJean and a player to be named to the Rockies for C Joe Girardi. Girardi will solidify the catching for New York, while DeJean will set a ML mark for most appearances without a loss. He'll go 7–0 through 1998, while making 88 appearances, breaking a little-known mark set by Phil Paine. DeJean will be 2–4 in '99.

» Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners is named the AL Most Valuable Player. He becomes the second player in history to win both the Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in the same season.

resources for these posting are from baseballibrary.com

11-21-2007, 11:31 AM
Nov 21

» The St. Louis Browns announce a trade with the Athletics that ships Bill Gleason and Curt Welch to Philadelphia for Fred Mann, Chippy McGarr, and Jocko Milligan, plus $3,000. This is the first of a number of trades or sales, mostly to Brooklyn.

» The National League issues its reply to the PL manifesto. Claiming that the League saved baseball in 1876 and that under the reserve rules players' salaries had "more than trebled," the NL denounces the Brotherhood movement as "the efforts of certain overpaid players to again control [baseball] for their own aggrandizement. . . to its ultimate dishonor and disintegration."

» Ban Johnson is named president, secretary, and treasurer of the recently reorganized Western League. Under Johnson's leadership the Western League will prosper.

» Given a 10-year contract to control the Baltimore franchise, John McGraw says he intends to be in baseball a long time, and wants to lease grounds in Baltimore where he can stay. He'll be in baseball 32 more years, but not in Baltimore. Nick Young says the National League wishes success to the American League, but does not consider it a major league.

For many years John McGraw was the dominant figure in American baseball. He was an excellent player - certainly the best ever to become a great manager - yet his success derived from more than athletic talent. He had a profound understanding of the game and was alert to all the opportunities each inning offered. "The main idea," he always said, "is to win."

His personality was indeed that of a "Little Napoleon": arrogant, abrasive, and pugnacious. He outgeneraled his opponents while abusing them verbally and, sometimes, with his fists. His players suffered his tyranny as the price of victory, proud to be Giants. In his 29 full seasons as Giants manager he finished first or second 21 times, winning 10 pennants and three World Series.

McGraw's rise to prominence was swift. A scrawny youngster from Truxton, New York, he began his professional career at Olean (New York-Penn League) in 1890 and within a year had jumped to the American Association's Baltimore club. When the American Association collapsed after 1891, Baltimore was absorbed into the National League and McGraw became a member of the soon-to-be-legendary Orioles.

Although his ML playing career spanned 16 seasons, McGraw was at his best as Ned Hanlon's fiery third baseman in Baltimore, a star on a team that won three consecutive titles from 1894 to 1896. A lefthanded batter, he was an adroit bat handler who could hit for average, batting over .321 nine consecutive seasons. He twice led the league in runs and walks and stole 436 bases. He and Willie Keeler were experts at the hit-and run play.

McGraw was notorious for blocking, tripping, or otherwise obstructing the baserunners while the lone umpire watched the flight of the ball. Some say his shenanigans prompted the stationing of additional umpires on the basepaths.

There then began a period in which he successfully opposed the baseball "establishment" at every opportunity. Barely 26 in 1899, he refused to be shifted to Brooklyn, which the Baltimore club partially owned and wanted to strengthen. While manager Hanlon and five Orioles starters led Brooklyn to the championship in 1899 and 1900, McGraw and catcher Wilbert Robinson remained behind in Baltimore, where they owned a profitable saloon together. McGraw was named manager of the leftover Orioles and led them to third place. The Orioles were disbanded when the NL reduced to eight teams in 1900, and McGraw and Robinson were sold to St. Louis. They agreed to go only on the condition that the reserve clause be removed from their contracts, an unheard-of concession. In 1901 he became player-manager of the new American League's Baltimore franchise, but after frequent run-ins with league president Ban Johnson, a man as intractable as himself, he jumped in mid-1902 to the NL's New York Giants.

McGraw brought Robinson, Roger Bresnahan, Dan McGann, and Joe McGinnity with him to New York, and found Christy Mathewson already there. With the ample financial resources of new owner John T. Brush, McGraw quickly turned a floundering second-division team into a contender, winning a then-record 106 games and the pennant in 1904. McGraw and Brush refused to allow the club to meet the AL champion Red Sox in the WS (the first Series had been played the year before), however. In 1905 McGraw's Giants won a second consecutive NL pennant, finishing 105-48, and this time they did play the WS. They whipped the Athletics in five games behind Mathewson's three shutouts.

McGraw's managerial style was reminiscent of his antics as a player. He swaggered through every city in the league, battling opposing teams, managers, owners, umpires, and league officials. He had a genius for inciting crowds and the Giants quickly became the most despised team in the league, often dodging rocks and bottles as they left enemy ballparks. In 1906 McGraw arrogantly had "Champions of the World" emblazoned across the front of the team's jerseys.

Strategically, McGraw favored the hit-and-run and disdained the sacrifice bunt. He had a sharp eye for playing talent and traded daringly, getting useful work from drinkers and neurotics other clubs had given up on. And with tips from his many friends in bush leagues across the country, he found bright young stars to replace fading older ones.

McGraw's Giants won three consecutive pennants from 1911 to 1913, but lost the WS all three years, twice to the Athletics and once to the Red Sox. The 1912 WS featured Fred Snodgrass's famous dropped fly ball, which allowed the Red Sox to rally for two runs in the 10th inning of the final game. McGraw lost another WS to the White Sox in 1917, then rattled off four consecutive pennants beginning in 1921. By then, the Yankees were emerging as an AL dynasty, but the Giants beat their Bronx rivals in 1921 and 1922, before the Yankees returned the favor in 1923.

McGraw unwittingly hastened his own demise by urging wealthy Jake Ruppert to buy the Yankees, ushering in the Ruthian long-ball era. The Yankees quickly established themselves as the city's dominant team, and the Giants were overtaken by the Pirates, Cardinals, and Cubs in their own league. In 1932 McGraw surrendered the manager's reins to Bill Terry, retiring with 2,840 victories. He returned in 1933 to manage the NL squad in the inaugural All-Star Game.

» Chuck Klein, who won the Triple Crown with the Phillies, is sold to the Chicago Cubs for $125,000 and veterans Mark Koenig, Harvey Hendrick, and rookie Ted Kleinhans. Hendrick will play one year in Philley, while the other two quickly go to the Reds. Klein, who also led the National League in total bases, hits, slugging, doubles, was second in runs, and 4th in steals, is the only player to be traded after a Triple Crown season. He will have two solid years at Wrigley before returning to the Phils.

» Bill Veeck sells the Indians for $2.2 million to a local syndicate headed by Ellis Ryan. Hank Greenberg will be general manager.

Perhaps best remembered for sending midget Eddie Gaedel to bat in a game against the Tigers at St. Louis in 1952, Veeck was baseball's most imaginative promoter. He grew up in a ballpark and was never happier than when he was roaming the grandstand and bleachers, mingling with fans. An admitted publicity hound and an imaginative innovator who frequently upset other club owners with his proposals and stunts, he was also a sound baseball man who created winners in Cleveland and Chicago.

His father, William Veeck, Sr., was a basebal writer when William Wrigley installed him as president of the Cubs. By the time he was eleven, Bill Jr. was selling soda in the stands, mailing out tickets, and helping the grounds keepers. When his father died in 1933 Veeck quit Kenyon College and went to work full-time for the Cubs. He became treasurer, but at twenty-seven he quit and bought the near-bankrupt Milwaukee team in the American Association. With $11 in his pocket he arrived in Milwaukee in 1941; four years later he sold the club for a $275,000 profit after setting minor league attendance records and winning three pennants. He gave away live pigs, beer, cases of food; he put on fireworks displays, staged weddings at home plate, played morning games for wartime swing shift workers. But he considered such stunts as extras, not lures, and usually produced them unannounced.

In 1943 he had the backing to buy the Phillies and planned to sign several Negro League players, but he felt the risk was too great and backed out, a move he later said he regretted. Wounds suffered fighting in the South Pacific with the Marines in WWII forced him to undergo several operations on his leg and eventual amputation. But it didn't slow him down.

In 1946 he put together a syndicate and bought the Cleveland Indians. In 1947 they doubled attendance to 1.5 million; a year later they drew an AL-record 2,620,627 while winning the pennant. He signed Larry Doby, the first black player in the league, and Satchel Paige. After selling the Indians for a large profit, he took over the moribund Browns, then in debt to the league for $300,000, a number about equal to a season's attendance. In 1952 attendance "soared" to 518,000; Veeck said he lost close to $200,000. Despite the opposition of his three partners, Veeck planned to move the team to Baltimore in 1953. August Busch had bought the Cardinals, who were paying $35,000-a-year rent to the Browns for the use of Sportsman's Park. The deal was to sell the park to the Cardinals and raise money by selling shares to the public in Baltimore. Believing he had seven votes lined up, he put it to the league on March 16, 1953. He lost 5 to 3; only former partner Hank Greenberg and Frank Lane of the White Sox supported him. Reasons given for the turndown were too many debts, not enough money, and too little time before the season was to open. He had failed to confer with the president of the International League over the Baltimore territory and had not contacted Washington and Philadelphia officials personally. Veeck said, "I am the victim of duplicity by a lot of lying so-and-sos. Every reason they give for voting me down is either silly or malicious, and I prefer to think they were malicious." Most of the press agreed with him. He was forced to sell out. A year later the club was moved to Baltimore.

Out of baseball, he tried to buy Ringling Brothers circus, researched the Pacific coast for major league possiblities for Phil Wrigley, publicized a passenger ship in Cleveland, worked for ABC sports and NBC game of the week, tried to buy the Tigers in 1957, and went after an NBA franchise for Cleveland. He was back in the game in 1959, heading a group that bought the White Sox. They won their first pennant in 40 years and drew a club-record 1,423,000. In 1960 Veeck unveiled the exploding scoreboard and drew 1,644,460 for a club record that still stands. On advice of his doctors he sold the club and retired to his Maryland farm. But after operating Suffolk racetrack, writing book reviews for newspapers and his own story, Veeck as in Wreck, he was back in Chicago in 1975 with Greenberg, paying $7 million for the White Sox. Five years later they sold the franchise for $20 million.

A heavy smoker and light beer drinker, Veeck gave up both in 1980 and underwent two operations for lung cancer in 1984. His tieless attire was due to a skin condition which made tight collars unbearable.

» In an obvious power struggle for control, the principal founding father of Little League, Carl Stotz, sues the organization for breach of contract. The suit will be settled out of court.

» In the first inter-league trade, the Cubs send 1B Jim Marshall and P Dave Hillman to the Red Sox for 1B Dick Gernert.

» TSN announces Gold Glove selections. White Sox SS Luis Aparicio wins the 9th and final honor of his career, while Mets OF Tommie Agee becomes the first non pitcher to win it in each league. Aparicio has now won a gold glove in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

» Boston's Carlton Fisk is the unanimous choice for American League Rookie of the Year, the first time this has happened. The catcher hit 22 home runs and led the AL East with a .293 average. Jon Matlack of the Mets is named the National League Rookie of the Year.

» Pete Rose wins the NL MVP in a controversial vote, edging out Willie Stargell. Rose led the league with 230 hits and won his 3rd batting crown with a .338 mark. Stargell led with 44 home runs, 119 RBI, and a .646 slugging average while batting .299.

As a young slugger, a superstar, and a veteran captain, "Pops" always brought class -- and often victory -- to the Pittsburgh Pirates. A menacing figure at the plate, Stargell would slowly twirl his bat round and round as he prepared for the pitch, almost like winding a powerful spring. Among his "collect-call" homers were four into the upper deck at Three Rivers Stadium, seven over the right field roof in Forbes Field, two completely out of Dodger Stadium (one of two players ever to accomplish the feat), and a shot estimated at 535 feet into the 500-level at Montreal's Olympic Stadium, where a seat is painted gold to commemorate the shot.

On July 22, 1964, Stargell hit for the cycle. That year, the burly, lefthanded slugger began a string of 13 consecutive 20-homer seasons, and also made his first of seven All-Star Game appearances. In 1970 he tied a major-league record with five extra-base hits in one game. He opened 1971 on a tear, setting an April record with 11 dingers, and inspiring Pirate broadcaster Bob Prince to coin the phrase "spread chicken on the hill" (in reference to Willie's chain of chicken restaurants) each time he blasted a homer. He spread chicken 48 times in 1971 and had 125 RBIs, both career highs (as were his 154 strikeouts), to help the Pirates to a pennant. In the World Series dominated by Roberto Clemente, he hit a disappointing .132.

When Clemente died, Stargell became the Pirates' leader, but his spectacular 1973 season (.299, 44 HR, 119 RBI) went largely unrecognized because the team slumped. Knee problems forced his move to first base in 1974, and a series of injuries ended his string of 20-homer seasons in 1977. However, he earned The Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year award in 1978 when he batted .295, tallying 28 homers and 97 ribbies.

Although he'd had seasons with higher totals, 1979 was his most noteworthy year: At the ripe age of 39, Stargell was captain of The Family, driving the team to a pennant with his bat (.281, 32 HR, 82 RBI) and leadership, awarding "Stargell Stars" to deserving teammates. In the World Series win, he set records with 25 total bases and seven extra-base hits (three homers, four doubles). He also became the first person to win three major MVP awards -- sharing regular season honors of the National League with Keith Hernandez, and also bringing home the NLCS and World Series MVP trophies. Stargell's banner year also awarded him the titles of The Sporting News Man of the Year, and Sports Illustrated co-Man of the Year (with Steeler Super Bowl quarterback Terry Bradshaw). After playing three more painful seasons with arthritis tearing away at his knees, Pops retired in 1982 as the Pirate career leader in home runs, RBIs, and eight other categories.

A clubhouse drug scandal in 1985 involving Dave Parker, Dale Berra, and even the Pirate mascot left a stain on the franchise and fans yearning for their former leader. Stargell returned to the Pirates as a coach after the scandal abated, but left with manager Chuck Tanner for the Atlanta Braves organization the following year. With the Braves, Stargell served as first base coach, hitting coach, and later as a Special Assistant to the Director of Player Development.

But despite his time with Atlanta, Stargell was always a Pirate at heart. One of the most popular figures in Pittsburgh sports history, he was given loud ovations at every public appearance. When he was selected for the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA in 1988, his first year of eligibility, the Bucs took the opportunity to retire his #8. Pops returned to the Pirates in 1997, working as an aide to GM Cam Bonifay. Around that same time, he developed a kidney disorder that would require constant dialysis, and leave him weak in the ensuing years.

At the Three Rivers closing ceremony on October 1, 2000, it was announced that a 12-foot high statue of Stargell would be erected outside the Pirates' new home, PNC Park. The statue was to be unveiled on April 7, 2001, but Stargell was too sick to attend the event and the ceremony was postponed until two days later. On the morning of the 9th, he passed away.

» Ending weeks of speculation that he would be fired despite having led the Yankees to 103 wins last season, manager Dick Howser "resigns" and is immediately replaced by GM Gene Michael.

» Darryl Strawberry becomes the first non-Dodger since 1978 to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Strawberry hit .257 for the Mets with 26 home runs and 74 RBI and also stole 19 bases.

Citing statistics to a U.S. Senate panel, commissioner Bud Selig states it is time for 'sweeping changes' in the game's economic make-up raising the possibility of a work stoppage after the current contract expires October 31, 2001.

In an effort to appeal more to women and families, Major League Baseball announces a partnership with 5-year-old Women's Pro Softball League recently renamed National Pro Fastpitch. MLB will provide sponsorship support along with giving the softball players a presence at big league events.

In the earliest scheduled season opener in major league history, the A's and Mariners will start the season in Tokyo, Japan on March 25. The two-game series will feature recent American League Rookies of the Year Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001).

The Expos may play approximately twenty-five percent of their home games in (22 of 81) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Away 'home games' are not unprecedented as the Dodgers played seven games in Newark, N.J. in 1956 and 1957, and the White Sox, filling a void when the Braves left, played nine games in Milwaukee in 1968 and another 11 the following season.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

11-26-2007, 11:01 AM
Nov 26

» A series for the championship of the Pacific Coast begins between the champions of the California League (San Jose) and the Pacific Northwest League pennant winners (Portland). San Jose wins the opener, 8–6. The series will last until January 10 with San Jose winning 10 games to 9. All the games are in played in San Jose.

» The Phils are sold for $350,000 to a group headed by sportswriter. Because of his dual roles, Fogel will become the only executive barred from a league meeting.

» John T. Brush dies while en route to California by train for his health. His son-in-law, Harry Hempstead, will succeed him as president of the Giants.

» The National League takes over the bankrupt, last-place Boston Braves franchise after several failed attempts to buy the club. The league takes over only temporarily, until matters can be straightened out.

National League president Ford Frick steps in and pays $350 for funeral services, including the cost of a coffin, for the unclaimed body of Hack Wilson. The former slugger, who had died probably of alcohol abuse a few days earlier in a Baltimore hospital, is identified only as a white male.

Hack was, first of all, a physical phenomenon. There were 195 pounds of him on a 5'6" frame: the height of Phil Rizzuto, only 40-45 pounds heavier. As a young man it was all muscle: a barrel-chested upper body, blacksmith arms, and bulging thighs and calves on the short, short legs that tapered to tiny feet. He wore an 18 collar and size 6 shoe. And until the liquor overmastered him, he could hit a ton.

His nickname derived either from George Hackenschmidt, an old-time wrestler, or from a resemblance to Hack Miller, another sawed-off heavyweight who preceded him in Chicago.

The Chicago Cubs got Wilson on a fluke. Originally a New York Giant, he performed creditably in 1924, but slumped to .239 the following year and was sent down to Toledo (American Association), then a Giant farm. In the postseason draft the Cubs acquired him for a measly $5,000 over a strenuous Giant protest that Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis denied. Thereafter, batting cleanup in the Cubs' awesome array of hitters, he was one of the National League's top power hitters.

At the plate he was a sight to see, squat, stumpy, and menacing, with an earnest, clenched-jaw look on the square face. He loved the high fastball and brought the bat around from the right side to meet it with little grace and mighty effort. Like many big swingers, he often led the league in strikeouts, but unlike today's sluggers, never exceeded 94 strikeouts in any season. Along the way he had 25- and 27-game hitting streaks, hit for the cycle, and in his best year (1930) had a slugging average of .723.

That remarkable 1930 season he set two legendary marks. The 56 home runs he walloped were a National League record that stood until 1998, when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa both obliterated his -- and Roger Maris' -- record. But the single-season record that still stands from that year was his RBI mark of 190 -- later to be officially changed in the record books in 1999 to 191, as he became one of the first dead players ever to notch an RBI. Though contenders to the crown have come close, no player has gotten within 25 RBIs of the mark since 1938.

For all his top-heavy physique, he was a capable centerfielder. Kiki Cuyler may have helped some in right field, but with Riggs Stephenson in left field Hack was on his own. In 1927 he led the league's outfielders with 400 putouts. Although remembered for two crucial hits lost in the sun during the Philadelphia Athletics' memorable 10-run Series rally in 1929, he otherwise fielded without error and led all Series hitters with a .471 average.

His problem was alcohol and the lack of discipline it encouraged. Joe McCarthy knew how to handle him and keep him functioning. Other managers, notably Rogers Hornsby, did not. Following his tremendous 1930, Hack slumped alarmingly, hitting a *****cat .261 with 13 home runs and 61 RBI. Over the winter he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Burleigh Grimes, and from there to the Brooklyn Dodgers for $45,000 and a minor-league pitcher. He checked his slide briefly, but by 1934 his career had ended.

» The Gillette Safety Razor Co. signs a 6-year deal, worth an estimated $6 million, with ML baseball for the TV-radio rights for the World Series.

» Yoshio (Kaiser) Tanaka, an American citizen of Japanese descent, is named manager of the Hanshin Tigers. He is the first American to manage a Japanese ML team.

» The American League MVP is Boston slugger Jackie Jensen, winning over New York's Bob Turley and Cleveland's Rocky Colavito.

The blond Golden Boy, a product of the Yankee farm system of the 1940s, was heralded as DiMaggio's heir as a rookie in 1950. But he hit only .171 in 45 games, and Mickey Mantle assumed that role the following year. Jensen, freed from the pressures of following a legend, enjoyed a solid, if less productive than predicted, career up the coast in Boston. Jensen played just 11 years, his career cut short by a fear of flying. Ted Williams called his right-field partner the best outfielder he ever saw. A steady RBI man, Jensen drove in 100 or more runs five of his seven years with the Red Sox and led the league three times with 116 in 1955, 122 in 1958, and 112 in 1959. He hit over .300 only once, in 1956, a season highlighted on August 2, when he drove in nine runs. Although the speedy Jensen led the league in stolen bases with 22 in 1954 and in triples with 11 in 1956, he also had a proclivity for grounding into double plays, hitting into 185 over his career (once every 28 at-bats).

» Twins is the appropriate new name chosen for the club transplanted from Washington to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

» The Professional Baseball Rules Committee votes 8-1 against legalizing the spitball. Only National League supervisor of umpires Cal Hubbard votes in favor.

» The Yankees say good-bye to Moose Skowron, trading him to the Dodgers for P Stan Williams. Williams wins nine for the Yanks, but Moose is little help to the Dodgers.

"I don't always swing at strikes. I swing at the ball when it looks big." -BILL 'MOOSE' SKOWRON, Yankee first baseman

As a joke, Skowron's grandfather called him Mussolini, but his family shortened the nickname to Moose. A kicker for Purdue, he signed to play baseball in 1951, and joined the Yankees in 1954. A powerful opposite-field hitter, he topped the .300 mark five times with New York and was TSN all-star first baseman in 1960. He once lamented, "I hit over .300 three straight years for the Yankees and they wouldn't give me a raise."
Making up for the disappointment of making the final out of the 1957 WS when Milwaukee won, he became a hero of the 1958 World Series versus the Braves. He drove in what proved to be the winning run in Game Six, and hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning of the final game to give New York a 6-2 victory as they came back from a 3-games-to-1 deficit. When Skowron homered in the 14th inning on April 22, 1959, the Yankees and Senators set the AL record for the longest game to end 1-0 on a home run. After playing in his seventh WS with New York in 1962, Skowron was traded to the Dodgers, for whom he hit just .203 while platooned in 1963. But, facing his former team in the 1963 WS, he went 5-for-13, including a HR, as the Dodgers swept the Yankees.

» Cincinnati 2B Pete Rose is a landslide winner of National League Rookie of the Year honors, taking 17 of 20 votes.

Rose is the career leader in hits (4,256), singles (3,215), at-bats (14,053) and games played (3,562). He is second all-time in doubles, fourth in runs, and collected at least 100 hits in his first 23 seasons, a record. He had more than 200 hits in a season 10 times, also a record, led the league in hits in seven seasons, and is the most prolific switch-hitter in history. He is the only player to play 500 games at five different positions and was named the Player of the Decade for the 1970s by TSN. He revived the head-first slide and popularized running to first base on a walk after seeing Enos Slaughter do it. Because of his seemingly boundless enthusiasm, he was nicknamed "Charlie Hustle" by Whitey Ford. Rose once said that he'd "walk through hell in a gasoline suit to keep playing baseball." He has also been endlessly compared to Ty Cobb, including allegations of betting on his own team, an accusation Cobb faced in the final years of his career. Rose's statistical standing in major league history is ensured, but his reputation and eventual election to the Hall of Fame is in serious doubt following his lifetime suspension by Commissioner Giamatti in 1989.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, the brash, crewcut rookie broke into the Reds' starting lineup in 1963 and was named Rookie of the Year. In the top of the ninth in a scoreless game in Colt Stadium on April 23, 1964, Rose reached first on an error and scored on another error to make Houston rookie Ken Johnson the first pitcher to lose a complete game no-hitter. But Rose slumped late in 1964, was benched, and finished with just a .269 average. He came back in 1965 to lead the league in hits (209) and at-bats (670), and hit .312, the first of 15 consecutive .300 seasons. He hit a career-high 16 homers in 1966, then moved from second base to the right field the following year. In 1968, he started the season with a 22-game hit streak, missed three weeks, including the All-Star game, with a broken thumb, then had a 19-game hit streak late in the season. He had to finish the season 6-for-9 to beat out Matty Alou and win the first of two close NL batting-title races.

In 1969, Rose and Roberto Clemente were tied for the batting title going into the final game. Rose bunted for a base hit in his last at-bat of the season to beat out Clemente. Rose's hustle won the All-Star Game in 1970 for the NL, and may have spoiled the career of Oakland catcher Ray Fosse, Rose's dinner companion the night before the game in Cincinnati. In the 12th inning, Rose led off with a single and went to second on a single by the Dodgers' Bill Grabarkewitz. The Cubs Jim Hickman then singled sharply to center. Amos Otis' throw beat Rose to the plate, but Rose barreled over Fosse, separating the catcher's shoulder, to score the winning run. Rose sparked the The Big Red Machine to a sweep of the LCS against Pittsburgh that year. He drove in a run to snap a scoreless tie in the 10th inning in the first game, then singled during the eighth inning rally that produced the winning run in the third game.

In 1972, Rose, now in left field, again led the league in hits and at-bats, hit .450 in the LCS against Pittsbugh, but managed only a .214 average in the seven-game loss to Oakland in the World Series. Rose enjoyed his best-ever season in 1973. He won his third and final batting title with a .338 average, collected a career-high 230 hits and was named the NL MVP. The Reds, however, lost the LCS to the upstart Mets, despite Rose's eighth-inning homer to tie Game One and his 12th-inning homer to win Game Four. The Mets were spurred on by Rose's fight with diminutive Met shortstop Bud Harrelson in Game Three, which prompted a bench-clearing brawl. Rose slumped badly in 1974, hitting only .284, although he did lead the league in runs scored with 110. In 1975, Rose was moved to third base to make room for rookie outfielder Ken Griffey, and led the Reds to the first of two straight World Series victories. Rose was named the 1975 World Series MVP on the strength of 10 hits and a .370 average. The Reds swept the Yankees in the 1976 Series, despite only a .188 average for Rose.

In 1978, Rose mounted the last serious threat to Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak. Rose hit safely in 44 straight games, the most by a NL player in the 20th century. On May 5, he became the youngest player ever to reach 3,000 hits. After the season, Rose became a free agent and, after a fierce bidding war, signed with the Phillies. Installed at first base, his fifth position in the majors, he hit .331. The next season, despite only a .282 regular-season average, he helped the Phillies win their first-ever World Championship. With one out in the ninth inning of the sixth and final game of the World Series, the Phillies were leading 4-1 with Tug McGraw on the mound, but the bases were full of Royals. Frank White's foul pop bounced out of catcher Bob Boone's glove, but Rose grabbed it in the air to prevent a possible tragedy.

In the strike-shortened 1981 season, Rose led the league in hits and had his last .300 season, batting .325. Now 40 years old, it was clear his career was winding down, but the question of whether he could catch Cobb and the all-time hit record of 4,192 kept his name in the news. The night after the strike ended on August 10, he passed Musial as the NL all-time hit leader. He hit just .271 in 1982, but collected 172 more hits. In 1983, the last year of his contract with the Phillies, he hit just .245. Rose, Joe Morgan, and Tony Perez, aging remnants of the Big Red Machine teams, helped the Phillies to the World Series, losing to the Orioles in five games. It was clear that the Phillies were moving toward youth, and the question was, who would want a forty-two-year-old player. The Expos, needing some help at the gate, signed him, and on April 13, a day before his forty-third birthday, he collected his 4,000th hit. But he wasn't hitting consistently, and was benched in July. On August 16, he was traded back to his hometown Reds, was named player-manager, and responded by batting .365 the rest of the season.

In 1985 the city named a street near the ballpark after him as the Cobb hoopla built. On September 11 in Cincinnati, batting lefthanded, he hit a line single to left off the Padres' Eric Show for hit number 4,193 to pass Cobb. In order to reach Cobb, Rose collected more than 1,000 hits after the age of 38. He guided the Reds to a second-place finish in the NL West that year, and again in 1986, his last year as an active player. Cincinnati finished second again in 1987, and for the fourth time in a row in 1988. During the 1988 season, Rose got into a shoving match with umpire Dave Pallone, and was suspended for 30 days.

Early in 1989, his job in jeopardy because of consistant second-place finishes, Rose was accused of being in massive debt to gamblers and of betting on his own team. He resorted to months of legal stratagems, challenging the Commissioner's authority, until finally agreeing on August 24 to a deal in which he dropped his suit against baseball and accepted the lifetime suspension. In return, there were no official findings announced. By that time, testimony and documents from a federal case involving one of his bookmakers had revealed everything anyway, but Rose obdurately denied that he had done anything deserving censure.

After more than 14 years of denying he bet on baseball while managing the Cincinnati Reds, Pete Rose has changed his story. The 17-time all-star opted to come clean on his gambling past with the January 2004 release of his autobiography, My Prison Without Bars.

Although Rose originally admitted to illegal gambling on football and basketball games, he didn't go to jail for it. In 1990, he was fined $50,000 and spent five months at a federal prison in Marion, Ill., for tax evasion. He failed to report $345,967 in memorabilia income to the Internal Revenue Service.

Rose now admits to having wagered on baseball while managing the Reds in the mid-to-late 1980s. He also says he bet on his own team, but never to lose.

While some have praised Rose for finally confessing, others have said he is simply revealing the worst-kept secret in baseball at an advantageous time. Rose's mea culpa, which coincided with his book release, garnered extensive media coverage, including a cover article in Sports Illustrated and a primetime interview on American network TV.

Fans and columnists have been quick to condemn or show sympathy for Rose. However, the commissioner's office still wields the ultimate power in deciding if the man they call Charlie Hustle will ever have a future in baseball.

Rose continues to lobby Major League Baseball for reinstatement into the sport. His original application from September 1997 is still pending, according to MLB executive Bob DuPuy.

The admission was considered crucial for his reinstatement into baseball. Currently, Rose is not allowed to hold a job in baseball and is ineligible for enshrinement into the Hall.

» Catfish Hunter meets with Charlie Finley in the American Arbitration Association office in New York City for a hearing to determine the validity of Hunter's breach-of-contract claim. Hunter contends that Finley failed to pay $50,000, half of Hunter's salary, to a life insurance fund. The case will go to arbitration.

» Fred Lynn becomes the first rookie to win MVP honors, taking the American League award. Lynn batted .331 with 21 home runs, 105 RBI, and league-leading figures in runs (103), doubles (47), and slugging (.566).

Despite ten 20-HR seasons, one batting title, and All-Star appearances in each of his first nine seasons, Fred Lynn always fell short of expectations--betrayed by a fragile body and burdened with one of the finest rookie seasons in ML history.

In 1975, Lynn captivated Boston with his effortless lefthanded swing, ringing line drives, and almost daily sprawling catches in centerfield as he led a young Red Sox club to within one win of the World Championship. On June 18 he bombed the Tigers with 3 HR, 10 RBI, and 16 total bases in one game, and by season's end Lynn had hit .331, led the AL in runs and doubles, and became the only player ever to be named Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season. In 1979, he was even better, leading the AL in batting (.333) with 39 HR and 122 RBI. Lynn, however, longed to play in his native California, and the Red Sox obliged by trading him to the Angels in January 1981. Away from Fenway Park, Lynn would never hit .300 again.

He remained one of the AL's better-fielding outfielders when healthy, and had six consecutive 20 HR seasons (1982-88). His grand slam in the 1983 All-Star Game (the only grand slam in All-Star play) was his fourth All-Star Game home run, second only to Stan Musial in ML history. But he was never the Hall of Famer he had appeared destined to be in 1975, and the main culprit was injuries. While some were the result of reckless play (he broke a rib crashing into an outfield fence and twice tore up his knee breaking up double plays), more often it was nagging strains and sprains that kept him off the field. The only year in which he played 150 games was 1978.

» Arbitrator Alan Symonette rejects the owners' attempt to dismiss the umpires grievance, giving the 22 booted umps a chance to get their jobs back. Symonette will hear the grievance beginning December 13.

» The Rangers sign free agent P Todd Van Poppel to a 3-year contract.

Prior to playing two regular-season games against the A's to open the major league season in Japan, the Mariners will face the Seibu Lions and Yomiuri Giants in exhibition contests on March 22 and 23.

Hoping to add punch to their outfield, the A's trade catcher Ramon Hernandez and disgruntled flychaser Terrence Long to the Padres for outfielder Mark Kotsay. The deal will be delayed until Kotsay's back gets a clean bill of health.

Receiving 21 of the 28 first-place votes, Vladimir Guerrero (.337, 39, 126) wins the 2004 American League's MVP Award. The 28-year old former Expo outfielder signed as free agent with the Angels, after the Mets refused to guarantee his salary based on advice from their medical staff.

Closer B.J. Ryan, who saved 36 games last season for the Orioles agrees to a $47 million, five-year deal with the Blue Jays. The thirty-year old southpaw’s contract calls for the largest amount of money ever given to a reliever.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, CBS Sports Online, and baseballibrary.com

11-27-2007, 12:14 PM
Nov 27

» The touring Detroit Tigers, with Ty Cobb and Crawford in the lineup, play an exhibition game in Havana, Cuba. With George Mullin on the mound, the Tigers beat Almendares, 4–0.

Cobb has the highest career batting average in baseball history. When he retired after the 1928 season, he held 90 major league records. But his skill as a hitter is almost overshadowed by his reputation as the fiercest competitor ever, a reputation he encouraged. He would ceremoniously pick out a prominent location in the dugout and start sharpening his spikes in full view of suddenly nervous opposing infielders.

One of the most vivid Cobb anecdotes is the half-true story of an interview that supposedly took place in the late 1950s. Cobb was asked how he would hit under "modern" conditions. Cobb answered, "Oh, I'd hit .310, .315." The interviewer was shocked. "But Mr. Cobb," he protested, "you hit over .400 three times! Why would you only hit .300 now?" Deadpan, Cobb replied, "Well, you have to remember. I'm 72 years old now." The other apocryphal stories about Cobb, a natural righthander who taught himself to hit lefthanded so he could be closer to first base, aren't as dubious. For instance: By mid-1925, he had finally had enough of reporters asking him about Babe Ruth's awesome home run prowess. Cobb, who had a split-handed grip that gave him more bat control but less power, had a well-known disdain for the long ball and the boisterous Babe, and told reporters that hitting home runs didn't take any special skill. To prove his point, he slid his hands down to the knob of the bat, Ruthian style, then hit three HR in that day's game against the Browns (5/5/25). To pound the point home, he hit two more the next day.

When the scrawny 18-year-old rookie joined the veteran Tigers in 1905, he was harassed regularly. Although the determined youngster doubled off Jack Chesbro in his first at-bat, he didn't hit well as a rookie. But in 1907 he became the youngest player ever to win a batting title. Cobb's own favorite moment came late in the 1907 season. The Tigers were only percentage points ahead over the Athletics for the league lead when the two teams met in Philadelphia on September 30. The A's took an 8-6 lead into the ninth, when Cobb smacked a two-run homer to tie the score. The two teams played 17 innings to a 9-9 tie, mathematically eliminating the A's and giving the Tigers their first pennant.

Cobb's batting title in 1907 was the first of 12, still a record, and first of nine in a row, also a record. He also established himself as a fine fielder. Cobb had 30 outfield assists in 1907, led the league in assists in 1908, and finished his career second all-time in assists and double plays among outfielders.

The Tigers took a third straight AL pennant in 1909, again stealing it from the A's, again with Cobb in the middle of things. In the first game of a three-game set against the A's in Detroit on August 24, Cobb's sharpened spikes opened up an ugly gash in third baseman Frank Baker's arm. Although the popular Baker finished the game, the Tigers swept the series to take first place and A's fans were incensed. The two teams met again in Philadelphia near the end of the season. Cobb had received telegraphed death threats that many, but not he, took seriously. Cobb got a police escort to and from the ballpark. Policemen ringed the field and plainclothesmen wandered the stands, but the only thing aimed at the hated Cobb was Philadelphia invective. The Tigers claimed their third pennant, and Cobb won his only Triple Crown, leading the league with 9 HR, 107 RBI, and a .377 average. The 1909 Series against the Pirates pitted AL batting champ Cobb against the NL's greatest star and batting champ, shortstop Honus Wagner. In the second game, after scoring the Tigers' first run on a steal of home, Cobb found himself on first. He yelled down at Wagner, "Watch out, Krauthead, I'm comin' down on the next pitch!" Sure enough, he took off. The 200-lb Wagner calmly took the throw and applied a none-too-gentle tag right in Cobb's mouth. The Tigers lost their third straight Series, the first and only time a team has dropped three consecutive World Series.

It looked as if Cobb would win a fifth straight batting title in 1910, the year auto maker Chalmers decided to award the batting champ in each league with a new car. Cobb had a comfortable lead over the Indians' Nap Lajoie, but was sidelined the final game of the season. Lajoie was in St. Louis for a doubleheader, needing a perfect day to take the batting title. The Browns, like everyone else, wanted Lajoie to beat out the hated Cobb, and did all they could do to help Lajoie. In his first at-bat, Lajoie got a triple when his fly ball was "lost in the sun." Lajoie lined a clean single his next time up. Browns manager Jack O'Connor then ordered rookie third baseman Red Corrigan to play deep on the outfield grass, and the swift Lajoie exploited the alignment with six straight bunt singles. The final figures gave Cobb the title, .38415 to .38411, but Chalmers gave both players cars. O'Connor and Browns coach Henry Howell were later fired by the Browns. Ironically, later research revealed that record-keeping errors had denied Lajoie the title.

In 1911 Cobb set an AL record by hitting in 41 straight games, but Shoeless Joe Jackson was challenging Cobb for the batting title when the Tigers visited Jackson's Indians for a six-game set late in the season, the occasion of another apocryphal story. The young Jackson, batting over .400, was a great admirer of Cobb and tried hard to be friendly, but Cobb purposely ignored him. The slight supposedly flustered Jackson and affected his hitting. Cobb went on to win the title with a .420 average, while Jackson finished at .408. In 1912 Cobb was the unwitting catalyst to baseball's first strike. In a May 15 game against the Highlanders, Cobb's ears were burning from the continuous insults of a fan sitting behind the dugout. When Cobb could take no more, he charged into the stands and beat the fan senseless. Cobb was immediately suspended. The Tigers declared they would not play again until Cobb was reinstated. They were scheduled to play in Philadelphia the next day, and Tiger owner Frank Navin was notified he would be fined $5,000 if he didn't field a team. The players refused to play, so Navin and manager Hughie Jennings rounded up a group of amateurs to fill in. Needless to say, the ersatz Tigers were pounded 24-2. Cobb persuaded his teammates to go back before the next game. Jackson hit .395 that year, but Cobb ended up with his second straight .400 season, finishing at .410, which prompted the frustrated Jackson to publicly ponder just what it took to win a batting title.

Cobb's batting eye was certainly keen, but his baserunning won just as many games. Until Lou Brock half-a-century later, he was the career steal leader. He would steal second, then proceed directly to third as the throw came in behind him. A young catcher asked a veteran what to do when Cobb broke for second. "Throw to third," came the deadpan reply.

Cobb's batting reign finally ended in 1916, when Tris Speaker hit .386 to Cobb's .378, but Cobb won the next three years. In 1921 he was named player-manager of the Tigers, and responded with a career-high 12 HR. He got a taste of his own medicine in 1922, losing the batting title despite a .401 average when George Sisler batted .420.

Despite five straight winning seasons as manager, Cobb, followed a week later by Indians player-manager Speaker, suddenly retired after the 1926 season. The day after Christmas in 1926, the public found out why: Dutch Leonard, a disgruntled former player who had been released by both managers, accused Cobb and Speaker of fixing a game on September 24, 1919. Both stars, plus Cleveland outfielder Smokey Joe Wood, had allegedly agreed to let Detroit win the game to give the Tigers third place. Upon hearing the allegations, American League president Ban Johnson forced the two stars to quit. But Commissioner Kenesaw Landis cleared and reinstated both players when Leonard refused to leave California to testify. Cobb ended up in Philadelphia with Connie Mack, who defended the hated Cobb during the ordeal, and Cobb played two more years before retiring for good after a .328 season in 1928.

During his playing days, Cobb invested astutely in real estate, automobiles, and cotton, and bought a good-sized block of Coca-Cola stock at rock-bottom prices. By the time he retired, Coca-Cola had made Cobb one of the richest players in the game.

In 1936, despite an enduring reputation as the meanest player in the game, Cobb became the leading vote-getter among the first to be elected into the brand-new Hall of Fame. He received 222 of a possible 226 votes, seven ahead of Ruth and Wagner. Retirement didn't dull his competitive spirit, however. In 1941 Cobb beat Ruth in a well-publicized golf duel. In a 1947 old-timers game in Yankee Stadium, Cobb warned catcher Benny Bengough to move back since he hadn't swung a bat in almost 20 years. Bengough stepped back to avoid getting smacked by Cobb's unpracticed backswing. Cobb then laid a perfect bunt down in front of the plate, and easily beat the throw from a huffing and embarrassed Bengough.

The wealthy Cobb tried to clean up his image in his later years with philanthropy. In 1948 Cobb contributed $100,000 to a new hospital in his hometown of Royston, Georgia. He was the first witness in the 1951 congressional hearing on the reserve clause, testifying in favor of it. "Baseball," the fiery Cobb asserted, "is a sport. It's never been a business."

» Cards OF Austin McHenry, 27, dies from a brain tumor. After hitting .350 with 17 home runs in 1921, he became ill during the 1922 season and was hitting .303 when forced to quit.

» Joe DiMaggio is named AL MVP. His 56-game hitting streak edges out Ted Williams and his .406 batting average for the award (291 votes for DiMaggio and 254 for Williams).

During the centennial celebration of professional baseball, Joe DiMaggio was named the game's greatest living player. Since that 1969 assessment, DiMaggio's legend has grown with the fans who made it. He remained a top-drawer celebrity almost 40 years after playing his final game.

The Yankee Clipper could do everything well. He may have been the best all-around player ever, with a generous dash of class added in. His natural talent became apparent in 1933 when he batted safely in 61 consecutive games playing for his hometown San Francisco Seals in the Pacific Coast League. Scouts flocked to see him, but they shied away when DiMaggio injured a knee. The Yankees' interest continued, however, and a deal was arranged in 1934 that allowed DiMaggio to play one more year with the Seals. He came to New York in 1936 and set AL rookie records for runs (132) and triples (15), besides hitting .323 with 29 HR and 125 RBI. He was an instant star.

DiMaggio was a beautiful hitter with a classic swing. He had an exceptionally wide stance that gave him a controlled short stride, strong wrists that generated enormous power, and the ability to wait until the last instant before lashing into a pitch. His 46 homers in 1937, including a ML-record 15 in July, remain a Yankee record for a righthanded hitter. What makes his HR total more impressive is that he played half his games at Yankee Stadium, then the toughest power park in baseball for righties. At the time left-centerfield, known as "Death Valley", extended 457 feet from the plate. DiMaggio also hit as high as .381 in 1939, and struck out only 369 times in his career while hitting 361 homers, a phenomenal ratio for a power hitter.

But DiMaggio was more than a hitter. He was a splendid defensive outfielder with a great throwing arm. He made tough plays look easy. He was graceful and free of theatrics, and he was positioned correctly all the time. He was studious. His positioning encompassed the batter, the pitcher, and the count. He was always alert to the game situation, and always threw to the correct base. He was virtually flawless in 1947, making one lone error on the year. And to his manager, Joe McCarthy, he was "the best base runner I ever saw." DiMaggio was the quiet, undemonstrative type McCarthy liked. He was introspective, sometimes stoic. But he was a leader all the same, steering the Yankees to nine World Championships.

DiMaggio had two major league careers, one before World War II and the other after it. In each year of the former (1936-42) he hit over .300 and exceeded 100 RBI. This was the time of his magical 56-game hitting streak. The "impossible" streak - traveling a dozen games beyond Wee Willie Keeler's 1897 consecutive-game record of 44 and 15 games beyond what had been the modern record, George Sisler's 41-game string of 1922 - began on May 15, 1941. It kept an entire nation enthralled through June and half of July, before two great plays by Cleveland third baseman Ken Keltner ended it on July 17. DiMaggio hit .407 during the streak and edged Boston's Ted Williams for the AL MVP award, even though Williams hit .406 that year.

The war took three prime years from DiMaggio's baseball life. His second career was beset by injuries and then eroding skills. But he was still DiMaggio. Boston claimed an easy pennant in 1946, but there would be no Red Sox dynasty. The Yankees were World Champions in 1947, 1949, 1950, and 1951. Even while playing most of 1948 with a painful heel injury, DiMaggio almost brought the Yankees home. The Yankees lost out to the Red Sox and Indians on the next-to-last day of the season, but DiMaggio led the league in home runs (39) and RBI (155).

DiMaggio's career seemed over in 1949. He was unable to stand on his sore heel without pain and, of course, was unable to play. One miraculous June morning, the pain was gone, and DiMaggio made a spectacular return. After missing the season's first 65 games, he led the Yankees to a three-game sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway Park with four homers and nine RBI. His brother Dom, a Red Sox star, witnessed the display (another brother, Vince, also was a major leaguer).

Many experts consider Joe DiMaggio the best player in the history of the game. He is admired not only for his achievements but for his refusal to rest on his natural skills, working instead to constantly improve his play. He was responsible to himself, his teammates, and his fans. He had pride. He was more than an exceptional athlete; he was the consummate professional.

» Setting off a storm of controversy, Joe DiMaggio is named American League MVP by a single point over Ted Williams. Williams, the Triple Crown winner, receives 201 points, and is completely left off one writer's ballot. A 10th-place vote would have given Williams the needed 2 points. Williams is selected The Sporting News Player of the Year.

» Charlie Peete, given a good shot at being the first black starter on the Cardinals, is killed in a plane crash in Caracas, Venezuela. Peete, who had appeared in 23 games for St. Louis in 1956, was returning from playing winter ball.

» The White Sox again trade fan favorite Minnie Minoso, this time to St. Louis for OF/1B Joe Cunningham.

Minoso debuted in 1949, but he was still officially a rookie when obtained by the White Sox in a three-team deal involving the Indians and A's on April 30, 1951. On May 1, in a game against the Yankees in Comiskey Park, the young Cuban speedster became the first black player to don a White Sox uniform. In the very first inning, Minoso homered off Vic Raschi. (Mickey Mantle hit his first ML home run in the sixth inning of the same game.) Minoso finished his rookie year as the AL leader in stolen bases (31) and triples (14); his .326 batting average was second only to Philadelphia's Ferris Fain's .344, and his 112 runs fell one short of Dom DiMaggio's league-leading 113. Though the Yankees' Gil McDougald won the baseball writers' Rookie of the Year honors, Minoso was TSN's Rookie of the Year. He led the AL in stolen bases again in 1952 and 1953 and in triples in 1954, and tied for the league lead in steals in 1956 and in doubles in 1957. He would do whatever was necessary to get on base, including getting in the way of fastballs. In 16 AL seasons, he set the league record by being hit by a pitch 189 times. Traded with Fred Hatfield to Cleveland in December 1957 for Early Wynn and Al Smith, he was not around when the Go-Go White Sox won the 1959 AL pennant; Bill Veeck awarded him an honorary championship ring anyway.

With Cleveland, Minoso hit a career-high 24 home runs in 1958, and he batted .302 in both 1958 and 1959 before the White Sox reacquired him. In 1960 he led the AL with 184 hits, was second to Roger Maris with 105 RBI, and batted over .300 for his eighth and final time. Following stints with the Cardinals and Senators, he retired after spending 1964 as a White Sox pinch hitter. Twelve years later, during the second Veeck ownership, Minoso was brought out of retirement and went hitless as Chicago's DH against the Angels' Frank Tanana on September 11, 1976. "It's been many years since I face pitching like this," he explained. "I hope they [the fans] forgive me." The next day, he collected his last ML hit. He was a White Sox coach from 1976 to 1978, and in 1980, when he was again activated, joining Nick Altrock as the only five-decade major leaguers; he went 0-for-2 as a pinch hitter. Ever popular in Chicago, he became a team goodwill ambassador.

» The New York Mets send P Bill Denehy and $100,000 to the Senators for Washington's manager, Gil Hodges. Jim Lemon is named manager of the Senators.

» In a great trade for New York, the Indians swap 3B Graig Nettles and C Gerry Moses to the Yankees for C John Ellis, IF Jerry Kenney, and outfielders Charlie Spikes and Rusty Torres.

» Gary Matthews outpolls eight other vote-getters, receiving 11 of 24 nominations for the NL Rookie of the Year Award. The Giants OF batted .300 in 145 games.

» Bowie Kuhn suspend Yankees owner George Steinbrenner for two years as a result of Steinbrenner's conviction for illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon and others.

» The 1984 American League Gold Glove team is announced, and it is made up of the same nine players as the 1983 team: catcher Lance Parrish, 1B Eddie Murray, 2B Lou Whitaker, 3B Buddy Bell, SS Alan Trammell, outfielders Dwight Evans, Dave Winfield, and Dwayne Murphy, and pitcher Ron Guidry.

» Vince Coleman, who stole 110 bases for the Cardinals, joins Frank Robinson, Orlando Cepeda, and Willie McCovey as the only unanimous winners of the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

» The White Sox send IF Herbert Perry to the Rangers in exchange for a player to be named.

The major league owners vote unanimously to extend baseball commissioner Bud Selig's contract through 2006.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

11-28-2007, 01:15 PM
Nov 28

» President Soden buys the Providence franchise and players for $6,000.

» On Thanksgiving Day, Boston (National League) opens a California tour with a 8–3 win over San Francisco before a crowd of 7,000.

» Billy Evans quits as American League umpire to becomes business manager (effectively the first General Manager) of the Indians following the purchase of the club by a group headed by Alva Bradley.

One of the foremost umpires in baseball history, Evans was refined and fastidious. He substituted diplomacy for belligerency during baseball's rowdier days. He began as a sportswriter but took up umpiring after he substituted for an absent arbiter in a game he was covering. He was only 22 when he was promoted from a Class C league to the AL, the youngest man ever to be employed as a ML umpire and the only one ever promoted all the way from Class C.

In his 22 years as an AL umpire, he achieved a reputation for fairness and unquestioned integrity. In Game Two of the 1909 WS, played in Pittsburgh, the Pirates' Dots Miller hit a low line drive along the foul line in the direction of temporary right-field bleachers that rested in part in fair territory. As the ball sailed over the stands the fans stood and obstructed the views of Evans and the other umpire, Bill Klem. Neither saw the ball land. Both marched to the outfield and Evans began questioning the bleacherites as to whether the ball was fair or foul. On their testimony Evans decided the ball had landed fair and skipped into the crowd. Miller, who had circled the bases, was sent back to second with a ground-rule double.

Although he was a diplomat, Evans once fought Ty Cobb under the grandstand after Cobb challenged Evans over two close out calls at the plate. Al Schacht, baseball's "Clown Prince," described the fight: "When the game ended they both went under the grandstand while the members of both teams became spectators. Billy posed like a real fighter while Ty stalked him like a Tiger and then suddenly hit him in the jaw. Down went Evans with Ty on top of him. With his knee on Evans' chest, Ty held Billy by the throat and tried to choke him. We finally got him off Billy and that was the end of the fight."

Evans continued his writing career, authoring many articles and a book: Umpiring from the Inside. From 1920 to 1927 he wrote a syndicated column, "Billy Evans Says." In later years Evans served as GM for Cleveland (1927-36) and Detroit (1947-51), farm director for Boston (1936-40), GM of the NFL's Cleveland Rams (1941), and president of the Southern Association (1942-46). In 1973 he was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame.

» The National League buys George Magerkurth from the PCL for $2,000. This is the highest price paid for a new ump.

In Magerkurth's first game in the Polo Grounds in 1929, he ejected Giants' manager John McGraw. The warning flags were out for what was to come as the 6'3" 225-lb "Mage" circled NL parks with his short fuse. He would go into orbit when called his hated nickname "Meathead." His encounters with Leo Durocher and the Dodgers are legendary. Magerkurth was a hated man among Dodger fans during the 1940s. In a Dodger victory parade after they won the 1941 pennant, a coffin labled "Magerkurth" was carried down Fulton Street. A couple of years later, an irate Dodger fan leaped from the Ebbets Field stands, tackled Magerkurth at home plate, and began punching him on the ground.

On July 15, 1939, the Reds' Harry Craft homered into the upper deck in left field at the Polo Grounds. The Giants screamed that the ball was foul and an argument developed. Magerkurth was at first base and had nothing to do with the call, but somehow he and New York shortstop Billy Jurges ended up in a fistfight. NL President Ford Frick fined each $250 and suspended them for ten days. The fiasco led to the installation of nets running the length of both Polo Grounds foul poles to determine fair and foul balls; today all ball parks are so equipped.

» The White Sox 25-year-old pitching star Monty Stratton has his leg amputated following a hunting accident.

Relying primarily on a trick pitch called the "Gander," Stratton posted 15-5 and 15-9 marks for the White Sox in 1937-38 before his major league career was tragically ended at age 26. While he was hunting rabbits near Greenville, Texas in November 1938, his pistol accidentally discharged, sending a bullet into his right knee, severing the femoral artery. The leg was amputated the next day. In 1939 White Sox management sponsored a charity game in Comiskey Park between the Cubs and the White Sox, the proceeds of which (about $28,000) went to Stratton. In a touching, courageous display, Stratton took the mound to demonstrate that he could still pitch, though he was unable to transfer his weight effectively to the artificial leg. After coaching for the White Sox, he was given a minor league contract; in 1946 he posted an 18-8 record in the East Texas League. Stratton's story was made into a fictionalized Hollywood movie starring Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson which was a 1949 box office smash.

» Ken Keltner is turned down in Cleveland for off-season unemployment benefits.

Keltner earned recognition as Cleveland's all-time greatest third baseman for his 11 seasons there. A timely hitter, the seven-time All-Star was a fabulous fielder known for going to his right. He ended Joe DiMaggio's record hit streak at 56 on July 17, 1941 before a then-record night crowd (67,468) in Cleveland. Keltner made two stops of DiMaggio line drives, one a brilliant backhanded stab. On October 4, 1948, in the first playoff in AL history, Keltner's single, double, and three-run homer helped the Indians defeat the Red Sox at Fenway Park. That season, Keltner reached career highs of 31 HR (third in the AL) and 119 RBI (sixth). When he left Cleveland, he was among the club's all-time leaders in games played, doubles, HR, RBI, and hits.

Keltner was the subject of a brief campaign for the Baseball Hall of Fame. While he was never a popular candidate, his candidacy gave rise to the Keltner List of writer Bill James - a list of questions designed to guide thinking on the Hall of Fame.

The Keltner list is a systematic but non-numerical method for determining whether a baseball player is deserving of election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY[1]. It makes use of an inventory of questions (mostly yes-or-no format) regarding the merit of players relative to their peers. Enshrinement in the Hall of Fame is one of the highest honors in sports, with only 280 members following the election of Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn in 2007 [2]. Election to the Hall is also permanent. However, selection for the Hall is by election; no "cut-offs" or objective criteria exist (other than rules about how players become eligible for election)[3]. It can therefore be difficult for voters and fans alike to determine which former players are deserving of the honor.

The Keltner list comprises 15 questions designed to aid in the thought process. Each question is designed to be relatively easy to answer.

» Hal Newhouser is named MVP in the AL gathering 4 more votes than teammate Dizzy Trout. Newhouser's 29 wins contrasts with 9-9-8-8 win totals in previous years. His 2.22 ERA is bettered by Trout (2.12), who also has 27 wins.

For three years in the mid-1940s, Newhouser was the most dominant pitcher in baseball. He is the only pitcher to win two consecutive MVP awards. But he never had a winning season before he blossomed during the war years. And that has been an obstacle to his gaining the respect due his prowess, despite the fact that Newhouser won 26 games in 1946, the year the war veterans returned. A congenital heart ailment kept Newhouser out of the service and for a time threatened his baseball career.

Newhouser signed with the Tigers for $400 while a Detroit schoolboy star. Moments later, the story goes, Cleveland Indians superscout Cy Slapnicka arrived to offer $15,000 and a new car, but the deal was done. Newhouser appeared briefly in the majors at age 18 in 1939 and returned for good in 1941. But he recorded only a 25-43 record through 1943, when he led the league in walks. Failure frustrated Newhouser, an intense competitor, and he alienated teammates with his tantrums. But he resolved to control both his behavior and his pitching, and he won a career-high 29 games in 1944. Pinpoint control of his fastball and overhand curve became Newhouser's trademark. "He is smart and tough in any pinch," said the Yankees' Bill Dickey. Newhouser won two complete-game victories, including the seventh-game clincher, in the 1945 World Series against the Cubs. He engaged in many classic matchups with the Indians' Bob Feller, the dominant righthander of the era. The "big one," in Newhouser's words, came on the final day of the 1948 season, when he outpitched Feller on one day's rest to force Cleveland into a playoff with Boston for the AL title. The victory was a league-best 21st for Newhouser, but also marked the beginning of shoulder trouble that would limit his effectiveness after one more 18-victory season in 1949. Newhouser closed his career as Feller's teammate in 1954, when he won seven, saved seven, and appeared in one more World Series.

» IL President Frank Shaughnessy reveals plans to form two new major leagues by merging the top teams in the American Association and the top teams from the International League. He thinks that in five to six years, ML baseball will elevate these two leagues, along with the Pacific Coast League, which nearly has ML status now.

» Warren Spahn of the Braves wins the Cy Young Award as ML Pitcher of the Year almost unanimously. His only competition for the title is the White Sox, Dick Donovan, who received one vote.

The winningest lefthanded pitcher of all time, and possibly the best as well, Warren Spahn was a complete player who helped himself at bat and in the field. He was the mainstay of the Braves' pitching staff for two decades. Spahn won 20 games a ML record-tying 13 times, pitched two no-hitters, and led the NL in strikeouts four consecutive years. He had a deceptive pickoff move to first base, and teammate Johnny Sain called him "one of the smartest men ever to play the game."

Spahn's career was delayed by WWII and he did not earn his first ML win until 1946 at the age of 25. He had been with the Braves in the spring of 1942, but was reportedly sent down to the minors by manager Casey Stengel because he refused to brush back Pee Wee Reese in an exhibition game. He went 17-13 with a 1.96 ERA at Hartford that year, and pitched four games without a decision for the Braves at the end of the season.

In 1946, Spahn relied mostly on a fastball and curve, and had a modest 8-5 record, but in 1947 he was 21-10 and led the NL in ERA (2.33). Spahn's emergence coincided with the Braves' resurgence - a third-place finish in 1947 and a NL pennant in 1948 - and in 1948 he was immortalized in baseball lore by the jingle "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain," a reference to the Braves' lack of pitching depth. Oddly enough, 1948 was actually Spahn's worst season until 1964. He was only 15-12 with a relatively high 3.71 ERA. He managed to win key assignments, including a 14-inning 2-1 win over the Dodgers that put the Braves in first place for good, and his 5-2/3 innings of one-hit relief won Game Five of the WS, which the Braves lost to Cleveland in six games.

From 1949 to 1963, Spahn was clearly baseball's most successful lefthander. He won 20 games 12 times in 15 seasons, led the NL in wins eight times, and never had an ERA above 3.50. He won consistently pitching for Braves clubs that ranged from seventh place to World Champions. He was aided by the addition of two new pitches: a wicked screwball that became more important as his fastball lost its pop, and a slider that gave him four quality pitches.

At war Warren Spahn, the winningest left-hander in major league history, received a battlefield commission as a second-lieutenant in June 1945. Spahn made four unspectatcular appearances with the Boston Braves in 1942 before entering miliary service the following year. He reached Europe in December 1944 with the 276th Engineer Combat Battalion and was wounded at Remagen, Germany in March 1945. After Germany's surrender in May, Spahn pitched for the 115th Engineers Group, and in a four-game stretch, he allowed only one run and nine hits while striking out 73 batters. Spahn was back with the Braves in 1946 and had the first of thirteen 20-win seasons the following season. Looking back on his military experience some years later, Spahn said, "After what I went through overseason, I never thought of anything I was told to do in baseball as hard work. You get over feeling like that when you spend days on end sleeping in frozen tank tracks in enemy threatened territory. The Army taught me something about challenges and about what's important and what isn't. Everything I tackle in baseball and in life I take as a challenge rather than work."

He won 21 games in both 1949 and 1950, and 22 in 1951, but fell off to 14-19 (with a still-excellent 2.98 ERA) in 1952 as the Braves finished 32 games out in their last year in Boston. A June 15 loss to the Cubs that year typified Spahn's frustration. He fanned 18 batters in 15 innings and hit a solo home run, but lost, 2-1. Spahn turned down a contract that would have paid him 10 cents a head based on home attendance in 1953, and the decision proved costly when the Braves moved to Milwaukee and attendance skyrocketed. Spahn led the NL in ERA in 1953, and failed to win 20 games only once between 1953 and 1961, as he began to master changing speeds and location to keep hitters off balance. Braves pitching coach Whitlow Wyatt said, "He makes my job easy. Every pitch he throws has an idea behind it."

In 1957, at the age of 36, Spahn led the Braves to the pennant with a 21-11, 2.69 record, and began a string of five consecutive seasons leading the NL in wins. In the WS, he won Game Four in relief as the Braves beat the Yankees in seven games. He also won the Cy Young Award. Spahn improved to 22-11 in 1958, and won two more games in the WS rematch with the Yankees, in which New York prevailed. The Braves lost a playoff against the Dodgers in 1959, and would never again reach the WS during Spahn's tenure, but several personal milestones remained.

On September 16, 1960, Spahn pitched the first no-hitter of his career against the Phillies, and the 4-0 win was his 20th of the season. The following year he no-hit the Giants 1-0 on April 28, five days after his 40th birthday. Then, on August 11, he beat the Cubs in a packed Milwaukee County Stadium for his 300th victory. Despite slumping to 18-14 in 1962, Spahn still led the NL in complete games and had a 3.04 ERA, and in 1963, at the age of 42, he tied his career-best record with a 23-7 mark. It was his last hurrah. Spahn had been overtaken by Sandy Koufax as the NL's premier lefthander, and his ERA ballooned to 5.29 in 1964 when he spent much of the summer in the bullpen. A further indignity occurred in the off-season, when he was sold to the fledgling New York Mets. He started 4-12 for the Mets in 1965 and was released in July, then added three more wins for the Giants before being released again.

Spahn did not leave gracefully, grumbling, "I didn't quit; baseball retired me," and he pitched briefly in Mexico and in the minors until 1967 before finally giving up for good. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973, his first year of eligibility, holding the NL record for career home runs by a pitcher with 35.

» The American League announces that its Opening Day game in 1959 will be the earliest date ever, April 9.

» In a blockbuster interstate trade good for both teams, the Dodgers send Frank Robinson, Bill Singer, Mike Strahler, Bobby Valentine and Bill Grabarkewitz to the Angels in exchange for Andy Messersmith, and Ken McMullen, who returns to the team that signed him. The 37-year-old Robinson will play 147 games, hitting 30 homers and driving in 97 runs in '73, and Singer will combine with Nolan Ryan in 1973 to strike out 674 batters, a 20th Century major-league record for two teammates. Messersmith will win 39 games in the next two seasons for the Dodgers and finish 2nd in the Cy Young voting in 1974.

» The Reds fire manager Sparky Anderson after nine years, during which the club averaged 96 wins per season and won five divisional titles, four league pennants, and two World Championships. The surprise move comes six days after the Reds return from a trip to Japan. Anderson has one year left on a contract and had no idea he'd be fired.

Named Manager of the Year twice in both the NL and the AL, Anderson won more than 600 games in each league and was also the first to win World Championships in both leagues. After winning the NL pennant in his first season, Anderson won five division titles, four pennants, and two world championships with the Reds, only once finishing below second place.

After spending six seasons in the minor league farm system of the Dodgers, Anderson was traded to the Phillies and became their regular second baseman in 1959. In his only big league season, Anderson hit .218 and Philadelphia finished in last place. He returned to the minors and eventually became a manager in the minors with Toronto in 1964. Following four more seasons as minor league manager, he returned to the NL in 1969 as a coach for San Diego. He accepted a coaching post with California for 1970 but then was hired to manage Cincinnati.

Sparky's Reds won 70 of their first 100 games en route to a 102-win campaign that netted them a division title, and eventually the NL pennant. Anderson would spend nine seasons with the Reds, compiling the highest win total (863) and best winning percentage (.596), of any manager in team history.

He became known as "Captain Hook" for his frequent early removal of his starting pitchers in an era when that strategy was still unusual. It was a policy dictated by necessity. The "Big Red Machine" was based on offense, and often Anderson lacked a quality rotation. Also, many of the Reds' best starters -- Gary Nolan, Don Gullett, and Wayne Simpson -- were injury-prone and could not be overworked. But the Reds developed some of the best relief corps in the majors, including Clay Carroll, Wayne Granger, Tom Hall, and Pedro Borbon.

Despite his success as a Red, Anderson was fired on November 27, 1978 after two consecutive second-place finishes. Anderson had objected when team management decided to shake up his coaching staff, so he was let go as well. Anderson decided to sign on with the Tigers, where he won a World Championship in 1984 and a division title in 1987. By the time he left in 1995 he had set franchise records for most seasons (17), games (2579), and wins (1331) by a manager.

In Detroit, Anderson became known for his unbounded optimism and a tendency to overstate his case to reporters. He called Kirk Gibson "the next Mickey Mantle" and handed less-talented players such as Chris Pittaro and Torey Lovullo regular jobs, praising their talents to the maximum, only to see them play themselves back to the minors within months. One Detroit columnist said, "Anderson changed his mind more than his socks," but at least the manager's door was always open to the media and Anderson had no problem speaking the truth. He readily admitted that a manager is only good if the players perform well, and openly talked about how easy and fun his job was. It was clear to everyone around Anderson that the enthusiastic manager wanted to enjoy every second of managing and life.

Usually a cheerful man, Anderson suffered a nervous breakdown in 1989 as the Tigers foundered at the bottom of the standings and was forced to leave the team. "I was completely worn out, completely exhausted," he said. "I had worried so much for so many years about my job that the whole thing just caught up with me." Overcoming his own worries about whether he would ever be able to manage again, he returned to the team after three weeks.

Sparky stayed at the helm of the struggling franchise until 1995, when he made headlines by refusing to manage a team of replacement players during the player's strike. Instead, he went on a "leave of absence" during spring training and Tiger ownership allowed him to return when the season started. The Tigers again finished under .500, but along the way Anderson became the third-winningest skipper in baseball history.

Tired of losing, Anderson handed over the reins of the Tigers to Buddy Bell after the season. He nearly made a comeback with Anaheim in 1997, but the Angels ultimately decided to hire Terry Collins. At that point, Anderson decided to call it quits for good, ending a career in which he won 2,194 games -- the third-highest total in baseball history behind John McGraw and Connie Mack.

Rich Gedman becomes the highest paid catcher in the American League when he signs a one-year contract with the Red Sox for $1.2 million. The Boston backstop will hit .212 for the season.

Curtis Leskanic (9-3, 2.56,12 saves) agrees to a $7.2 million, three-year incentive-laden contract with the Brewers which can almost double with based on performance. The 32-year-old closer converted 11 of 12 save chances role after former Milwaukee closer Bob Wickman was traded to the Indians on July 28.

Agreeing to a deal which pays him the highest average salary for a reliever in baseball history, left-handed Billy Wagner is offered a $43 million, four-year contract to close for the Mets. The 34-year old ‘Billy the Kid’, who saved 38 games for the Phillies, has had his fastball clocked over 100 mph.

Due to the 15-year restriction, Pete Rose is no longer eligible for possible inclusion on the baseball writers' Hall of Fame ballot. The all-time hits leader ,who was banned from for baseball for life in 1989 for allegedly gambling on the game, has not been listed previously because the Hall of Fame Board of Directors decreed that anyone on the permanently ineligible list couldn't be considered by BBWAA.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, and baseballibrary.com

11-29-2007, 10:40 AM
Nov 29

» It's the Cuban's turn today as Cuban ace Jose Mendez shuts out the Tigers, 3–0. On a steal attempt, Ty Cobb is thrown out three times by Bruce Petway, who played last year for the Chicago Leland Giants, and Gervasio "Strike" Gonzales. On his last attempt, Cobb argues that the bag is three inches too far. When measured, Cobb is proved correct, but is still out stealing. A frustrated Cobb will cut short the tour and return to the U.S. The Tigers will end their Cuban swing at 7–4, with a tie. This is a reversal of last year's 4–8 record, when they played the Cuban teams without Cobb and Crawford. The champion A's also played in Havana at the same time, finishing with a 4–6 record.

Petway dropped his pursuit of a career in medicine at Nashville's Meharry Medical College in 1906 to play pro baseball. He quickly became known as one of the best black catchers; he proved himself in a series against the Detroit Tigers played in Cuba in 1910 in which he batted .390 and threw Ty Cobb out at second several times. He is reported to have been the first catcher to consistently throw to second base without rising from the squat. A good baserunner, he led the Cuban League with 20 stolen bases in 1912. He played on the dominating Chicago American Giants from 1911 to 1918, then served as a player-manager for Detroit until his retirement. A consistent hitter with little power, he batted .349 in 1923 and .341 in 1924 as his career was winding down.

» In Kansas City, Walter Johnson and Grover Cleveland Alexander face each other for the first time. The exhibition game between the two stars features Zach Wheat, Casey Stengel, Max Carey, Hal Chase and others. The "Johnsons" prevail over the "Alexanders", 3–2.

Pete had difficulty with everything in life except pitching. He was a solitary man and said little, and that in a small, whispery voice. His teammates respected him, and his longtime catcher, Reindeer Bill Killefer, was his friend.

Alexander's alcoholism was well known even before Ronald Reagan portrayed it in the movie "The Winning Team." But in spite of rumors of his pitching drunk or badly hung over, alcohol had no discernible effect on Alexander's performance until late in his career. He also suffered from epilepsy, which was sometimes mistaken for drunken behavior. The disease first appeared in 1918 during his service in France with the artillery, which partially deafened him. Despite his problems, Alexander was one of the most successful pitchers in ML history.

Many of his minor league experiences were inauspicious. Playing for Galesburg, IL, of the Central Association in 1909, he tried to break up a double play and took the shortstop's relay directly in the head. Unconscious for two days, he awoke with double vision. Galesburg sent him to Indianapolis (American Association), but, still disoriented, he broke three of the manager's ribs with his first pitch. Indianapolis sent him home and sold his contract to the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League over the winter. By spring, his vision had cleared and he won 29 for the Chiefs, including 15 shutouts.

The Phillies acquired Alexander for $750 in 1911. As a rookie, he led the NL in wins (28), complete games (31), innings pitched (367), and shutouts (7). Four of the shutouts were consecutive; one was a 1-0 win over Cy Young, then in his final season.

Alexander's greatest years were in Philadelphia (1911-17), despite a right-field wall in the Baker Bowl that was only 272 feet from home plate. He won 190 games (one-third of the team's total for the period), won 30 or more three straight years, 1915-17, and led the NL in every important pitching statistic at least once. His 16 shutouts in 1916 is still the ML record.

Traded with catcher Bill Killefer to the Cubs in 1917 for a battery of considerably lower caliber and $55,000, Pete won another 128 games for Chicago. But when Joe McCarthy took over as manager in 1926, he sent his drinking pitcher to the Cardinals for the $6,000 waiver price.

Alexander was ungainly, with a shambling walk; his uniform never seemed to fit properly, and his cap looked a size too small. Yet his pitching motion was economical, apparently effortless, and marvelously graceful. His windup was minimal, his stride short, his delivery three-quarters overhand. His right arm swung across his chest and the ball seemed to emerge from his shirtfront. He warmed up quickly. On the mound he was deliberate but without wasted time or motion.

He had a live fastball that moved in on righthanded hitters and a sharp-breaking curve. He had no changeup as such, but could change speeds on both the fastball and the curve to achieve the same effect. He kept the ball low and on the outside of the plate. His control was extraordinary (career: 1.65 walks per 9 innings), and batters who tried to wait him out usually fanned.

His most famous victim was Tony Lazzeri of the Yankees. In the seventh inning of the final game of the 1926 WS, with the Cardinals ahead 3-2, the Yankees had two out and the bases loaded. Alexander, who'd won two games, including a complete game the day before, relieved for St. Louis. On four knee-high pitches, he struck out Lazzeri, then pitched two more hitless innings to wrap up the World Championship.

After his 1926 heroics, Alexander got his best contract ever: $17,500. He responded with 21 wins in 1927, but he was 40 years old. The whiskey and age were taking their toll. After leaving the majors, he pitched in demeaning circumstances with touring teams until he was 51. He retired believing his 373 wins placed him one ahead of Christy Mathewson for the most career NL victories, but later statistical research added another win to Matty's total.

» Tris Speaker resigns as Indians manager. Stories of a thrown game and betting on games by Ty Cobb and Speaker gain momentum when Judge Landis holds a secret hearing with the two stars and former pitcher-OF Joe Wood. The story and testimony will not be released until December 21st. Former Tiger P Dutch Leonard wrote to Harry Heilmann that he had turned over letters written to him by Joe Wood and Ty Cobb to American League president Ban Johnson, implicating Wood and Cobb in betting on a Tiger-Cleveland game played in Detroit, September 25, 1919. He charged that Cobb and Speaker conspired to let Detroit win to help them gain 3rd-place money. At a secret meeting of AL directors, it was decided to let Cobb and Speaker resign with no publicity. But, as rumors spread, Judge Landis takes charge of the matter and holds the hearings, at which Leonard refuses to appear. Cobb and Wood admit to the letters, but say it was a horse racing bet, and contend Leonard is angry for having been released to the Pacific Coast League by Cobb. Speaker, not named in the letters, denies everything. Public sympathy is with the stars, but the matter will remain unresolved until January of next year.

The seventh player elected to the Hall of Fame, Tris Speaker's plaque there is inscribed "greatest centerfielder of his day." From the start of his 22-year career, he maintained confidence in his eventual success despite some early setbacks. Bought in 1907 by the Red Sox for $750 from Houston of the Texas League, he did not hit, and the next spring, without a Boston contract, he was left behind at Little Rock as payment for the use of the training camp. His quick Southern League success convinced the Red Sox to recall him, as previously agreed, for $500.

He was anxious to improve his fielding and later recalled, "When I was a rookie, Cy Young used to hit me flies to sharpen my abilities to judge in advance the direction and distance of an outfield-hit ball." Blessed with great speed and a powerful batting swing, he also worked to make himself a better batter and baserunner. Speaker played a shallow centerfield to catch potential hits.

He did not take kindly to personal criticism. In 1910 he sustained an early-season batting slump and manager Patsy Donovan politely suggested he temporarily yield his third batting spot. "Like hell I will!" replied Speaker, who finished the season at .340 as Boston's best batter.

From 1910 to 1915, Speaker was the leader of Boston's legendary outfield which included Duffy Lewis and Harry Hooper, and made 161 of their record 455 assists. In Lewis's words, "Speaker was the king of the outfield...It was always `Take it,' or `I got it.' In all the years we never bumped each other."

In his first several years he enjoyed fringe benefits. His 1912 Chalmers AL award (predecessor of the MVP) brought him a $1,950 automobile, and a Boston jeweler donated a sterling-silver bat valued at $500 for his accomplishments. Speaker received $50 each time he hit the Bull Durham sign, first at Huntington Avenue, later at Fenway Park. He advertised Boston Garters, had a two-dollar straw hat named in his honor, and received free manufacturers' mackinaws and heavy sweaters. Hassan cigarettes created the most popular tobacco trading cards of Speaker, with four depicting his progress around the bases.

Relations within the Boston team were so cordial that Larry Gardner described the club as a "big happy family," enjoying group outings at Revere Beach when the team was at home. The same was not true between the players and the owner. President Joe Lannin infuriated Speaker after the 1915 Series victory by proposing a salary cut to under $10,000 because of his falling batting average; from 1912's .383 to .365, then to .338, and in 1915 to a mere .322. Angry, the resolute Speaker would not sign and the obdurate Lannin traded him to Cleveland. For the next eleven years he averaged .354 and in 1920 he piloted the Indians to their first World Series title while batting .388 and cracking 50 doubles.

He was player-manager for the Indians for part of 1919 and the following seven full seasons. In 1926 a gambling scandal broke concerning a questionable game between Detroit and Cleveland in 1919. Speaker and Ty Cobb were alleged to have participated, and AL president Ban Johnson secured their "resignations" as managers to protect baseball's image. Speaker ended his career with single seasons with the Senators and Athletics.

Although Speaker played only seven full seasons with Boston, he is second on the club all-time in both triples (106) and stolen bases (266), and is third behind Wade Boggs and Ted Williams in batting (.337). He is the all-time ML leader in doubles (793), leading the AL eight times. Speaker is also the all-time ML leader in outfield assists (448) and double plays (139), as well as the AL leader in outfield putouts (6,706). He is fifth in hits, seventh in triples and fewest strikeouts, eighth in runs, ninth in extra-base hits, and tenth in total bases.

» Judge Landis declares Lee Handley and Johnny Peacock of the Cincinnati Reds free agents. They had been covered up on minor league teams by the Reds.

» Judge Landis fines Brooklyn, Detroit, and the St. Louis farm club, Columbus, for manipulating player contracts. He frees seven farm hands.

» Mayor Robert Wagner forms a 4-member committee to find a replacement for the Dodgers and Giants in New York City.

» ML officials and player representatives agree to return to a single All-Star Game in 1963. The players' pension fund will receive 95 percent of the one game's proceeds (rather than 60 percent of the two games).

After 61 years, the American Association (AAA) folds, with some of the franchises being absorbed by the International League and the Pacific Coast League. The PCL adds the Dallas-Fort Worth, TX; Denver, CO and Oklahoma City, OK Clubs and drops the Vancouver, BC club. The International League adds the Indianapolis, IN and Little Rock, AK clubs. As a result, both leagues became ten club leagues.

» A circuit court jury in Chicago awards Jim Brewer $100,000 in damages stemming from his 1960 on-field fight with Billy Martin.

» In three blockbuster deals, the Cubs trade P Ken Holtzman to the A's for OF Rick Monday; the Giants trade P Gaylord Perry and SS Frank Duffy to the Indians for P Sam McDowell; and the Reds trade 1B Lee May, 2B Tommy Helms, and OF Jimmy Stewart to the Astros for 2B Joe Morgan, OF Cesar Geronimo, and P Jack Billingham. This trade, criticized in the Cincinnati press, is one of the best in Reds history, and puts the wheels on the big Red Machine, as future Hall of Famer Morgan will win two MVPs.

» Two Orioles standouts, with a combined total of 24 Gold Glove Awards, are each honored for the last time. Brooks Robinson and Paul Blair are the two making swan songs on TSN fielding team, while outfielders Garry Maddox and Fred Lynn each win the award for the first time.

Setting the standard by which all who followed him are judged, Robinson played third base with style, class, and an uncanny ability to turn in spectacular plays with startling regularity for 23 seasons. In 16 of those seasons, he was the Gold Glove award winner. For 15 straight seasons, he was the American League's starting All-Star third baseman. He led AL third basemen in assists 8 times and in fielding 11 times. He holds almost every lifetime record for third baseman by a wide margin: most games (2,870), best fielding percentage (.971), most putouts (2,697), most assists (6,205), most chances (9,165), and most double plays (618). After he almost singlehandedly won the 1970 World Series for the Orioles, Reds manager Sparky Anderson quipped: "I'm beginning to see Brooks in my sleep. If I dropped this paper plate, he'd pick it up on one hop and throw me out at first." Robinson is also one of the kindest, gentlest, and most generous ballplayers ever to make a diving stop.

Robinson didn't play high school ball, and was playing second base in a church league when he was discovered. He worked in slowly as a replacement for Hall of Famer George Kell, who was finishing his career at third base for the Orioles. The Oriole dynasty that developed in the 1960s was built on pitching and defense, but Brooks was head and shoulders above all his smooth-fielding teammates. Wearing his trademark short-billed batting helmet, he was a fair hitter with some power, winning the 1964 MVP award on the strength of his only .300 season (.317), with 28 HR and 118 RBI. He was named MVP of the 1966 All-Star Game after getting three hits and scoring the AL's lone run in a 2-1 loss.

But it was his glove that regularly won games. In the 1966 World Series, his presence at third discouraged the heavily favored Dodgers from employing their bunting game. The Orioles won four straight close games. In the 1970 Series, the Reds nicknamed him "Hoover," expanding upon the "human vacuum cleaner" tag he had been known by. After Robinson won the Series MVP award with a .429 average, two home runs, and a slew of dazzling defensive plays, Reds catcher Johnny Bench noted that "if he wanted a car that badly, we'd have given him one." On one unbelievable play, Brooks fully extended to backhand a sharp grounder by Lee May behind third and a full body length into foul territory, whirled off-balance, and threw a perfect one-hopper off the Riverfront Stadium Astroturf to Boog Powell at first for the out. He won Game One with a seventh-inning solo homer, and homered again in Game Four.

Robinson also holds the dubious distinction of playing on the most All-Star losers, 15 in all, including both 1960 games. Toward the end of his career, his finances were in rough shape. Some naive business deals had gone sour, and he was heavily in debt. The Orioles kept him on, without asking, for two seasons more than Robinson would have realistically played. The balding and slightly paunchy veteran never complained about his problems, and ultimately solved them with the help of a new career as a popular Orioles broadcaster. A classy legend in his own time, Robinson's Hall of Fame induction in 1983 drew one of the largest Cooperstown crowds ever.

» Free agent Reggie Jackson signs with the New York Yankees for $3.5 million. During Mr. October's tenure, the Bronx Bombers will win four divisions, three pennants and two World Series.

"I'll probably get a million more than I should, but I didn't make the rules. I'm just taking advantage of them." - REGGIE JACKSON

» Commissioner Kuhn lets Billy Martin off with a warning, following the October 23rd incident in which Billy Martin is involved in a barroom altercation with Joseph Cooper, a Minnesota marshmallow salesman. Cooper requires 15 stitches to close a gash in his lip.

» A consortium of Canadian investors led by Montreal Expos president Claud Brochu agrees to buy the club from Charles Bronfman for a reported $85 million, assuring that the team will remain in Montreal.

» Marge Schott is quoted in today's NY Times as saying, that Adolph Hitler was initially good for Germany, that her references to "niggers" was in jest, and she couldn't understand why the word "Jap" was offensive. The ML will appoint a 4-man committee to investigate Schott.

» The Marlins trade OF Carl Everett to the Mets in exchange for 2B Quilvio Veras.

Charlie Smith, the player traded to Yankees from the Cardinals for Roger Maris in 1967, dies at age 57.

» The Reds and Padres reach an agreement to trade Ken Griffey, Jr. for Phil Nevin, but Nevin, with a no–trade clause in his contract, nixes the deal. He says he would only agree to a trade to a West Coast team that trains in Arizona. Griffey tore a tendon in his knee during the first week, setting up another season limited by leg injuries. He also pulled a hamstring and strained hip muscles, limiting him to 70 games, a .264 average, eight homers and 23 RBIs. In a week, the White Sox will turn down an offer of Griffey for Magglio Ordonez.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

11-29-2007, 01:27 PM
Bud, great stuff as usual.

I may disagree with a statement or two but it is not a big thing.

I was lucky to see Brooks Robinson's last at bat at the old Arlington stadium.

Any body else on the forum remember that AB?

Like yesterday. :) A great moment in baseball history.

11-29-2007, 03:18 PM
I understand, the whole Marge Schott incident was distasteful and a perfect example of ignorance that may have been best left unmentioned, but I was just viewing it as a part of the history of the game

but I see your point and will treat Schott in the same manner as I treat Barry Bonds, with no further mention

I was lucky to see Brooks Robinson's last at bat at the old Arlington stadium.

I wish I had seen Brooks play live, when I played the hot corner in my youth I was a big fan of his

I didn't get to see any games at the old stadium until Aug '76 and according to the box scores I was just a little late getting back here to see him play in person

did you get to see the game where he went 2 for 5 with a HR? I bet that was something to see

the only live professional baseball I watched before that was the Tidewater Tides when my family was stationed in Norfolk, VA. I guess that's why I have always been a fan of minor league baseball

thanks for the constructive criticism without the use of personal insults, it's appreciated

11-29-2007, 04:26 PM
I am sorry Bud. I did not make myself clear. I was not referring to Ms. Schott.

It is my understanding that you post the "This day in history" from what is available to you.

I look forward to your posts everyday. Baseball history is another reason that I love baseball. It brings back fond memories for me.

I grew up watching George Kell. I disagreed with the source that stated that Brooks Robinson did NOT play HS ball. Maybe he only played HS basketball and American Legion baseball.

I grew up in Arkansas and have played some 3B. George Kell was a better hitter that Brooks and a very good glove man. I have never seen anyone that handled a glove around 3rd like Brooks.

But I will always remember Brooks' last at bat at Arlington. It was his farewell tour around the league. He did not start the game. I was disappointed.

He came to bat as a PH in the late innings. The bases were loaded. He hit a shot that looked like it was going out. But it did not. It hit the CF wall a few inches from the top. It cleared the bases and Brooks lumbered into second with a three run double.

I was part of the standing ovation that he was given.

And to me, that is what is great about baseball.

11-29-2007, 04:51 PM
thanks for the clarification, I guess in this age of political correctness my knee-jerk reaction was to think I had offended in the area of racism

I'm limited in my 1st hand knowledge as to whether or not my postings are correct, I can only rely on my sources being correct

in some instances I've found errors that I personally recognize as incorrect and have changed them, but I do appreciate having mistakes pointed out so that we can all remember the facts as they actually happened

But I will always remember Brooks' last at bat at Arlington. It was his farewell tour around the league. He did not start the game. I was disappointed.

He came to bat as a PH in the late innings. The bases were loaded. He hit a shot that looked like it was going out. But it did not. It hit the CF wall a few inches from the top. It cleared the bases and Brooks lumbered into second with a three run double.

I was part of the standing ovation that he was given.

that sounds like a great memory! I wish I could have been part of that ovation myself

most of what I remember of Brooks were from the highlights showing his back-handed stabs and almost effortless off-balance throws across the field to beat the runner by a step or less

he was amazing to watch

feel free to add corrections any time you see a mistake

11-29-2007, 08:27 PM

Write it the way you see it and use the sources that are available to you.

I am far from PC and do not feel that others should have to be PC.

My point was that I thought Brooks played HS baseball. He may not have played baseball in HS.

That point is really nit-picking on my part. I try to read every word of all of your posts. I enjoy each and every word.

Keep up the great work. I read and enjoy. I apologize again for nit-picking a minor point in one sentence of a long and great post.


11-29-2007, 10:54 PM
Once again Bud thanks for all the hard work. And i have to admit i learn something new about baseball every time i read these.

11-30-2007, 09:54 AM
Nov 30

» Baltimore drops out of the AA and joins the Atlantic Association.

» Bill Carrigan, popular Red Sox manager who won pennants in 1915 and 1916, is drafted out of retirement to resurrect the cellar-dwellers.

Carrigan was a dependable platoon catcher who took over a dissension-torn defending World Champion Red Sox team in 1913 as playing manager. He could not set things right until 1914, when he brought the team home second. In 1915 and 1916, with Babe Ruth added to his pitching rotation, Carrigan led Boston to two World Championships.
Carrigan quit at the peak of his success to become a banker in his native Maine. He made a surprise return as Red Sox manager in 1927, but the results were disastrous. The team finished last three straight seasons. While there was an absence of talent, it was also evident that the conservative Carrigan was out of his element in the free-swinging, lively-ball era.

» George Gibson comes out of retirement to manage Pittsburgh. Ten years earlier he had led the Pirates to three first-division finishes.

For 11 years, Gibson was a full-time or platooned Pirate catcher. He set a Pittsburgh record with 1,113 games caught from 1905 through 1916. The burly Canadian was a surprisingly light hitter. Named Pirate manager by owner Barney Dreyfus in 1920, the team folded down the stretch in 1921 and Gibson quit in mid-1922. He was rehired by new owner Bill Benswanger ten years later, guided the Pirates to second-place finishes in 1932-33, but was fired after a slow start in 1934. Though he compiled a .546 career winning percentage, Gibson reputedly was unable to maintain discipline.

» The Chicago Cubs get Babe Herman from the Cincinnati Reds for Rollie Hemsley and three others.

As the lefthanded-batting Herman put it, "I wasn't the world's greatest fielder, as a lot of stories will attest, but I was always a pretty fair country hitter." Having led the NL in errors in consecutive seasons (at first base in 1927, outfield in 1928), Herman often had to deny having once been hit on the head by a fly ball.

Only he and Bob Meusel have hit for the cycle three times. The .393 batting average (second to Bill Terry's .401), 416 total bases, 241 hits, and 143 runs he amassed in 1930 still stand as Dodger records. He also reached a high of 35 HR in 1930, and, with the Reds in 1932, led the NL with 19 triples. On July 10, 1935 at Cincinnati, he hit the first home run in a night game. The "headless horseman of Ebbets Field," as Dazzy Vance called Herman, once "tripled" into a double play (Herman got a double on the play), as three Dodgers wound up on third base, leading to the greatest of all the "Daffiness Boys" quips: "The Dodgers have three men on base." "Oh yeah, which base?"

» Player-manager Lou Boudreau is selected the AL MVP. Boudreau had almost been traded to the Browns earlier in the year, but protests by fans kept Lou in Cleveland. After the WS win, owner Bill Veeck commented, "Sometimes the best trades are the ones you never make."

A slick-fielding shortstop, steady hitter, and pennant-winning manager, Boudreau's career peaked in his fairy-tale 1948 season, but he was voted into the Hall of Fame for a career of distinguished play. He was captain of the basketball and baseball teams at the University of Illinois when he signed an agreement to join the Cleveland Indians following graduation. Big Ten officials ruled him ineligible for amateur participation for the remainder of his college career. Free to work with the pros, he appeared in one major-league game in 1938 as a pinch-hitter. He also played pro basketball with Hammond (IN) of the National Basketball League.

In 1939 he started with the Buffalo Bisons of the International League under manager Steve O'Neill. Originally a third baseman/catcher, Boudreau was moved to shortstop and teamed with second baseman Ray Mack. The young keystone combo gained attention for solid batting and adept fielding, particularly in turning double plays. Both were called up to Cleveland in the second half of the season.

In 1940, Boudreau's first full season, he was named to the American League All-Star team and hit .295 with 101 RBIs. Boudreau played no part in the "Cleveland Crybabies" incident and the subsequent firing of manager Ossie Vitt. Cleveland struggled through a lackluster 1941 season, and in 1942 Boudreau was named player-manager. At 24, he was the youngest ever to manage a major-league team from the outset of the season.

The innovative Boudreau oversaw the transformation of Bob Lemon from an infielder to a pitcher and created the "Williams Shift" and other tactics, but was unable to lift the Indians out of the middle of the pack. His shortstop play continued to win plaudits. He compensated for limited range by intelligent positioning and sure hands, and he led AL shortstops in fielding eight times. He won the 1944 AL batting title (.327) and led the league in doubles in 1941, 1944, and 1947.

When Bill Veeck purchased the Indians in 1946, he planned to replace Boudreau as manager. When word leaked out, a public clamor arose and Boudreau was retained. In 1948 Boudreau produced one of the greatest individual seasons ever. His team won the AL pennant and World Series. He batted .355, hit 18 homers, batted in 106 runs, and scored 116. He was easily AL MVP. His play was also at times inspirational: On August 8, 1948, he was sidelined with an ankle injury for a doubleheader with the Yankees before 73,484 Indian fans at Municipal Stadium. With the Tribe trailing 6-4, he limped to the plate and delivered a game-tying single. Cleveland swept the twin bill. The Indians and Boston Red Sox ended the season tied for first. In the one-game playoff, Boudreau keyed the victory by going four-for-four with two homers.

Boudreau had little success in later seasons as a bench manager, but did become a popular baseball broadcaster in Chicago. One of the greatest shortstops in Cleveland history, he saw his number 5 retired and the street bordering Municipal Stadium renamed Boudreau Boulevard. After a bout with circulatory problems at the age of 84, Boudreau died when he suffered from cardiac arrest on August 10, 2001.

Side story:
The Cleveland Crybabies

Some called him a nasty little man

Olde-tyme baseball by C. Philip Francis

“Look at him,” Vitt said to all who were nearby in the Cleveland Indians dugout, “He’s supposed to be my ace, but how am I supposed to win a pennant with that kind of terrible pitching?” The date was June 11, 1940 in Boston’s Fenway Park when Cleveland manager, Oscar Vitt, sarcastically cut down his pitching ace, Bob Feller. The Red Sox won that game 9-2.

He was Oscar Joseph Vitt born in San Francisco, California on January 4, 1890. Oscar expected to become an architect although he wanted “to play a little baseball first.” His father, however, would not give his son permission to play baseball, but the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 changed everything. Vitt did go into baseball, had ten years in the majors as a marginal player with the Detroit Tigers where he was the regular third basement from 1915-1917, and also spent three years with the Boston Red Sox and never batted over .254.

Vitt became a successful minor league manager, eleven years in the Pacific Coast League, and then with the Newark Bears, a New York Yankee farm team. In 1937 he led them to a pennant by 25 1/2 games over the second place team. Vitt’s Newark club is considered to be the best minor league team in history.

The Yankees had won the pennant in 1936 and 1937 with the Indians coming in fifth and fourth under good-guy manager Steve O’Neil. The Indians management thought they could do better, and were looking for a new team leader who would drive their players to higher abilities. They found Vitt had inherited a good team with Ken Keltner at third, pitchers Mel Harder and Bob Feller, second baseman Ray Mack, Lou Boudreau at shortstop, and slugging Hal Trosky at first. At his first press conference Vitt proclaimed, ”I don’t want any lazy players on my club. If the boys don’t hustle, out they go.” The Indians were expected to be in the pennant race in both 1938 and 1939, but finished in third both times a distant 13 games and 20 ½ behind the Yankees.

Feller opened up the 1940 season with a no-hitter in Chicago’s Comiskey Park, but as the season went on the Cleveland club became an unhappy group. Vitt hated to lose, and expected perfection and hustle. “I want major league play by major league players” he demanded, and often censured the unfortunate ballplayer before the press and team.

In June some of the veteran players met and decided to go to club president, Alva Bradley, and ask “that nasty little man” be fired. Feller joined the mutineers, Mack and Boudreau did not. They defeated the Tigers at home 3-2 in 11 innings as sportswriter Gordon Cobbledick of the Cleveland Plain Dealer broke the story on the team rebellion. One called it bigger news than the fall of Paris to the Germans. Bradley told his players that there would be no immediate change in managers, and never supported either his ballplayers or manager. Vitt immediately called a clubhouse meeting claiming, “I am the manager. Let’s go out and play ball.” It was about that time when the term “Cleveland Crybabies” was born.

Fans around the league began to roast the Indians, including those in Cleveland who even booed Trosky when he returned from his mother’s funeral, and cheered Vitt when he took the lineup out to the umpires. A writer wrote, “It was as if the team needed to sit down and have a good cry.” Around the league the words, “Crybabies, crybabies”, taunted the Indians as baby bottles were hurled onto the field.

In mid September the edgy Indians went to Detroit for a series with the teams tied for first place. When Vitt’s men came into the Detroit train station they were welcomed by a barrage of eggs and over-ripened tomatoes. The Cleveland dugout was embellished with a baby carriage and plenty of diapers. Vitt and Tiger manager Del Baker posed for the photographers as eight policemen stood by.

In Game 1 Mel Harder was up 4-1 over Detroit’s Bobo Newsom. After Harder gave up a walk and single in the eighth, Vitt brought in Feller who promptly allowed five runs as the Tigers won 6-5. The fire-balling Feller had already won 26 games that season, and was now wearing out. The next day Detroit pitcher Schoolboy Rowe gave the Tigers a 5-0 victory before Bob Feller led his Indians to a 10-5 win before a Sunday crowd of 56,771 in Briggs Stadium. It was now the final week of the season, and Detroit would finish their year with three games in Cleveland’s 74,483-seat Municipal Stadium.

The two teams had changed leads 17 times so far, and Detroit now enjoyed a two-game edge with three games to go and the New York Yankees coming on fast. One Detroit victory would cinch the pennant. Vitt went with the best naming Feller as his starting pitcher while Baker asked himself, “Should I go with one of my top hurlers, Bobo Newsom, Tommy Bridges, Schoolboy Rowe, and Hal Newhouser, or find a ‘sacrificial lamb’?” Baker decided to meet with his team with the exception of the pitchers, and let them make the choice. They picked twenty-nine-year-old West Virginia-born Floyd Giebell who had been brought up from Buffalo the year before when he won one game and lost one in nine games. Why waste one of the regular pitchers on Feller!

Although Feller threw a three-hitter, Giebell tossed the greatest game of his short career winning 2-0 on Rudy York’s home run in the fourth. The unknown rookie from Pennsboro, West Virginia had calmly led the Detroit Tigers into the World Series.

EPILOGUE: As the Tigers were enjoying their clubhouse celebration, Tiger owner Walter O. Briggs came in to congratulate his team. He was in a wheelchair because of his crippled legs when he found Giebell, and yelled, “You were great. I predict you will have a great future with the Tigers.” In spite of Briggs’ glowing prophesy Giebell never won another game, and was out of the majors the following year. He died on April 28, 2004 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina at the age of 94.

The Cincinnati Reds won the Championship 4 games to 3.

Cleveland manager Oscar Vitt was soon fired, never managed again, and died in 1963 at the age of 73.

Detroit Tigers manager Del Baker miffed his team when told the writers that he had a hunch about Giebell, but in reality it was the players who voted him in.

Rudy York gave his home run bat to Giebell, and although Floyd’s baseball glory was brief he still had York’s bat.

» On a local TV program, Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson charges that the New York Yankee management is racist for its failure to bring up a black player. George Weiss of the Yanks denies the allegations.

The most historically significant baseball player ever, Jackie Robinson was the first black man to play in the majors in the 20th century, to win the MVP award, and to be elected to the Hall of Fame; was also the first Rookie of the Year and the first baseball player, black or white, on an American postage stamp. Babe Ruth changed baseball; Jackie Robinson changed America. In the 1987 survey "Player's Choice," Robinson was called the greatest of his era at second base, where he set a club record for fielding average and teamed with Pee Wee Reese as one of the game's great double-play combinations, and was also named fifth best at third. Yet the 28-year-old rookie broke in at first base, because veteran Ed Stanky was at second.

Robinson's 37 steals in 1949 not only led the majors (he'd led the NL with 29 his rookie season), it was the highest in the NL in 19 years. He stole home 19 times in his career, the most since WWI, and in 1955 (at age 36) became one of only 12 to steal home in the World Series. In 1954 he was the first National Leaguer to steal his way around the bases in 26 years. Bobby Bragan called him "the best I ever saw at getting called safe after being caught in a rundown situation."

Among the first group of black players in the 1949 All-Star Game, Robinson hit .333 in the six in which he played. But the statistical records of the player Dodger general manager Branch Rickey considered the "most competitive" man he'd known since Ty Cobb only hint at his achievements. Reese called Robinson's integration of baseball "the most tremendous thing I've ever seen in sports."

Since 19th-century star Cap Anson refused to appear with black pitcher George Stovey, blacks had been informally barred from the majors. Near the end of WWII, Rickey assigned scouts to recruit for what he told them would be a Dodgers-owned Negro League team. He was really looking for the right ballplayer to break the color line. Clyde Sukeforth found Robinson playing shortstop for the Negro League Kansas City Monarchs.

In a meeting which has been portrayed and described many times since, Rickey confronted Robinson with the wide range of abuse he knew Robinson would face. Robinson finally blew up, asking Rickey, "Do you want a player afraid to fight back?" Rickey replied that he wanted someone "with the guts not to fight back." Robinson promised a passive response and kept his word, not an easy task for a man who had faced an army court martial for refusing to move to the back of a bus.

Called the "Jim Thorpe of his race" for his multi-sport skills, Robinson was the first four-letter man at UCLA. When he averaged over 11 yards per rush as a football halfback as a junior, Sports Weekly called him "the greatest ball carrier on the gridiron today." One coach called Robinson "the best basketball player in the U.S." when he led the Pacific Coast Conference in scoring as a junior and senior. Yet he was not named to the first, second, or third all-conference teams. His brother Mack Robinson was the 1936 Olympic long-jump runner-up behind Jesse Owens, and Jackie won the 1940 NCAA long-jump title. He undoubtedly would have gone to the 1940 Olympics had the war not canceled them. He reached the semi-finals of the national Negro tennis tournament, won swimming championships at UCLA, and played professional football with the Honolulu Bears.

Robinson spent the 1946 season with Montreal, based on Rickey's reasonable belief that the racial confrontations would be less severe in Canada. The first black in the International League in 57 years, he led in batting and runs scored, and led the Royals to a pennant by 19-1/2 games and victory in the Little World Series. When jubilant fans chased him for three blocks after the last game, a black journalist wrote, "It was probably the only day in history that a black man ran from a white mob with love instead of lynching on its mind." Fans later erected a statue of him near the ballpark.

Entry into the majors in 1947 was much tougher. Dodgers manager Leo Durocher had to squelch plans for a players' petition against Robinson in a midnight spring-training meeting. Robinson was often forced to accept road accommodations separate from the rest of the team. The famous Dodgertown complex later erected was in part a response to the problems that Robinson and other blacks faced with spring-training racism. After the start of the season, the St. Louis Cardinals were rumored to be planning a strike in protest of Robinson. Phillies manager Ben Chapman baited him so cruelly that Robinson later said it "brought me nearer to cracking up than I had ever been." The Chapman episode galvanized Robinson's support group. Rickey said it "made Jackie a real member of the Dodgers." Public reaction against Chapman was so harsh that Phillies management asked Robinson to pose for a photo with him to clear Chapman's reputation.

Baseball's "Great Experiment" electrified America. Probably the only rookie given a day in his honor, Robinson trailed only Bing Crosby in a year-end national popularity poll. Virtually the entire black population of America became Dodger fans. He later starred in the movie The Jackie Robinson Story. He wrote several autobiographical works, had a weekly newspaper column and radio show, and after his death was the subject of a Broadway musical, "The First".

Robinson's agreement with Rickey only required silence for one full season. When he started to speak out, he became a major public figure. In 1949 he was summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee to rebut Paul Robeson's contention that American blacks would not fight against the Soviet Union because of racism at home. Ironically, Robeson had once addressed Commissioner Landis and the team owners on the need for integration in the majors. Robinson later felt apologetic about his being used against Robeson, and said, "I would reject such an invitation if offered now." Robinson later told a "Youth Wants to Know" audience that "the Yankee management is prejudiced." When Dodger owner Walter O'Malley announced Robinson's sale to the Giants, Jackie had already decided to retire, but not from public life. A supporter of Martin Luther King and the NAACP, he surprised even his wife, Rachel, by endorsing Richard Nixon for president in 1960 (a move later regretted) because he felt Kennedy had not made it "his business to know colored people."

In 1962 Robinson and Bob Feller were the first elected to the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility since Lou Gehrig in 1939.

Robinson's #42 was retired at Dodger Stadium in 1972 a few months before 2,000 people packed Riverside Church to hear his eulogy delivered by the young Reverend Jesse Jackson. Tens of thousands lined the streets of Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant to watch the passage of his mile-long cortege. Joe Black spoke for all future black ballplayers. "When I look at my house ... I say, 'Thank God for Jackie Robinson.'" In 1987, during the 40th anniversary of Robinson's rookie season, major league baseball celebrated by naming the Rookie of the Year award for him.

» The player reps reject Commissioner Ford Frick's plan for a conference on their pension after he bars their attorney's presence.

» Italian baseball commissioner Prince Borghese visits the U.S. to seek aid in organizing Italian teams.

» The Giants acquire pitchers Don Larsen and Billy Pierce from the White Sox for pitchers Eddie Fisher, Dom Zanni, and Verle Tiefenthaler and 1B Bob Farley. The swap is a steal for the Giants, one of their best trades since moving to California. Pierce, another Chicago favorite, will win 16, while Larsen will win five and save 11 for the pennant winners.

» The Cubs give up on pitcher Ray Culp and ship him to the Red Sox for minor leaguer Rudy Schlesinger and cash. A steal for the Sox, Culp will develop a palm ball and win 64 games for them in the next four seasons.

» Yankees P Dave Righetti (8-4, 2.06 in 1981) wins the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

The Yankees' all-time save leader, Righetti set the major league single-season mark of 46 in 1986. He began his career as a starter and threw a no-hitter against the Red Sox on a hot day at Yankee Stadium on the Fourth of July, 1983. Acquired from the Rangers as part of the Sparky Lyle trade after the 1978 season, Righetti appeared in three games in 1979. His next trip to the majors, 1981, resulted in the AL Rookie of the Year award, based on his 8-4 record and 2.06 ERA. Righetti was effective during the postseason, winning two games over Milwaukee in divisional play and once over Oakland in the LCS. He went 11-10 in 1982 and 14-8 in 1983, including the no-hitter, the Yankees' first since Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series.

Moved to the bullpen to replace Goose Gossage as the Yankees' closer, Righetti saved 31 games in 1984 and 29 in 1985 with 12 wins. Then came record-setting 1986, when he converted on 29 of his final 30 save opportunities, including both ends of a season-ending doubleheader against the Red Sox, to break the record of 45 held by Dan Quisenberry and Bruce Sutter. Righetti finished fourth in voting for the AL Cy Young Award that season. His save totals dropped to 31 in 1987 and 25 in 1988 and 1989, prompting increased speculation that he might be returning to the starting rotation. On the Yankee all-time lists, he ranks 2nd in games and 12th in strikeouts.

» Members of the umpires association vote 57-35 to form a new union, with one vote voided because the umpire signed his ballot. The NLRB will certify the election results in seven days, if there are no objections. But, Jerry Crawford, the president of the old union, said objections are likely to be filed.

Braves minor leaguer Roger Blanco is killed by robbers in Ctia La Mar, Venezuela. Blanco, 30, was traded to the Braves in 1996 for Mark Whiten.

Pete Rose launches a new web site, allowing fans to add their names to a petition to vote for his reinstatement. He was banned from the game for gambling in August 1989.

» Arizona P Curt Schilling wins the 2001 Hutch Award, given each year by Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to a player who displays "honor, courage & dedication to baseball while overcoming adversity in their personal or professional lives."

Unsure of their future, Montreal signs a one-year lease to play their home games of the 2002 season at Olympic Stadium. Due to the threat of being eliminated because of the proposed contraction of major league teams, the agreement gives the Expos the right to unilaterally cancel the contract.

The major league's plan to contract by two teams next season is put into jeopardy by Minnesota courts. The state's Supreme Court refuses to grant the request for a speedy review of the appeal of the injunction which forces the Twins to play in 2001, and the appellate court sets the hearing for December 27, a date many believe is too late to make the elimination of two teams a reality.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, dugoutchatter@ejourney.com, and baseballibrary.com

12-03-2007, 09:56 AM
Dec 3

» At the league meeting, the Milwaukee franchise is officially dropped from the American League and is replaced by the St. Louis Browns.

» Connie Mack sells C Mickey Cochrane to Detroit for $100,000 and catcher Johnny Pasek. Cochrane is named Detroit manager.

Cochrane's Hall of Fame plaque notes that he "compiled a notable record as a player and manager. The spark of the Athletics' championship teams of 1929-30-31, he had an average batting mark of .346 for those three years. Led Detroit to two league championships and a World Series title in 1935." Cochrane's lifetime .320 average is the highest of any ML catcher.

Cochrane demonstrated his leadership and versatility in his years at Boston University, where he was not only a quarterback, punter, and running back, but also at times the trainer and coach. Cochrane's competitive nature secured him the sobriquet "Black Mike." "Lose a one-to-nothing game," said teammate Doc Cramer, "and you didn't want to get into the clubhouse with Grove and Cochrane. You'd be ducking stools and gloves and bats and whatever else would fly." A natural leader, Mickey was also quick enough of foot to occasionally be placed in the leadoff spot, but more often he hit third in the order.

Cochrane joined the A's in 1925 and hit .330 that year, the first of his nine .300 seasons. On May 21, 1925, the lefthanded batter hit three home runs in a single game. That season was the first of his four campaigns as fielding leader among AL catchers. During his career, Cochrane twice led in errors, but led catchers six times in putouts and twice each in double plays and assists. He caught over 100 games in all but his final two seasons. Cochrane batted a career-best .357 in 1930, and reached career highs in homers (23), RBI (112), and runs scored (118) two years later. He hit for the cycle twice in his career (on July 22, 1932, and August 2, 1933). He was named AL MVP in 1928 with Philadelphia and in 1934 with Detroit. Chosen as a player to two All-Star teams, he also managed the AL to victory in the 1935 contest.

Cochrane played in five World Series. In his first, 1929, he scored the tying run in Game Four as the A's overcame an 8-0 Cub lead with a 10-run seventh inning. The A's won the game en route to their first World Championship since 1913. In the 1930 WS, Cochrane hit an opening-game homer off Burleigh Grimes of the Cardinals, and a HR off Flint Rhem in Game Two. The A's won both contests. In 1935, on what he later called his "greatest day in baseball," Detroit's player-manager scored the run that beat the Cubs in the sixth and final Series game. Though he played in just 315 games over four seasons with the Tigers, Cochrane was chosen by Detroit fans in 1969 as the team's all-time catcher.

Black Mike's playing career ended abruptly on May 25, 1937, when his skull was fractured by a pitch from Yankee Bump Hadley. Cochrane, who had been the Tiger pilot since 1934, continued as manager until August 6, 1938. His .582 winning percentage (413-297) tops all who have spent at least one full season at the Detroit helm.

After WWII erupted, Cochrane was given a Navy commission to coach the Great Lakes Naval Base baseball team. In 1944, Great Lakes won 33 in a row, and beat the Cleveland Indians 17-4, to finish 48-2. Among his Great Lakes players were Tigers Barney McCosky, Schoolboy Rowe and Virgil Trucks, as well as John Mize, Billy Herman, and Gene Woodling. Following the 1944 season, the Navy assigned Lieutenant Commander Cochrane to the Pacific and replaced him at Great Lakes with Bob Feller. Cochrane eventually served as coach and GM for the A's, scout for the Yankees and Tigers, and VP of the Tigers. He and longtime batterymate Lefty Grove were elected to the Hall of Fame in 1947 by the BBWAA. Another Hall of Famer, Mickey Mantle, was named after Cochrane, his father's favorite player.

» The Dodgers "sell" Frenchy Bordagaray, Dutch Leonard, and Jimmy Jordan to the Cardinals. The exchange is understood to be a continuation of the September 7th transaction, which brought the Dodgers Tom Winsett and Eddie Morgan from the Cards' AA farm team.

Emil "Dutch" Leonard was one of the first pitchers to rely heavily on the knuckleball. Pitching almost exclusively for losing teams during his 20 years in the ML, he nevertheless won 191 games. His success with what was until then considered a trick pitch inspired a whole generation of knuckleball specialists, including Hoyt Wilhelm.

After his 14-11 year with the Dodgers in 1934, a sore arm threatened Leonard's career. Eventually he was sent to Atlanta of the Southern Association where, with the help of the knuckleball, he posted two strong seasons. He returned to the majors with Washington in 1938 and the next year enjoyed a 20-8 year with the sixth-place Senators.

Although Leonard occasionally mixed in a fastball or slip pitch to keep hitters off-balance, the knuckler was his primary out pitch. He had exceptional control of all his pitches, averaging only 2.06 walks per nine innings pitched.

After an 18-13 season in 1941, Leonard missed almost all the next year with a broken ankle, but he came back to post double-digit win totals for the Senators through 1946, including a 17-7 mark in 1945. An oddity that season, aside from Washington's uncharacteristic second-place finish, was that three other regular Senator hurlers - Roger Wolff, Mickey Haefner, and Johnny Niggeling - were knuckleballers.

Leonard was sold to the Phillies after the 1946 season and was traded with Monk Dubiel to the Cubs for Eddie Waitkus and Hank Borowy two years later. Though he had always been a starting pitcher, he became an outstanding reliever with the Cubs. He once cited as one of his greatest thrills a game in which he was called in against the powerful Dodgers to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and no outs. He retired Jackie Robinson, Gil Hodges, and Roy Campanella without a run scoring.

» Al Lopez, who traded Larry Doby when he was managing, Cleveland, does it again in Chicago. The Orioles swap P Ray Moore, Billy Goodman, and OF Tito Francona to the White Sox for Doby, pitchers Jack Harshman and Russ Heman, and infielder Jim Marshall.

In August 1947, four months after Jackie Robinson had broken the National League's color line, Larry Doby was signed for the Indians by Bill Veeck (whom he affectionately called his "godfather") and was the first black ballplayer in the American League. "The only difference [was] that Jackie Robinson got all of the publicity," Doby later recalled. "You didn't hear much about what I was going through because the media didn't want to repeat the same story." On the field, Doby noted, "I couldn't react to (prejudicial) situations from a physical standpoint. My reaction was to hit the ball as far as I could." Born in South Carolina, Doby grew up in New Jersey. He attended Long Island University and played in the Negro National League.

In 1948, his first full season, Doby hit 16 HR and contributed a .301 batting average to Cleveland's successful World Championship drive. He batted a team-leading .318 in the 1948 World Series, winning the fourth game with a 400-foot home run off Braves star Johnny Sain. Although he led league outfielders with 14 errors in 1948, he became a good enough fielder to be named by TSN as the top centerfielder in the majors in 1950, ahead of Joe DiMaggio and Duke Snider. In 1952 the lefthanded hitter led the AL with 32 HR, 104 runs, and a .541 slugging percentage. Doby topped AL batters in strikeouts two years running (111 in 1952 and 121 in '53).

He played in every All-Star Game from 1949 through 1954, hitting a key homer as a pinch-hitter in his last All-Star at-bat. In the Indians' 1954 record-setting 111-win season, his 32 HR and 126 RBI paced the league.

After his ML playing career, he played in Japan and coached for the Expos, Indians, and White Sox. He managed the White Sox for most of 1978; one of his catchers was his namesake, Cleveland native Larry Doby Johnson.

» The Giants trade P Ruben Gomez and C Valmy Thomas to the Phils for P Jack Sanford. Sanford, who slipped in his sophomore year will win 24 games in 1962, including 16 in a row, while leading the Giants to a pennant. The Phils Carpenter will later rue, "it was the worst trade I ever made."

After seven years in the minors and a stint in the military, 28-year-old Jack Sanford compiled a 19-8 record for the fifth-place 1957 Phillies, striking out a league-high 188 batters and winning NL Rookie of the Year honors. He fanned 13 Cubs in one game, tying what was then a club record.

After falling to 10-13 in 1958, Sanford was dealt to San Francisco. When Sandy Koufax fanned 18 Giants on August 31, 1959, Sanford was his final strikeout victim. Though Sanford had just 12 victories in 1960, he led the NL with six shutouts. In 1962, he won 16 consecutive games, his 24-7 record sparking the Giants to the pennant. He had tough luck in the World Series after shutting out the Yankees on three hits in Game Two. He struck out 10 in a 5-3 Game Five loss, and lost 1-0 to Ralph Terry in the final contest.

Sanford pitched more than 200 innings each of his first five seasons with San Francisco, and topped the NL with 42 starts in 1963. He suffered a shoulder injury in 1964 that limited him to 18 games. Moved to the bullpen by the Angels, he recorded a league-high 12 wins in relief in 1966.

» Former players Frank Crosetti and John Schulte file suit to halt any increased ML pension benefits that fail to include old-time players.

» OF Felipe Alou, C Ed Bailey, P Billy Hoeft, and a player to be named are sent by the Giants to the Braves for C Del Crandall and pitchers Bob Shaw and Bob Hendley.

The oldest of the Alous (Jesus and Matty are his younger brothers), Felipe was the only one who hit for power -- but unlike many sluggers Felipe seldom struck out. His finest year was 1966 when he hit 31 homers and batted .327 for the Braves with a league-leading 218 hits and 122 runs -- the same year his brother Matty won the batting title with a .342 average. San Francisco fans still recall he scored the winning run in the Giants' come-from-behind victory over the Dodgers in the final game of the 1962 playoff.

A tall, solemn man, Alou was among the first born-again Christians to come to the big leagues. A native Dominican, he also was a powerful speaker on behalf of fellow Latin American players, arguing that they were underpaid and overly criticized for being "hot dogs."

Alou found work as a batting coach and minor league manager with the Montreal Expos after his playing career ended, jobs which eventually led to his hiring as the club’s manager in 1992. Although the Expos spent much of the 1990s trying to save money by trading away higher-paid players, Felipe was able to get the most out of the team’s seemingly endless supply of talented youngsters. He was named the 1994 NL Manager of the Year after the Expos finished the strike-shortened season with the best record in baseball, despite Olympic Stadium’s omniscient revolving door which had left the team with the National League’s second lowest payroll and only two players over 30.

Top talent continued to leave the cash-starved Expos for greener pastures. Many of the game’s young stars of the ‘90s began their careers under Alou’s watch -- Cy Young laureate Pedro Martinez, who was traded to the Red Sox just after winning the award in 1997; 1997 MVP Larry Walker, who hit .366 with 39 homers for the Colorado Rockies; closer John Wetteland, th 1996 World Series MVP; second basemen Delino DeShields and Mike Lansing, and Alou’s own son Moises, an outfielder who left for the Marlins via free agency after the 1996 season.

Despite the team’s turnover, Alou led the Expos to an amazing second-place finish in the NL East in 1996, battling Atlanta for the division lead all year after stumbling to last place in 1995. The low point of the year came on Alou’s 61st birthday (May 12), when he was ejected under bizarre circumstances from the second game of a doubleheader against the Astros. In the spirit of a hockey tradition that calls for fans to toss hats into the ice after a hat trick, Montreal fans had taken to flinging "Oh Henry!" candy bars whenever popular slugger Henry Rodriguez got a big hit. Alou was ejected after contesting umpire Harry Wendelstedt’s decision to stop play after a particularly excessive confectionery-chucking incident.

As the penny-pinching Expos slid into the cellar of the NL East, Alou continued to do his best with the inexperienced talent at hand. Without veteran players, his Expos finished under .500 in 1997 and lost 97 games in 1998. Montreal's poor finishes never tarnished Alou's sterling reputation as a manager; in fact, after the 1998 season he was offered a contract worth nearly $1 million a season to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Canadian newspapers later reported that Alou agreed to terms with the Dodgers in the Dominican Republic, but wanted to return home to Florida before finalizing the deal. Dodgers GM Kevin Malone and president Bob Graziano were forced take a later flight; when they landed, they discovered the Expos had offered twice as much to keep Alou in Montreal.

Yet Alou, who had many close ties to the city (his wife was a native of Quebec) insisted his decision to stay with the Expos was based as much on intangibles as dollars. "Money is not what makes me happy," Alou explained to the Globe and Mail. "One has to have principles in life. Loyalty is very important...There is no barometer in life that says if you make a certain amount of money you will then be happy." Later in the '99 season, he expanded: "I could have easily gone. Our owners gave me their blessing, but they asked to me stay, so I stayed."

Midway through the 1999 season (a 68-94 campaign) Alou managed his 1,127th game for Montreal, passing Gene Mauch for the longest tenure at the helm of the Expos. Even so, his position was far from secure. During the 2000 season, it was rumored that new owner Jeffrey Loria wanted to replace Alou with his close friend, Jeff Torborg. After the season, Loria apparently offered the Expos' bench-coach position to Steve Scott, an executive with the St. Paul Saints, promising Scott the manager's job when Alou moved on.

Rumor became reality in May 2001. With the Expos floudering at 21-32, Alou was finally replaced by Torborg. "I almost feel relieved, you know," Alou told reporters. "I could feel it coming."

» Robert E. Short, Democratic National Committee treasurer, buys the Senators for $10 million. James Lemon will retain 15–20 percent.

The Baseball Rules Committee moves to increase offense with new measures to lower the pitching mound, shrink the strike zone, and enforce rules against illegal pitches.

» In what is rated their best trade ever, the Royals send 3B Joe Foy to the Mets for OF Amos Otis and P Bob Johnson. Foy will not solve the Mets' 3B problems, while Otis will spend 14 years in Kansas City, win three gold gloves, and lead the American League in stolen bases once.

Originally signed by the Red Sox, Otis was drafted by the Mets and went to the Royals with pitcher Bob Johnson in a lopsided December 1969 trade for third baseman Joe Foy. Foy was gone from the majors within 2 years, while Otis starred in centerfield with Kansas City for 14. During his tenure, one of the most popular chants in Royals Stadium was "A-O, A-O." The dapper Otis was criticized at times for a casual demeanor, lack of aggressiveness, and one-handed catches, but he won three Gold Gloves and three times was named Royals Player of the Year. He tied for the American League lead in doubles his first full year, 1970, and led in 1976. In 1971, the speedster stole five bases in a September 7 game and captured the league stolen-base title (52). In 1975 he tied an AL record by stealing seven bases in two consecutive games, April 30 and May 1. He batted .300 twice and hit for power, with a career-high 26 HR in 1973. He starred on four Kansas City division champions. When the Royals won their one AL title, he led all players in the 1980 World Series with 11 hits. He left the Royals in 1983 as their all-time leader in several offensive categories, including runs, hits, and RBI.

» The Mets trade ace reliever and Shea Stadium favorite Tug McGraw to the Phillies in a 6-player swap. Don Hahn and Dave Schneck go to the Phils while New York receives OF Del Unser, C John Stearns, and P Mac Scarce.

"You Gotta Believe," the rallying cry for the Mets' miracle pennant drive in 1973, was coined by flaky lefthanded reliever Tug McGraw. Sixteen times in the last month of the season, he would charge off the mound slapping his glove on his right thigh, screaming at no one in particular while racking up 11 saves and four victories. While McGraw, a bullpen mainstay of the Mets for nine seasons and the Phillies for ten, was one of the main reasons the Mets were able to capture the NL flag, he was also one of the reasons they had to catch up. He was going through a horrible slump, blowing leads and getting his pitching and pride pounded. The Mets, ultimately the only team to finish over .500 for the season in the NL East, began their climb in last place, 12-1/2 games out. By August 30, they were 6-1/2 out and McGraw was 0-6. McGraw returned to form, and the Mets reached first place to stay on September 21. McGraw finished the season with 25 saves.

McGraw's best year was actually 1972, when he posted an 11-4 record with 27 saves and a 1.70 ERA. He also was credited with the victory in the 1972 All-Star Game, giving up only one hit and striking out four in working the final two innings.

His shining moment as a Phillie came in the 1980 World Series. In the fifth game, McGraw struck out the Royals' Amos Otis with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to preserve a 4-3 victory. In the sixth and final game, in Philadelphia, McGraw squeezed out of bases-loaded jams in the final two innings and got the save to give the Phillies their first World Championship. It was his third WS save lifetime, and his five LCS saves is a record. He retired with 180 saves.

McGraw was given the nickname Tug by his mother, because he used to tug when she breast-fed him.

The frustrated White Sox unload controversial Dick Allen to the Braves for a reported $5,000. Allen never reports and retires instead. Richie Ashburn will help coax Allen out of retirement and he'll play two disappointing seasons back in Philadelphia before going to Oakland as a free agent.

Talented, controversial, charming, and abusive, Allen put in 15 major league seasons, hitting prodigious homers and paying prodigious fines. Called "Richie" at first, in mid-career he became, adamantly, "Dick." He was praised as a money player and condemned as a loafer. He made 41 errors at third base (which he had not played in the minors) for the Phillies in 1964, but his 29 home runs, 91 RBI, 201 hits, and .318 BA earned him Rookie of the Year honors.

A deep cut on his right hand, which he reported having suffered while pushing a stalled car, affected his throwing and the Phillies made him a first baseman/outfielder in 1967. He hit 40 home runs in 1966 and 177 through 1969, but off-the-field behavior brought him a 28-day suspension, a $500-a-day fine, and a trade to the Cardinals at the end of '69. The swap proved doubly controversial when Curt Flood refused to report to the Phillies and challenged the reserve clause in court, forcing St. Louis to substitute Willie Montanez. The Cardinals passed Allen on to the Dodgers after one year, and they traded him to the White Sox a year later. Each trade added to Allen's reputation as an unmanageable loner.

In 1972, with easygoing Chuck Tanner as his White Sox manager, he led the AL in homers (37), RBI (113), walks (99), and slugging percentage (.603) and was named MVP. In 1974, he was on his way to a similar year when he "retired" with a month left to play, giving no reason. Despite his vacation, he led the AL with 32 home runs. The Sox traded him to Atlanta for cash and a player to be named later in December 1974, but before he could play for the Braves they sent him to the Phillies in May 1975 for Barry Bonnell, Jim Essian, and cash. When Essian was turned over to Chicago as Atlanta's player to be named later, he'd been swapped for Allen twice in less than half a year. After two sub-par years in Philadelphia and one in Oakland, Allen retired for good, still an enigma. His brothers Ron and Hank played in the majors.

» Don Sutton, 35, the winningest pitcher in Los Angeles Dodgers' history, signs a 4-year contract with the Houston Astros. Sutton was 13-5 in 1980 with a league-leading 2.21 ERA.

The pitching matchup between Sutton and Phil Niekro on June 28, 1986 was the first between 300-game winners since Tim Keefe and Pud Galvin opposed one another in 1892. It put into perspective an era that began in the 1960s. A new breed emerged, pitchers who would go on to win over 300 games by staying consistently effective into their forties. Although he lacked the overpowering stuff possessed by others of this group - Perry, Carlton and Seaver - and never earned the Cy Young awards they did, Sutton, a fanatic about conditioning, never spent a day on the disabled list in 22 seasons. He combined longevity with excellence, even brilliance, to put together an impressive career.

Sutton was chosen TSN Rookie Pitcher of the Year in 1966, when his 209 strikeouts were the most by a NL rookie since Grover Cleveland Alexander 's 227 in 1911. He was the fourth starter behind Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, and Claude Osteen. That foursome proved to be the only rotation in which each member would amass 40 or more career shutouts. As the years passed, Sutton became the ace of the Dodger staff. Without having the dominant individual seasons that his predecessors had, he still became the Dodgers' career leader in wins, losses, games pitched, games started, strikeouts, innings pitched, hits allowed, shutouts, and Opening-Day starts (seven).

Sutton's all-time statistics reflect his consistency and longevity. En route to defeating every major league team, he earned a spot among the career leaders in losses (sixth), games started (second), strikeouts (fourth), innings pitched (sixth), and shutouts (eighth) at the time he retired. He never pitched a no-hitter, but he did pitch five one-hitters and nine two-hitters. He became the first pitcher to win 300 games while only once winning 20 in a season. He made his way past the 3,000-strikeout mark by racking up a record 21 consecutive 100-plus strikeout seasons (recording 99 in his final season), with a high of 217 in 1969.

Seven times Sutton was a starter on the NL staff with the best ERA, and he was a frequent member of pennant-bound teams. Sutton earned a reputation as a money player. He allowed no earned runs in eight All-Star innings, including his start and win in the 1977 game of which he was named MVP. He pitched the Dodgers' first-ever LCS game in 1974, shutting out the Pirates, and beat them in the fourth and final game as well. He was acquired by the Brewers toward the end of their 1982 pennant drive, and beat Jim Palmer and the Orioles in the division clincher on the last day of the season. In 1986, at age 41, he won 15 for the Western Division champion Angels. In total, he competed in five League Championship Series and four World Series with three different teams.

Sutton's repertoire featured the curveball, although he was often accused, especially toward the end of his career, of throwing illegal pitches. In 1978 he was ejected from a game for defacing the ball. When he threatened a lawsuit against the league, he was let off with a warning. He once claimed that when he met Gaylord Perry, "he gave me a jar of Vaseline. I thanked him and gave him a piece of sandpaper."

A polished speaker, Sutton served as a postseason announcer during his baseball career. Following his retirement, he became a full-time Braves TV announcer.

» Thirty-eight-year-old DH Dave Parker, who had 22 home runs and 97 RBI for the World Champion A's, signs with the Brewers as a free agent. As compensation, Oakland receives Milwaukee's first round draft pick, using it to take Todd Van Poppel, as well as a compensation pick, selecting another pitcher Kirk Dressendorffer.

Although Enron has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the corporation is current on its payments and plans to keep the company's name on Astros' new ballpark. The downtown stadium will stay Enron Field as long as Enron continues to exist and makes regular payments on its 30-year, $100 million commitment according to team officials.

2003 Mike Lowell signs a four-year, $32 million deal with the Marlins. The All-Star third baseman contract, however, reverts to a one-year deal with a player option for 2005 if the teams fail to secure financing for a new ballpark by November 1, 2004.

Uncertain of re-signing Kevin Millwood, the Phillies trade righthanded reliever Carlos Silva, infielder Nick Punto, and a player to be named to the Twins for southpaw starter Eric Milton. The lefty, who missed most of last season after knee surgery, should join the starting rotation which will include Randy Wolf, Vicente Padilla and Brett Myers.

In an effort to replace, Billy Wagner, who joined with the Mets as a free agent earlier in the week, the Phillies sign right-hander Tom Gordon as the team’s closer. The 38-year-old former Yankee set up man agrees to a $18 million, three-year deal to hurl for City of Brotherly Love.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

12-04-2007, 10:31 AM
Dec 4

» The National League Metropolitans franchise is sold to millionaire Erastus Wiman. The Metropolitan Exhibition Company receives $25,000 for the transaction.

» The St. Louis Maroons trade 1B Alex McKinnon to Pittsburgh for 1B Otto Shomberg and $400.

» Buck Ewing, Cincinnati manager for five years, is released.

When the doors of the Baseball Hall of Fame were first opened, in 1939, Buck Ewing's plaque was ready to go up on the wall. Elected by the Committee on Baseball Veterans, Ewing had simply been baseball's best catcher and, according to his contemporaries, was unequaled as an all-around player in the 19th century. Until Mickey Cochrane, Bill Dickey, and Gabby Hartnett came along, Ewing was listed as the catcher on virtually everyone's all-time team.

A lifetime .303 hitter with a high of .344 in 1893, Ewing was also a dead-ball-era NL home run champ, hitting 10 for New York in 1883. He topped the NL with 20 triples in 1884, and hit 15 triples four other times. In a June 9, 1883 game, he hit three triples. When stolen bases started being tallied, Ewing averaged 37 a season, with a high of 53 for the 1888 Giants.

Ewing played during a time when catchers did not catch every day. He never caught more than 97 games a season, and only once caught more than 80. He was said to have been a master at throwing out baserunners; he led NL catchers in assists three times in the 1880s, and in double plays twice. He spent few games behind the plate after 1890. Instead, he was stationed mostly in the outfield and at first base. He also pitched 47 innings.

Buck's brother John, a pitcher, compiled a 53-63 career record. He pitched for Buck in the 1890 Players' League, when Buck caught for and managed New York. John led the NL with a .724 winning percentage (21-8) and a 2.27 ERA as Buck's batterymate with the 1891 Giants. John then retired, and Buck went on to Cleveland in 1893. Buck returned to his hometown of Cincinnati as a first baseman-manager in 1895, and played one final game in 1897. Managing the Reds through 1899, he never finished higher than third. He piloted the Giants for part of 1900, and died six years later.

» Walter Johnson accepts a $6,000 bonus from the FL Chicago Whales and signs a three-year contract for $17,500 per year. Clark Griffith threatens to take Johnson to court, claiming he has paid Johnson for the reserve option in his contract. American League Prexy Ban Johnson asserts that Johnson was on the market and is "damaged goods," worth getting rid of. Griffith travels to Coffeyville, KS, to persuade his franchise player that the option clause is legal and binding. Two weeks later Griffith signs Johnson for three years at $12,500 per year and returns the bonus to the Feds.

» Former Giant owner Andrew Freedman dies at the age of 55. He owned the team for seven years, firing a Steinbrennian 16 managers during his reign.

Perhaps the most hated team owner in baseball history, Freedman owned the New York Giants from 1895 to 1902. He conspired unsuccessfully with John T. Brush in 1901 to create a trust in which all NL teams would be pooled and owned through shares held by the club owners. Upon his death, The Sporting News said, "He had an arbitrary disposition, a violent temper, and an ungovernable tongue in anger which was easily provoked and he was disposed to be arbitrary to the point of tyranny with subordinates." The Giants floundered during his regime and attendance dwindled. An influential Tammany Hall politician, he used his political clout to tie up possible sites where an AL team might play in New York until the peace treaty between the leagues in 1902.

» Pirates OF Paul Waner noses out Frank Frisch for National League MVP honors with 72 points to 66. Rogers Hornsby, Cubs P Charlie Root, and Giants SS Travis Jackson also score high.

Always a threat to break up a ball game but never a party, Waner had the sharpest bloodshot eyes in baseball. He hit doubles and triples during games and drank them after. Nonetheless, he amassed 3,152 hits with good power. One year he announced he was on the wagon, but when his batting average hovered around .250, his manager personally shepherded him to his nearest watering hole. Within a few weeks, he was back over .300.

Waner's merchant father wanted him to be a teacher, but he dropped out of college to join San Francisco (Pacific Coast League), where he compiled batting averages of .369, .356, and .401. In 1926 the Pirates purchased his contract in a $100,000 deal ($40,000 for Waner, $60,000 for second baseman Hal Rhyne). Paul broke into the NL with a .336 batting average and led in triples (22). The next year, he was joined by his brother Lloyd in the Pirate outfield. Together they paced Pittsburgh to the 1927 pennant. Right fielder Paul led the NL in hitting (.380), base hits (237), triples (17), and RBI (131) and was named NL MVP; centerfielder Lloyd hit .355 and led the league in runs scored (133). Between them, the Waners totaled 460 hits.

They starred for the Pirates throughout the 1930s, continuing their yearly assault on pitchers. Paul led the league in hitting again in 1934 (.362) and 1936 (.373). One day a frustrated Brooklyn fan complained: "Them Waners! It's always the little poison on thoid and the big poison on foist!" From then on Paul and Lloyd were Big Poison and Little Poison. Both were speedy outfielders, and Paul possessed perhaps the strongest arm seen in a Pittsburgh outfield until Roberto Clemente arrived.

After the Pirates released him, Paul played into WWII with the Braves and Dodgers, pursuing 3,000 hits. In 1942 the Braves visited Forbes Field with Waner at 2,999. The shortstop knocked down a drive but Paul beat it out. It might have been a hit, but Paul quickly and openly signaled he didn't want a tainted 3,000th. The scorer obliged by charging the shortstop with an error. On June 19, 1942 he lined the ball off Forbes's right-field wall to become the sixth player ever to reach 3,000 hits.

Waner found steady employment as a hitting coach after his retirement as a player, but his distaste for discipline made him an inappropriate candidate for managing.

» MacPhail continues his dealing and gets his catcher. The Dodgers trade for Mickey Owen, giving Gus Mancuso and $85,000 to the Cardinals.

"The condemned jumped out of the chair and electrocuted the warden." That's how one writer described the Yankees' ninth-inning comeback in Game Four of the 1941 World Series, after catcher Mickey Owen let the apparent game-ending third strike on Tommy Henrich get by. Had Owen held onto Hugh Casey's pitch, the Dodgers would have won, 4-3. Instead, the Yankees rallied to win, 7-4, and became World Champions the next day. Rumor had it that Casey had thrown a spitter; Leo Durocher said no, Pee Wee Reese called it "a little wet slider," and Billy Herman thought that Owen might have "nonchalanted" it. Ironically, that season, Owen had set the National League catchers' record of 476 consecutive errorless chances accepted while setting a Dodger season record by fielding .995. A scrapper who batted as high as second in the order, Owen was blackballed after leaving the Dodgers in 1946 to be a player-manager in the Mexican League. He returned in 1949 with the Cubs, coached, scouted, ran a baseball camp, and was still playing in oldtimers' games in his seventies.

The Cubs swap SS Bobby Mattick and OF Jim Gleeson to the Reds for SS Billy Myers. Myers will split his time between Chicago and the minors in '41 and quit in 1942 rather than take a pay cut.

» After one disappointing season in Washington, the Senators sell veteran slugger Indian Bob Johnson to the Red Sox. Griffith will later call it the worst trade he ever made. Johnson will have two solid years in Fenway before retiring.

Born in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma, Johnson grew up in Tacoma, Washington and thereafter made the city his home. His nickname was derived from his lineage, which was one-quarter Cherokee. Due to the abundance of quality outfielders in the late 1920s and early 1930s, he didn't reach the major leagues until he was 27. He joined the Athletics in 1933, replacing Al Simmons, who had been traded to the Chicago White Sox. Philadelphia had won three straight pennants from 1929-31, but after a second-place finish in 1932 owner-manager Connie Mack began gradually dealing away most of his star players in order to keep the club afloat financially during the Great Depression. As a rookie Johnson hit .290 with 20 home runs, 103 runs and 93 RBI, and was second in the AL with 44 doubles. But the team ended the season in third place; their 79-72 record was their last winning season until 1947, and they would occupy last place in six of Johnson's ten seasons, along with two seventh-place finishes. Catcher Mickey Cochrane and pitcher Lefty Grove were traded in December 1933, speeding the team's decline.

Johnson took full advantage of playing in Shibe Park, which had long been a decidedly friendly environment for right-handed hitters such as Simmons and Jimmie Foxx. In 1934 Johnson improved his average to .307, including a 26-game hitting streak, and added a career-high 34 home runs along with 111 runs and 92 RBI; he also led the league with 17 assists. On June 16 he tied an AL record by going 6-for-6 with two home runs and a double. In 1935 he made his first All-Star team, had 103 runs and 109 RBI, and finished fourth in the AL in home runs (28) for the third straight year. Foxx and Doc Cramer were traded in late 1935, and over the next several years Johnson provided solid and consistent offensive production as the A's remained mired at the bottom of the league. He was among the league's top ten home run hitters in every season through 1941, joining Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott and Foxx as the fifth player to have nine straight 20-HR campaigns. He also drove in over 100 runs in each year through 1941, scoring over 110 in 1938 and 1939; he was again an All-Star each year from 1938 through 1940. He set an AL record by driving in six runs in the first inning with a grand slam and a double off White Sox pitcher Monty Stratton on August 29, 1937; then, in an 8–3 victory over the St. Louis Browns on June 12, 1938, he drove in all the runs with three home runs and a single. That year, playing primarily in center field, he again led the AL with 21 assists.

After hitting .306 and .313 in 1937 and 1938, Johnson posted a career-high mark of .338 in 1939 – third in the AL behind Joe DiMaggio (.381) and Foxx (.360) – and placed eighth in the MVP voting; he was also third in the AL with 114 RBI. In 1942, his last season with the Athletics, he made his fifth All-Star team and broke Foxx's team record of 975 career runs; his final total of 997 remained the club record until Rickey Henderson broke it in 1993. Johnson left the Athletics ranking second in franchise history to Jimmy Dykes in games (1459) and at bats (5428); second to Simmons in total bases (2824); second to Foxx in home runs (252); and third behind Simmons and Foxx in hits (1617) and RBI (1040). He led the Athletics in RBI in each of his last seven seasons there following Foxx's departure.

In March 1943, after complaining that he was underappreciated, Johnson was traded at his request to the Washington Senators for outfielder Bobby Estalella and cash. He thrived in his first pennant race in years as Washington finished in second place, the second and last time he would be on a winning team. His veteran leadership was invaluable to the team, as despite posting career lows in nearly every offensive category – a .265 batting average, .400 slugging average, 7 home runs, 63 RBI, 65 runs, 116 hits, 22 doubles, 117 games and 438 at bats – he placed fifth in the MVP balloting (the highest finish of his career) and was again an All-Star. The decline in his offensive statistics is partially attributable to moving from hitter-friendly Shibe Park to cavernous Griffith Stadium; but as he didn't even lead his own team in any category, the respect suggested by the MVP vote is remarkable.

At the end of the 1943 season, his contract was purchased by the Boston Red Sox, a deal Washington owner Clark Griffith later described as his worst ever. At 38, Johnson had an excellent 1944 season for the Sox, collecting 106 RBI and 106 runs (both second in the league) in 144 games and leading the AL with a .431 on base percentage. He hit for the cycle on July 6, came in third in the batting race with a .324 average (behind Lou Boudreau, .327, and teammate Bobby Doerr, .325), lost the slugging title to Doerr by a fraction of a point, and was tenth in the MVP voting. He was named to the All-Star team in both 1944 and 1945, although the 1945 All-Star game was not played due to World War II travel restrictions. With numerous players returning to the major leagues from military service, he retired at the end of the 1945 season after hitting .280 with 12 HRs and 74 RBI.

Johnson compiled a .296 career batting average with 2051 hits, 396 doubles, 95 triples and 96 stolen bases in 1863 games. His 1592 games in left field then put him behind only Goose Goslin (1949) and Bobby Veach (1671) in AL history. Many modern baseball fans are unfamiliar with Johnson, but he posted excellent totals in 13 years before quietly retiring. After leaving the major leagues, he spent five more seasons in the minor leagues managing and playing for the Tacoma Tigers in the Western International League.

In 1964, Johnson was inducted into the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame. He died in Tacoma of heart failure at age 76. He was honored by the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame in 1989.

» Detroit trades P Virgil Trucks, who tossed two no-hitters during the year, along with P Hal White and OF Johnny Groth, to the Browns in exchange for 2B Owen Friend, OF Bob Nieman, and OF/C J.W. Porter.

While Trucks was with the Tigers in 1952, this burly Southerner tossed a pair of no-hitters against the Senators and the Yankees, joining such luminaries as Johnny Vander Meer, Allie Reynolds, and Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers to accomplish this feat in a single season. Trucks also had four no-hitters in the minors and a near-miss with the White Sox in 1954. The control pitcher returned from military service in 1945 and appeared in the World Series against the Cubs, winning 4-1. He had appeared in only one game during the regular season. After a decade in Detroit, Trucks arrived in Chicago via St. Louis in 1954. Frank Lane sent Lou Kretlow and $95,000 to Bill Veeck for Trucks and Bob Elliot. Trucks recorded eight straight victories en route to his first and only twenty-victory season. Fading after 1955, he returned to the Tigers in 1956. He wound up his career with the Yankees as a spot starter and relief man in their pennant year of 1958.

» The White Sox send fan-favorite Minnie Minoso and infielder Fred Hatfield to the Indians for P Early Wynn and OF Al Smith. Wynn coming off his 1st losing season, will rebound with the White Sox, topping the American League in wins and innings in 1959. The trade was the first for the new Indians' GM Frank Lane.

ML baseball kills the bonus rule and raises the minimum salary to $7,000.

» The American Association expands to 10 teams by admitting Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth from the Texas League. This effectively denudes the Texas League, leaving it with five teams and a vacancy.

» Detroit P Jim Bunning is traded to the Phillies with C Gus Triandos for OF Don Demeter and P Jack Hamilton. Not a smart move for Detroit as Bunning will win 75 games for Philley over the next four seasons.

His career evenly split between the major leagues, Bunning was the first pitcher since Cy Young to win over 100 or to strike out over 1,000 in each league. He retired second only to Walter Johnson with 2,885 strikeouts. He pitched a no-hitter for Detroit in 1958 and a perfect game for the Phillies against the Mets in 1964.
The 6'3" righthander's unusual pitching style, a sweeping sidearm delivery that finished with his glove hand touching the ground well in front of the mound, made him especially difficult for righthanded batters.

Bunning was 20-8 for the Tigers in 1957 but never again won 20. He had 19 victories for Detroit in 1962; then, after being traded to the Phillies in 1964, he won 19 in each of his first three years in Philadelphia. In 1967, when he won 17, he set a ML record with five 1-0 losses.

After retiring as a player, Bunning managed in the minors for five years, then entered Kentucky politics. He was elected to the state legislature and ran unsuccessfully for governor. In 1986, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican from a heavily Democratic district.

» Baseball approves a free-agent draft. At their winter meetings in Houston, the minor league and major league organizations establish a system, basically like that of professional football, which will take effect in January 1965 and be held every four months thereafter. Choices will be exercised by clubs in inverse order of their previous year's standing. Draftees must be included in their club's 40-man roster or be susceptible to claim at the waiver price the following season.

The majors also restore to the commissioner's office all powers rescinded after Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis's death in 1944. Principally, they waive their right to take legal action in the event of disagreements with the commissioner and grant him authority to judge whether actions taken by the owners in concert are, automatically "in the best interests of baseball." Voting for the annual All-Star teams is turned back to the fans.

» Masanori Murakami, 4-1 this year, does not renew his contract with the Giants, signing instead with the Nankai Hawks of Osaka for $40,000.

At the time Murakami was the only native product of the Japanese leagues to play in the major leagues. He was successful in limited use as a reliever for the Giants, but his U.S. career was cut short when the Japanese government, afraid that its country's teams would be decimated should others follow Murakami's path, demanded that he be returned. Since then, only a few veterans whose Japanese careers were nearly over have been allowed to try out for American teams. None have made it to the majors.

His unique status made Murakami the focus of outlandish expectations on the resumption of his Japanese career. The tremendous pressure affected his performance at first. Although he eventually settled down, he never became the superstar that the public expected.

» The Astros trade 3B Bob Aspromonte to the Braves for infielder Orlando Martinez.

One of many major leaguers produced by Brooklyn's Lafayette High School (including his brother Ken and Sandy Koufax), Aspromonte debuted at age 18 and struck out in his one at-bat with Brooklyn. At the time of his retirement, he was the last active ex-Brooklyn Dodger. He was a regular with the original Houston expansion team in 1962 and stayed through 1968. The celebrated bachelor set a NL record for third basemen with 57 consecutive errorless games in 1962 and added a since-broken NL record for fewest errors at 3B (11) in 1964. He was strictly pull hitter until 1967, when he batted a career-high .294 by hitting to all fields. Supplanted by Doug Rader the following season, he was the last original Colt .45 to leave the franchise.

» Ted Turner enters a tentative purchase agreement to buy the Atlanta Braves.

» Aurelio Rodriguez becomes the first American League 3B since 1959 to beat out Brooks Robinson for the Gold Glove Award. Other Newcomers on TSN fielding team include 3B Mike Schmidt, OF Dwight Evans, and C Jim Sundberg, who would combine to win 24 awards.

James Howard Sundberg (born May 18, 1951 in Galesburg, Illinois) is a former professional baseball catcher for a number of teams, most significantly the Texas Rangers. He batted and threw right-handed. He is currently employed by the Texas Rangers as Executive Vice President, Communications and Public Relations.

Jim Sundberg became the Rangers' regular catcher after a single season of AA ball, batting .298 and demonstrating great defensive skills. For a decade he averaged 140 games per season behind the plate. In his second big league season, he tied the AL record for games caught with 155. Seven times he led AL receivers in fielding average, and he led in putouts and assists six times each. He was also deadly at gunning down would-be basestealers, nailing as many as 50% in a season. On his retirement in 1989 was in third place for career games caught.

Sundberg ended his career with 1493 hits in 6021 at bats, good for a .248 batting average. He had 95 home runs and 624 RBI's in 1962 games. Sundberg won a World Series with the Kansas City Royals in 1985. At the time of his retirement, Sundberg had caught more major league games than any man in history except his contemporary Bob Boone. [1] He still ranks fifth today. [2]

Sundberg was the first catcher to win 6 American League Gold Gloves, although Bob Boone won 5 in the AL and two more in the NL.

Despite his popularity and success, the Rangers never retired his uniform number – 10 – which is currently being worn by Michael Young.

» Reliever Dave Righetti signs as a free agent with the Giants. San Francisco now has spent $33 million for free agents Righetti, Willie McGee, and Bud Black since the end of the season.

» The Astros new owner Drayton McLane, Jr. signs free agent P Greg Swindell to a 4-year contract worth $17 million.

1995 The home run ball Cal Ripken hit on the night he tied Lou Gehrig's record is sold by Michael Stirn, the fan who caught it, to a Maryland businessman at an auction for $41,736.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, and baseballibrary.com

12-05-2007, 11:16 AM
Dec 5

» Columbus is admitted to the AA to replace Cleveland.

» Connie Mack spends money to begin building another winner. He sends $40,000 and several players to Portland (Pacific Coast League) for 3B Sammy Hale.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1922 that baseball was a sport, not a business. But Connie Mack always saw it as a business first. Like any business, it had to show profit to keep going. "It is more profitable for me to have a team that is in contention for most of the season but finishes about fourth," he once confided. "A team like that will draw well enough during the first part of the season to show a profit for the year, and you don't have to give the players raises when they don't win." But of course Mr. Mack - as he was universally addressed - liked winners. He had nine of them, and won five World Series. He also holds the managerial record for most wins lifetime with 3776 - but he attained it through longevity. With it came the records for most losses (4,025) and most games managed (7878).

For 50 of his 60 years in baseball, he had an ownership interest in the team he managed, the Philadelphia Athletics. He started in 1901 with a 25 percent piece of the team and eventually became sole owner. Baseball was his only business. Gate receipts and concessions sales were the only sources of capital he had to work with. He never had any corporate coffers to tap and never took much money out of the game. It was financial realities that forced him to break up two of the greatest teams ever put together. After winning four pennants in five years from 1910 to 1914, he lost some of his stars to the Federal League's higher salaries, and sold off his other top players. The Athletics fell from first to last and stayed there for seven years.

Gradually he built another winner. From 1925 through 1933 the Athletics finished no lower than third, dethroning the Yankees in 1929-30-31 with a team that rivals the 1927 Yankees for all-time honors. Once again, squeezed between declining attendance brought on by runaway pennant races, the Great Depression, and higher salary demands of his champion players, Mack sold his stars and dismantled his last winning team. For the last 17 years, until he retired at 88 in 1950, the Athletics had only one first-division finish, fourth in 1948.

Behind the saintly, grandfatherly appearance of the 6'1" 150-lb, ramrod-straight, blue-eyed Mr. Mack, there was a complex personality, a blend of patience and impetuosity, kindness and stubbornness, tightfistedness and generosity. He never raised his voice and seldom confronted a player in front of his teammates, but he could put a man in his place with a cutting sarcastic comment. He disdained swearing, but did sometimes cut loose with a salty barrage. To strangers of any age who approached him in a hotel lobby or dining room, he was invariably courtly and pleasant. Despite a tendency to mispronounce some names and forget others, he had an unfailing memory for the faces of old friends from his hometown, East Brookfields, Massachusetts, and gave them a genuinely warm welcome whenever they came to Boston to see the Athletics play.

From the beginning in Philadelphia he never wore a uniform on the bench, and rarely went into the clubhouse except for a pre-game meeting, a practice he inaugurated in the major leagues. He was called the tenth man on the field for his ability to move his fielders, using his scorecard, into the proper positions. He liked tall, strong pitchers and considered pitching eighty percent of the game.

Mack was born to Irish immigrants, the third of seven children. He was attracted to the early forms of baseball at a young age, and played infield and outfield positions before becoming the town team's regular catcher. After they won the state championship in 1883, Mack offered his services to several teams in the Connecticut State League, and was signed by Meriden (with his battery mate and later brother-in-law Willie Hogan) for the 1884 season, at $90 a month. He played for Hartford the next two years (in the Eastern League in 1886) and was sold at the end of the season to Washington in the National League.

In 1890 Mack was an avid supporter of the revolt that led to the formation of the Players' League. He signed with Buffalo and got his first taste of club ownership, investing his life savings of $500 in the team. He lost it all.

Assigned to Pittsburgh in 1891, he replaced Al Buckenberger as manager toward the end of the 1894 season. By 1896 front office interference caused him to look elsewhere. The Milwaukee club in Ban Johnson's Western League was making a change, and in 1897 Mack began four years of managing and running the business affairs of the team. They were years in which he learned more about the game than at any other time. Mack's connection with Johnson led to an offer to organize and manage the Philadelphia entry in the new American League in 1901. With the financial backing of sporting goods maufacturer Ben Shibe, Mack began his 50-year reign in the dugout and front office. The Athletics were the dominant team in the young league, winning 6 of the first 14 pennants. In 1933 he managed the American League in the first All-Star Game.

Four years after he retired, the Athletics were sold to Arnold Johnson and moved to Kansas City in 1955.

As a player, Mack played every position in the majors except third base and pitcher, but he was primarily a brainy, wily, sometimes rule-bending catcher. He distracted batters with his chatter, was not above tipping a hitter's bat just before a swing, and learned to make a slapping sound as a batter swung and missed that made it sound like a foul tip. He was a .245 lifetime hitter; his best season was 1893 (the first year the pitcher was moved to 60'6" from the former distance of 50'), when he hit .293.

Mack's first wife died in 1892, leaving three children. His sons, Roy and Earle, were active in the team's operation. He remarried in 1910 and had a son, Connie, Jr., who was also involved in the team, and four daughters. From the start Connie Mack was the most popular player with the fans wherever he played. Meriden fans gave him a gold watch in 1884. Washington fans gave him a silver tray. For the first half of the 20th century he was probably the best-loved and most respected man in any field in America.

» The National Board of Arbitration rules the Texas League cannot place teams in Tulsa and Oklahoma City without permission of the Western League, which now operates in those cities. This landmark decision establishes league property rights in the cities of each circuit.

In an attempt to combat "chain store" baseball, the American Association votes to bar further ownership of its clubs by the ML clubs.

» Mel Ott, who has been working in the Giants farm system, hires on for two years in the Oakland managerial spot vacated by Charlie Dressen.

"Every time I sign a ball, and there have been thousands, I thank my luck that I wasn't born Coveleski or Wambganss or Peckinpaugh." -MEL OTT

Melvin Thomas "Mel" Ott (March 2, 1909 – November 21, 1958), nicknamed "Master Melvin", was a Major League Baseball right fielder who played his entire career for the New York Giants (1926-1947). Ott was born in Gretna, Louisiana. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed. The first National League player to surpass 500 home runs, he was unusually slight of stature for a power hitter, at 5'9" 170 lb.

In his 22-season career, Ott batted .304 with 511 home runs, 1,860 RBIs, 1,859 runs, 2,876 hits, 488 doubles, 72 triples, 89 stolen bases, a .414 on base percentage and a .533 slugging average.

He was a prolific home run hitter. He was 6-time NL home run leader, in 1932, 1934, 1936-38, and 1942. He was both the youngest player to hit 100 home runs and the first National Leaguer to hit 500 home runs. He passed Rogers Hornsby to become the all-time NL home run leader in 1937 and held that title until Willie Mays passed him in 1966. He also holds the major league record for leading his team in home runs, 18 consecutive years from 1928 to 1945. Because of the modern free agency era, this record might never be broken.

Because of his power hitting, he was noted for reaching base via the base on balls. He drew five walks in a game 3 times. He set the National League record for most walks in a doubleheader with six, on October 5, 1929 did it again on April 30, 1944. He tied an MLB record by drawing a walk in 7 consecutive plate appearances (June 16 through 18, 1943). He was one of only five players to be intentionally walked with the bases loaded. The others include: Abner Dalrymple, Nap Lajoie, and Bill Nicholson. He also led the NL in walks 6 times in 1929, 1931-33, 1937 and 1942.

He twice scored six runs in a game, on August 4, 1934 and on April 30, 1944. He Hit for the cycle on (May 16, 1929). Ott was the first NL player to post eight consecutive 100-RBI seasons, and only Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa and Chipper Jones have since joined him.

He used a batting style that was then considered unorthodox, lifting his forward (right) foot prior to impact. This style helped with his power-hitting. More recent players who used a similar style include Harold Baines and Kirby Puckett.

Although a legitimate power hitter, with an optimal hitting style for a small man, his overall total was helped by the cozy right field foul line at the Polo Grounds, only 258 feet away. In 1943, all of his 18 home runs came at home; only two others ever had a greater number of all-homefield home runs. Of Ott's 511 career home runs, 323 of them, or 63 percent, came at home.

He played in the World Series in 1933, 1936 and 1937, winning in 1933.

He hit two home runs in the 1933 series. In game 1 he had four hits including a two run home run in the first. In game 5, he drove in the series winning run with two outs in the top of the 10th, driving a pitch into the center-field bleachers.

In the 1936 series he had 7 hits and 1 home run. In 1937 he had 4 hits and 1 home run.

He managed the Giants for seven years between 1942 and 1948. The Giants best finish during that time was in third place in 1942. It was in reference to Ott's supposedly easygoing managing style that then-Dodgers manager Leo Durocher made the oft-quoted and somewhat out-of-context comment, "Nice guys finish last!"

Mel Ott was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951 with 87% of the vote. His number "4" was also retired by the Giants in 1949; it is posted on the facade of the upper deck in the left field corner of AT&T Park.

He was a 12-time All-Star, from 1934 to 1945. He was also named four times to the Major League All-Star Teams of The Sporting News, in 1934-36 and in 1938. He is one of only six NL players to spend a 20+ year career with one team, Cap Anson, Stan Musial, Willie Stargell, Tony Gwynn and Craig Biggio are the others. In 1999, he ranked number 42 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

After his playing career was over, Ott broadcast baseball on the Mutual Radio network in 1955. From 1956 to 1958, Ott teamed with Van Patrick to broadcast the games of the Detroit Tigers on radio and television.

He died in New Orleans, Louisiana at age 49 in an auto accident and was interred there in the Metairie Cemetery. Ott died in a similar manner to 2 other N.Y. Giant Hall of Famers - Frankie Frisch - 1973 (spent 2nd half of career with St. Louis Cardinals) and Carl Hubbell - 1988.

The major park in his hometown of Gretna is named for Ott.

» ML attendance figures show an 11 percent drop.

» The Cardinals buy 41-year-old Ellis Kinder from the Bosox. He will team up with the like-aged Walker Cooper to form just the second 40+ battery. Curt Davis and Clyde Sukeforth, in 1945, are the other duo.

Carl Stotz plans to set up a rival Little League of his own.

Born February 20, 1910 in Williamsport, PA USA
Died June 4, 1992 in Williamsport, PA USA

Carl Stotz is remembered as the Father of Little League Baseball. While having a catch with his nephews in the summer of 1938, Stotz fantasized about a youth baseball league for the boys.

During the winter, Stotz secured sponsorship from his boss, John Lundy, who owned Lundy's Lumber. On June 6, 1939, Lundy's Lumber beat Lycoming Dairy and Little League Baseball was formed.

Unfortunately, with the growth of the organization, a rift formed. Stotz was forced out of his job as commissioner in 1955. He later tried to form a rival organization but he was stopped in the courts.

Carl Stotz has been honored in Williamsport with a park and a statue. Little League Baseball also awards the Carl E. Stotz Memorial Scholarship to deserving youth players in Lycoming County.

» The minor leagues threaten to sue ML baseball if it televises Sunday games in their territory.

The American League purchases a $1.8 million group accident policy to help clubs buy new players in case of a major disaster.

The Cards turn down the Phillies offer of Richie Ashburn and Harvey Haddix for Ken Boyer, trusting that Boyer will turn into a good 3B. Then, in one of their best trades ever, the Cardinals acquire outfielders Curt Flood and Joe Taylor from the Reds for pitchers Marty Kutyna and Ted Wieand. The 19-year-old Flood, who appeared in eight games for Cincinnati over the past two seasons, will anchor the St. Louis OF for the next 12 years.

» The Phils, under pressure provided by the Yankees' threat to broadcast into their territory, drop any plans for 1959 broadcasts to New York City. The Cards and Pirates follow suit.

» Representing ML baseball, the Yankees' Yogi Berra visits Italy to present baseball equipment and aid in the sport's development.

Yogi Berra is known to millions who don't even follow baseball. His persona transcends the game. Berra is funny and, at a squat 5'8", was a seemingly improbable star. But a star he was - a Hall of Famer. "To me," Casey Stengel said, "he is a great man. I am lucky to have him and so are my pitchers...He springs on a bunt like it was another dollar." Through hard work and the help of Bill Dickey, Berra became a great catcher. He led the American League in games caught and chances accepted eight times, and led the league in double plays six times. He is one of only four catchers to ever field 1.000 in a season (1958), and between July 28, 1957, and May 10, 1959, Berra set major league records by catching in 148 consecutive games and accepting 950 chances without making an error. Yogi was a master at calling pitches and handling a pitching staff. He caught two no-hitters by Allie Reynolds in 1951 and Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series. He treated every Yankee pitcher differently; some he goaded and some he babied, depending on their temperament. An excellent, cat-like athlete, he was also a good defensive left fielder late in his career.

As a slugger, he was feared throughout the league. Berra held American League records for home runs hit while playing catcher with his 30 home runs in both 1952 and 1956 and his 306 lifetime (these were later broken by Carlton Fisk). He also had five 100-RBI seasons. Between 1949 and 1955, when he was the heart of the Yankees' batting order, he led the club in RBI each season and won three MVP awards. Berra was one of the greatest clutch hitters of all time, "the toughest man in the league in the last three innings," according to Paul Richards, a rival manager. Along with Roberto Clemente, Berra was probably the best bad-ball hitter in the game's history. He was skilled at golfing low pitches for deep home runs and chopping high pitches for line drives. Yet for all his aggressiveness at the plate, he was hard to strike out. In 1950, he fanned only 12 times in 597 at-bats.

As Lawrence Peter Berra had a way with the bat, so does he have a way with words. One of Berra's first notable quotes came in 1947, when the people of his hometown St. Louis threw Berra a "night" before a Yankees-Browns game. Grateful, Berra told the crowd: "I want to thank everyone for making this night necessary." He once said of a restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded." And as a veteran, he noted, "I've been with the Yankees 17 years, watching games and learning. You can see a lot by observing." "A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore," was his pithy comment on inflation. When asked as a child how he liked school he replied: "Closed." His colorful expressions that got to the heart of things became known as "Yogi-isms."

After playing briefly in the Yankee farm system, Berra enlisted in the navy in 1944. After his discharge in 1946 he reported to the Yankees' Newark club in the International League. He had a great year (.314, 15 HRs, 59 RBI in only 277 at-bats) and was called across the Hudson. Berra came up as an outfielder before being converted to catcher, and he shared New York's catching duties with Aaron Robinson at first, and later with Gus Niarhos, before becoming the Yankees' regular catcher from 1949 to 1959. Except for a few games with the Mets in 1965, Berra played his entire career as a Yankee, serving as an outfielder and pinch hitter as well as catcher in 1960-63. When his career was over, Berra had played on a record ten World Series champions. He also played in an unmatched 14 World Series and holds WS records for games (75), at-bats (259), hits (71), and doubles (10).

Berra was named the Yankees' manager for the 1964 season, the final season of the mighty New York dynasty. The Yankees won the pennant but were defeated by St. Louis in a seven-game World Series. The day after the Series ended, the Yankees fired Berra and hired St. Louis Manager Johnny Keane. New York finished sixth in 1965. Berra, meanwhile, rejoined Stengel with the Mets. He took over as the Mets' manager when Gil Hodges died suddenly in 1972 and led them to the NL pennant in 1973, thus joining Joe McCarthy as the second manager to win pennants in both leagues. In 1976 Berra returned to the Yankees as a coach, and he managed the club again in 1984 and the beginning of 1985. He later coached for Houston. Wherever he goes, Berra remains one of baseball's most popular figures.

» President Joe Cronin suggests that if the National League starts its new New York franchise in 1961, the American League will stay out of Los Angeles until 1962. The NL turned down the suggested compromise of November 22nd because Houston will not be ready in 1961.

» Ron Santo becomes the first player to invoke the new 10 and five rule. The Cubs want to trade Santo to the Angels for two pitchers, but he vetoes the deal.

Before leaving the Cubs Santo became the first player to invoke the ten-and-five rule under the collective bargaining agreement signed after the 1972 strike. The Cubs had agreed upon a deal to send Santo to the California Angels; the ballclub would have received in return two young pitchers: Andy Hassler, who went on to have a middling career as a reliever/spot starter, and Bruce Heinbechner, a very highly-regarded lefthanded pitching prospect. Santo didn't want to play on the West Coast and vetoed the deal. In a spooky coincidence, Heinbechner was killed in a car accident the following March, driving to Angels spring training in Palm Springs.

The Cubs still wanted to deal Santo, and since his preference was to stay in Chicago, they worked out a deal with the White Sox, acquiring catcher Steve Swisher, and three young pitchers: Jim Kremmel, Ken Frailing, and ... one of Santo's future co-broadcasters, Steve Stone.

» A week after Sparky Anderson leaves the Reds, free agent Pete Rose signs a 4-year, $3.2 million contract with the Phillies, temporarily making him the highest-paid athlete in team sports.

» Not the best trade the Cubs have ever made. The Cubs and Rangers complete a 9-player swap, with Chicago giving up OF Rafael Palmeiro, P Jamie Moyer, and P Drew Hall in exchange for IF Curtis Wilkerson and pitchers Mitch Williams, Paul Kilgus, and Steve Wilson, and a pair of minor leaguers to be named.

» Free-agent OF Vince Coleman signs a 4-year contract with the Mets. He has led the National League in stolen bases each of the last six seasons, and this year (June 3rd) copped his 500th theft in his 804th game, the quickest player to reach that plateau.

» It is announced that Richard Ravitch will step down as negotiator for the owners on December 31. He resigns tomorrow.

The Rangers sign free agent C Dave Valle to a 2-year contract.

Valle had an apprenticeship of almost seven full seasons in the minors before being promoted to the Seattle Mariners. For the next few years, he shuttled between Seattle, the minors, and the disabled list before emerging as the Mariners' regular catcher in 1987. He held the primary job until 1993, his best season. Valle hit .258 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI.

A free agent after the 1993 season, Valle signed with the Boston Red Sox, but struggled horribly and was traded in June to the Milwaukee Brewers for Tom Brunansky. He fared no better there, and signed with the Texas Rangers in 1995 to back up Ivan Rodriguez.

» Two days after signing C Joe Girardi, the Yankees send back-up catcher Jim Leyritz to the Angels in exchange for minor leaguers Ryan Kane and Jeremy Blevins. Leyritz, the Yankee with the longest tenure—5 years, 126 days—was vulnerable because of his $1.75 million yearly contract.

Following his most productive season with the Oakland A's, Terry Steinbach elects to take less money and return home. Like Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, and Jack Morris before him, the Minnesota veteran signs with Twins.

» The Orioles sign free agent 1B Will Clark to a 2-year contract.

» Major league baseball and ESPN agreed to settle their lawsuit by signing a new 6-year, $800 million deal. The suit involved ESPN's decision to give NFL football games priority over late-season Sunday night baseball games on its main channel.

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announces he wants to complete new stadium deals for the Mets and Yankees before he leaves office at the end of the month. Before the September 11 attacks, which dramatically changed the city's financial stature, the mayor thought an arrangement in which the city, the state and the owners agreed to pay one-third of the cost of the new stadiums might complete the negotiations with the teams.

Reaching preliminary deal with the Dodgers a day before baseball's winter meetings, Rafael Furcal agrees to a $39 million, three-year contract to play shortstop in the City of Angels. The 28-year old Dominican infielder was also strongly pursued by the Braves, his former team for the past six seasons, and the Cubs

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, baseball-reference.com, baseballibrary.com, and Bleed Cubbie Blue

12-06-2007, 09:58 AM
Dec 6

» At the National League meeting, Troy and Worcester are officially replaced by New York and Philadelphia. A.G. Mills is elected president. Starting in 1883, pitchers will be charged with an error after a walk, balk, wild pitch, or HBP. Catchers will be charged with an error after a passed ball.

» The AA votes against adopting the National League's salary classification system, to the surprise of the press and the delight of the Brotherhood.

» Exhibition teams made up of White Sox and Giants players make a Tokyo stop as part of their world tour and play each other at Keio University Stadium. The Sox win, 9–4. Tomorrow, a combined team defeats Keio University, 16–3, then the White Sox beat the Giants again, 12–9. Nearly a decade will pass before American professionals again play in Japan; Herb Hunter will take a team of "all stars" to Japan in 1920 and 1922.

» Indoor baseball is a winter fad in some cities. In Chicago, $2,000 is raised at an indoor game for the benefit of the family of Jimmy Doyle, deceased former Chicago 3B.

» A 5-year-old lawsuit that awarded $264,000 damages to the Baltimore Federal League club on April 12, 1919, is reversed by a court of appeals, which upholds the reserve clause and holds that baseball is not interstate commerce nor subject to antitrust laws. The original was initiated because the Baltimore Feds were not included in the settlement of the Federal League war. They wanted a ML team in Baltimore and did not get it. This ruling will be upheld in 1922 by the U.S. Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice William Howard Taft, brother of Cubs former owner, Charles Taft.

» John McGraw finally gets Heinie Groh from the Reds; it costs him C Mike Gonzalez, OF George Burns, and a reported $250,000. Other figures range as low as $100,000.

Famous for his unique "bottle bat," with a non-tapered barrel and thin handle, the 5'8" 158-lb third baseman was an outstanding leadoff man. He deftly dropped bunts from his peculiar wide-open stance, used his keen eye and short stature to draw walks, and kept his BA in the .280-.320 range. He had played only 31 games for the Giants when he was traded to Cincinnati, where he starred for eight seasons. He hit for the cycle on July 5, 1915. After a bitter holdout in 1921, he signed in June only on the promise that he would be traded. He was immediately swapped to New York but Commissioner Landis canceled the deal. In December, the Giants finally reacquired him and the still-peppery Groh helped them win three straight pennants. His older brother Lew played two games for the A's in 1919 as a 36-year-old rookie.

» While in Paris, John McGraw announces plans for a tour of Europe by the Giants and White Sox in 1924, as world interest in baseball grows. In Romania, Queen Marie will throw out the first ball to mark the game's debut in July.

» It is announced that Ford Frick has been reelected president of the National League for three years.

It was fitting that the ultimate tribute to Ford Frick was his election to the Hall of Fame. He was president of the National League when the shrine was proposed, and he gave the idea his fullest support.

Frick began his career as a midwestern sports writer and moved to New York with the Hearst papers. He pioneered the nightly radio sports report, giving scores and news. In 1934 he became NL public relations director and succeeded the ailing William Heydler as NL president the next year. In 1951 he replaced Happy Chandler as Commissioner as the owners sought a less stubbornly independent figure at the helm than Chandler or the untameable Judge Landis. Much-derided for his controversial decision to attach an asterisk to Roger Maris's record 61 HR in the new 162-game season in 1961 (Frick had been Babe Ruth's ghostwriter), he saw his resourceful administration and gentle guidance of the owners away from their instinct for self-destruction overshadowed by the asterisk issue. In Frick's wake have come General Eckert, Bowie Kuhn, and Peter Ueberroth, and a trend toward baseball as a billion-dollar business perhaps too willing to shed its old values, values the traditionalist Frick revered.

» Larry MacPhail ends an agreement with the Yankees and Giants to ban broadcasts in the New York area and sells the radio rights of the Dodgers games to Wheaties.

» In a trade of veteran shortstops–or "worn-out shortstops," as one newspaper described it–the Cubs acquire Billy Rogell from the Detroit Tigers for Dick Bartell. Rogell, who injured his arm playing handball the previous year, will hit just .136 before hanging up his spikes. The Tigers will release "Rowdy Richard" five games into the 1941 season, but he will stick with the Giants until 1946.

» The major leagues finally accept the contention that invasion of minor league territory will result in compensation for the entire league. The major league clubs agree to return the selection of the All-Star teams, except for pitchers, to a fan ballot.

» The American League approves a 2-league waiver rule curbing inter-league trading after June 15th.

» A group headed by movie star Gene Autry and former football star Bob Reynolds is awarded the new American League Los Angeles Angels. Fred Haney will be GM. Finley withdraws his bid for Los Angeles and offers to purchase control of the Kansas City Athletics.

» William Eckert resigns as commissioner.

Eckert was a retired Air Force general, a supply officer who specialized in negotiating defense contracts. When he was elected commissioner in 1965, he knew nothing about baseball's inner workings and had not attended a game in ten years. At the time every baseball man nominated had too many enemies to gain enough votes. Eckert was quiet, bright, honest, and willing, but he was in a situation for which he had neither preparation nor aptitude. Lee McPhail was appointed administrator to help him, but Eckert became a symbol of executive futility. He incurred the public's ire by refusing to cancel games after the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King and the owners' disdain because he refused to deal forcefully with substantive business issues. Anticipating a players' strike and having no confidence in Eckert's ability to handle the situation, the owners voted him out in early even though he still had three years on his contract.

» The Reds trade P Milt Wilcox to the Indians for OF Ted Uhlaender. Uhlaender had 13 hpmers the past two seasons, and all but one came in Cleveland. He'll hit none in Cincinnati.

Milt Wilcox knew the exhilaration of World Series victory and the frustration of missing immortality by one pitch. As a freckle-faced 20-year-old, he won the deciding game of the 1970 NLCS. He did not develop as expected at Cleveland, got little chance with the Cubs, and was in the minors when purchased by the Tigers in 1976. Becoming a skilled pitcher, rather than just a thrower, he went on to win 97 games for Detroit, 17 in 1984, despite recurring shoulder problems. Shoulder surgery in 1985 proved a blow from which he could not recover. On April 15, 1983 Wilcox was one out from a perfect game when pinch-hitter Jerry Hariston singled to end the bid.

» In one of their better trades, the Royals acquire 1B Willie Aikens, Rance Mulliniks from the Angels for OF Al Cowens, Todd Cruz, and Craig Eaton. Aikens will have four solid years in KC, including two 2–homer games in the World Series.

In 1980 Aikens became the first player ever to have two multiple home run games in the same World Series when he blasted a pair in Game One for the Royals and repeated in Game Four. Named Willie Mays Aikens for the Hall of Famer, the 220-pound slugger topped 20 homers three times. Aikens's lack of fielding skills was legendary, and he should have been a DH, but Hal McRae already filled that role for the Royals. Aikens's involvement with drugs led to his suspension by the Royals and a 1984 trade to Toronto, where he DHed with little success.

» The Red Sox trade 3B Carney Lansford, OF Garry Hancock, and minor leaguer Jerry King to Oakland for OF Tony Armas and C Jeff Newman. Lansford, who led the AL in hitting in '81, is expendable with the emergence of Wade Boggs at 3B.

Kenneth Moffett, who helped mediate the 1981 baseball strike settlement, is named to succeed Marvin Miller as executive director of the ML Baseball Players' Association.

» The White Sox trade 1983 American League Cy Young Award winner LaMarr Hoyt and two minor leaguers to the Padres for P Tim Lollar, IF-OF Luis Salazar, and minor leaguers Ozzie Guillen and Bill Long. SS Guillen will win the AL Rookie of the Year Award next season and hold down the Sox shortstop spot till the end of the 1990s. Workhorse Hoyt will be out of baseball in two years, amidst rumors of drug use.

» The Rangers complete their 2nd major trade in as many days, sending 1B Pete O'Brien, OF Oddibe McDowell, and 2B Jerry Browne to Cleveland for 2B Julio Franco. The Expos and Phillies also complete a trade, P Kevin Gross to Montreal for pitchers Jeff Parrett and Floyd Youmans.

» At Leland's auction house in New York City, Shoeless Joe Jackson's signature is sold for $23,100, the most money ever paid for a 19th or 20th century signature. Jackson, who could not read or write, copied the signature from one written out by his wife. The signature, which was resold within hours, was cut from an unknown document.

Fifteen more players become "free look" free agents as part of the settlement of the most recent collusion case against the owners. It will also cost the clubs a whopping $280 million in damages.

» Major league baseball reportedly gives John Henry permission to sell the Florida Marlins to Montreal Expos owner, Jeffrey Loria. The Expos are expected to be either contracted or taken over by Major League Baseball, which would buy the team from Loria in case contraction is aborted, leaving him an opportunity to own the Marlins.

Bud Selig tells the House Judiciary Committee that baseball owners, due the current system, cannot be competitive and are losing money. The commissioner uses many statistics to make his case including a team without a payroll in the top 25 percent has failed win a single World Series game over the last seven years.

» In a sinister move, the Yankees offer the same two-year $4.6 million contract to three lefty relievers -- Mike Stanton, Mark Guthrie and Chris Hammond -- and give each 15 minutes to decide. Hammond, 37, signs for $4.8. Hammond, out of baseball for two years, had a remarkable season, posting a .095 ERA in 63 games and did not allow an earned run after June 28. He is the 3rd pitcher since 1900 to post a sub–one ERA while pitching 70+ innings. The veteran Stanton doesn't bother to respond to the step–child treatment and, preferring to remain in the New York area, will sign a 3-year contract with the Mets in a week.

The Indians send C Einar Diaz and P Ryan Drese to the Rangers in exchange for P Aaron Myette and 1B Travis Hafner.

The MLB Players Association agrees to allow the Montreal Expos to play 22 home games in Puerto Rico next summer.

Trevor Hoffman agrees stay with Padres, signing a $13.5 million, two-year contract which includes an option for 2008. The Tigers had courted the veteran closer, but could close its deal when San Diego improved the club’s offer for the second year and made the accomplishments triggering the option year a bit easier to reach.

Filling a two month managerial void, the Dodgers hire Grady Little as the team’s skipper. The former Red Sox manager, who compiled an outstanding 188-136 (.580) record in two seasons in Boston in 2002-03, is best remembered for not pulling a tiring Pedro Martinez during the eighth inning of ill-fated Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

At the Winter Meetings, the Blue Jays continue to keep their wallets open as the team agrees to a five-year, $55 million deal with A.J. Burnett ( 12-12, 3.44 ). The signing of the Marlin free agent who many consider the best starter available on the market, comes on the heels of Toronto giving B.J. Ryan $47 million over five-years making it the richest contract in baseball history.

At the start of annual Baseball Winter Meetings, Major League Baseball announces the creation of the Civil Rights Game. The contest, which will played annually, as a tribute to one of our country's most significant eras of social change, will feature the world champion Cardinals against the Indians in the inaugural game to played at AutoZone Park in Memphis, TN preceding the opening of the 2007 season.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

12-07-2007, 10:09 AM
Dec 7

» At the National League annual meeting the owners reject the applications of Phil Baker and Charley Jones for reinstatement.

Jones was an outstanding but often controversial slugger during the 1870s and 1880s. With Cincinnati from 1876 to 1878, he became the Reds' most popular player but was sometimes criticized in the press for carousing. In 1877, he caused a furor by signing a contract with the Cubs when he believed that his Cincinnati team was about to fold. After two games with Chicago, he returned to the still-struggling Reds.

However, in 1879 Jones was able to sign a three-year contract with Boston. He led the NL in home runs (9) and RBI (62) in 1879 for the Braves. The next year he became the first player to hit two homers in one inning (June 10, 1880). But after the 1880 season he was suspended by the club and blacklisted for refusing to play. He countered that he had not been paid and sued for his salary. A jury sided with the club and Jones stayed out of baseball until 1883 when the blacklisting was lifted and he signed with Cincinnati of the American Association. In 1884, he became the third man to hit three triples in one game.

» The Arbitration Committee meets and grants reserve rights to minor league clubs for the first time. In the most prominent contract dispute, prospect Bug Hilliday signs with minor league Des Moines, despite the claims by ML St. Louis.

» Roy Thomas, University of Pennsylvania outfielder, is signed by the Phillies for 1899. Sporting Life calls him the "greatest amateur player of this generation."

According baseball analyst Bill James, Thomas is the only major league regular to have scored three times as many runs as he drove in. In 1470 games played, Thomas compiled 1011 runs scored and 299 runs batted in, as he posted a .290 batting average with a .412 on-base average and 244 stolen bases.

During his 13-season career, Thomas was one of the most productive table-setters in the National League. His relentless patience at the plate infuriated opposing pitchers and prompted the NL to change its rule regarding foul balls in 1901. The new rule also was adopted by the American League two years later. He is, in fact, reported by James to hold the unofficial consecutive foul-ball record - 22, in one plate appearance.

Thomas batted .325 in his rookie year with a .457 OBP via 115 walks, immediately establishing himself as the Philadelphia Phillies leadoff hitter and center fielder. At the time foul balls were not counted as strikes, and Thomas, who became adept at fouling off good pitches, worked an astonishing number of 230 walks in his first two seasons. Ironically the rule-change had little effect on Thomas. After the new rule went into effect, he led the NL in walks six out of the next seven seasons (1901-04, 1906-07).

In the 1908 midseason Thomas was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He also played for the Boston Doves in 1909, returning to the Phillies for the 1910-11 seasons. At his retirement, he held career fielding records for center fielders in putouts (NL) and fielding average (MLB). Thomas left a playing record that has endured. He ranks 20th all-time in walk percentage (.164), 29th all-time in on base percentage (.412) and 84th all-time in walks (1,042).

Thomas became a coach with University of Pennsylvania baseball team in 1909, and actually continued playing in the majors while coached for three seasons. From 1909 to 1919, he compiled a record of 106-43-3 for a .632 winning percentage, comparable to the best college coaches of all time.

» Chief Bender signs a 2-year deal with the Federal League; he will be assigned to Baltimore.

Bender, for many years the only American Indian elected to the Hall of Fame, boldly created his own opportunities in a world still basically hostile toward his race. His father was a German settler in Minnesota, his mother a Chippewa. He grew up on a reservation, and was sent to a church-run school in Philadelphia when he was eight. After being returned to his mother, he bolted the reservation at 13 to attend the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania.

He accepted his Indian identity, stoically doffing his cap to cheers for "The Chief," but signed autographs "Charley Bender." Being an Indian gave him separate glamour among the sons of white immigrants with whom he played, and small boys whooped their admiration. But it was his pitching skills that made him stand out.

Bender's career with the Athletics included two seasons as league leader in winning percentage (1910: 23-5; 1914: 17-3). He pitched a no-hitter against Cleveland in 1910. In the 1905 World Series, in which every game was a shutout, Bender blanked the Giants 3-0 in Game Two, the only game Connie Mack's club won. Christy Mathewson dominated the Series with three shutouts, and Joe McGinnity added his. Bender's 6-4 career WS record included nine complete games, three coming in 1911 when he twice came up against Mathewson, and defeated him once. Bender jumped to the outlaw Federal League for its final, 1915 season, and experienced his most dismal record (4-16).

An all-around player, Bender appeared in several games in the infield and outfield and pinch hit 29 times. He was an expert sign stealer, practicing his art from the coaching box between starts. He steered clear of temptations which wrecked others' careers, such as that of the briefly phenomenal Louis Sockalexis, whose disastrous misadventures were used to deny opportunity to other Native Americans. After his playing career effectively ended with the Phillies in 1917, Bender managed in the minors and coached in the majors. He maintained a solid family life in Philadelphia, based on values adopted while living on a Quaker farm during his school boy summers.

Louis Sockalexis

Nicknamed The Deerfoot of the Diamond, he spent his entire career (1897-1899) as an outfielder for the Cleveland Spiders. A Native American from the Penobscot tribe, Sockalexis is often identified as the first person of Native American ancestry to play major league baseball . Many conflicting reports exist. In some cases, Jim Toy, a catcher in the early American Association, is identified as the first person with Native American ancestry to play major league baseball. Also, Chief Yellow Horse, who played in the early 1920s, is noted as the first full-blooded American Indian to have played in the Major Leagues.

Louis Sockalexis was born on the Penobscot Indian reservation near Old Town, Maine in 1871. His grandfather was Chief of the Bear Clan. In his youth, Sockalexis' athletic talents were very noticeable. It was reported that Sockalexis could throw a baseball across the Penobscot River from Indian Island to the shore of Old Town. Additionally, it is said that Sockalexis and his father entertained crowds at the Bangor Race Track by playing catch across the entire track.

After completing his secondary education, Sockalexis began his college career in 1884 at the College of the Holy Cross. While there, he participated on the school's baseball, football, and track teams. Sockalexis spent those summers playing baseball in the Trolley League along the coast of Maine. After the end of the 1895-96 baseball season, the Holy Cross baseball coach accepted a position at the University of Notre Dame in February, 1897. When that happened, Sockalexis decided to transfer to Notre Dame. In his two season at Holy Cross, Sockalexis compiled a .444 batting average.

In 1897, the Notre Dame baseball team played an exhibition game against the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds. In a sign of things to come, Sockalexis had to deal with taunts, racism, and insulting chants during the game. At the same time, sports writers in attendance insulted a delegation of Pensobscots who had come from Old Town to watch the game.

Amos Rusie, a future member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, pitched that day for the Giants; and, before the game, Rusie had promised to strike out Sockalexis. Things did not go well for Rusie as Sockalexis hit a home run off of Rusie's first pitch.

However, Sockalexis' career at Notre Dame was short. In an event that foreshadowed future problems, the University expelled Sockalexis not long after he arrived for his problems with alcohol. Although he played exclusively as an outfielder in the majors, Sockalexis played outfield and pitcher while at Notre Dame and Holy Cross.

On March 9, 1897, Sockalexis signed a major league contract with the Cleveland Spiders. Just a month later, on April 22, Sockalexis made his major league debut. Just a few months after he was expelled from school, his drinking problems resurfaced. On July 4, 1897, Sockalexis, in an inebriated condition, jumped from the second-story window of a brothel. He severely injured his ankle in the fall. Eventually, the injury affected his play. In the five games after the injury, he had nine hits in 18 at bats. However, his fielding was not very good. From July 25 until September 12, Sockalexis played in just one game. In that game, he committed two errors. In his first season with the Spiders, Sockalexis hit for a .338 batting average with three home runs and 42 RBIs. In 66 games that season, Sockalexis also had 16 stolen bases.

Burdened by his alcoholism, Sockalexis played just two more seasons of major league baseball. In 1899, the Spiders released Sockalexis. He finished his career in the minor leagues and in 1901, Sockalexis returned to Indian Island to coach juvenile teams. Five players who he coached went on to play in the New England League. However, his baseball career ended for good in 1903

» Five of baseball's pioneers are added to the Hall of Fame: Connie Mack, John McGraw, Morgan Bulkeley, Ban Johnson, and George Wright.

The National League extends permission for night baseball but the American League refuses to permit arc light games.

The Red Sox acquire the contract of 19-year-old Ted Williams from San Diego (PCL), but he will not report to Boston until 1939.

Outspoken, immensely talented, patriotic, iconoclastic, demanding, larger than life: all apply to Ted Williams, for two decades baseball's best hitter and one of the best who ever lived. No one loved hitting more than Williams, who called hitting a pitched baseball "the hardest single feat in sports," and no other ballplayer spent more time at his craft. Williams lost nearly five years of his career to military service in World War II and Korea but managed to hit 521 homers and average .344 for his career, only once hitting below .316.

Signed at seventeen by his hometown San Diego Padres, he produced adequate numbers in the tough Pacific Coast League and then tore up the American Association at Minneapolis. Williams at age nineteen was the brash kid who irritated sportswriters and drove his early managers wild. His cocky manner and disinterest in playing the outfield in spring training of 1938 led to Williams being ragged by veteran Bosox outfielders. Farmed out to the minors, the frustrated youngster blurted, "Tell them I'm going to make more money in this game than all three of them put together" - an accurate prediction.

He arrived in the majors for good in 1939, breaking in with a double off Red Ruffing in Yankee Stadium. Williams completed the season with a .327 average, 31 homers, and a league-leading 145 RBI, the first rookie to be RBI leader. Quickly nicknamed The Splendid Splinter, he commanded attention as a natural hitter. He combined his undeniable talent with an inexhaustible eagerness for hard work where hitting was concerned. His early roommates were sometimes awakened by the pajama-clad Thumper practicing his swing in front of the hotel-room mirror.

In 1941 Williams had one of the greatest individual seasons for any ballplayer in history. At age twenty-three he hit .406, the last ballplayer to reach that magic figure, won his first home run crown, and won the All-Star Game with the most dramatic hit of his career, a ninth-inning two-out homer off Claude Passeau in Briggs Stadium. Williams was hot all season, and his goal of reaching .400 seemed assured when he was at .413 in mid-September, but by the morning of the final day of the season his average had "slumped" to .39955. Given the opportunity by manager Joe Cronin to sit out the doubleheader and save his average, which would have rounded off to .400, Williams characteristically played both games and went 6-for-8.

Williams never got along with the baseball press, particularly Boston beat reporters, whom he dubbed Knights of the Keyboard. Always something of a loner, distrustful of many of the trappings of stardom, he lived alone in a Boston hotel and sought out the company of cab drivers, bellhops, and clubhouse boys. His relationship with the press became adversarial early in his career, but it reached its flash point in 1942, when his request for military deferment attracted disapproval in the press. Williams was the sole support of his mother, a Salvation Army worker, and the notoriety attached to an unhappy family situation hardened his animosity, which lasted throughout his career.

Following the 1942 season, which produced his first Triple Crown (.356, 36 HR, 137 RBI), Williams enlisted in naval aviation and served as a flight instructor. He missed three full seasons (age 24-26). In 1946 there was a return to normalcy, both for America and for baseball. Williams rejoined an already potent Red Sox attack and commenced a five-year period that produced one pennant, one playoff loss and two last-weekend losses to the Yankees. During this stretch Williams accumulated two batting titles, two home run crowns, three RBI championships, and his second Triple Crown in 1947.

In 1946, he led the Boston juggernaut to a huge lead (at one point 16 games ahead) and belted two All-Star-Game home runs at Fenway Park, the second a blast off of Rip Sewell's "eephus" lob. He finished the season at .342 with 38 HR and 123 RBI, and was named AL MVP. After winning the AL pennant, the Red Sox played an exhibition against an AL all-star team to stay sharp during the Dodgers-Cardinals NL playoff. Williams was hit on the elbow by a pitch from Mickey Haefner and, playing in pain, hit only .200 with one RBI in the Series as Boston lost in seven games to St. Louis.

Williams's Series output was hobbled not only by an injury but by the Cardinals' application of the "Williams shift," stacking the defense on the right side of the diamond, thereby daring Williams to pull the ball. First employed by Indians manager Lou Boudreau during the middle of the '46 season after Williams had clubbed three homers in the first game of a doubleheader, it challenged Williams by placing as many as six fielders in his hitting zone.

Although Williams occasionally went to left field - he clinched the 1946 pennant with an inside-the-park home run to left against Cleveland - more often than not he responded by driving the ball to right field. The shift became an almost standard defensive alignment against Williams in the AL, and it undoubtedly whittled his lifetime average.

His 1947 Triple Crown performance produced another slap from the sportswriters, who elected Joe DiMaggio MVP by a single vote. DiMaggio had also been named MVP in 1941 when Williams hit .406, and when Williams won the Triple Crown in 1942, New York second baseman Joe Gordon was MVP. Williams won all six of his batting titles in back-to-back pairs, and in 1948 he batted .369 as the Red Sox fell to the Indians and Gene Bearden in the AL's first playoff. The following year produced a second MVP Award, 43 HR, a career-high 159 RBI, and an amazing 162 walks for the second time in three seasons. Williams possessed exceptional eyesight (he was allegedly able to read the label of a spinning record), and had the patience to wait for his pitch. His thorough knowledge of the strike zone produced a nearly 3-to-1 ratio of walks to strikeouts, an unheard-of statistic for a power hitter. He fanned 64 times as a rookie, and never more than 54 in any other season.

Williams had gotten off to an unusually hot start in 1950 as the Red Sox battled the Yankees for the American League lead. But the All-Star Game, which had provided Williams with his share of thrills, now robbed him of another great year. He fractured his elbow crashing into the Comiskey Park wall while catching a Ralph Kiner fly ball in the first inning, but remained in the game. He wound up missing more than sixty games because of the injury, but still managed 28 homers and 97 RBI in only 89 games. The injury jeopardized his career at age 32. Williams returned in 1951 to hit .318, but the Red Sox slid to fifth and would not challenge the Yankees again.

Williams was called up to active duty in the Korean War after six games in 1952 (with a .400 average); his service in two wars was unique for a star ballplayer. Typically, Williams left with a bang, homering off of Dizzy Trout in his final at-bat on Ted Williams Day at Fenway Park. Unlike many wartime ballplayers, who continued to play baseball for service teams while in uniform, Williams was a pilot and flew combat missions over Korea. Hit by small-arms fire during one run, Williams crash-landed his crippled jet and escaped from the flaming wreckage. Shortly thereafter he contracted pneumonia and was sent stateside after thirty-nine missions.

At age 35, a veteran of two wars, Williams appeared finished; but he homered off Mike Garcia in his first Fenway appearance in 1953 and proceeded to hit .407 for his 37-game season. Included in his feat were 13 home runs and a .901 slugging average - an incredible pace for a veteran whose spring training had been spent inside a fighter plane.

The 1950s included well-chronicled instances of the Williams temper: spitting at the pressbox during a home run trot (he was fined $5,000 by owner Tom Yawkey, although the fine was never paid), flipping his bat into the stands after a strikeout and hitting an elderly woman on the head (she turned out to be Joe Cronin's housekeeper), and a multitude of tirades at the press. Opinionated, and not one to suffer fools gladly, he was his own man and cut a solitary path through the decade. Yet his concern for charitable causes was legendary in Boston and his efforts on behalf of the Jimmy Fund, a New England organization combating children's cancer, were numerous, often unpublicized, and made from the heart. A complex man, Williams was refreshingly human.

Williams continued to play through the 1950s, although his body protested the daily demands. He broke his collarbone diving for a ball in spring training in 1954, missed much of the 1955 campaign with an assortment of injuries, and spent an increasing amount of time fighting nagging aches and pains. There were triumphs, too. Williams's longevity had propelled him to remarkable lifetime power totals and he maintained his high average, hitting no lower than .345 his first four seasons back from Korea. He missed two more batting titles in 1954-55 due to the eligibility rules of the day, which counted at-bats, not plate appearances. In 1954, Williams hit .345 in only 386 at-bats, but was also walked 136 times. Bobby Avila won the title with a .341 average.

In fact, Williams had announced his retirement in a national magazine article just before the 1954 season, to take place at the end of the campaign. His plans were changed by a chance encounter with the most important baseball fan in history, Eddie Mifflin, at the Baltimore train station in July of that year. Mifflin persuaded Williams that retiring at that point would leave him short of the commanding lifetime numbers necessary to assure Hall of Fame election on the first ballot. His successful appeal was responsible for some of the most remarkable hitting performances by an older player in the history of the game.

His 1957 campaign was arguably the greatest season ever by a veteran player. He hit .388 at age 39, had 38 homers (only 87 RBI), and missed hitting .400 by five leg hits that a younger player might have had. In the second half of the season he batted .453. Williams's charge to reach .400, sixteen years after first attaining that elusive figure, captured the nation's attention, and his popularity reached an all-time high. He finished second to Mickey Mantle in the MVP balloting.

Although his average "slumped" sixty points the following season, he still won the batting crown, rallying to overtake teammate Pete Runnels during the last weekend of 1958.

Bothered by a stiff neck and other pains, Williams had his worst season in 1959. He hit .254 with only 10 homers, and appeared finished to many. He was even advised to quit by Tom Yawkey. "That burned my ***," he recounted in his autobiography My Turn at Bat. Clearly Williams felt that he should not conclude his career with a .254 swan song. Instead, he finished strong in 1960, batting .316, with 29 homers. His final at-bat produced his 521st homer.

Retired from the game, Williams became a full-time fisherman. He was easily elected to the Hall of Fame in 1966, his first year of eligibility. Then Williams surprised nearly everyone in baseball when in 1969 he became manager of the Washington Senators. Ignoring critics who said he wouldn't have the patience to deal with ordinary ballplayers, Williams brought his first team in at 86-76, a 21-game improvement over the previous year. For this feat he was voted Manager of the Year. It was his high-water mark and Williams resigned in 1972 when his team, now in Texas, had slumped to 54-100.

A generation after retirement Ted Williams is still regarded as the epitome of hitting. "I want people to say `There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived'," he wrote in My Turn at Bat.

» Lou Gehrig, age 36, is unanimously elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame, the sole choice this year. The five-year waiting period is waived for the Iron Horse.

» After ten years in pinstripes, Charlie "King Kong" Keller is released by the Yankees. He'll sign for a season in Detroit.

Keller's black, bushy brows and muscular body inspired his alliterative nickname. The talent-laden Yankees kept the lefthanded slugger in Newark (International League) the season after he was the league batting champion and TSN Minor League Player of the Year for 1937. A place was made for him in 1939, and he hit .334 with the first of six Yankee pennant winners for which he would play. He was a five-time All-Star and reached highs of 33 HR and 122 RBI in 1941. He led the AL in walks with 106 in both 1940 and 1943. Keller 's career was interrupted for maritime service in WWII. He had chronic back problems which eventually relegated him to pinch hitting, and he led the league in that department (9-for-38) in 1951, his final full season. Keller coached for the Yankees before retiring to rural Maryland to run a horse farm. His brother Hal caught briefly for the Senators and spent over 20 years as a front-office man for the Senators, Rangers, and Mariners. His son, Charlie Jr., led the Eastern League in hitting with a .349 average before being sidelined by the same congenital back problem that had plagued his father.

» A controversial trade for Kansas City: they get veteran P Lindy McDaniel from the Yankees for OF Lou Piniella and P Ken Wright.

In a continuing housecleaning of hometown heroes, the Giants sell future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal to the Red Sox.

» In a complicated 3-team swap, pitcher Scott Sanderson is traded from the Expos to the Cubs. Montreal receives pitcher Gary Lucas from San Diego, and the Padres get P Craig Lefferts, 1B-OF Carmelo Martinez, and 3B Fritz Connally from Chicago.

» The Rangers sign free-agent pitcher Nolan Ryan to a one-year contract.

» Storm Davis, 19-7 for the A's last season, signs as a free agent with the Royals. Other free-agent signees include Craig Lefferts (San Diego), Pete O'Brien (Seattle), Oil Can Boyd (Montreal), and Keith Hernandez (Cleveland).

» Owners vote to reopen the collective bargaining agreement with the players.

» The Yankees obtain 1B Tino Martinez, P Jeff Nelson, and minor league P Jim Mecir from the Mariners in exchange for P Sterling Hitchcock and 3B Russ Davis. In a memorable day, Martinez signs a 5-year, $20.25 million contract, and his wife gives birth to their 3rd child.

The Red Sox sign free agent OF-DH Jose Canseco to a 2-year contract.

» The Cubs sign free agent 3B Gary Gaetti, free agent OF Glenallen Hill, and tomorrow sign free agent C Benito Santiago. Following a car crash last January where he suffered mangled ligaments in his right knee, Santiago played just 15 games in 1998 for the Blue Jays. In his last appearance at Wrigley Field, in 1996, Santiago hit three consecutive home runs.

» In a disappointment to the Mets, the Mariners sign free agent 1B John Olerud to a 3-year contract.

» Figures released by major league baseball show that the Milwaukee Brewers were baseball's most profitable club, after revenue sharing, in 2001. Without revenue sharing, the Brewers were the fourth-most profitable team.

The Mets send 3B Robin Ventura to the Yankees in exchange for OF David Justice. It is the first deal between the two New York teams in eight years.

The Executive Board of the Players' Association authorizes union head Donald Fehr and their lawyers to work on an new agreement which will be better address the steroid problem in major league baseball. The 40 players attending the meeting appeared to agree with the owners that more frequent and tougher testing is needed in light of the Balco scandal.

The Rangers trade Alfonso Soriano to the Nationals for outfielders Brad Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge, and minor league pitching prospect Armando Galarraga. By dumping All-Star second baseman’s salary, Texas frees up funds to seek much needed pitching.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, and baseballibrary.com

12-10-2007, 11:08 AM
Dec 10

» The Tourists play in Auckland, NZ, during a brief stopover.

In October of 1888, Albert Goodwill Spalding -- baseball star, sporting- goods magnate, promotional genius, and serial fabulist -- departed on a journey around the globe with twenty of America's greatest baseball stars. Their mission: to bring baseball, and with it the American way, to the world.

Book excerpt: Spalding's World Tour
The Epic Adventure That Took Baseball Around The Globe -- And Made It America's Game

Rough seas made the four-day trip due west from Auckland to Sydney one of the more difficult legs of the tour, but the welcome Spalding and his men received as they pulled into Woolloomooloo Bay and the city came into view was grand enough to fully brighten their spirits. All of Sydney, or so it seemed, had been mobilized for their arrival. On South Head, the white stone tower of Macquarie Lighthouse was decked out in red, white, and blue bunting. An entire flotilla had been assembled to accompany the Alameda into the harbor: tugs, yachts, steamers, rowboats, dinghies -- every craft that would float was sent out to greet the arriving baseball tourists. The reception committee, led by Leigh Lynch, was jammed onto a large harbor boat, the Admiral. Even a pack of dolphins, curious about the hubbub, joined the commotion, bobbing along next to the Alameda. Onshore, hundred of fans waited in the late-afternoon sun waving flags while brass bands issued forth with American standards. "It was glorious! It was stirring! It was in every way a complete surprise, in that it so far exceeded all that we imagined it might be," Palmer recalled. "The scene was one that brought joy and then tears," echoed Ward. "From that moment Australia became not a foreign land, but only another division of home."

Spalding and his men arrived in port on a Friday evening, with the entire city out and in a mood for revelry. These were good days for Sydney. The New South Wales economy, driven by the export of gold and wool, was thriving. Politically, the colony had considerable autonomy from Britain.

Spalding's group had been booked into two hotels, the Chicagos at the Oxford and the All-Americas at the Grosvenor, and it was to the former that the group in its entirety was taken from the harbor. When their carriages pulled up in front of the hotel's portico, they found that it had been covered over with flags and flowers in their honor. Inside, the United States consul, G. W. Griffin, was waiting with members of the sporting press. Champagne was uncorked, toasts were made, and the Australian reporters got their first look at the American ballplayers. They found Albert Spalding, the great impresario, particularly inspiring. "No wonder Spalding has made a huge fortune," reported one Sydney paper. "He's got grit and go, while his daring is proved by this undertaking."

In the evening, the tourists were treated to a night of entertainment at the Royal Theater, courtesy of Jimmy Williamson, an expatriate American who had transformed himself into Australia's leading theatrical producer.

Williamson was especially pleased to welcome a contingent of fellow Americans to his theater, and arranged for a series of boxes in the dress circle to be draped with bunting in their honor. The bill for the evening was a double feature, the first show being his old chestnut, Struck Oil, with Williamson and Moore in their customary lead roles. After the curtain, Spalding and his men were brought down onto the stage to receive their own ovation from the audience. When Spalding was tossed a pair of small flags to wave, one American and one of New South Wales, the orchestra roared in approval.

Festivities continued the next morning with a reception at Town Hall, a study in Victorian grandiosity with bulging Second Empire forms of yellow sandstone and a clock tower surmounted by a domed lantern. The host was Sydney's mayor, John Harris, a gregarious man in a purple robe of silk and ermine, and the reception took place in his council chamber, which had been set with a linen-draped table manned by a dozen butlers and spread over with champagne -- Clicquot, Mumm's, and Pommery. When it came time for toasts, Harris happily suggested that his Australian brethren were sure to pick up baseball, and that it wouldn't be long before a touring team of Aussies would be heading back across the Pacific to challenge the Americans at their own national game.

After returning to their hotels, they changed into their baseball togs in preparation for their first game on Australian soil. This time -- finally -- they would be playing as scheduled on a Saturday afternoon, and consequently a large crowd was anticipated at the Australian Association Cricket Grounds.

The twenty-minute ride out to the field took them through some of the prettier scenery Sydney had to offer, and when they finally arrived they found a manicured playing surface as "level as a floor" and with a "velvety" turf that put to shame the rough urban ball fields Spalding and his men were used to back home. "In whatever other respects the Colonies might be inferior to the United States," wrote Palmer, "they certainly possessed grounds so far superior in point of equipment and condition to anything we had in the United States that there was no room whatever for comparison." The lush green oval was enclosed by a whitewashed picket fence, with home plate placed before a grandstand filled to its capacity. The better classes were seated in reserved sections in front of the Australian Cricket Association's two-story clubhouse and a separate "ladies cottage" for unescorted women, a group that made up a sizable portion of a crowd estimated at somewhere between six and ten thousand.

Those in attendance were treated to what was universally described as a fine game, though the extent to which the Australian audience actually understood what they were witnessing was something of an open question. "The game itself was one that brought out all the beauties of play and would have set an American crowd wild, but it was too fast for Sydneyites," wrote Ward. "Not being acquainted with the points of play they were unable to follow such quick work." Spalding had anticipated this problem, and had indeed taken steps to prevent it. As in New Zealand, explanatory stories were planted in the Australian papers. (This became a bit awkward the following week when the Melbourne Leader and the Age of Melbourne ran the same story -- "The American Game of Baseball and How to Play It" -- word for word, on the same day.) In addition, before leaving the United States, Spalding had commissioned Harry Palmer to author a pamphlet with condensed profiles of the players on the tour and an outline of the rules of the game, in hopes that this would be a help to the foreign fans. But written descriptions could only do so much; to the uninitiated, a baseball game can seem about as straightforward as a German grammar lesson, and this was precisely the problem experienced by a columnist for the Sydney Herald, who sarcastically described the sport as "a game of such wonderfully abstruse character that it takes a man half his life to learn it, and its complications are so extraordinary that no two games are ever played in anything like the same way. The pleasure derived from watching the players arises from the tax on the ingenuity to divine what it all means."

Suspicion that the proceedings might not be fully appreciated for their character alone was no doubt reinforced after the fifth inning, when the game, then tied 4-4, was halted so the players might have an audience with Lord Carrington, the governor of New South Wales. After the usual round of introductions, Lord Carrington offered a brief champagne toast, telling the assembled he was happy to witness the contest not so much out of a curiosity about the American game, but to "give a proper and hardy welcome to our friends from across the sea." With that, the boys retook the field, and for the next three innings, perhaps owing to the champagne, were unable to score. The All-Americas managed to break through in the top of the ninth when James Fogarty reached on a single, stole second, stole third, and finally came home on a wild pitch by a clearly rattled John Tener. It was not to be the future Pennsylvania governor's day. In the bottom half of the inning, now down by a run and with two outs, Tener stepped to the plate with two men on base and a chance at redemption. All he could muster was a weak grounder to first base.

With the evening open and no further games on their docket until Monday, the tourists were free to explore the Sydney nightlife. Jimmy Williamson had extended an open invitation to the members of the party, and several returned for a second night of entertainment at his Royal Theater. Ward and Palmer teamed up with the oarsman Ned Hanlan and a couple of Sydney sportswriters to review a night of boxing at a local gym -- an eight-round fight of middle-weights was the featured bout. Later in the evening the men availed themselves of Sydney's wide selection of establishments devoted to the arts of drinking and merriment. Of these, none was more spectacular than the Marble Bar at the Adams Hotel, a showpiece of material excess that had opened in 1873 and was named for the seven types of marble -- not to mention the gilt, tile, bronze, mirrors, and decorative stucco -- that covered its every surface. The players, however, seemed focused on interior decoration of a slightly different order. "Not a few us became students of that not uninteresting colonial institution, the Australian barmaid, with which no Australian café or drinking resort is unprovided," wrote Palmer. "In most cases they are pretty, in every instance smart, and combining with these qualities an excellent knowledge of mankind and his weaknesses, they are more valuable to the Australian liquor dealer than our most expert beverage mixers." Fortunately for all, they would have Sunday to recuperate from their studies. For Cannonball Crane, whose drinking had already forced him out of the lineup in San Francisco, that would not be time enough.

» At the National League meetings at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York, rumors fly. Ban Johnson says the American League has signed a lease on a park in Detroit. The Players Protective Association says its members will not sign with the NL.

» The National League votes to ban the spitball's use by all new pitchers. The ban will be formally worked out by the Rules Committee in February.

With the opposition led by New York, Boston, and Chicago owners, the American League directors pass a resolution accusing Ban Johnson of overstepping his duties. They demand that league files be turned over to them and that an auditor review all financial accounts.

» The two leagues agree on a permanent rotation for World Series play proposed by Charles Ebbets: first two games at one league's park, next three at the other leagues park, last two if needed back at the first league's park, with openers to alternate between leagues. Next year's World Series will commence at the National League city.

» The American League goes on record as opposing the use of resin by pitchers, but the joint rules committee finally votes it in. The committee also agrees that future World Series games are set to start at 1:30 P.M.; 2nd-place money withheld from the eight Black Sox in 1920 is distributed to the other 1920 White Sox; and players signed by August 31st are declared eligible for World Series play. Finally, no times at-bat will be charged in a fly ball advances a runner to 2B or 3B, as well as home.

» Roger Peckinpaugh begins a 6-year term as Indians manager.

Peckinpaugh was the premier AL shortstop in his day. Rangy, full-chested, and broad-shouldered, with big hands and bowed legs, he pursued the ball relentlessly and effectively, if not always gracefully. A steady hitter, he had a 29-game streak in 1919. After nine years with the Yankees, including their first pennant-winning season, he was traded to the Senators. There he paired with young second baseman Bucky Harris in a top combination that produced a record 168 double plays in 1922. Peckinpaugh was a WS hero in 1924, doubling home the winning run in Game Two and saving Game Six with a key fielding play. In 1925 he had a great regular season, hitting .292 and being named AL MVP. But the WS was a disaster. The old pro looked to for reliability made eight errors, several in key spots, as the Senators allowed the Pirates to come back from a 3-1 deficit and lost the Series.

Peckinpaugh had managed the Yankees for 14 games in 1914, and returned to managing with the Indians after retiring as a player. He later served as Cleveland president and general manager. In 17 years as a player, he was thrown out of only one game.

» Two Hall of Famers are sold today. Jimmie Foxx, along with Johnny Marcum (17–12), is sold by the A’s to the Red Sox for $150,000. The A's get Gordon Rhodes (2–10) and minor league catcher George Savino. The 28-year-old Foxx has averaged 41 homers over the past 7 seasons and says about the trade, "my dream has come true." After three years in Chicago, Al Simmons is sold by the White Sox to the Tigers for $75,000.

One of the greatest power hitters in major league history, Foxx broke in as a catcher, won fame as a first baseman, and filled in elsewhere, including several turns on the mound.

Born at Sudlersville, MD, Foxx grew strong doing chores on his father's farm. At age ten, he had had enough of farm life, and tried to join the army. Rejected by the military, he turned to sports, especially his first love, track. He played high school baseball and was soon demonstrating the power which would make him famous. His power displays caught the attention of Frank "Home Run" Baker, who was managing Easton of the Eastern Shore League. After being invited for a tryout, Foxx soon became Baker's protege. Baker owed a favor to his old boss, Connie Mack, and recommended the youngster. Mack took the 17-year-old Foxx in 1925 and sat him next to him on the Athletics' bench for several seasons. Mack had the young Mickey Cochrane at catcher, so he converted Foxx to first base, where he became a regular in 1928.

Before long, Foxx was being called "the righthanded Babe Ruth." In virtually every AL park, there was a story to tell about a mighty Foxx homer. In Chicago, he hit a ball over the double-decked stands at Comiskey Park, clearing 34th Street. His gigantic clout in Cleveland won the 1935 All-Star Game. In Yankee Stadium, his blast high into the left field upper deck had enough power to break a seat. In St. Louis, his ninth inning blast in Game Five of the 1930 Series just about clinched it for the A's. In Detroit, he hit one of the longest balls ever, way up into the left field bleachers.

At bat, Foxx presented a menacing picture. A strong, powerful man, he held the bat at the end and stood fairly deep in the batter's box, using a wide stance and a full stride into the ball. As the pitch approached, his powerful arm muscles flexed visibly before he hit the ball. Like many sluggers, Foxx struck out often, and he led the AL seven times.

Perhaps more impressive than his homers was his record as an RBI man. Like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, he drove in over 100 runs in 13 seasons. Also hitting for average, he won the Triple Crown in 1933 (.356, 48 HR, 163 RBI), one of three seasons he led the league in RBI; his best RBI mark was 175 in 1938, when he would have captured his second Triple Crown if not for Hank Greenberg's 58 HR. He was the HR champ four times despite competition from Ruth, Gehrig, Greenberg, and DiMaggio.

In 1932 Foxx hit 58 homers; he might have hit more than 60 if not for a spell in August when he suffered from an injured wrist. Five times he hit the right field screen in St. Louis; the screen was not there when Ruth hit 60 HR in 1927. Also in 1932, a screen that Ruth hadn't had to contend with was erected in left field in Cleveland. Reportedly, Foxx hit that at least three times.

Foxx never made big money with the financially troubled Athletics, and he had to be unloaded to Tom Yawkey's Boston Red Sox, where he was paid well. A good-natured and well-liked man, he became an immediate favorite. He also took a young slugger under his wing. "I truly loved Foxxie," said Ted Williams some 40 years later.

Foxx was sent to the Cubs in 1942. He retired in 1943, but came back to play a few games during WWII with the Cubs and Phillies. His exceptionally strong throwing arm even enabled him to pitch in nine games for the Phillies in 1945, including two starts. The BBWAA elected him to the Hall of Fame in 1951.

A friend to all, Double X was always picking up the check. He drank heavily, saw several business ventures fail, and what little money he had made in baseball disappeared. He managed in the minors, coached at Minneapolis (American Association), and took a turn in the Red Sox radio booth in 1946. In July 1967, at age 59, he choked to death on a piece of meat while dining with his brother. Foxx is still ninth on the all-time HR list (534), sixth in RBI (1921), and fourth in slugging percentage (.609).

Ford Frick is reelected NL president for two years and given a raise. The American League votes down night ball and awards a $500 cash prize for batting leaders retroactive to include Buddy Myer in 1935.

The Tigers of Osaka are officially formed to become Japan's 2nd professional team.

» Commissioner Landis announces his ruling on the Bob Feller case. Feller joined Cleveland in July and Des Moines (Western League) protested, claiming the pitcher for themselves. Landis let Feller stay with Cleveland, pending his final ruling, which is announced today in favor of the Indians.

» In Chicago, a curious rule that was designed to "break up the Yankees" is continued by the American League, a rule which prohibits the team winning the championship from trading with any other club. The rule was voted in at the December, 1939 meetings by the seven other AL owners after the New York Yankees won four straight World Series. The major and minor leagues agree that players taken into the military will not count against roster limits.

The sac fly rule, reinstituted last year, is eliminated for the 1941 season. Though he would bat .400 without the rule change, Ted Williams will have six flies that score runners from 3B in 1941.

» At the annual meeting the major leagues head off the quest of the PCL for major status and more territorial protection for upper minors by a new AAA classification for the PCL, American Association, and International Leagues. The Eastern and Texas Leagues are promoted from Class A to AA. The Southern Atlantic League moves to Class A from B.

For the majors, returning servicemen are given increased protection for one year and the limiting of rosters to 25 players will be delayed until June 15.

» The minors started 58 leagues and 438 clubs this year. All the leagues finished schedules, but when the minor leagues ask for curbs on television into their areas, the ML clubs sidestep the issue.

» The American League club owners vote for a 3-game playoff in case of a tie at the end of the regular season.

» The University of Pittsburgh agrees to buy Forbes Field from the Pirates and lease it to them for five years, or until a new municipal stadium is built.

» The Angels trade SS Jim Fregosi to the Mets for four players, including OF Leroy Stanton and P Nolan Ryan. This will rank as probably the Angels' best trade.

» The major leagues adopt the save as an official statistic. A pitcher shall be credited with a save if, when entering a game as a reliever, he finds the tying or winning run on base or at the plate, and he preserves the lead. Or he pitches three effective innings and preserves the lead.

The American League votes unanimously to adopt the designated-hitter rule for a 3-year experimental basis. The DH will replace the pitcher in the lineup unless otherwise noted before the start of the game. In the December 1975 meeting the AL will vote to permanently adopt the DH. The National League declines to go along with the AL.

» Bill Veeck and assistant Roland Hemonds set up shop in the hotel lobby at the winter meetings with a sign saying "open for business" and start dealing, making seven trades in two days. First to go is pitcher Jim Kaat and SS Mike Buskey to the Phillies. The Sox receive pitchers Dick Ruthven and Roy Thomas along with OF/INF Alan Bannister.

» Rangers SS Danny Thompson, a 7-year veteran, dies at Rochester, MN, two months short of his 30th birthday. He led all shortstops in hitting in 1972 with a .276 average, but was diagnosed with leukemia the following winter.

The agile, sure-handed, and well-liked infielder played mostly second base when he came up in 1970 but became Minnesota's regular shortstop in 1972. A contact hitter with alley power, Thompson led all regular ML shortstops that year with a .276 BA. Diagnosed as having leukemia before the 1973 season, he courageously played four more seasons, hitting .270 in 1975. He appeared in 98 games in 1976 and died that winter.

» Expos catcher Gary Carter becomes the 3rd All-Star caliber player in five days to be traded, going to the Mets in exchange for IF-OF Hubie Brooks, C Mike Fitzgerald, OF Herm Winningham, and minor league P Floyd Youmans.

» In the first major swap of the winter meetings, the A's trade C Mike Heath and P Tim Conroy to the Cardinals for Joaquin Andujar, 21-game winner with a volatile temperament.

» Admitted gambler Howard Spira is sentenced to two 1/2 years in prison for attempting to extort $110,000 from Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

» The Colorado Silver Bullets are officially recognized as the first all-women's baseball team in the minor leagues.

» The Tigers make their biggest trade since 1957, sending four players to Houston in exchange for five Astros. Detroit C Brad Ausmus, P Jose Lima, lefties C.J. Nitkowski and Trever Miller, and IF Daryle Ward go to the National League for starters Brian Hunter and Orlando Miller, Doug Brocail and Todd Jones, and a player to come later. Brocail, also involved in the 1994 12-player swap between San Diego and Houston, will be Detroit's Opening Day pitcher in April.

Montreal reliever Mel Rojas signs with the Cubs for a three-year $13.75 million contract. With Ugueth Urbina waiting in the wings, the Expos found the expensive Rojas expendable.

» In an emotional press conference, pitcher Dennis Eckersley of the Red Sox announces his retirement.

After an early career as a brash young flamethrower and a seven-year spell as a mediocre starter, The Eck was reborn in Oakland as a dominating bullpen stopper. In the process, he became the only player in major league history to record 100 complete games and 200 saves.

Eckersley broke into the majors with the Cleveland Indians in 1975 as a somewhat brash young pitcher with longish hair and 90+ mile-per-hour fastball. It was a promising, if not wholly satisfying campaign. Maintaining a 2.60 ERA with a 13-7 won-loss record, Eck was named AL Rookie Pitcher of the Year. Over the next two seasons the offbeat wiseguy averaged 14 wins and 196 strikeouts.

On May 30, 1977 he pitched a devastating 12-strikeout no-hitter against the California Angels. True to form, Eckersley traded barbs with opposing hurler Frank Tanana throughout the game, and when the Angels' Gil Flores came to bat with two outs in the ninth, Eckersley continued to rant. "I was ready, but Gil kept on stepping out of the [batter's box]," Eckersley later told the Contra Costa Times. "I pointed at him, 'Get in there. They're not here to take your picture. You're the last out. Get in there.' I was pretty cocky back then."

In 1978 Eckersley was traded to Boston in a deal that brought Bo Diaz and Rick Wise to Cleveland. In his first year with the Red Sox, he enjoyed his best season as a starter with a 20-8 record and a 2.99 ERA. Eckersley was particularly stunning down the stretch, winning his last four starts with complete games, including a crucial three-hitter vs. New York in late September, as the Red Sox attempted to stave off the Yankees’ challenge for the AL East crown. Despite Eckersley's best efforts, the teams ended the regular season in a tie, and the Yankees went on to win the division in an intense one-game playoff at Fenway Park.

Though Eckersley won 17 games the following year, the Red Sox did not threaten in the East again and Eckersley's numbers began to sag. After four mediocre seasons in Boston (including a poor 9-13, 5.61 ERA tour in '83), Eckersley was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Bill Buckner early in the 1984 season. Being traded from one seemingly cursed loser (the Red Sox haven't won a World Series since 1918) to another (the Cubs' last trophy is circa 1908) seemed to invigorate Eckersley. His ERA improved dramatically from 5.01 to 3.03, helping the Cubs make the playoffs for the first time since 1945. Eckersley started Game Three of the 1984 NLCS with the Cubs needing only one victory in three games to reach the World Series. He faltered early and gave up five runs in 5.1 innings as Chicago went on to lose Game Three, and eventually the series, to the San Diego Padres.

The following two seasons saw Eckersley's fastball lose velocity and his personal life take a nosedive as he struggled with alcohol abuse. Ironically, the Red Sox reached the World Series in 1986, in large part due to the pitching services of Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd. As teammates in Boston, Eckersley (whom some beat writers had referred to as "Disco Denny" during his drinking years) had given Boyd the cryptic nickname because of Boyd's penchant for beer.

In 1987 Eckersley was traded to Oakland, where A’s manager Tony LaRussa planned to use him as a set-up man/long reliever. Yet after an injury to Jay Howell, Eckersley got the closer’s job. His performance surprised everyone. After the All-Star break, Eckersley recorded 13 saves and struck out 51 batters -- with just five walks -- in just 43.2 innings pitched. Abandoning his wild, fireballing style, pinpoint control became the signature of the new Eck.

The following year was a renaissance for the entire A's ballclub. Sluggers Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire fueled a devastating offense, but it was Eckersley's cool and efficient confidence which defined the team. His shaggy long hair and trimmed mustache, combined with his 45 saves (one short of the ML record) and 70 strikeouts evoked memories of the flamboyant arrogance of Oakland's three-time world champions of the early seventies. Unfortunately, the team that lived by Eck, died by Eck. After Eckersley gave up a ninth-inning, pinch-hit two-run homer to Kirk Gibson to end Game One of the 1988 World Series, the A's collapsed to the seemingly out-manned Dodgers, losing the series in five games.

Nevertheless, Eckersley dominated the American League for the next five years. In 1989 he saved 33 games with a 1.56 ERA, giving up only three walks against 55 strikeouts. He also won his first World Series, recording the final out of the A's four-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants. Energized by the championship, Eckersley followed with his best season to date. In 73.1 innings pitched, Eckersley allowed exactly five earned runs (a 0.61 ERA) en route to saving 48 games. Perhaps more phenomenally, he managed to strike out 73 batters while walking only four.

Even that performance paled in comparison to Eckersley’s 1992 campaign. Eck started off the season with a major-league record 36 consecutive saves. By the end of the year, he had tallied 51. Even more impressive, he only walked 11 batters -- six intentionally -- while striking out 93. With his last save of the season, Eckersley broke Dan Quisenberry’s AL record of 239.

Eckersley never regained the magic he captured in ’92. In each of his next three seasons he failed to bring his ERA below four and after a disappointing 1995 season was traded to the Cardinals for Steve Montgomery. In St. Louis, he was reunited with ex-Oakland manager La Russa. Despite nagging injuries and a 42-year-old body, Eckersley returned to his old form, saving 30 games and walking only six batters in 60 innings pitched. During the Cardinals’ post-season run, Eckersley recorded four saves without allowing a run and did not appear in a Cardinals loss.

After another 30+ save year for St. Louis in 1997, Eck signed with the Boston Red Sox. He failed to beat out Tom Gordon for the closer’s job in spring training and spent a large part of the first half on the DL. After recording just one save in fifty innings of work Eckersley finally called it quits.

» Babe Ruth is voted Player of the Century by an Associated Press panel. Willie Mays comes in second.

» The Rangers sign free agent P Mark Petkovsek to a 2-year contract, and free agent 3B Ken Caminiti to a contract.

resources for these posting are from si.com, Spalding's World Tour, and baseballibrary.com

12-11-2007, 10:26 AM
Dec 11

» The AA votes to keep its ban on overhand pitching and to continue to allow fouls caught on one bounce to count as outs. It does abolish the tradition of team captains flipping for the honor of batting first. Now the home team will automatically bat first.

» A rumor that the PPA leaders have gone to Philadelphia to meet with Ban Johnson causes National League owners to "have something closely resembling a fit," says the New York Times. Players later admit the meeting took place.

» Harry Pulliam is reelected president of the National League at a salary of $10,000.

» The Phils sell star pitcher Grover Alexander, twice a 30-game winner, and his personal catcher "Reindeer" Bill Killefer to the Cubs for righthander "Iron" Mike Prendergast, C Pickles Dillhoefer, and $55,000. Phils owner William Baker later admits he made the trade because, "I needed the money." The 5th-place Cubs expect the addition of Alexander to greatly strengthen their staff, but Alex will be drafted in the Army.

» Considered a troublemaker, the Yankees sell Carl Mays (5–2) to the Reds for $7500. The submariner will win 20 for the Reds next season.

Carl Mays had to live with the very sad fact that his fast-rising submarine ball had caused modern major league baseball's first fatality. Pitching for the Yankees on August 16, 1920, decades before the advent of the batting helmet, Mays cracked the skull of Cleveland's Ray Chapman; Chapman, crowding the plate, froze in the path of the pitch. He died the next day. Ty Cobb, in particular, made life as miserable as he could for Mays over the tragedy, but the pitcher learned to live with it. He had remarkable self-confidence, especially under stress.

Mays was occasionally used as a reliever (31-13, 27 saves). He actually pitched mostly in relief as a 1915 Boston rookie, leading the AL with five relief wins and seven saves. He followed his 22-9 (1.74) record in 1917 with a 21-13 mark in 1918, tying for the league lead in complete games and shutouts. That August 30, he threw two complete-game victories over Philadelphia, allowing only one run. In the 1918 World Series, he went the distance in winning a pair of 2-1 games over the Cubs. But in 1919, disgruntled over what he thought was lack of support from his teammates (he was 5-11), he demanded a trade. Thus began the great parade of Red Sox players to the Yankees.

Mays went 26-11 with a league-best six shutouts for New York in 1920. In 1921, he led the AL in games and innings pitched, victories and winning percentage (27-9, .750), and tied for the lead in saves. He also batted .343. Though he pitched well in the WS, he went 1-2 in the Yankees' loss to the Giants. After going 5-2 in 1923, he was sold the Reds, for whom he went 20-9 in 1924, and 19-12, with a league-high 24 complete games, in 1926. He finished his ML career as a reliever with the Giants, going 7-2. His lifetime batting average of .268 made him one of the best-hitting pitchers ever. He went on to scout for the Indians, A's, and Braves.

» Eddie Collins signs as player-manager of the White Sox.

Eddie Collins was one of the most accomplished all-around ballplayers ever to play the game. They called Collins "Cocky," not because he was arrogant, but because he was filled with confidence based on sheer ability. Bill James wrote, "Collins sustained a remarkable level of performance for a remarkably long time. He was past thirty when the lively ball era began, yet he adapted to it and continued to be one of the best players in baseball every year...his was the most valuable career that any second baseman ever had."

Collins played for 25 years, 20 of them as a regular. He won no batting titles because he played during the same time as Ty Cobb, but did lead the AL in stolen bases four times and in runs scored three consecutive seasons, 1912-14. Collins batted .333 lifetime, and stole 743 bases. He had 3,311 hits (eighth all-time) and was a superlative fielder, leading second basemen in fielding average nine times. He was an adroit bunter, a slashing, lefthanded-batting hit-and-run man, and a brilliant baserunner. In the dugout or on the coaching lines, he was a canny, sign-stealing, intuitive strategist.

Collins's background was atypical of a player of the early 1900s. He starred as captain of Columbia University's baseball team. Barred from playing his senior year because he had disguised himself as "Eddie Sullivan" to play professionally (even getting into a few games with the Athletics), Collins was named Columbia's coach, and stayed to get his degree.

Collins was one of the key young players on Connie Mack's great Athletic teams of 1909-14 that won pennants in all but 1912. He was the premier player in Mack's "$100,000 Infield," with Jack Barry at shortstop, Stuffy McInnis at first base, and Frank Baker at third base, a unit valued for its finely meshed teamwork as well as the players' great individual skills. Collins later attributed this harmony on the field to the personal relationships off it, which continued past playing days. The "$100,000 Infield's" exceptional defense had a big payoff in the dead ball era, when teams scrapped for one run at a time.

When Connie Mack disbanded his long-reigning team in 1915, he sold Collins to the Chicago White Stockings. Collins starred in the 1917 World Series, hitting .409, and scoring a key run on one of his typical heads-up plays during a game-winning, Series-ending rally. Collins had maneuvered into a rundown between third and home to allow two other baserunners to get into scoring position. Seeing no one covering the plate, he wheeled past the catcher as he threw to third baseman Heinie Zimmerman, who unsuccessfully chased the fleet Collins home.

In 1918 Collins joined the Marines, but was back the next season on another pennant-winner, the infamous 1919 Chicago "Black Sox." As one of the "honest players," he was unforgiving of the eight who had sold out, yet described the team as the greatest on which he had played, winning despite hostility, feuds, and outright crookedness.

Collins continued to play season after season of superlative second base, always batting over .300. After the White Sox finished last in 1924, Collins was named manager. He led them for two seasons, winning more than he lost, but finished fifth both years. The White Sox judged that his days as an everyday infielder were ending, and released the $40,000-a-year player-manager.

Connie Mack invited his former star to return to his rebuilt Philadelphia A's. Collins played less and less, but took over more and more field duties from Mack. He was third-base coach and, unofficially, assistant manager, and turned down offers to manage other teams. The A's won three straight pennants (1929-31), with Collins pinch-hitting a few times in 1929 and '30. The promise of the Shibe brothers (the A's owners) and Mack that Collins would succeed old Connie (then 67) kept Collins on hand. Fortunately he didn't stay around long, since Mack didn't retire until age 88.

Instead, Collins's opportunity to run a team came with the Boston Red Sox. He and Tom Yawkey were alumni of the same prep school and became friends. The millionaire sportsman, on Collins's advice, purchased the Red Sox and brought Collins in as part-owner and GM. Collins began rebuilding a team that had never recovered from the sale of stars to the Yankees a decade earlier. Yawkey's money bought Joe Cronin from Washington to be player-manager, and pried loose stars Jimmie Foxx and Lefty Grove from the A's. Collins went on just one scouting trip for the Red Sox, to California, but came back with two extraordinary prospects, Bobby Doerr and Ted Williams.

Eddie Collins was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939, the year Eddie, Jr. debuted with the Athletics as an outfielder.

» At the National League meeting, President John Heydler proposes the designated hitter for pitchers to improve and speed up the game. He contends fans are tired of seeing weak-hitting pitchers come to bat. Heydler refers to his idea as "the tenth regular."

» The BBWAA votes to continue the custom of selecting an MVP for each league. Beginning in 1931 the annual vote of the BBWAA will designate a player for this honor in each league. Previous MVP winners will be able to repeat under the new rules, something that was prohibited by the American League in the 1920s.

» Despite two wins in the World Series, spitball veteran Burleigh Grimes is traded by the Cards to the Cubs for the fallen Hack Wilson. Wilson will be offered just $7,500 reflecting the owner's new austerity drive. Grimes will have three losing seasons in Chicago before calling it quits.

» The National League votes to permit night baseball, authorizing a maximum of seven games by any team installing lights. The American League does not grant permission for night games until 1937.

The 1935 All-Star Game is assigned to Cleveland. Frank Frisch and Mickey Cochrane, rival managers in the St. Louis–Detroit World Series, will manage their league's teams.

Frisch graduated from Fordham University in 1919 after starring there in baseball, football, basketball, and track. He joined the Giants without playing a game in the minors. A natural athlete with great speed and dexterity, Frisch was tutored long and hard by manager John McGraw on batting and sliding technique. The youthful Frisch quickly became a favorite of McGraw, who named him team captain. He played second base, third base, and occasionally shortstop, wherever his talents were most needed. Although his first two seasons produced only modest offensive results, his fielding was superb and his speed spectacular. He also rarely struck out, an ability Frisch became legendary for. In 17 full seasons, only twice did he fan more than 18 times. From 1921 to 1926 Frisch averaged over 100 runs scored per season, never batted below .324, and stole bases with abandon. He was instrumental in four consecutive Giants pennants and batted .363 in those four World Series (1921-1924).

When the Giants faded in 1925 and 1926, McGraw vented much of his frustration on Frisch. After exactly 1,000 games as a Giant, Frankie was dealt to the Cardinals with pitcher Jimmy Ring for the dominant NL hitter of the 1920s, second baseman and manager Rogers Hornsby, who had had a falling-out with St. Louis owner Sam Breadon.

The extremely competitive, switch-hitting Frisch was saddled with the almost impossible task of making fans in St. Louis forget Hornsby, a man who had just won six straight batting titles with a six-season average of .397. As longtime St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter Bob Broeg said, "Frisch didn't make them forget the Rajah, but he made them remember the Flash." In his first season in St. Louis, Frisch hit .337 and finished second in the MVP voting. He also had 641 assists and 1,059 chances at second base, season records which have endured, and he led the league in fielding average.

By the early 1930s, Branch Rickey's farm system had surrounded the veteran second baseman with hungry, talented youngsters, and the Gas House Gang was born. Frisch's zest for the game was contagious. He went on to bat .312 in a decade as a Cardinal and played on four more pennant winners. He batted over .300 thirteen times in his career. From 1933 to 1938 he managed the Cardinals. Ironically, Frisch was united with Rogers Hornsby in 1933 when Hornsby served as a pinch hitter and backup second baseman. Shortly after Frisch assumed the helm of the Cardinals in mid-season, Hornsby was released so he could accept the same position with the St. Louis Browns.

Frisch managed with the same fire with which he had played. He loved to argue with, show up, and humor umpires. He directed the 1934 Cardinals, one of the most raucous conglomerations of baseball characters, including the Dean brothers, Pepper Martin, Leo Durocher, Joe Medwick, and Ripper Collins, to a World Championship. After he left the Cardinals, Frisch managed 10 more years with the Pirates and Cubs. He did radio play-by-play for the Boston Braves in 1939 and for the Giants in 1947 and was a Giants coach in 1948.

» The ML extends Kenesaw Mountain Landis to another 4-year term. They also vote to limit night games to seven per team.

» The Giants acquire Johnny Mize from the Cardinals for three players -- Bill Lohrman, Ken O'Dea, and Johnny McCarthy -- and $50,000. Because of injuries, Mize's home run production had fallen from 43 to 16 in 1941, but he will bounce back to lead the National League in 1947-48.

» Cardinals GM Branch Rickey, possibly motivated by a clause in his contract that gives him 20% of the team's profits, trades slugger John Mize to the Giants for three players and $50,000. Yesterday he sold C/OF Don Padgett to Brooklyn for $30,000. Padgett will enter the Navy without playing a game for the Dodgers, and Brooklyn will try unsuccessfully to get their money back from Rickey.

Mize, a dependable but slow-moving first baseman, left the game with some remarkable achievements. The burly, red-faced slugger is the only man to hit three home runs in a game six times; in 30 games he homered twice; he had seven pinch-hit home runs, and he homered in all of the 15 ML parks in use during his career. A remarkable slugger who was also a contact hitter, he struck out only 524 times while hitting 359 home runs. He was a student of hitting who relied as much on knowledge of the pitchers and an extremely graceful, well-balanced hitting style as he did on his considerable strength.

Successful surgery to correct an upper-leg bone spur saved Mize's career in 1935 and he hit .329 in his rookie year with the Cardinals in 1936. From 1937 through 1941, he powered the Cardinals' attack with more than 100 RBI each season. He was traded to the Giants after the 1941 season and gave them four excellent seasons around three years spent in the Navy during WWII. He tied Ralph Kiner for the NL home run title with 51 in 1947, when the Giants set a since-broken ML record with 221, and again with 40 in 1948. In August 1949 he was sold to the Yankees for $40,000. From 1949 through 1953, he was a part-time first baseman and pinch hitter deluxe for five Yankees championship teams. He led the AL in pinch hits three straight years, 1951-53. He was the WS MVP in 1952, hitting .400 with three home runs in the seven-game series.

Former Cardinals teammate Stan Musial said of Mize during Mize's 1981 induction into the Hall of Fame: "Did you ever see a pitcher knock him down at the plate? Remember how he reacted when brushed back? He'd just lean back on his left foot, bend his body back and let the pitch go by. Then he'd lean back into the batter's box and resume his stance, as graceful as a big cat."

» The Giants obtain a genuine "phenom," pitcher/outfielder Clint Hartung, from Minneapolis for $20,000 and three players. Much ballyhooed, Hartung hit .358 in 66 games in 1942 for Eau Claire (Northern) while winning three games. He was in the military for the next three years, and will be for the 1946 season. The New York World Telegram's Tom Meany writes, "Hartung's a sucker if he reports to the Giants. All he has to do is sit at home, wait till he's eligible, and he's a cinch to make the Hall of Fame."

» Branch Rickey announces that the Dodgers have signed an agreement with Bud Holman and the city of Vero Beach to rent 104 acres of a former pre-war municipal airport. They will pay $1 a year and take over the maintenance. In 1952 the Dodgers will sign a new 20-year lease for $1 a year, and on March 11, 1953, a new field will be named Holman Stadium.

» At the winter meeting, held in St. Petersburg, FL, ML owners vote 9-7 against renewing Commissioner Happy Chandler's contract for a new term, starting in 1951. The Cardinals' Fred Saigh led the opposition to Chandler, who had jeopardized the reserve clause and ordered investigations of the alleged gambling activities of several owners.

» Joe DiMaggio officially retires as a member of the New York Yankees with 361 home runs and an average of .325 after 13 seasons. His 56-game, consecutive-game hitting streak in 1941 will stand as one of the all-time best diamond achievements.

» With the Athletics poised to move to Kansas City, the Phillies purchase Connie Mack Stadium.

» The Major Leagues vote at a joint meeting to reduce player limits to 28 by Opening Day.

» U.S. Congressman Emanuel Celler and Senator Kenneth Keating, both of New York, hint that there might be antitrust action against ML baseball if it televises games as planned, because it jeopardizes the minor leagues.

» The A's Arnold Johnson gives the New York Yankees an early Christmas present when he gift wraps Roger Maris in pinstripes. The Yankees acquire the slugger in a 7-player deal that sends P Don Larsen, RF Hank Bauer, 1B Marv Throneberry, and LF Norm Siebern to the Athletics.

» A Federal Court in New York City rules against the suit of umpires Bill Valentine and Al Salerno because baseball is exempt from antitrust laws.

» The Braves Rico Carty, the leading active ML hitter at .322 lifetime, suffers a fractured knee and ligament damage in a Dominican League game. Carty will miss the entire 1971 season.

High on any list of the great natural hitters, the powerful Dominican called himself "the Big Boy." In 1960, as a naive youngster, he signed ten pro contracts. When the mess was straightened out, he became the property of the Milwaukee Braves, who converted the slow-footed catcher into a poor outfielder. As a rookie in 1964 he hit .330, losing both the batting crown race (to Roberto Clemente) and the Rookie of the Year award (to Richie Allen). Tuberculosis sidelined him for the entire 1968 season; he spent five months in a sanitarium. Incredibly, he returned to hit .342 in 1969, despite seven shoulder dislocations. His .366 in 1970 (highest ML average since Ted Williams hit .388 in 1957) led the NL, and he started on the All-Star team as a write-in candidate. He broke his knee in a winter ball collision, costing him the 1971 season, and nearly his career. He was with three teams in 1973 and was playing in Mexico when the Indians signed him as a DH for 1974. His 31 home runs in 1978, with Toronto and Oakland, were a career high.

» The Royals sign free agent Mark Davis to a 4-year contract. Davis and Bret Saberhagen will make the 1990 Royals the first team ever to have both defending Cy Young Award winners.

» In a blockbuster trade, the Mets obtain two-time Cy Young winner Bret Saberhagen along with SS Bill Pecota from the Royals in exchange for Kevin McReynolds, Gregg Jefferies, and Keith Miller.

Saberhagen was not selected until the 19th round in the 1982 draft but quickly proved to be a fine acquisition for Kansas City. After logging an 18-7 record in his first year of minor league play, Saberhagen earned a berth in the Royals' rotation at the tender age of twenty, and demonstrated control and poise beyond his years.

In 1985 Saberhagen dodged the sophomore jinx by becoming the youngest pitcher ever to capture the Cy Young Award. He ran away with WS MVP honors by limiting the Cardinals to twelve baserunners and one run over 18 innings, and became a father during the Series.

Saberhagen has sharp control (1.8 walks per nine innings over his first five seasons) and a 93-mph fastball, but had trouble putting it all together for a full season, often having an outstanding first half and then faltering. But in 1989 he again excelled, leading the AL in wins (23-6) and ERA (2.16, lowest in the AL since 1978) with a Cy Young-quality season.

» Alex Rodriguez signs the richest contract in sports history, a ten-year deal with the Rangers worth $252 million. The quarter billion dollars doubles the previous high of $126 million paid by the NBA's Timberwolves to Kevin Garnett in a six-year agreement signed in October, 1997.

» Former USC P Mark Prior wins the Golden Spikes Award as the top amateur baseball player in the US. Prior signed a 5-year contract with the Cubs after being selected in the June draft.

The Rangers sign free agent P Jay Powell to a 3-year contract.

The Royals sign 18-year veteran Benito Santiago (279, 11, 56 ) to a two-year deal. Kansas City hopes the veteran catcher's, who is a three-time Gold Glove winner, experience will be helpful to the team's young pitching staff.

Andy Pettitte inks a three-year, $31.5 million deal with his 'hometown' Astros. The thirty-one year old Texan, who compiled a 149-78 won-loss record with a 3.94 ERA during his nine-year stint in pinstripes turned down better offers to stay with the Yankees or go to the rival Red Sox.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

12-12-2007, 02:32 PM
Dec 12

» A baseball reporters association is organized. It pledges to work to standardize scoring practices, especially in the gray area of stolen bases.

» The National League considers going back to 12 teams to counter American League moves into some cities. They invite Ban Johnson to come to the NL meeting, but change their mind about compromise and leave the AL head outside the meeting room. The NL awards the AL's Minnesota and Kansas City territories to the new Western League, even before the AL officially abandons them. The NL agrees to hear the players in a public meeting, but rejects all their demands.

» Continuing efforts to build a winner in New York, John McGraw acquires 34-year-old SS Bill Dahlen from Brooklyn in exchange for pitcher Jack Cronin and iron-fingered SS Charlie Babb. McGraw says this is the trade that makes the Giants into winners. In 1904, Dahlen will top the National League with 80 RBI. When he retires in 1911, he will have fielded more chances than any other SS.

During the post-season City Series in Chicago, the Cubs veteran Jack Taylor is chided for losing three games to the White Stockings and Cubs president John Hart is convinced that gambling was involved. Taylor is traded to the St. Louis Cardinals with rookie C Larry McLean for pitcher Mike O'Neill and a righthander who was 9–13 in his first season, Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown.

Some players overcome handicaps. Brown turned his to an advantage. As a seven-year-old boy he caught his right hand in a corn grinder on his uncle's farm. It was necessary to amputate almost all the forefinger, and, although saved, the middle finger was mangled and left crooked. His little finger was also stubbed. Later, newspapers called him "Three-Finger," although to his teammates he was "Miner" because he'd worked several years in a coal mine before beginning in baseball at age 24. He started as an infielder, but when he learned to add spin to the ball by releasing it off his stub, he became a pitcher.

Brown was the pitching mainstay of the great "Tinker- to-Evers-to-Chance" Cub teams that won four pennants and two world championships, 1906-10. He won 20 or more games for six consecutive years, starting in 1906, and four of his five WS wins were shutouts.

The peak years of Brown's career coincided with those of Christy Mathewson, and they were often matched when the Giants and Cubs met. One game he lost to Mathewson was Matty's no-hitter in 1905. After that, Brown rolled off nine consecutive victories over Mathewson, the ninth coming in the playoff that decided the famous 1908 pennant race after the "Merkle Boner." In 1916, they faced each other for the final time, each with 12 wins. Mathewson beat Brown, in what turned out to be the last game for each.

Brown was a strong, durable pitcher, admired for his fitness. In 1914, American Monthly, a national magazine, published photos of his exercise program, a rugged series of body-building routines. Always in the starting rotation, he was still able to relieve frequently. He led the NL four times in saves and had 48 lifetime, in addition to his 239 career wins.

Side note:
Merkle's Boner
On September 23, 1908, while playing for the New York Giants in a game against the Chicago Cubs, while he was 19 years old (the youngest player in the NL), Merkle committed a base running error that later became known as the "Merkle Boner," and earned Merkle the nickname of "Bonehead."

In the bottom of the 9th inning, Merkle came to bat with two outs. At the time, Moose McCormick was on first base. Merkle singled and McCormick advanced to third base. Al Bridwell, the next batter, followed with a single of his own. McCormick advanced to home plate scoring the winning run for the game. The fans in attendance, under the impression that the game was over, ran onto the field to celebrate.

Meanwhile, Merkle, thinking the game was over, walked to the Giants' clubhouse without touching second base. Cubs second baseman Johnny Evers noticed this, and after retrieving a ball and touching second base he appealed to umpire Hank O'Day to call Merkle out. Since Merkle had not touched the base, the umpire called him out on a force play, and McCormick's run did not count.

The run was therefore nullified, the Giants' victory erased, and the score of the game remained tied. Unfortunately, the thousands of fans on the field prevented resumption of the game and the game was declared a tie. The Giants and the Cubs would end the season tied for first place and would have a rematch at the Polo Grounds. The Cubs won this makeup game, and thus the National League pennant.

Accounts vary as to whether Evers actually retrieved the actual game ball or not. Some versions of the story have him running to the outfield to retrieve the correct ball. Other versions have it that he shouted for the ball, which was relayed to him from the Cubs' dugout. And still other versions have it that Giants player Joe McGinnity saw what was transpiring, and threw the actual game ball into the stands; thus the ball that was picked up by or relayed to Evers was a different ball entirely.

» The American League gives Ban Johnson a raise to $15,000 for the remaining four years of his contract.

» A rift between the leagues develops over widespread charges of ticket speculation during the World Series, and accusations that officials of the Giants and A's were involved. The American League passes a resolution refusing to participate in another World Series until it has control of ticket sales in its own parks. The National Commission investigates the charge that speculators were given large blocks of tickets, but takes no action and releases no findings. The following spring, the Commission finds that much scalping occurred, but there is no evidence either team was involved, and peace is declared.

» While John McGraw is on his world tour, Giants president Harry Hempstead makes a swap with the Reds. The Reds send OF Bob Bescher to the Giants for young catcher Grover Hartley and Buck Herzog, who replaces Tinker as manager and shortstop.

The Cubs fire Johnny Evers as manager, but expect him to continue as a player. He declines.

The Pirates clean house in an 8-player swap with the Cardinals. Going to St. Louis is Dots Miller, a 1909 World Series hero, 14-game winner Hank Robinson, 3B Cozy Dolan, infielder Art Butler, and OF Chief Wilson, king of the triple. The Pirates receive pitcher Bob Harmon, 3B Mike Mowry, and 1B Ed Konetchy, whom the Bucs had been after for years.

» The National League reports more than five million attendance for the league in 1927, a new high. Veteran umpire Hank O'Day is named "player and umpire scout" for the league.

» The Rules Committee of baseball issues a greatly revised code, reducing the number of rules by combining many. Not only is the sacrifice rule abolished but also the rule awarding home runs when the ball bounces into the stands. "Bounce homers" will now be doubles. This had already been in effect in the American League but not the National League.

» At the major leagues' annual meeting, the owners vote Judge Landis another 7-year contract as commissioner. Will Harridge gets a new 5-year pact as American League president.

Connie Mack is still selling. First he sells Lefty Grove, the A's top winner in each of the past five seasons, along with Max Bishop, and George Walberg to the Boston Red Sox for $125,000 and two players, pitcher Bob Kline and infielder Rabbit Wartsler. Then George Earnshaw and recently acquired backstop Johnny Pasek go to the White Sox for $20,000 and catcher Charlie Berry. Berry once led the NFL in scoring and will become a ML umpire in the 1940's.

» The Tigers swap infielder Joe Orengo to the Red Sox for Skeeter Webb, son-in-law of Detroit manager Steve O'Neill. O'Neill denies any knowledge of trade talks, saying "I read about it in the morning paper."

» By a 7-1 vote, the American League rejects a proposal to bring back the legal spitball. The rules committee also alters the strike zone to the space between the armpits and the top of the knees. The new rule eliminates the batter's shoulders being within the strike zone.

» Peter J. McGovern becomes president of the Little League, succeeding Charles Durban, who resigns because of ill health. The Little League began in 1939 with eight teams in two leagues and has grown to over 1,800 leagues in 44 states and several foreign countries.

» Minnesota LF Harmon Killebrew undergoes knee surgery.

In the mid-1960s, it wasn't Hank Aaron or Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle but Harmon Killebrew who seemed to have the best shot at Babe Ruth's lifetime homer record. At the end of 1967, the 31-year-old Killer, a nickname that contradicted his gentle nature, had hit 380 home runs, more than Ruth had at the same age. But in 1968 he was out much of the year with an injury, and after 1970 his enormous power dissipated quickly. Killebrew finished fifth in HR all-time, and third in home run frequency, and left behind a legacy of pure power.

Killebrew was the Senators' first "bonus baby" in 1954, signing a week before his 18th birthday on the recommendation of a U.S. Senator from his home state of Idaho. He shuttled between the majors and minors for five years before finally getting a legitimate shot. He made the starting lineup for good in 1959 when second baseman Pete Runnels got spiked and Killebrew came through with two HR. He finished the season with a league-leading 42, the first of eight times he would top 40.

Throughout his career, Killebrew changed positions frequently. He came up as a second baseman, was soon moved to third, then to left field for a few seasons, over to first base for a while, then back to third, back to first, and finally off the field altogether to DH. He would often shift between two positions in the same game. But Killer never groused and his lack of a permanent defensive spot never seemed to affect his power. In 1962, the second year after the original Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins, Killebrew hit a ball completely over the left-field roof at massive Tiger Stadium. On May 2, 1964 he was the fourth straight Twin to homer in the eleventh inning against the Angels to tie a ML record. On June 3, 1967 against the Angels, Killebrew rifled a three-run shot six rows into Metropolitan Stadium's upper deck in left field, shattering two seats. The shot was estimated to have gone 530 feet. The splintered seats were painted orange and never sold again. The next day he hit another shot to almost the same spot, the ball pounding off the upper deck facing.

All-Star games brought out the best and worst in Killebrew. He homered in three contests. His first came in the first game in 1961 and provided the AL with its first run in an eventual 5-4 loss. In the 1965 game, his sixth-inning two-run homer in front of his home fans tied the game at 5-5 in another one-run AL loss. In 1968, he overstretched for a throw for an error that led to the only run of the game. The stretch also caused him to pull his hamstring, and he was out for the rest of the season, effectively ruining his chance to catch Ruth. In the homer-rich contest at Tiger Stadium in 1971, his two-run shot in the sixth provided the eventual winning runs in a 6-5 AL victory to snap an eight-game AL slide.

Killebrew, who never drank and was never thrown out of a game, came back from his All-Star hamstring injury to have his best season in 1969. He had career highs with 49 HR and 140 RBI and was selected the AL MVP. He hit another 41 HR in 1970 but saw his home run total slide to only 28 in 1971, although he did lead the league in RBI with 114. His home run totals slid further to 26 in 1972, to 5 in an injury-plagued 1973, and to 13 in 1974. The press reported acrimony between Killebrew and Twins owner Cal Griffith when Killer was released after the 1974 season, which Killebrew denied. But it was obvious that his eroding skills could no longer help Minnesota. He signed on with Kansas City for a final season in 1975. After retirement, he became a Twins broadcaster. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984.

» By a 4–3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to review Wisconsin's suit to prevent the Braves' move to Atlanta, thereby retaining baseball's "umbrella" under antitrust laws.

» Cleveland trades pitchers Luis Tiant and Stan Williams to the Twins for 3B Graig Nettles, OF Ted Uhlaender, and pitchers Dean Chance and Bob Miller. Tiant led the American League in ERA (1.60 and shutouts while going 21–9; next year he'll reverse that to 9–20.

» The Cardinals make their 3rd major trade, sending the recently acquired Rollie Fingers, C Ted Simmons, and P Pete Vuckovich to the Brewers in exchange for P Lary Sorensen, OF Sixto Lezcano, and minor leaguers OF David Green and P Dave LaPoint. Fingers and Vuckovich will win the American League Cy Young Award for the Brewers in 1981 and 1982, respectively.

» The Yankees trade P Joe Cowley and C Ron Hassey to the White Sox for P Britt Burns (18–11) and minor leaguers Mike Soper and Glen Braxton. Hassey will come back to New York before the season's start. A degenerative hip condition ends Burns' career before he has a chance to pitch for the Yanks.

The Indians sign free agent Tom Candiotti to a AAA contract. Candiotti (9-13 at Vancouver), who has been throwing a knuckler less than a year, will lead the American League in complete games (17) in 1986.

» The Orioles sign free agent 1B Rafael Palmeiro, while the Indians hand free agent Dennis Martinez a two-year contract worth $9 million. With the Expos, Martinez passed up his chance to reach the playoffs with the Braves when he nixed an August 25 trade, exercising his veto rights as a 10-and-5 player. Instead he stayed with Montreal and helped them make their run at the Phillies.

» The Dodgers set the salary bar higher by signing free agent P Kevin Brown to a 7-year, $105 million contract, the largest in the majors.

» The Elias Sports Bureau announces that Anaheim OF Darin Erstad set the American League record for consecutive errorless chances for an OF this season and didn't know it at the time.

The Astros trade Willy Taveras, Taylor Buchholz, and Jason Hirsh to the Rockies for starting pitchers Jason Jennings and Miguel Asencio. Jennings, a Texas native who attended Baylor University, was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2002.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, and baseballibrary.com

12-12-2007, 04:06 PM
Thanks again, Bud. Even when I'm not around to read the forum, I come to this feature you've put up first and read for enjoyment, before even going to the active discussions.

I hope Mordecai Brown is always celebrated as much as he has been by baseball historians over the years. Very special guy, and exceptionally good pitcher.

12-12-2007, 04:57 PM
Thanks Ed, glad you enjoy them

as long as the view counter keeps moving, I'll keep posting them

12-12-2007, 08:09 PM
"The rules committee also alters the strike zone to the space between the armpits and the top of the knees."

My favorite of the day.

I'm with Ed. Here first. More baseball here than the rest of the forum.

12-13-2007, 01:21 PM
Dec 13

» The Ohio League is formed.

» Von der Ahe completes his biggest deal selling Bob Caruthers to Brooklyn for $8,250. The deal was delayed by Caruthers's negotiations with Brooklyn, but he finally agrees to $5,000 for 1888.

Caruthers is among the all-time leaders in winning percentage at .692. He won 40 games twice, posting league-leading marks of 40-13 (1885) and 40-11 (1889) while pacing his teams to pennants. He pitched a four-hitter in his September 1884 major league debut with the St. Louis Browns of the American Association. Considered a heady pitcher who figured out batters' weaknesses, he helped the team to three straight pennants. He earned his nickname,"Parisian Bob", when he traveled to France after the 1885 season and engaged in a trans-Atlantic salary battle, settling for the then-huge sum of $3,200.

Caruthers also became a good hitter, and in 1887 he had an amazing season. Playing 54 games in the outfield and 7 at first base in addition to his 39 pitching appearances, he overcame malaria to hit .357 (fifth in the AA) and slug .547 (second) with eight HR (tied for fourth) and 59 stolen bases. He also went 29-9 as a pitcher and won four of St. Louis's five postseason victories in a traveling 15-game series. Despite all this, eccentric owner Chris von der Ahe sold him to the Brooklyn Bridegrooms of the AA after the season for $8,250. Von der Ahe blamed carousing and card playing for his team's defeat in the series, and Caruthers, an expert billiards and poker player, was just one of several scapegoats sold off.

Signing for a $5,000 salary that made him the highest-paid player in the AA, Caruthers earned it by helping the theretofore pathetic Bridegrooms to second place. In 1889, playing only five games elsewhere than the pitching box, his 40-11 season gave Brooklyn its first pennant.

Caruthers was the fourth pitcher in ML history to homer twice in one game, on August 16, 1886; in the same game, he got a triple and a double, to become the third pitcher with four extra-base hits in a game. He lost 11-9 when he was tagged out in the ninth inning trying to stretch his triple into a third HR. In 1893, when the pitching distance was moved back to 60'6" from the former 50', he had a sore arm and only played outfield. It was his last major league season, although he played until 1898 in the minors.

» The Athletics sell P Andy Coakley to Cincinnati. A 20-game winner in 1905, he had slipped to 7–8. He will be an effective but hard-luck pitcher for the next two years before starting a 37-year career as baseball coach at Columbia University.

Coakley is best remembered as Lou Gehrig's coach at Columbia University, where he directed the baseball team, 1915-51. Years before that, he came to the Philadelphia A's from Holy Cross, a natty collegian considered the "Beau Brummel" of baseball. He won 20 games in 1905 but, in his only World Series appearance, became one of Christy Mathewson's victims when the Giants' superstar threw three shutouts against the Athletics. Columbia's baseball team currently plays at Andy Coakley Field.

» Former New York Giant Dan McGann, 33, who ended his 13-year career in 1908, shoots himself in a Louisville hotel.

McGann followed manager John McGraw from Baltimore to the New York Giants in the middle of the 1902 season and started at first base for Giant pennant winners in 1904 and 1905, the team McGraw insisted was his best ever. On May 27, 1904, McGann became the first modern player to steal five bases in one game.

» At the National League meetings at the Waldorf-Astoria, The Sporting Life reports that "For the first time in history a woman sat in at a major league meeting. Mrs. H.H. Britton, owner of the St. Louis Cardinals, remained throughout the entire session of the National League on the second day. Mrs. Britton took no voice in the meeting. She allowed President Steininger to do all the voting."

The Boston Rustlers (formerly the Doves) are bought by New York politician James E. Gaffney and former player, now attorney, John Montgomery Ward. The team will be called the Braves because of Gaffney's Tammany Hall connections.

» Alarmed at the increase in home run hitting (1,054 in the major leagues, up from 936), some American League owners back a zoning system setting a minimum of 300 feet for a ball to be called a home run. The motion dies. In another action, the league requires each club to furnish two home uniforms per player, plus extra caps and stockings on the road, to improve the players' appearance. In National League meetings, Charles Ebbets proposes putting numbers on players' sleeves or caps. It's left to each club to do as it wishes.

The Phils buy IF Heinie Sand from Salt Lake City (PCL) for four players and cash. A competent SS, Sand will be the object of an alleged bribery scheme that causes another scandal.

Sand was a slick fielder and fair hitter in six seasons as the regular Phillies shortstop. In September 1924, the Giants needed to win only one game in a series against the seventh-place Phillies to secure the NL pennant. Sand was approached by Giants outfielder Jimmy O'Connell, who said the New York players would make it worth $500 if Sand didn't "bear down too hard." Sand reported the bribe offer, and O'Connell and Giant coach Cozy Dolan, the instigator, were suspended for life.

» Senators president Clark Griffith gains approval to have Washington open the American League season one day before the rest of the league, to celebrate a "National Day" with the U.S. president throwing out the first ball. The AL also installs Ernest S. Barnard as its president.

The Tigers trade OF Heinie Manush and 1B Lu Blue to the Browns for P Elam Vangilder and OF Harry Rice.

» The 15-year career of George Sisler ends as the Boston Braves release him. A lifetime .340 hitter who twice led the American League with averages above .400, Sisler would be among the first to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, enshrined in 1939.

Sisler was the greatest St. Louis Brown of them all and one of the half-dozen finest first basemen in baseball history. Like Babe Ruth, he came to the majors as a lefthanded pitcher. Like Ruth, his hitting was too phenomenal to be restricted to a pitcher's schedule. He arrived in St. Louis in 1915, the same year as Rogers Hornsby, and for 11 seasons they were rivals in excellence.

Branch Rickey was his mentor: Coach at Michigan in George's undergraduate days as an outstanding college pitcher, wily counselor in the maneuvering that eventually led him to the Browns, and manager of the team when he got there.

Other major league clubs were interested in him; Barney Dreyfuss was certain that the Pirates owned him and, under baseball law, perhaps he did. In 1911 underage and without parental consent, George signed a professional contract. He received no money and played no games, but while he pursued his education the contract was sold to Pittsburgh. After four years of anguish, argument and indecision, the National Commission ruled the contract invalid and made Sisler a free agent. He graduated with a mechanical engineering degree, considered a fistful of offers, including one from Pittsburgh, and decided for manager Rickey and the Browns. His was the first of several player-allocation cases that eventually moved irate club owners like Dreyfuss to unseat the Commission and replace it with Judge Landis.

Sisler had promise as a pitcher. His ERA was impressive, and among his five wins were two complete-game victories over Walter Johnson. Still, it was unthinkable not to have his bat in the lineup every day, and his glove at first base, a chronic Brown weak spot where seven players had been tried in the previous six years. In the field Sisler was fast, adroit, and graceful, a combination that gave elegance to his execution of plays. He led the AL seven times in assists and his career total of 1,528 heads the all-time list. In double plays he topped the league three times, starting 13 deft 3-6-3 double plays in 1920. On one occasion against Washington, with Joe Judge on third, George anticipated a squeeze bunt by Roger Peckinpaugh. Darting in with the pitch, he fielded the ball before the right-handed Peck was fairly started down the line, brush-tagged him, and flipped to Hank Severeid to nip Judge at the plate. Two outs on a squeeze are not usual, but that was George.

Sisler's career batting average is tied with Lou Gehrig's for fifteenth lifetime, although he never had Lou's power or his size. An inch or two under six feet and a trim 170 pounds, Sisler swung a 42-ounce bat, often choking up, and had six seasons with more than 200 hits. His 257 in 1920 is the best single-season mark ever. As a run producer, he was good, if not overwhelming. On the lifetime list his 1,175 RBI are one ahead of Vern Stephens; he is tied with Jake Daubert for triples and Sherry Magee for doubles.

His 1920 season was as mighty a performance as any player has ever produced. Playing every inning of 154 games, he hit .407. Among his 399 total bases were 49 doubles, 18 triples and 19 home runs. He went hitless in only 23 games and climaxed the season with prodigious averages of .442 and .448 in August and September. He drove in 122 runs, his high mark, and stole 42 bases. In 1922, when the Browns missed the pennant by one game, he hit safely in 41 consecutive games and achieved a .420 average.

In 1923 severe sinusitis infected his optic nerves and for a time he saw double. He missed the entire season. Dutch Schliebner, acquired from Brooklyn, spent his one major league season as Sisler's replacement. He hit .275 as the Browns slumped to fifth. Sisler returned in 1924 with a $25,000 contract as player-manager. He hit .305 in 151 games and moved the Browns to third. In 1925 he was on track with 224 hits and a .345 average. In fact, he only had one sub-.300 season in seven after the illness. They were seasons most players would have been proud of, but he was not really himself. His eyes never regained their former acuity.

In the winter of 1927 the Browns made a good trade, sending Harry Rice, Elam Vangilder, and Chick Galloway to Detroit for Heinie Manush and Sisler's successor at first, Lu Blue. Washington bought Sisler for $25,000, then moved him along to the Braves, where he was reunited with Hornsby. The St. Louis prodigies put on a good show, Rogers leading the league with .387, George contributing a handsome .340. In 1929, at age thirty-six, he batted .326 average with 205 hits.

After 1930 he drifted into the minors, ran a Sisler printing company in St. Louis, then a Sisler sporting-goods firm. Rickey recalled him to baseball in the 1940s as a scout and special hitting instructor at Brooklyn and Pittsburgh.

Sisler's sons were baseball men. George Jr. was president of the International League. Dick and Dave both had major league careers.

» The Cardinals sell minor league prospect Johnny Mize to Cincinnati for $55,000 He is later returned because of a suspect knee and does not make his debut until 1936.

» After a year in New York, Red Embree is traded, along with young C Sherm Lollar, Dick Starr and $100,000, to the Browns. Embree will slump to 3–13 in St. Louis after having his only winning ML season in NY. Lollar is the prize, and will catch in the majors through 1963. The Yankees receive Fred Sanford and Roy Partee. Partee is ticketed for the minors, but Sanford will help the Yanks as a starter/reliever in 1949.

» The Dodgers shed part of an era, sending P Preacher Roe and 3B Billy Cox to Baltimore for two unknowns and cash. The O's will complete this deal next March by sending OF Frank Kellert to Brooklyn for P Erv Palica.

Roe was TSN Pitcher of the Year in 1951 when he went 22-3 with Brooklyn for an .880 winning percentage - a record for NL pitchers with more than 20 wins. From 1951 through 1953, he went 44-8 for the Dodgers. The hillbilly raconteur said, "I got three pitches: my change; my change off my change; and my change off my change off my change." But after he retired, he sent the baseball world into a tizzy by admitting to having a fourth pitch in a 1955 Sports Illustrated article, "The Outlawed Spitball Was My Money Pitch."

Roe was the NL's strikeout leader in 1945, when he went 14-13 (2.87) for Pittsburgh. He suffered a fractured skull in a fight in '45 while coaching a basketball game and dropped to 3-8 and 4-15 before being traded to Brooklyn in December of 1947. In 1949, his record was 15-6; his .714 winning percentage was the league's best. He shut out the Yankees 1-0 for the Dodgers' only win in the '49 World Series. In the 1952 Series, he hurled a complete-game, 5-3 win over New York in Game Three. In his final WS showdown with the Yankees, Game Two in 1953, he gave up a tie-breaking, eighth-inning homer to Mickey Mantle to lose, 4-2.

» Mickey Mantle signs a 1962 contract for $82,000. Only Joe DiMaggio has been paid more by the Yankees.

» Catfish Hunter wins his claim against Charlie Finley and is declared a free agent by arbitrator Peter Seitz.

» Free-agent P Floyd Bannister, who led the AL with 209 strikeouts at Seattle last season, signs a 5-year contract with the White Sox for a reported $4.5 million. As compensation, the M's will pick minor leaguer Danny Tartabull from the player pool on January 20.

Tartabull's power made him one of the most feared sluggers in the late 1980s and early '90s, but a rash of injuries, poor defense, and high strikeout numbers created glaring holes in his game. Fine seasonal statistics that included a career-high 34 home runs in 1987 and a league-leading .593 slugging percentage in 1991, were often tempered by negative stats, like his 156 strikeouts in 1993.

Tartabull got his first taste of the major leagues as a young kid, when he followed his father, Jose Tartabull, around the locker rooms during his own nine-year tenure. Playing shortstop in the minor leagues, Danny quickly proved that he had more talent than his father. He made it to the majors riding a potent bat that annihilated Pacific Coast League pitching in 1985 to the tune of 43 home runs and 109 RBIs. Switched to the outfield in the Kingdome, Tartabull hit 25 homers in his first full term with the Seattle Mariners in 1986. Used as trade bait to get two pitchers and an outfielder in return, he was traded to Kansas City, where his father had spent his best seasons with the Athletics.

Placed in the clean-up spot, Tartabull responded with 34 home runs in 1987, the second-highest total in Royals history. He averaged 100 RBIs in his first three full seasons, but slumped to just 62 and 60 in 1989 and '90. He bounced back with 31 home runs and 100 RBIs in 1991, and it came at the right time -- he was an unrestricted free agent after the season. Tartabull promptly became one of the five richest players in the game when he signed a five-year deal worth $25.5 million with the New York Yankees in January 1992.

Despite putting up good numbers with the Yanks, Tartabull was plagued by injuries. After spraining his wrist in spring training, the outfielder pulled a hamstring in April 1992. Back spasms forced him to the disabled list yet again later that year, this time clearing the way for a young outfielder named Bernie Williams to be promoted to the bigs. Despite bashing 31 homers in 1993, Tartabull hit the DL once again, this time with a bruised kidney.

As he struggled on the bench in 1995 with just six homers, the Yankees traded Tartabull to the Oakland Athletics for a faltering Ruben Sierra in July. A recurring rib injury not only forced him to the bench for much of the remaining season, but also led to his trade in the offseason. Dealt to the Chicago White Sox in January 1996 for prospect Andrew Lorraine, Tartabull bounced back, notching 27 home runs and 101 RBIs in just 472 at-bats. But despite his successful return, the White Sox opted not to gamble on the oft-injured outfielder, and he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies at the beginning of 1997. Unfortunately, Tartabull broke his foot on Opening Day, and was limited to just seven at-bats in the City of Brotherly Love; he retired following his disappointing campaign.

After two years of independent ventures including owning an Internet site, Tartabull showed interest in playing ball again in January 2000. The outfielder was offered a tentative one-year deal with the San Diego Padres, who were looking to beef up their power-hungry outfield. However, amidst contract negotiation conflicts, Tartabull's brief comeback bid died before he even got a chance to play.

» Forty-year-old Joe Morgan signs a one-year contract with the Oakland A's—his 5th club since 1979.

» The Rangers sign free agent P Kevin Gross and 2B Mark McLemore.

» The Blue Jays sign free agent P Roger Clemens (10-13) to a 3-year contract worth $24.75 million. The Red Sox' last minute offer falls short and The Rocket's flirtation with the Yankees comes to naught. The Sox are successful in retaining Tim Naehring, who was minutes away from signing with Cleveland.

» The Rangers obtain OF Chad Curtis from the Yankees in exchange for minor league pitchers Sam Marsonek and Brandon Knight.

In what is believed to be baseball's first 4-team swap since 1985, the Rockies obtain 3B Jeff Cirillo, Ps Rolando Arrojo and Scott Karl, and IF Aaron Ledesma, the Devil Rays obtain 3B Vinny Castilla, the Brewers obtain Ps Jamey Wright and Jimmy Haynes, and C Henry Blanco, and the Athletics obtain P Justin Miller.

» The Yankees sign free agent All-Star 1B Jason Giambi to a 7-year, $120 million contract. In another move, New York acquired OF John Vander Wal from San Francisco in exchange for P Jay Witasick.

The Red Sox trade frustrated flychaser Carl Everret (.257, 14, 58) to the Rangers for left-hander Darren Oliver (11-11, 6.02). The former all star outfielder, who had his problems with players and managers in Boston, says he is looking forward to joining the veteran players in Texas.

Writing a 24-page pun-filled opinion, U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III upholds most of an arbitrator's decision declaring nine of 22 umpires who lost their jobs following a 1999 mass resignation must be reinstated. To make his point, the judge said it was his job to make sure the arbitrator hadn't 'missed the ball' and both parties 'make(s) a pitch that all or part of the arbitrator's ruling should be scored as an error and set aside'.

The Dodgers trade 38-year-old Kevin Brown (14-9, 2.39) for Jeff Weaver, minor league pitching prospect Yhency Brazoban, a player to be named later and cash. Baseball's first 100-million dollar player, who will make $15 million next season, waives his no-trade clause to be closer to his family.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

12-14-2007, 12:28 PM
Bud, I love your posts. I go out of my way to read every word and to agree or disagree with them.

I read something that I disagreed with, so I tried to research and prove you wrong in your post.

» Mickey Mantle signs a 1962 contract for $82,000. Only Joe DiMaggio has been paid more by the Yankees."

I had assumed that Babe Ruth that been paid more years ago when he was making more than the POTUS. So I looked it up. I was wrong and you were correct.

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/tsn/bab ... lary.shtml (http://www.baseball-almanac.com/tsn/babe_ruth_salary.shtml)

It appears that the league minimum is more that the published reports of what the POTUS earns. It seems as if an ex-senator earned more for a 400 page report than the office of President has earned in four score and ten years.

I am just trying to keep things in perspective.

Keep posting and I will keep reading. I might get you one day. :twisted:

12-17-2007, 10:41 AM
Dec 17

» Former Detroit players Deacon White and Jack Rowe purchase a controlling interest in the minor league Buffalo club. Though their reserve rights have been sold to Pittsburgh, both men announce plans to play in Buffalo next year.

The Deacon is a truly historic baseball figure. He began the game early enough to have played, and lost, against the Cincinnati Red Stockings of 1869. He played three championship seasons with Harry Wright's Boston Red Stockings of the National Association. He was with Cap Anson's White Stockings for the first championship of the National League. And, as an ardent supporter of players' rights, he ended his 22-year career as playing owner of Buffalo's Brotherhood team.

His long face, walrus mustache, and sober mien made him look out of place on the ball field in that rough-and-tumble era, but precisely like the abstemious, nonsmoking, Bible-toting, church-going deacon he was.

Nonetheless, he was the best barehanded catcher of his time, and when he joined Buffalo in 1881, with the great Jack Rowe behind the plate, he became the best third baseman, too. He threw righthanded and batted left.

With the Association Bostons he was, with Al Spalding, Ross Barnes, and Cal McVey, one of baseball's first Big Four. They defected to Chicago in 1876, but White returned to Boston for his fifth straight pennant in 1877, plus a league-leading average of .387.

For the next three years Deacon and his brother Will, a righthanded, 222-game winner, were a battery for Cal McVey at Cincinnati. Deacon Jim also had an eight-win, eight-loss stint as manager before handing the job back to McVey. In 1881 he and Will went to Buffalo where, with Dan Brouthers, Hardy Richardson, and Rowe, Jim made up a second Big Four. The owners sold the franchise to Detroit interests in 1886. The lads found Ned Hanlon, Sam Thompson, and Charley Bennett already there, and a Wolverine pennant was won in 1887. In postseason play they thrashed Chris von der Ahe's Browns in a 15-game "World Series" that traveled through ten cities.

Whiter and Jack Rowe bought back into Buffalo in 1889, although Pittsburgh had rights to their services. After a bitter legal fight they were forced to play for the Alleghenys, a situation that gave impetus to formation of the Players' League. When the Brotherhood collapsed, Deacon, then 42, retired, honored and respected by all who knew him.

» The PL adopts some new rules, including the 2-umpire system and an increase in pitching distance from 55 1/2 feet to 57 feet. A lively ball is chosen, assuring high scores in the upcoming season.

» The American Association passes out of existence after ten years as a settlement is finally reached. Four AA clubs (St. Louis, Louisville, Washington, and Baltimore) join with the National League eight in a 12-club league formally styled "The National League and American Association of Professional Base Ball Clubs." The other four AA clubs are bought out for about $130,000. The NL will allow Sunday games for the first time but will retain its 50 cent minimum admission price.

» John Harris sells the Boston National League team to a syndicate headed by William Hepburn Russell, a New York lawyer and city official, for $100,000. The team will be nicknamed the Rustlers after their new owner.

» Charlie Comiskey pulls a surprise, reaching down to Peoria and naming Clarence "Pants" Rowland, scout and minor league executive, to manage his White Sox.

Had the Black Sox scandal not exposed the pettiness that characterized most of Comiskey's later dealings, he might have been among the most respected elder statesmen of sport. Charles Comiskey was the son of a famous long-time Chicago alderman who represented the Irish ghettos of the near West Side. The boy rebelled against his father's plans to apprentice him to a plumber. Instead, he played semi-pro ball on the Chicago sandlots. In 1879 Comiskey hooked up with baseball promoter Ted Sullivan, who taught him the art of playing first base. Until the 1880s, most first basemen started each play with a foot on the bag. Comiskey increased his range by playing off the bag, and his success popularized that style. As a player-manager for the St. Louis Browns of the American Association, Comiskey won four league titles (1885-1888).

Comiskey's greatest fame came not as a manager, but as a mogul. When Ban Johnson took over the fledgling Western League (formed November 21, 1893), few imagined that eight years later it would challenge the National League for baseball supremacy. Comiskey assisted Johnson by purchasing the Sioux City franchise, which he shifted to St. Paul, and in 1900, to Chicago, where it was christened the White Stockings. For the next 31 years "The Old Roman" was the driving force behind the White Sox, who won championships in 1901, 1906, 1917, and 1919.

Comiskey's own greed is considered to have been the real motivation for the "Black Sox" selling out to gamblers in 1919. When it was revealed that the players threw the Series for $10,000 because Comiskey had underpaid them for years, his sterling reputation was tarnished. Nonetheless, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939, as an executive.

» The American League votes to allow pitchers who used the spitball in 1920 to continue using it as long as they are in the league. The National League will do the same. There will be 17 designated spitters in all, eight in the NL and nine in the AL. For the NL: Bill Doak, Phil Douglas, Dana Fillingim, Ray Fisher, Marvin Goodwin, Burleigh Grimes, Clarence Mitchell, and Dick Rudolph. For the AL: A.W. Ayers, Slim Caldwell, Stan Coveleski, Red Faber, H.B. Leonard, Jack Quinn, Allan Russell, Urban Shocker, and Allen Sothoron.

» The Yankees get 4-time 20-game winner Urban Shocker from the Browns for pitchers Milt Gaston, Joe Giard, and Joe Bush. Shocker led the Browns in wins in each of the past five seasons and will be a mainstay on two pennant-winning staffs for New York. Bush had beaten the Browns 17 straight times after losing to them on June 12, 1922.

Shocker is a dim figure, an unappreciated, almost-forgotten great pitcher. In a 13-year career, he never had a losing season and compiled a .617 winning percentage. He was well-enough known in his time, yet he labored in relative obscurity. His best years were spent with the Sisler-era Browns, a so-so team that had the bad luck to be good when the Yankees were fantastic. His final years were spent as a Yankee, but as perhaps the least flamboyant of that vivid ensemble. And he died at the untimely age of 38, much too early to have become a legend.

Shocker came late to the big leagues and did not even become a pitcher until 1913, his first professional season. Originally a catcher, he demonstrated such speed and accuracy in his throws that he was switched to the mound. He acquired a spitter, which he threw infrequently and as a breaking slow ball, and a variety of curves. His delivery was aided by a permanent crook in the end joint of his ring finger, suffered when he speared a ball while still a catcher. He always said the crooked finger improved his grip and thus the effectiveness of his pitches.

Two fine seasons with Ottawa, of the Canada League, brought him to the Yankees in 1916 for $750. In one of Miller Huggins's rare misjudgments, however, he was traded to the Browns in 1918, with Les Nunamaker, Fritz Maisel, Nick Cullop, and Joe Gedeon, for Del Pratt, Eddie Plank, and $15,000.

Thereafter, Shocker hit his stride, stringing together four 20-win seasons and proving a particular nemesis of the Yankees. In 1924 the Yanks stole him back for Joe Bush, Milt Gaston, and Joe Giard. Shocker had his only .500 season in 1925, the year of the great Yankee slump, but pitched marvelously well in 1926 and 1927.

After the 1927 season he voluntarily retired (he did pitch three innings in 1928). He had a successful radio shop in St. Louis, but evidently was too ill to run it. His death was attributed to an overstrained "athlete's heart."

Shocker was an intense, unsmiling fellow, a studious pitcher widely admired for an artful delivery and a profound knowledge of hitters. He allowed almost exactly a hit per inning, yet, as his ERA shows, not many runs. He was stingy with walks, averaging one every four innings. A serious professional, he was known as an excellent fielder and capable hitter, perhaps too serious to have a nickname.

» At a joint meeting, a rule is changed that ends the practice of minor league teams selling star prospects to friendly ML clubs for high prices, then getting the players back, forcing another ML club to pay the reputed price for the player. Other changes ban the signing of players under the age of 17 and set a $7,500 price tag on any first-year player.

National League President John Heydler's designated hitter idea gets the backing of John McGraw, but the American League is against it.

» The Yankees trade OF Roy Cullenbine and C Buddy Rosar to the Indians for Roy Weatherly and IF Oscar Grimes. With the draft in mind, all four players are married with one child each. As noted by historian Lyle Spatz, Rosar had been in the doghouse with Joe McCarthy for leaving the team without permission the weekend of July 18-19 to take a police examination in Buffalo. The leave-taking prompted the Yankees to sign vet C Rollie Hemsley.

» In a tax-avoidance scheme, the NY Yankees sell Yankee Stadium and Kansas City properties for $6.5 million in a deal with Johnson Corp and the Knights of Columbus, who immediately lease the property back to the Yanks.

» The Pasadena City Board confers with the Dodgers on the possible temporary use of the Rose Bowl.

» In a child-payment hearing related to his divorce, Ted Williams alleges the Red Sox paid him $60,000, not the reported $100,000. He claims his entire yearly income was $83,000.

The Yankees fire long time television and radio voice Mel Allen. This well known broadcaster popularized the 'going, going, gone' home run call and often said 'how about that' to describe happenings on the ball field.

The voice of Mel Allen is as resonantly warm and friendly as it is deep and authoritative. First heard on the radio in 1935, when he did football games for the University of Alabama, Allen continued on the air through the 1980s narrating television's "This Week In Baseball."

He became famous as the "Voice of the Yankees" (1939-64), a job and a team he loved. In 1978 he and Red Barber were the first broadcasters voted into the Hall of Fame (in the so-called Writers' Wing).

» The owners announce they will increase contributions to the players' pension fund by $1 million to $5.1 million per year. Players vote down the proposal 491–7.

» Bill Veeck fires Chuck Tanner and hires old friend Paul Richards, 67, to manage the White Sox. Tanner then accepts a 3-year contract to manage Oakland.

» The Dodgers sign free agent and former Dodger star P Orel Hershiser to a contract.

At his peak in the 1980s, Orel Hershiser was at the top of the National League, the ace of a stacked Los Angeles Dodger rotation. He was a marvel on the mound, one year stringing together 59 consecutive scoreless innings, breaking a 20-year-old record. After he underwent reconstructive shoulder surgery in 1990, forcing him to miss the entire year and some of the next, nobody could say whether or not the man they called "Bulldog" was going to recover. But he toughed it out, like his namesake, and ended up winning 106 more games, a testament to his tenacity and love for the game.

The fourth Orel in his family (his son is the fifth), Hershiser always maintained fine control on the mound, mixing a wide array of pitches, including his trademark sinker. After his surgery he learned to adapt, and added a slider, two-seam fastball, and excellent pickoff move to his arsenal.

Hershiser was promoted through the Dodgers system to the bigs in 1983, and was placed in the bullpen for his first full season in 1984. When he began to struggle, manager Tommy Lasorda called him into his office to have a pep talk with the youngster, bestowing the nickname "Bulldog" on him. Whatever Lasorda said to him in the "Sermon on the Mound," as the pep talk later become known, worked. Hershiser finished the season strong, even getting a bunch of well-deserved starts under his belt. In 1985, as the club's number three starter behind Jerry Reuss and Fernando Valenzuela, Hershiser proved he belonged, going 19-3 with five shutouts, notching a 2.03 ERA. To top that off, he had a win and a tough-luck no-decision in the NLCS against the Cardinals.

But as commanding as his 1985 was, Hershiser was close to unstoppable in 1988. Perhaps no other pitcher has ever finished a season the way Hershiser finished his remarkable 1988 campaign. After pitching five consecutive shutouts, the sinkerballer broke former Dodger Don Drysdale's record 58.2-inning scoreless streak by one out (giving him 59 innings) with a ten-inning scoreless, no-decision effort in his final start of the season at San Diego. With his eight shutout innings in the LCS opener against the Mets, he went 67 innings without being scored upon. He picked up a save against the Mets in Game Four the day after a start, finished the Mets off with a shutout in Game Seven, and followed with another against the Athletics in the World Series en route to becoming the first NL player to win the MVP in both postseason series. In the one series game he batted in (Game Two), he went 3-for-3 with two doubles, a run, and an RBI while surrendering only three hits, all to Dave Parker.

The following season, Hershiser once again posted a fine ERA of 2.35, but with little run support had to settle for a 15-15 record. Still, at the end of his sixth year in the bigs, the Dodgers ace had tallied 98 wins and didn't seem like he was going to slow down. Then came a disastrous start in April 1990 against the St. Louis Cardinals, when Hershiser came off the mound in the sixth inning with intense pain in his right shoulder. After discovering severe damage in his right shoulder, the Dodger ace was forced to have arthroscopic surgery, taking him out of the game until the following year. He came back cautiously, pitching two games in the minors, and then rejoined Los Angeles, winning the last six of his starts to close out the 1991 season.

Even if he wasn't the Orel of old, the fact that Hershiser did return to the game to notch 200+ innings in both 1992 and 1993 is impressive enough. His final years with the Dodgers produced average statistics, and he signed with the Cleveland Indians in April 1995. Regaining some of his pre-surgery magic, Hershiser went 16-6 with the Tribe that year, and picked up the ALCS MVP Award by raking in two wins with a 1.29 ERA.

Despite garnering 15 and 14 wins in 1996 and 1997, respectively, Hershiser's ERA were well over 4.00, and it was clear the pitcher was in the sunset of his career. He signed on with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent in the offseason, and ended up with another double-digit win season, but a 4.41 ERA as well. When the New York Mets picked him up as a free agent, the club was looking for veteran poise and authority in the clubhouse, as well as a solid arm that could give the team a quality start. Indeed, one thing Hershiser was never short on was leadership and a strong clubhouse presence.

Hershiser was known to be a giving personality in the community as well as the clubhouse, getting heavily involved in many charities, including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Harambee Preparatory School in Los Angeles. Stating that "you don't have to be a wimp to be a Christian," Hershiser attributed his devout adherence to religion as the motivating factor and source of strength during his playing years. He would often calm himself on the mound by singing Christian hymns, in attempts to drown out other voices in the stadiums. He got a chance to share one of his songs, with the nation in 1988, when Johnny Carson asked him to sing a verse on The Tonight Show, just after the Dodgers had won the World Series. A devoted husband and father, Hershiser would never smoke or drink, and steered clear of swearing. In the 1990s, he became a motivational Christian speaker, offering his services throughout the country.

The Mets got exactly what they were looking for in Hershiser's 40-year-old arm and strong clubhouse presence. He ended up pitching 179 innings, helping the Mets to the NLCS, where they lost to the Atlanta Braves in six games. The following year, Hershiser joined his old club, the Dodgers, for one last shot at glory. Refusing to go gently into that good night, the pitcher put off retirement as long as possible. After floundering with a 1-5 record and 13.14 ERA, Los Angeles sent Hershiser down to the minors, and then reluctantly put the much-loved Dodger on waivers. He retired in July 2000, accepting a job in the LA front office as a player-personnel consultant.

Considered one of the wiser players of the game, Hershiser studied the facets of baseball intricately. Whether it was upgrading the quality of his pitches or his fielding, he would work hard, day in and day out. And despite records he posted in his glory days with the Dodgers, one of the most significant milestones came with his durability. Hershiser finished with 204 wins, 106 of which came after a surgery that could have ended his career.

City and club officials announce plans for the financing and construction of a new, downtown Miami retractable roof ballpark for the Marlins. The state-of-the-art $385 million stadium, which will be a 40,000-seat facility with 60 luxury suites, includes a 40-year lease and an agreement to rename the team the Miami Marlins.

After bringing the Giants to the brink of a world championship, Russ Ortiz (14-10, 3.78) is traded by the Giant to the Braves for sophomore southpaw Damian Moss (12-6, 4.11) and minor league prospect Manuel Mateo. The 27-year old right-hander left Game 6 with 5-0 margin, but the Giants bullpen was unable to hold the lead and lost the series to the Diamondbacks in seven games.

After agreeing to basics weeks ago, the Yankees and 35-year old Gary Sheffield (.330, 39, 132) finalizes a $39 million, three-year deal which includes $13.5 million in deferred money and a $13 million team option for 2007. The seven-time All-Star outfielder played with Braves last year and has spent time with the Padres, Marlins and Dodgers after breaking in with the Brewers in 1988.

A three team deal which including Diamondback southpaw Randy Johnson and pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii traded to the Yankees, Dodger outfielder Shawn Green and pitcher Brad Penny being sent to the Diamondbacks with Jose Vazquez and prospects going to the Dodgers. The blockbuster transaction falls apart as Los Angeles backs out at the eleventh hour.

The last place Mariners continue to sign impact free-agents in hopes to improve upon last season’s poor performance (63-99) as the team signs 25-year-old Adrian Beltre (.334, 48, 121) to a $64 million, five-year deal. The former Dodger third baseman joins Richie Sexson, a free agent Seattle signed to a four-year, $50 million contract two days ago.

Although the terms of the deal are not made public, Edgar Renteria (.287, 10, 72) inks a four year contract believed to be worth $40 million with the World Champion Red Sox. The former Cardinal shortstop, who made the last out in the World Series ending Boston’s 86-year drought, replaces fellow Colombian Orlando Cabrera, the player obtained in July in the Nomar Garciaparra trade.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

12-18-2007, 10:40 AM
Dec 18

» Only five clubs attend the "annual" UA meeting, one by proxy. The UA will die early in 1885.

The Union Association was a league in Major League Baseball which lasted for only one season in 1884. St. Louis won the pennant and joined the National League the following season. Chicago moved to Pittsburgh in late August, and four teams folded during the season and were replaced.

Although the league is conventionally listed as a major league, this status has been questioned by a number of modern commentators, most notably Bill James. The league had a number of major league players (on the St. Louis franchise, at least), but the league's overall talent and organization was notably inferior to that of the two established major leagues.

» The Washington Nationals are admitted to the National League, in place of Providence. The Washington club was displaced in the AA by the court's decision that the Mets' franchise could not be revoked.

» The Brotherhood meets and expels members who have signed National League contracts, including Jack Glasscock, John Clarkson, Kid Gleason, and George Miller. Among those expelled, Jake Beckley, Joe Mulvey, and Ed Delahanty would eventually jump back to the PL and be reinstated.

Kid Gleason, best known today as the betrayed manager of the infamous Black Sox, Gleason was a star player of the 1890s. He began as a pitcher with the Phillies. After two losing seasons, he blossomed with a 38-17 mark in 1890 when desertions to the Players' League stripped the Phillies of their regular starters. He never approached that level again, although he twice more topped 20 wins. When the distance from the mound to the plate was increased in 1894, he lost his effectiveness.

» At the league meeting, Ban Johnson is reelected American League president and given a raise to $10,000. Also, the AL votes to allow coaches at 3B and 1B at all times: till now, only one coach was permitted except if there were two or more base runners. The AL also institutes the "foul strike" rule, used by the National League since 1901: a foul will be counted as a strike unless there are already two strikes.

» Duffy Lewis returns from the military, and is traded by the Red Sox to the Yankees. He goes along with front-line pitchers Ernie Shore and Dutch Leonard for P Ray "Slim" Caldwell, Slim Love, Roxy Walters, Frank Gilhooley, and $15,000.

Lewis was the left fielder in the famous Red Sox outfield that included Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper. He became so adept at fielding along the steep incline in front of Fenway Park's left-field fence that it became known as "Duffy's Cliff." Despite being one of the few players apparently liked by Ty Cobb, Lewis's fondest memories included throwing out Cobb as he attempted to stretch hits. At bat, he was a reliable line-drive hitter and good RBI man, with a personal high of 109 in 1912. In 1914 he became the first ML player to pinch hit for Babe Ruth, then a Red Sox rookie pitcher. The next season, he saw Ruth's first homer; in 1935, as traveling secretary for the Braves, a post he held for 30 years, he saw Ruth's last.

» On his 34th birthday, Ty Cobb signs to manage the Tigers for $32,500.

» Yankee great Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich calls it a career as a player. He accepts a coaching position with the Yankees.

Along with Joe DiMaggio and Charlie Keller, Henrich formed one of baseball's most acclaimed outfields for the Yankees before and after WWII. Commissioner Landis ruled Henrich a free agent in April 1937 after he had been illegally hidden in the Indians' farm system, and he signed with the Yankees, hitting .320 as a part-timer. He helped the team to six pennants, and although he played in only four WS because of injury and military service, he was a key figure in two of the most famous Series games. In 1941, he was the man whose third strike skipped past Mickey Owen, leading to a legendary Yankee rally. In 1949 he homered off Don Newcombe in the ninth inning of the first game to give Allie Reynolds a 1-0 victory.

An excellent fielder, Henrich lived up to his "Old Reliable" nickname with his bat, hitting 22 homers in 1938 and 31 in 1941. After the war, he had his greatest season statistically in 1948, leading the AL in triples and runs scored, and batting .308 with 25 homers and 100 RBI. But he was probably more valuable in 1949, when his consistent clutch hitting helped keep the injury-racked Yankees in the pennant race. In 115 games, he hit 24 homers, batted in 85, and scored 90. He finished sixth in the MVP voting.

» In a shake-up of the Cleveland Indians, Hank Greenberg stays on as GM, while Ellis W. Ryan resigns as president after losing a showdown. Mike Wilson, who buys Ryan's share, will be the Indians new president.

Although he missed time through injuries, military service, and early retirement, Greenberg still ranks as one of the most fearsome sluggers in baseball history. The powerful righthander played only the equivalent of nine-and-a-half seasons, yet produced outstanding career totals as well as exceptional season marks.

A native New Yorker, Greenberg was the son of Rumanian-born Jewish immigrants who owned a successful cloth-shrinking plant. Hank graduated from James Monroe High School in the Bronx, then attended New York University on an athletic scholarship for one semester before beginning his professional baseball career. The 6'4" 215-lb Greenberg's athletic success stemmed from size, strength, and hard work, more than native talent. His high school coach explained: "Hank was so big for his age and so awkward that he became painfully self-conscious. The fear of being made to look foolish drove him to practice constantly and, as a result, to overcome his handicaps."

Greenberg tried out for the New York Giants but Giants Manager John McGraw, although constantly on the lookout for a Jewish star to attract New York's large Jewish population and impressed by Greenberg's powerful hitting, decided Hank was too clumsy and uncoordinated to help the Giants. Hank turned down a lucrative offer from the Yankees, realizing there would be little chance of making the ML with Lou Gehrig on first for the Bombers. He also rejected overtures from the Senators, who had Joe Judge. In January 1930 he signed with the Tigers.

After several minor league stops, he was called up to the Tigers in 1933. Still awkward in the field, though quick on his feet, he showed line-drive power, with 33 doubles, 12 homers, and a .301 batting average. In 1934 he cracked a league-leading 63 doubles and batted .339 with 26 homers and 139 RBI as the Tigers won the AL pennant. In the WS loss to the Gashouse Gang Cardinals, he hit .321 but struck out nine times.

The Tigers repeated as AL champs in 1935, spurred by Greenberg's league-topping 36 homers and 170 RBI. He was named AL MVP. He suffered a broken wrist in the second game of the WS and watched from the sideline as the Tigers defeated the Cubs. Off to an excellent start in 1936, with 16 RBI in 12 games, he broke the same wrist in a collision at first base and missed the rest of the season, amid speculation that his career was over.

Instead, he rebounded with 183 RBI in 1937, the third-highest total ever. He also hit 40 homers and batted .337. The next season he made a determined assault on Babe Ruth's 60 home run record. With five games to go, he had 58, to tie Jimmie Foxx's record for righthanded hitters, but he was unable to add to that total. He set a record for most multi-homer games in a season, with eleven.

In 1940, Greenberg shifted from his hard-won first base position to left field to enable the Tigers to find a regular lineup spot for hard-hitting but poor-fielding Rudy York. The result was a Detroit pennant, breaking the Yankees' streak of four straight pennants. Many credited Greenberg's willingness and ability to learn a completely new position as the key factor in Detroit's success. He hit .340 and led the AL in doubles (50), home runs (41), and RBI (150), and earned his second MVP award.

Greenberg, then a bachelor, was one of the first major leaguers inducted into the service, entering 19 games into the 1941 season. He was discharged from the army on December 5, 1941, two days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He immediately enlisted as an officer candidate in the Air Corps. Hank served with distinction in the Far East until his discharge in mid-1945. He returned with a bang, with a home run in his first game. His grand slam on the final day of the season won the pennant for the Tigers. In the WS win over the Cubs, he hit two more homers and batted in seven runs.

He led the AL in homers (44) and RBI (127) again in 1946, but a salary dispute developed with the Tigers during the season. Rather than raise his salary, Detroit waived him out of the AL to Pittsburgh. Greenberg deeply resented learning of the deal from the radio rather than being informed in advance of the public announcement. The Pirates coaxed him into playing the 1947 season with a complicated contract that netted him between $100,000 and $145,000, making him the NL's first $100,000 player. A bullpen was built in front of Forbes Field's distant left field wall and fans quickly labeled it "Greenberg Gardens." Although he hit a disappointing .249, he contributed 25 home runs and served as a gate instructor. More important, he served as hitting instructor and advisor to his protege and friend, young Ralph Kiner. When Greenberg retired after the 1947 season, the left field bullpen became known as "Kiner's Korner."

In 1948 Cleveland owner Bill Veeck hired Greenberg as farm system director. He became general manager in 1950 and built the team that derailed the Yankees' string of pennants in 1954. Unable to purchase stock in the Indians, he moved to the White Sox as part owner and vice president as that team won the 1959 pennant. He retired from baseball in 1963 to become a successful investment banker.

» Former Yankee SS Phil Rizzuto signs as a Yankee radio-TV announcer.

» The Yankees announce the signing of Dick Williams as manager, precipitating a legal showdown with Charlie Finley. Two days later, American League president Joe Cronin rules that the Yankees cannot sign Williams.

» Ferguson Jenkins is convicted on cocaine possession charges in a Canadian court, but has the verdict immediately erased by Judge Gerald Young because of his years of "exemplary" conduct.

Jenkins never received the fame his accomplishments warrant. He racked up 284 victories, had six consecutive 20-win seasons paired with 200-plus strikeouts, pitched more than 300 innings five times, and is high on the all-time strikeout list with 3,192. He never pitched on a pennant winner, though, and was usually on teams that were known more for hitting than pitching.

When the Cubs acquired Jenkins midway through the 1966 season, manager Leo Durocher converted the hard-throwing 6'5" 200-lb righthander into a starter. Beginning in 1967 and continuing through 1972, Jenkins won at least 20 games every year. He set a modern Cubs record with 236 strikeouts in 1967, then raised the record each of the next three seasons to 260, 273, and 274. In the 15-inning 1967 All-Star game, Jenkins equaled Carl Hubbell's 1934 strikeout numbers, fanning six in three innings, but he gave up a sixth-inning homer to Brooks Robinson that tied the score at 1-1. He gave up another homer, to Harmon Killebrew, in his only other All-Star appearance (1971). He led the NL in 1971 with a 24-13 record with 263 strikeouts, a 2.77 ERA, and 30 complete games to win the Cy Young award. He also hit .243 with six homers.

After failing to win 20 games in 1973, and because of Ron Santo's diminishing skills at third base, the Cubs traded Jenkins to the Texas Rangers for Bill Madlock. In his first start in a Ranger uniform, he shut out the World Champion A's on one hit. He led the AL with a 25-12 record, the seventh and last time he would win 20 games. He fell to 17-18 in 1975 and was traded to Boston. He was going to Fenway Park with high expectations for 1976, joining a Red Sox team that had come within one win of a world title the previous year. But the fire had gone out of Jenkins's arm. He could not win more games than he lost. By late 1977, Red Sox manager Don Zimmer was fed up with Jenkins's inconsistency and banished him to the bullpen. On September 18 in Baltimore, Brooks Robinson Night, Jenkins supposedly fell asleep (Jenkins said he simply had his feet up in the cart) in the bullpen and had to be woken up to warm up. Zimmer was livid, and Jenkins didn't pitch again in a Boston uniform. At the end of the year, Jenkins headed back to Texas, where he partially regained his form and won 18 games. Jenkins was reacquired by the Cubs in 1982 and led the club in innings pitched and ERA with a 14-15 record at the age of 38.

» The National League announces the six finalist cities for the two expansion clubs that will join the league in 1993: Buffalo, Denver, Miami, Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, and Washington, DC.

» Top Yankees P prospect Brien Taylor injures his shoulder in a fight near his home in North Carolina. The Injury will require surgery and cause Taylor to miss the entire 1994 season. Taylor, who signed for a $1.55 million bonus in 1991 and never made it to the majors.

Brien Taylor (born December 26, 1971) was a baseball pitcher best known for being just the second amateur baseball player to be picked first overall in the Major League Baseball Draft and never make the major leagues. (The first was Steve Chilcott, in 1966.)

Taylor was born in Beaufort, North Carolina and drafted by the New York Yankees in 1991. He was offered about $350,000 to sign a minor league contract, the typical amount given to #1 draft choices at that time. However, agent Scott Boras (acting as an "advisor" because unsigned players were not allowed to have an agent at that time) advised the Taylor family that last year's top-rated high school pitcher, Todd Van Poppel, was given more than $1.2 million dollars to sign with the Oakland Athletics, giving up a scholarship to Stanford University in the process. The Taylors held out for "Van Poppel money" even though they had less leverage because Brien's poor grades at East Carteret High School in North Carolina prevented him from getting a college scholarship anywhere. They then used a local community college as leverage to get the Yankees to agree to pay Van Poppel money. The Yankees were without the official services of George Steinbrenner who was serving a suspension at the time but through the media, Steinbrenner said that if the Yankees let Taylor get away, they should be "shot." Taylor was signed for $1.55 million the day before his classes were set to begin. Further delay would have meant the deal could not be signed until after the school year ended, which coincided with the following year's draft.

While quickly ascending up the minor league ranks in 1993, Taylor suffered a torn labrum while defending his brother in a fistfight. Unfortunately, Taylor was never the same pitcher again. He was at Double-A before the incident but spent the bulk of the remainder of his professional baseball career struggling at Single-A.

He was released by the Yankees at the end of the 1998 season and pitched for minor league affiliates of the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians until retiring in 2000.

He currently works in real-estate, specifically buying and repairing homes for resale.

» Filling the void created by Mark McGwire's unexpected retirement, the Cardinals sign first baseman Tino Martinez to a $21 million, three-year contract. After he was replaced in the Yankees lineup by Jason Giambi, the former Bronx Bomber said the Cardinals were his first choice as a free agent.

The Reds, who tried to sign Pokey Reese in April to a 4-year, $21 million contract, ship the second baseman and P Dennys Reyes to the Rockies for pitchers Gabe White and Luke Hudson. In turn, Colorado sends Reese tomorrow to the Red Sox for C Scott Hatteberg. The Sox will make a Pokey a free agent by not tendering him a contract and he'll sign in January with Pittsburgh. Hatteberg will go the same route and sign with the A's.

John Rocker is traded to the Rangers from the Indians for minor league pitcher David Elder. The reliever, not known for his clubhouse diplomacy, will join recently acquired Carl Everett, who also has had difficulties with management and teammates.

» The Astros sign free agent 2B Jeff Kent to a 2-year, $18.2 million contract, with a $9 million option for 2005. Kent will play 2B and all–star second baseman Craig Biggio will move to the OF.

The Rangers sign free agent OF Doug Glanville to a contract.

Two days after trading pitching ace Tim Hudson (17-8, 4.43 ERA ) to the Braves, the A's deal Mark Mulder to the Cardinals for starting pitcher Dan Haren, reliever Kiko Calero and minor league catching prospect Daric Barton. Five of the six players obtained by giving up two-thirds of the team’s ‘Big Three’ are expected to part of the opening day roster for Oakland.

The bat Pete Rose used to hit his 159th career home run in 1985 is acquired by GoldenPalace.com for $103,631.91 during Lelands Winter 2005 Auction. The on-line casino, infamous for placing winning bids for the Dallas Grassy Knoll fence and the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich, plans to raise money for charity by sawing the bat in half to determine if the bat is corked as is widely believed.

*could not find info as to whether or not the bat has been sawed in half yet, if anyone knows, please post the results

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, and baseballibrary.com

12-19-2007, 10:23 AM
Dec 19

» Washington manager Clark Griffith meets with Walter Johnson in KC and convinces the star to re-sign for $12,500, considerably less than his recent contract with the Chifeds, with the assurance that Griffith would convince the Washington management to spring for a bigger contract later. Washington will later sign Johnson to $16,000 a year for five years. Griffith gets $6,000 from Charles Comiskey to allow Johnson to repay his Chifed signing bonus.

A native of the prairie, Griffith was a professional trapper at age ten, emulating his father, a commercial hunter. When the Griffiths relocated to Bloomington, IL, young Clark discovered organized baseball. He signed his first pro contract in 1888 with Milwaukee of the Western League, and jumped to the American Association, pitching for both St. Louis and Boston in 1891 before the league collapsed.

In 1893 Griffith assembled a 30-18 record for the Oakland Oaks (Pacific Coast League). When the Oaks' owners, in mid-season, did not come up with back pay owed the players, Griffith organized his teammates to strike. Needing employment, several of them, including Griffith, audaciously found work as itinerant vaudevillians in San Francisco's Barbary Coast district. When the owners found enough money, the greasepaint was abandoned and the season was completed.

Griffith was signed by Cap Anson for his NL Chicago Colts (later Cubs) in 1893. Griffith's eight years in Chicago were the high point of his playing career, and Anson's tutelage added a dimension to his ambitious personality. The Old Fox earned his nickname by utilizing a six-pitch arsenal, including the screwball (which he claimed to have invented), a silencing quick-pitch delivery, and the ruse of hiding the ball in the plane of his body before delivering. Griffith scuffed, scratched, cut, and spit upon nearly every pitch without hesitation, yet when the call came to make these tactics illegal in 1920, Griffith led that bandwagon. Young Clark claimed it was bad luck to pitch a shutout, and avoided doing so until 1897.

Griffith served as vice president of the League Protective Players' Association, and in 1900, he led the members in baseball's first universal strike. The players wanted the minimum salary raised to $3,000 and their uniforms paid for by the owners. Honorable demands aside, The Old Fox had the ulterior motive of helping old friend Ban Johnson establish his rival American League. He contrived to get every player to pledge not to sign a new contract without LPPA approval. This tactic crippled NL owners. Griffith persuaded 39 NL stars to jump to the AL; for his efforts, he was rewarded with the player/managership of the new Chicago franchise in 1901 and 1902, before moving on to the same duties with the newborn New York Highlanders (later Yankees) from 1903 to 1908. A tremendous animosity grew between Griffith and the New York owners. Oddly enough, the NL took him back with open arms to manage the Cincinnati Reds from 1909 to 1911. But when Johnson convinced him to rebuild the ailing franchise in Washington, Griffith had a home for life.

Placing himself in debt (a position from which he never strayed far), Griffith purchased control of the lackluster Senators over the years 1912-20. His financial ills forever kept him at odds with his players. It was probably an economic motivation that brought about a change in his racial views. As early as 1911, with the Reds, Griffith began signing Cuban ballplayers, the first to do so. The often-broke Griffith sometimes combined sentimentality with a nose for box-office attractions. During the Depression, Griffith sold star outfielder Goose Goslin to Detroit, asserting he could no longer afford him. But when the aging Goslin was released by the Tigers some years later, Griffith found a spot for him on the Senators' roster. War hero Bert Shepard had potential as a pitcher, but lost a leg in combat. Griffith signed him anyway. Wartime blackout restrictions did not prevent him from obtaining government approval to hold more night games than other franchises in order to provide more "R-and-R" for the dayworkers of the Washington bureaucracy. The ex-vaudevillian always knew what drew a crowd. In 1946 he installed the first device to record pitch speed (borrowed from the U.S. Army) so that visiting flamethrower Bob Feller could give the fans a pre-game thrill.

Griffith's major strategic contribution to the game was the development of the relief pitcher. While in New York, he yielded to the pressures from his Tammany Hall owners and pitched his two premier starters, Jack Chesbro and Jack Powell, a staggering 845 combined innings in 1904. In 1905 both were markedly less effective, and completed many fewer games. The Old Fox finished many games for them personally, making a career-high 18 relief appearances that season. Along with John McGraw, Griffith revolutionized baseball with his reliance on the bullpen. He subsequently developed the first great relievers, Allan Russell and Fred Marberry. He turned relief strategy into a weapon against McGraw's Giants in the 1924 World Series. In Game Seven, Griffith sent in a succession of relief pitchers that led McGraw, committed to the lefty-righty percentages, to remove star first baseman Bill Terry from the game. When Griffith finished up with the great Walter Johnson, the Senators went on to win the Series with a 12-inning triumph.

Senators' player-manager Bucky Harris is traded to the Tigers for infielder Jack Warner. The future Hall of Famer will replace George Moriarity (68-86, 6th place) as the Motor City skipper.

"Believe what you want; no manager ever resigns; -BUCKY HARRIS, major league manager (1924-48, '50-56)

» The Yankees send five players to San Francisco as part of the payment for Joe DiMaggio. He will play another season in the Pacific Coast League and will report at the end of 1935.

» In a continuing family squabble, Charlie Comiskey, Jr. denies his sister's, Mrs. Dorothy Comiskey Rigney, allegation that he used the "rule or ruin" tactic to gain control of the club.

» The race to sign Catfish Hunter begins in the law offices of Cherry, Cherry & Flythe in Ahoskie, North Carolina. Yankee and Red Sox representatives are the first arrivals.

A single-engine plane crashes into the upper deck of Baltimore's Memorial Stadium injuring the pilot and three others. Minutes prior to the mishap the plane had buzzed the stadium during the final moments of the Steelers play-off victory over the Colts.

» Cy Young Award winner Vida Blue is sentenced to 90 days in prison, and recently convicted and suspended 1B Willie Aikens is traded by Kansas City to Toronto for DH Jorge Orta.

Blue signed with the Athletics at age 19 instead of accepting one of numerous scholarship offers to become a major-college quarterback. He had his first wrangle with A's owner Charles O. Finley right away, when Finley wanted Blue to change his first name to "True."

He was called up to the A's late in 1970. On September 21, 1970, he no-hit the Twins, who narrowly edged the Athletics for the division title. As a sophomore, Blue won 17 games by the All-Star break, then was the winning pitcher in the only All-Star game won by the American League between 1962 and 1983, when the NL was 19-1. Blue finished 1971 at 24-8, with 301 strikeouts in 312 innings. Though bombed in the ALCS by Baltimore, he was named both MVP and Cy Young Award winner.

Blue's prolonged holdout in 1972 was only resolved through the intervention of baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn. Blue slumped to 6-10. Rumors flew that he'd hurt his arm by pitching without spring training and reporting overweight. Blue denied serious arm pain, but his strikeout record was never as spectacular the rest of his career as it was in 1971. Much later, he acknowledged that his drug problems had begun in 1972. As the Athletics won their first of their three straight World Championships, Blue contributed four shutout innings in relief of Blue Moon Odom to save the fifth and final playoff game.

He rebounded with 20-9 in 1973, when the Athletics had three 20-game winners, and was 17-15 in 1974, 22-11 in 1975, and 18-13 in 1976, as the Athletics chased the Royals to the wire in the last year the nucleus of their dynasty remained together. Already Finley had attempted to sell Blue to the Yankees in mid-season, for $1.5 million. Kuhn vetoed that deal. While most of the other Oakland stars departed through free agency, Finley tried to send Blue to the Reds for $1.75 million plus Dave Revering. Kuhn vetoed that, too. After suffering through a 14-19 season in 1977, Blue was finally traded to the Giants for eight players and $390,000. He gave the Giants an 18-10 season, becoming the first pitcher ever to start an All-Star game for each league, and earning NL Pitcher of the Year honors from TSN. Erratic pitching over the next few years continued after he was traded to the Royals after 1981. Drug rumors concerning Blue were confirmed in 1983. Blue was one of five members of the Kansas City Royals who eventually served prison time plus a suspension from baseball (a year in Blue's case) for cocaine use.

Given another chance by the Giants in the Bay Area where he remained popular, Blue was 18-18 in 1985-1986. The Athletics signed Blue for 1987, promoting a reunion with slugger Reggie Jackson, who also rejoined the club after 11 years away. However, Blue flunked a urine test to detect cocaine use, and retired rather than face further scandal.

» After finding no other clubs interested in signing him, free-agent pitcher and 20-game winner Jack Morris agrees to salary arbitration with the Tigers while at the same time accusing the ML owners of collusion against free agents. Morris had offered to sign a one-year contract, with salary to be determined by an arbitrator, with either the Yankees, Angels, Twins, or Phillies, but was turned down by all 4.

Michael Sergio, a Mets fan who parachuted into Shea Stadium during game six of the World Series, is sentenced to 100 hours of community service and fined $500.

» Former minor league umpire Pam Postema files a sex discrimination suit against the National and American leagues, the Triple-A Alliance, and the Baseball Office for Umpire Development.

Yankees P Steve Howe is arrested in Montana on a charge of possession of cocaine. Howe has been suspended from baseball five times for drug and alcohol problems.

Pam Postema (born April 1954) is a baseball umpire most notable for being the first female to ever officiate a Major League Baseball spring training game. For her unique contributions to the game, she was inducted into the Baseball Reliquary Shrine of the Eternals in 2000.

Postema first applied to the Al Somers Umpire School, now the Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires, in 1976, and after rejecting her twice, the school reluctantly admitted her. In 1977, Postema received an offer for a job in the rookie Gulf Coast League. She spent two years there, after which she had two year stints in both single-A and double-A, becoming the first female to umpire at those levels, before being promoted to triple-A baseball in the Pacific Coast League. During her six years at the AAA level, Postema was looked highly upon by many players, although other players objected to the notion of a female umpire.

Although often considered a prospect for major league umpiring, Pam Postema never received the call until 1988, when Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti offered her a contract to officiate at the MLB level during spring training. Later that year, Giamatti also offered her a chance to umpire at the "Hall of Fame Game" between the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves. Both opportunities looked promising, but Giamatti died soon thereafter in 1989, and Postema never again got the chance to umpire in the major leagues. In December of 1989, the Triple-A Alliance cancelled Postema's contract after 13 years of well-regarded experience in the minor leagues. She then filed a sex-discrimination lawsuit at the federal level, which was settled out of court.

In 1992, Postema published a book entitled You've Gotta Have Balls to Make It In This League. Following her umpiring career, she worked as a trucker, a factory worker, and later a welder, but quit in order to take care of her father, who was afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. On March 29, 2007, Ria Cortesio became the second female umpire to work a Major League game.

» The Rangers sign free agent P Dave Burba to a 1-year contract.

Agreeing to a $6 million, two-year contract with Angels, Jose Guillen. (311, 31,86 ) will become the team's right fielder next season. The deal will give Tim Salmon the opportunity to become Anaheim's designated hitter full-time.

Kevin Millwood agrees to the Phillies' surprise offer of salary arbitration. As the ace of the staff, the all-star hurler will anchor an outstanding rotation which includes Randy Wolf, Vicente Padilla, Eric Milton and Brett Myers.

Gary Deporter, the managing partner of the late broadcaster Harry Caray's area restaurants, submits the winning bid of $113,824 to obtain the foul ball that Steve Bartman deflected costing the Cubs a costly out during Game 6 of the NLCS. The plan is to have the ball destroyed as an act of exorcism during a worldwide toast to Harry on his birthday, February 26.

Steven D. Bartman (born 1977) is a resident of the Chicago area, who gained notoriety on the evening of October 14, 2003, for attempting a catch of a foul pop-up in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Florida Marlins at Wrigley Field.

At the time of the incident, Mark Prior was pitching a three-hit shutout for the Chicago Cubs in the eighth inning. Luis Castillo was batting, with one out and Juan Pierre standing on second base. The Chicago Cubs were leading 3-0, led the series three games to two, and were five outs away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 1945 and attempting to win it for the first time since 1908. Coincidentally, Game 6 was played on the 95th anniversary of the clinching game of the Cubs' last championship.

Bartman was sitting in a box seat (aisle 4, row 8, seat 113) in the front row along the left field corner wall behind the bullpen when a pop foul off the bat of Castillo drifted toward his seat. Cubs left fielder Moises Alou ran over to attempt a catch, but Bartman, who was watching the ball and not the fielder, got to the ball first. Alou slammed his glove down in frustration and was seen shouting in Bartman's direction, and the Cubs argued for an interference call. Video replays showed that Alou may have had an opportunity to make the catch if Bartman had not reached out for the ball but there's no possible way of knowing this for sure. To be fair however, the fans surrounding Bartman were also trying to reach for and catch the ball. Umpire Mike Everitt's call of no fan interference was correct; it appears that the ball was entering the stands when the incident occurred. The rules of baseball specify that fan interference cannot be called on a ball hit into the stands, only when a spectator reaches into the field of play and interferes.

The aftermath

For the Chicago Cubs and Florida Marlins
Following this incident, the Marlins scored eight runs, six of them unearned:

Castillo, given new life, drew a walk. Ball four was a wild pitch from Cubs starter Mark Prior, which allowed Pierre to advance to third base.

Ivan Rodriguez singled to drive in the first run of the inning, making the score 3-1.

Miguel Cabrera hit a ground ball to Alex S. Gonzalez, who booted(misfielded) the ball. Had Gonzalez fielded the ball properly, the Cubs could have ended the half-inning with a double play. Instead all runners were safe and the bases were loaded.

Derrek Lee doubled, tying the score and chasing Prior from the game.

Relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth issued an intentional walk, then gave up a sacrifice fly to give Florida a 4-3 lead. Another intentional walk again loaded the bases.

A bases-clearing double from Mike Mordecai broke the game open, making the score 7-3.

Pierre singled to put Florida ahead 8-3.

Finally Luis Castillo, whose foul popup initiated the controversy, popped out to second to end the inning.

In total, the Marlins had sent twelve batters to the plate and scored eight runs. Florida won the game 8-3.

The next night, Florida overcame Kerry Wood and a 5-3 deficit to win 9-6, and win the pennant. The Marlins would go on to win the 2003 World Series, beating the New York Yankees four games to two.

For Bartman:

Bartman had to be led away from the park under escort for his own safety, due to Cubs fans shouting profanities towards him, as well as others throwing debris onto the field and towards the exit tunnel from the field. News footage of the game showed him surrounded by security as passers-by pelted him with drinks and other debris. The game was delayed for approximately 6 minutes.

The stigma encountered by this loss by the Chicago Cubs in their end of season run had many Cubs fans blaming Bartman for the Cubs' series loss, as well their failed bid to reach the World Series for the first time since 1945.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Bartman's name, as well as personal information about him, appeared on Major League Baseball's online message boards minutes after the game ended. The next day, the Chicago Sun-Times also released his name, as well as his address and place of business in an online article. The editor justified this by saying Bartman's information was already "out there." Bartman was hounded by reporters; he had his phone disconnected and did not go to work. In his defense, childhood neighbors said he was a great guy, a lifelong Cubs fan, and a Little League coach for the town of Niles.

The Cubs issued the following press release:

“ The Chicago Cubs would like to thank our fans for their tremendous outpouring of support this year. We are very grateful.
We would also like to remind everyone that games are decided by what happens on the playing field — not in the stands. It is inaccurate and unfair to suggest that an individual fan is responsible for the events that transpired in Game 6. He did what every fan who comes to the ballpark tries to do — catch a foul ball in the stands. That's one of the things that makes baseball the special sport that it is.

This was an exciting season and we're looking forward to working towards an extended run of October baseball at Wrigley Field.”

Bartman gained instant national attention, most of it negative or derogatory. Many websites spoofing him were created, and late-night shows such as the David Letterman and Jay Leno shows made him the subject of many jokes. (Letterman did state, in Bartman's defense, that one play alone cannot account for two straight losses.) Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich went as far as telling the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper that "[Bartman] better join the witness protection program." Multiple editorial cartoons showed Bartman in hiding with Osama bin-Laden and Saddam Hussein. In the days following the incident, Bartman received offers to do movies or talk shows because of his sudden celebrity status. He declined all such offers. ESPN did air a live interview on SportsCenter with a person claiming to be Bartman, but it turned out to be a prank that fooled the network. Bartman was also offered asylum by Florida Governor Jeb Bush where Marlin fans viewed Bartman in a more favorable light. Bartman was also reportedly offered a job with the Florida Marlins, but Bartman rejected both offers.

In a gracious act, Bartman donated the numerous gifts given to him to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in the name of Ron Santo, a former Cubs third baseman turned broadcaster who suffers from diabetes. Calling this his "final statement," it seems Bartman intends to return to obscurity.

Bartman said, "I look forward to, and expect to return to my normal life activities, including cheering our beloved Cubs toward many more exciting postseasons of play."

Destruction of the Bartman ball

The loose ball was snatched up by a Chicago lawyer and sold at an auction in December. Grant DePorter purchased it for $113,824.16 on behalf of Harry Caray's Restaurant Group. On February 26, 2004, it was publicly exploded in a procedure designed by Cubs fan and Academy Award winning special effects expert Michael Lantieri.

In 2005, the remains of the ball were used by the restaurant in a pasta sauce. While no part of the ball itself was in the sauce, the ball was boiled and the steam captured, distilled, and added to the final concoction.

The Bartman seat

In the intervening years since the incident, the Bartman seat has become a tourist attraction at Wrigley Field.

Scapegoat factor

Bartman became a scapegoat for the Cubs' failure to advance to the World Series, joining other alleged "curses" or "jinxes" of teams that frequently fall short of expectations, such as the "Curse of the Billy Goat", "Curse of the Bambino", "Curse of Muldoon", "Curse of Rocky Colavito", "Curse of Billy Penn", and "Curse of the Black Sox". The Chicago Cubs "Curse of the Billy Goat", still exists to this day as the Cubs were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2007 playoffs. The "Curse of the Bambino" of the Boston Red Sox appears to have lost much of its force following their wins in the 2004 and 2007 World Series. Likewise, the "Curse of the Black Sox" ended with the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox. However, believers will state, that the "Curse of Rocky Colavito" continues, as the Cleveland Indians have still not won the World Series since 1948 (although they came close in 1997).

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, and baseballibrary.com

12-20-2007, 02:27 AM
You do a good job of writing these. You should start your own blog. (By the way, KRLD doesn't come in clearly down here, so I don't listen to Ranger games on the radio anymore, but does Eric Nadel still do "Today's Page from Baseball's Past"?)

12-20-2007, 10:54 AM
thanks for the kind words and yes they still do the "Today's Page from Baseball's Past" and I seldom miss a segment

it's a shame you can't get KRLD very well down in Austin

to me that's one of the best parts of baseball, listening on the radio, because there's always so much more info given

12-20-2007, 11:49 AM
Dec 20

» The St. Louis Maroons announce that Jerry Denny, Dude Esterbrook, Paul Hines, and George Myers are to play for them in 1886. Denny and Myers do so, but Esterbrook stays with the Giants and Hines goes to the newly formed Washington Nationals.

Denny set ML career records for third basemen that still stand: 4.2 total chances per game and 1.6 putouts per game. Though he also holds the NL career record for errors at third base (553), for five seasons he ranked first or second in fielding average. On October 24, 1884 Denny hit the only home run in the first post-season series (a forerunner of the World Series) to defeat the New York Metropolitans and win the game and the Series for the Providence Grays.

» Toledo is admitted to the AA.

Papers are served on Charles Buffinton and Billy Hallman for allegedly breaking their contracts with Philadelphia (National League). This will be the first of many battles between the PL and NL.

» After a two-year absence from the majors, pitcher Kid Nichols signs as player/ manager of the Cardinals. He will win 21 himself, but the team will finish 4th.

A star from the moment he made his major league debut at age 20 in 1890, Kid Nichols topped the 25-victory mark in each of his first nine seasons, leading Boston's staff, and sparking his club to five National League championships. A durable overhand pitcher with a smooth delivery, he depended on control and a fastball reportedly equal to that of famed Giant righthander Amos Rusie. He went 27-19 his rookie season (leading the league with seven shutouts), then achieved seven consecutive seasons of 30 or more triumphs - a feat never matched. He recorded a career-high 35 victories in 1892 and paced the league in wins in 1896, '97, and '98. The workhorse threw at least 400 innings a season from 1890 through 1894. In six of the seven years that followed, he registered more than 300 innings.

By 1898, Nichols was earning $2,400, the top salary permitted by the league. Although he never pitched a no-hitter, he came close on several occasions. He threw 48 shutouts and had 11 complete-game, 1-0 victories. One of his most memorable games came in his rookie season, when he faced Rusie and the Giants at the Polo Grounds. The teams battled in a scoreless tie until, with two out in the 13th inning, Mike Tiernan drove a Nichols fastball for a home run.

Following the 1901 season, Nichols bought a part interest in the Western Association's Kansas City team and served as the club's manager for 1902 and 1903 while also recording 48 victories as a pitcher. Returning to the majors, he pitched for and managed the Cardinals in 1904 and part of 1905. He won 21 games in '04, struck out 15 Brooklyn batters in a 17-inning game, and pitched two complete games in one day against the Reds. Released by St. Louis with the club in sixth place, he joined the Phillies for the remainder of the 1905 season. He retired after pitching only 11 innings in 1906.

Nichols subsequently formed a partnership with Joe Tinker, former Cub shortstop, and entered the motion-picture business. Later he coached the Missouri Valley College baseball team. While managing a bowling alley in Missouri, he was recognized as one of Kansas City's finest bowlers, winning the Class A Championship at age 64.

Nichols stands seventh all-time in victories (360) and fourth in complete games (533). With John Clarkson, Charles Radbourne, Tim Keefe, and Cy Young, he was one of the five premier 19th-century pitchers. He had the most remarkable and consistent record of all pitchers in their twenties; nine months and 23 days past his 30th birthday, he became the youngest pitcher to win 300 ML games. That record stands to this day.

In an unpopular trade in Boston, the Pilgrims send Long Tom Hughes to the Highlanders for lefty Jesse Tannehill. Hughes, 20–7 for the champs, had jumped to the American League from the National League Chicago team in 1902. Hughes will come up short in New York and be shipped to Washington in July, while Tannehill will win 20 for the Hubmen.

Nicknamed for his height, a then-impressive 6'1", Hughes completed 32 starts as a Cubs rookie while striking out 225, the third-best NL rookie total ever. He jumped to the AL the following year, and helped the Red Sox to the first World Series with a 20-7, 2.57 mark as their third starter in 1903, behind Cy Young and Bill Dineen. He was the only Boston pitcher besides Young and Dineen to appear in the WS, losing Game Three.

Jesse Tannehill was an outstanding turn-of-the-century pitcher and a switch-hitting outfielder who compiled a better batting average than his brother Lee, a ten-year White Sox infielder. He won 20 or more games six times; his 20-6 record for the Pirates in 1900 gave him the league's best winning percentage (.769). His 2.18 ERA in 1901 led the NL. In 1902 he again went 20-6 (1.95).

In 1903 Tannehill jumped to the Highlanders (later the Yankees) of the fledgling American League after a salary dispute with tight-fisted Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss. He was with the Red Sox on August 17, 1904 when he no-hit the White Sox; brother Lee helped by going 0-for-3. Used in the outfield 87 times and as a pinch hitter 57 times, with his career winding down he actually played more games in the outfield for the 1909 Senators than he pitched (nine to three).

» At the ML meetings, the American League votes to return to the best-of-7 World Series; the National League votes to keep the 5-of-9. Judge Landis casts the deciding vote, and the 4-of-7 format is reinstated.

» In probably the biggest player-for-player trade to date, Rogers Hornsby is traded from the Cardinals to the New York Giants for Frankie Frisch and P Jimmy Ring. Hornsby, after 12 years in St. Louis, will play for three teams in the next three years. Hornsby and owner Sam Breadon had had an increasingly stormy relationship, and feelings between Frankie Frisch and John McGraw were equally as bad. Thirty years later, Hornsby will call the trade "the biggest disappointment in my life."

» Bill Carrigan has had enough of managing the Red Sox. He quits, and Heinie Wagner signs on for a year.

Wagner was a wide-ranging shortstop who used his exceptionally big feet to block baserunners. He had career highs of .274, 68 RBI, and 75 runs scored for the World Champion 1912 Red Sox. He was a Red Sox coach from 1921 until 1930, when he replaced Bill Carrigan as manager. Carrigan had brought the Red Sox in last the three previous seasons, and Wagner fared no better.

» Connie Mack acquires controlling interest in the Athletics from the Shibe family at the price of $42,000 for 141 shares.

» With the trade for Al Lopez, the Indians send young catcher Sherm Lollar and 2B Ray Mack to the Yankees for minor league P Gene Bearden, P Al Gettel, and OF Hal Peck. Peck never played for New York after they acquired him in June. Lollar will play just 33 games in two years, while Mack is swapped after one game. Bearden, as a rookie knuckleballer in 1948, will win 20 games and the lead the American League in ERA.

The knuckleballer was a rookie sensation in 1948 when he went 20-7 and led the AL with a 2.43 ERA. His 20th win was the Indians' pennant-deciding playoff versus Boston. In the WS, he had a win and a save without giving up a run. He never again approached his rookie record; he winked at training rules, suffered a lingering thigh injury in 1949, and batters learned to lay off his nasty knuckler.

» Charlie Finley buys the 52 percent of the A's in the late Arnold Johnson's estate.

» The Yankees acquire SS Dick Howser from Cleveland for minor leaguer Gil Downs and cash.

A feisty, quick infielder with good bat, Howser later became respected as a successful manager, but died tragically on the heels of his greatest personal triumph: leading the Royals to the 1985 World Championship.

The 5'8" 155-lb Howser signed with the Athletics for a reported $21,000 bonus and had two outstanding seasons. In 1961 he hit .280, stole 37 bases, scored 108 runs, and was named TSN AL Rookie of the Year. He also led AL shortstops in putouts and errors. His only other year as a regular was 1964, when he hit .258 with 101 runs and 20 steals.

Howser won an AL East title for the Yankees his first full year as manager (1980), but was sacked by George Steinbrenner when the Yankees lost the LCS. He returned to the majors in late 1981 to lead the Royals to the AL West title. He won the division again in 1984 and the WS in 1985. But two days after he managed the AL to an All-Star Game victory in 1986, it was discovered that he had a brain tumor. He retired during spring training of 1987 and succumbed shortly afterward.

Siding with the A's, American League president Joe Cronin rules the Yankees cannot sign manager Dick Williams. The Yankees had announced a deal with the Oakland's skipper two days earlier.

The emotional Williams is the only manager to win pennants with three different teams (the Red Sox, A's, and Padres), as well as win titles in all four divisions. But despite his teams's successes, he always alienated management and players alike with his driving, hard-bitten, "my way or the highway" attitude. He managed six different teams in a career that stretched over 21 years and often included clashes with similarly single-minded owners.

A versatile performer in his playing days, Williams played three positions over a 13-year career with five teams, starting in Brooklyn, including three separate short tours with the Orioles, and ending in Boston. In 1967 he took over a Red Sox team that had finished ninth the year before and guided them through a successful four-team pennant race, before losing the World Series to the Cardinals in seven games. Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey grew impatient when Williams didn't repeat the feat in the following two years, and Williams's relationship with his players, especially Carl Yastrzemski, started to deteriorate. Yawkey took Yaz's side, and Williams was fired following a third-place finish in 1969.

After Williams spent a year coaching with the expansion Expos, Charlie Finley hired him to manage the A's, a team with burgeoning stars on the verge of maturity. Williams, Finley's 11th manager in as many years, guided the A's to the division title in 1971, then to their first pennant in 41 years in 1972. Williams was often accused of over-managing, and it almost cost the 1972 Series. The A's were up two games to one, and winning the fourth game 1-0 in the eighth inning. With two on, Williams replaced starter Ken Holtzman with Vida Blue to a chorus of boos. Blue promptly allowed the two runners to score. Williams was exonerated when A's scored two in the top of the ninth on four straight singles, three by pinch hitters, to win the game. They went on to win the first of three straight championships.

The 1973 Series was famous for the Mike Andrews incident. In the second game, defensive replacement Andrews committed two errors in the 12th inning to allow the Mets to win the game and tie the Series at one game each. Finley ordered Andrews to write a "confession" of his errors and claim an injury, and then tried to drop him from the roster, bypassing Williams. Incensed, Williams swore he would quit at the end of the Series, which he did, after the A's won a dramatic seventh game.

George Steinbrenner tried to hire Williams for the Yankees in 1974, but Williams was still under contract to Finley. Finley didn't want Williams to work for Steinbrenner, and prevailed on AL president Joe Cronin to nix the deal for tampering. Although Williams was out of work, he was still entitled to manage the AL All-Star team. Earl Weaver, assigned the task by Cronin, stepped aside to let Williams manage the squad. Right after the All-Star break, Williams replaced Bobby Winkles as manager of the Angels. After finishing no higher than fourth in three seasons, Williams moved back to Montreal, this time to manage. After leading the team to second place finishes in 1979 and 1980, he was fired in September 1981, as his replacement Jim Fanning led the Expos to their only post-season appearance. In 1982, Williams went back to California as the manager of the Padres. He took the Padres to their only World Series in 1984, where they were overwhelmed by the much stronger Tigers. Williams spent the last three years of his career managing for tight-fisted George Argyros in Seattle, but decided early in the 1988 season that he had had enough of both cheap management and mediocre players, and retired.

» Don Blasingame is named manager of the Hanshin Tigers, the first American not of Japanese descent to lead a Japanese team.

Willard Mullin, 76, the nation's top sports cartoonist and creator of the "Brooklyn Bum," dies at Corpus Christi, TX.

Mullin was a jovial, party-loving artist, and his lifetime output of more than 10,000 illustrations appeared in the New York World-Telegram six days a week from 1934 until the paper closed in 1966, and in ads, books, magazines, and programs. His first job was with the Los Angeles Herald. He pictured teams in clever personifications : the Brooklyn Bum, St. Louis Swifty (the Cardinals' riverboat gambler), and others. In 1971 he was cited by the cartoonists' association as the sports cartoonist of the century.

Unless contracts are tendered to certain veterans by a today's deadline, the Basic Agreement requires they be allowed to become free agents. The Red Sox will miss the deadline permitting All-Stars Fred Lynn and Carlton Fisk to be eligible for free agency.

» The Chicago White Sox sign veteran knuckler Charlie Hough, a free agent. Hough spent every year of the 70's with the Dodgers and every year of the 1980s with Texas.

Almost exclusively a reliever with the Dodgers, Charlie Hough became one of the greatest starting pitchers in Texas Rangers history. The knuckleballer led Texas in wins, complete games, and innings pitched each year from 1982 to 1987, winning a higher percentage of his club's victories than any other major league hurler those six years, and became the club's all-time leader in strikeouts, games pitched, wins, losses, innings pitched, and walks. In 1987 Charlie became the oldest pitcher in American League history to lead the league in starts and innings pitched, achieving career highs in wins, strikeouts, starts and innings at age 39. He also helped the Rangers set a major league record with 73 passed balls, contributing to 65 of them.

Originally signed as a third baseman, Hough learned the knuckler from Los Angeles scout Goldie Hold, with help from Hoyt Wilhelm, Jim Brewer, and Tom Lasorda. A middle-innings reliever with the Dodgers, Hough led the NL with 12 relief wins in 1976. He started just once from 1970 to 1978.

» The Blue Jays send 1B John Olerud and his $5 million contract to the Mets for pitcher Robert Person. The move leaves 1B open for Joe Carter.

» The limited partners of the Red Sox vote unanimously to sell the team to a group led by Florida Marlins owner John Henry and former Padres owner Tom Werner. The $660 million price, plus an assumption of $40 million in debt, would double the record price for a baseball team.

» The Braves trade P Kevin Millwood to the Phillies for C Johnny Estrada. Meanwhile, according to Braves GM John Schuerholz, "The economics in baseball stink. The economics stink, and if this isn't a clear enough signal to the doubters and naysayers, to be forced to trade an 18–game winner to your arch enemy ... The economics stink."

The World Champions White Sox finalize the trade with Diamondbacks which brings starter Javier Vazquez and $4 million dollars to the Windy City. Veteran right-hander Orlando Hernandez, reliever Luis Vizcaino and minor league outfield prospect Chris Young go to Arizona to complete the deal.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

12-20-2007, 02:38 PM
...Bearden...never again approached his rookie record; he winked at training rules, suffered a lingering thigh injury in 1949, and batters learned to lay off his nasty knuckler.

Not to mention the wahines...

12-20-2007, 02:53 PM
LOL, you and your wahines

not sure if Cleveland had a HWL team back then, but if they did, I'm sure that was his problem

12-21-2007, 10:07 AM
Dec 21

» The Boston club meets and elects a new board of directors, who will retain Harry Wright as manager. The club reports an operating surplus of $75 on home attendance of around 35,000.

Wright was born in England and came to America when his father, a famous cricket player, was hired by the fashionable St. George Cricket Club in New York. Harry and brothers George and Sam scandalized their father by taking up the new American game of baseball. Harry became baseball's most innovative proponent and most influential force, shaping a Hall of Fame career as a pioneer and manager.

Wright joined the Knickerbockers, a club of young New York City sportsmen that included Alexander Cartwright, who had laid out the first diamond and constructed the game's first rules. He played wherever he could and became the recognized leader of others who took up the game. When Cincinnati's city fathers decided after the Civil War that a winning ballclub would put their town on the map, they hired Wright and gave him free rein to recruit the first openly paid baseball team. The result was the undefeated 1869 Red Stockings, whose 56-game nationwide tour helped spread the popularity of baseball.

Wright and Albert Spalding led a tour to England in 1874 to demonstrate the game. The British were indifferent to baseball, but were mildly impressed when the Americans, few of whom had ever seen cricket, took some tips from Wright and won a few matches.

Wright managed the National Association Boston Red Stockings in 1871-75, winning the pennant the last four years. He started an 18-year career in the National League when the circuit formed in 1876, taking the helm of the Boston Red Caps, winning titles his second and third years but never again. His brother George, who became a Hall of Famer, was an infielder on Harry's NA club and his NL Boston and Providence teams. An early student of statistics, Harry kept his own detailed box scores and studied them so avidly that he lost his sight for a year in 1890 and had to temporarily relinquish the reins of the Phillies. He is credited with introducing the practice of one fielder backing up another. He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Committee on Baseball Veterans in 1953.

» Chicago writers name Indian SS Lou Boudreau as the outstanding rookie in the ML. He'll be honored at the January banquet.

» National League averages show Brooklyn's Dixie Walker at the top of the hitters with a .357 mark, ahead of Stan Musial at .347. In an even closer vote than occurred in the American League, the NL MVP award goes to fielding wizard Marty Marion, who tallies one more vote than Cubs slugger Bill Nicholson (189). The Cardinals erred only 112 times and averaged .982, both better than previous records held by the 1940 Reds. Marion is the 3rd different Cardinal in three years to win the honor.

Walker spent all or parts of eight seasons in the American League before becoming The People's Choice in Brooklyn. The lefthanded hitter was purchased by the Yankees off the Greenville (South Atlantic League) roster for a then-record $25,000 in 1930. Though he was highly regarded, he remained in their rich farm system until 1933. He suffered a severe setback when he tore some shoulder muscles, and in 1936 he was waived to the White Sox. He batted .302 and tied for the AL lead with 16 triples in 1937, yet was traded to Detroit. He continued to hit more than .300 but showed little power, and his shoulder problems persisted. After tearing up his knee in 1939, he was placed on waivers and was snatched up by Brooklyn GM Larry MacPhail.

Walker led the 1940 Dodgers in batting (.308) and doubles (37). The likable, 6'1" blond quickly became a favorite of the Brooklyn fans, especially for his heroics against the hated Giants; he batted .436 against New York in 1940. Nevertheless, manager Leo Durocher opened the 1941 campaign with the newly acquired Paul Waner in Walker's outfield spot. Brooklyn fans were outraged. The 38-year-old Waner had won the job in spring training but faded fast and was traded. Walker became part of an all-.300-hitting outfield (with Pete Reiser and Joe Medwick) that led Brooklyn to the 1941 NL pennant. For the next six years, he was a fixture in Brooklyn's right field. He led the NL with a .357 batting average in 1944 and won the 1945 RBI title with 124.

When Jackie Robinson broke the color line with Brooklyn in 1947, Walker, a native of Georgia, initially resisted the idea. But he was soon defending Robinson and giving him pointers. Following that pennant-winning season, in what turned out to be one of the best trades in Brooklyn history, Walker was sent to the Pirates in a six-player deal for pitcher Preacher Roe and third baseman Billy Cox. In 1948 Walker topped the .300 mark for the tenth time in 12 seasons, helping the Pirates to improve by 21 games, from last place to fourth. However, at age thirty-eight in 1949, he played in just 88 contests, led the NL with 13 pinch hits, and left the majors.

Walker managed in the minors for most of the 1950s, coached for the Cardinals, and coached and scouted for the Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dixie's brother, Harry Walker, was the 1947 NL batting champ. Their father, Ewart "Dixie" Walker, pitched for the 1909-12 Senators, and their uncle, Ernie Walker, played for the 1913-15 Browns.

» Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley says Chicago will have no manager, but will use a college of coaches.

Known as P.K. to his close associates, Wrigley succeeded his father as president of the Cubs (and of the chewing gum company) in 1932 and continued until his death. He was generous to his players and former players with advice and financial help. His favorite was Charlie Grimm, whom he kept on the payroll all his life. Although honest and accessible to print reporters, he gave no radio or TV interviews and insisted on maintaining his privacy. With meticulous integrity, he would dock his salary as president of the gum company for time spent with the Cubs. He could be innovative, as witness his "rotating coaches" experiment with the Cubs' manager job. But he was also responsible for keeping Wrigley Field free of lights.

» Jimmy Wynn of the Astros is injured during a domestic quarrel. He will undergo abdominal surgery for a stab wound but will suffer no long-term effects.

Wynn, the Astros' first slugging star, played most of his career in a big ballpark with a poor supporting cast. The speedy, 5'9" outfielder had an explosive bat - hence the nickname, the Toy Cannon. When he left Houston after 11 seasons, he held club records in virtually every offensive category, including hits (1,291), home runs (223), and RBI (719).

The Cincinnati native first signed with the Reds, but was drafted from them by the expansion Houston club in 1962. In 1965, Wynn's first full season, he led the Astros with a .275 batting average, 22 home runs, and 73 RBI. He also stole a career-high 43 bases. Two years later he broke club records with 37 HR and 107 RBI, but he struck out a league-high 137 times. Seeing fewer good pitches to hit in 1969, he tied the NL record with 148 walks, but still hit 33 HR.

Wynn's career, and life, nearly ended when he was stabbed in the abdomen during a quarrel with his wife in December 1970. He recovered physically, but slumped dramatically in 1971, hitting just seven homers. He rebounded in 1972 (.273, 24 HR, 90 RBI), but another poor year in 1973 paved the way for his trade to the Dodgers for pitcher Claude Osteen. Wynn gave Los Angeles a desperately needed righthanded power hitter, and replaced the recently traded Willie Davis in centerfield.

Wynn carried the pennant-winning Dodgers for the first part of 1974, hit three HR in a game for the second time in his career, set a Los Angeles record with 32 HR, and was named TSN NL Comeback Player of the Year. Nursing a sore elbow, he spent one more season with the Dodgers before being sent to Atlanta in a six-player deal for Dusty Baker. He led the NL in walks a second time in 1976, but batted just .207, and split a final, dreadful, 1977 campaign between the Yankees and Brewers.

» Free Agent Orioles pitcher Ross Grimsley signs with the Expos. Grimsley will reward Montreal with a 20-game winning season in 1978.

Although his pitching speeds ranged from slow to slower, Grimsley was effective for the powerful Reds of 1971-75. He was named lefthander on the Baseball Digest 1971 All-Star Rookie team, pitched a two-hitter in Game Four of the 1972 NLCS, and won a pair in the WS. Handsome, with wild, curly hair and piercing green eyes, he was also a free spirit. His refusal to conform to the Reds ' short-hair policy helped hasten a trade to Baltimore. The son of Ross Sr., who pitched briefly in the ML, Grimsley signed with Montreal as a free agent in 1978. That year he became the Expos' first 20-game winner and was named Montreal Player of the Year and Tennessee's top pro athlete.

» Twenty-two-year-old Royals pitcher Mike Jones, who was 6-3, 3.20 in the 2nd half of 1981 and was projected to be the club's 3rd starter next year, is listed in guarded condition after crashing his car while driving under the influence near Rochester, NY. Jones will not pitch in the majors again until 1984.

» The Dodgers are fined $50,000 and banned from scouting any Dominican Republic players for one year as a penalty for having signed 3B Adrian Beltre as a 15-year-old. Beltre is not given his free agency, according to Commissioner Bud Selig, because he participated in the scheme, and because the claim for free agency was made too late. The players' association is expected to file a grievance in the matter.

Hoping to pick it up where it all started , 41-year old outfielder Tim Raines agrees to a minor league contract with the Expos, the team he broke in with in 1979. After retiring in Yankee camp during spring training with .295 career batting average, he failed to make this year's U.S. Olympic team.

"Rock" Raines, with his infectious laugh and exciting aggressiveness, became a fan favorite wherever he went. Over the 1980s, Raines was inextricably linked to Rickey Henderson, because of their similar ages and the havoc they wreaked on the basepaths. But while Henderson gained more fame by stealing more bases, Raines' percentage was generally higher. And even though baseball played a slight second fiddle to hockey north of the border, Raines was instantly recognizable on the streets of Montreal. At the end of his career, after a spurt of leg injuries and a terrifying bout with lupus, the muscular leadoff man had made a strong case for the Hall of Fame, with over 800 stolen bases, 1,500 runs, and a .294 lifetime average.

Raines achieved early stardom in the American League as a second baseman while earning the batting title with a .354 average and being named The Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year in 1980. Converted to the outfield for his official rookie campaign in 1981, Raines captured the first of four straight stolen base titles with the Montreal Expos and finished a close second in the Rookie of the Year Award voting to Dave Righetti at the end of the season. That early-'80s Canadian team was a powerful configuration of ballplayers, a far cry from the cash-stricken lot of the '90s. Though they only reached postseason once in the strike-ravaged 1981 season, with Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Steve Rodgers, and Jeff Reardon teaming with the speedy outfielder, the Expos were not to be taken lightly.

Like a handful of players and celebrities in the go-go '80s, Raines found his way to cocaine even in the upper reaches of Montreal, and underwent rehabilitation following the 1982 season. After two months in a treatment center, the outfielder was back on track and found comfort in his wife and son, Tim Jr., who would one day follow in his father's footsteps.

Raines reached career highs in steals (90) and runs (133) in 1983, leading the NL in both categories. Over the next four years, Raines averaged a .323 batting average, and just over 66 stolen bases and 108 runs scored. In 1986, Atlanta pitcher Rick Mahler acknowledged how much Raines could rattle a moundsman, calling the leadoff hitter "the best offensive player in the league besides Dale Murphy."

Opting for free agency after his 1986 batting championship season, Raines found that the baseball owners' collusion on free agents left him without an offer. He returned to the Expos in May 1987 with neither spring training nor a warm-up stint in the minors, homered in his first game, and led the NL with 123 runs scored for a second year in spite of the missed time. Replacing the departed Andre Dawson in the three-slot in the lineup instead of hitting in his usual leadoff spot, Raines also hit a career-high 18 homers. However, his new position in the order forced him to relinquish some of his aggressiveness on the basepaths, and he stole 20 fewer bases than in 1986.

The following year Raines was hampered by injuries, including his first-ever trip to the disabled list, as his average dipped to .270 for the first time in his career and his 33 stolen bases were the fewest he had recorded in a season. After two more years with the Expos, Raines was traded with Jeff Carter to the Chicago White Sox for Ivan Calderon and Barry Jones in December 1990.

Under the management of Jeff Torborg, Raines was pushed back up to the number one slot to to replace the unreliable Lance Johnson. Though he recorded "just" 51 stolen bags, Raines crossed home over 100 times for the first season since '87. Despite losing a month and a half with a torn thumb ligament in 1993, he helped push the White Sox to the postseason, while batting .306 with 21 stolen bases in 115 games in the regular season. The leadoff man led Chicago regulars in batting in the ALCS, with a .444 clip against the Toronto Blue Jays, but it wasn't enough to keep the steamrolling Jays from advancing to and winning the World Series.

However, Raines' initial dream of batting leadoff for the White Sox in front of run producers like Frank Thomas and Robin Ventura soon turned bitter. Rock's slide to a .266 average with 13 stolen bases in 1994 was a disappointment to the Chicago front office. After another subpar performance the following season, the outfielder was traded to the New York Yankees in December 1995 for a player to be named later, clearing the way for the White Sox to acquire Tony Phillips.

It would be with the Yankees that Raines finally took home some World Series hardware. Just a month into the Bombers' championship season of 1996, Raines severely pulled a hamstring, sidelining him until mid-August. However, he came back to finish the regular season with a respectable .284 batting average and 10 stolen bases, and contribute eleven hits in the postseason.

Leg problems would continue to affect the aging Raines' performance and playing time. Though he did bat .321 and .290 over the next two years, the outfielder was limited to just 183 games in that span, battling hamstring and knee injuries. After the Yankees' domination of the regular and postseasons of 1998, Raines had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

In January 1999, he signed with the Oakland Athletics, but by mid-season was batting just .215 with a .337 on-base percentage, both by far his worst marks to date. Though an aging body could explain some of the effects, it could not account for the overwhelming lethargy Raines sometimes felt. In July 1999, after mysteriously gaining 28 pounds in three days, his skin tight across his face, the outfielder was diagnosed with lupus and took his leave from baseball to undergo treatment immediately.

After a physically and emotionally trying year, Raines had subdued the disease and attempted a comeback with the New York Yankees. At 40 years old, recovering from both lupus and the effects of a 21-year career, the outfielder was, by any stretch of the imagination, a longshot to make the club. Towards the end of spring training, realizing that he would not survive the cut with Lance Johnson and Roberto Kelly vying for backup time in the outfield ahead of him, he opted for retirement. Following his announcement, Raines was invited to a tryout for the 2000 Olympic team, a squad that eventually would win the gold medal in the Sydney Games. He made it to the last cut before being passed over in favor of more youthful players.

With his son Tim Jr. accelerating through the Baltimore Orioles' farm system, Raines was tempted once again by the national pastime. Saying "I think it's destiny for both of us to play at the same time," Raines accepted an invitation to the Montreal Expos' spring training in 2001. Not only did the veteran outfielder have the opportunity to play against his son in an exhibition game, but he also made the team as a fourth outfielder, joining Henderson, Mike Morgan, and Jesse Orosco as the only four players active in the '70s still playing in the '00s. Raines came out hustling, but a shoulder strain sustained just a month into the season when diving back to first base, shortened his year dramatically.

Raines ranks just behind Henderson, Lou Brock, Billy Hamilton, and Ty Cobb as just the fifth member of the 800-steal club. At the turn of the millennium, his stolen base percentage of 84.7% was the highest in baseball history for players with 300 or more attempts, ahead of both Henderson (80.8%) and Brock (75.3%).

After declining their club option, the Diamondbacks decide to retain veteran first baseman Mark Grace (.252, 7 , 48 ). The lifetime .305 hitter agrees to a one-year deal which includes a club option for the 2004 season.

With the announcement the Oakland Athletics will no longer sell tickets for the third deck of McAfee Coliseum, the A’s home becomes the smallest park in the major leagues. The seating capacity reduced 44,073 to 34,179 is less than the increasing seating available at Fenway which is now can accommodate 38,805 patrons.

After trying to sign the all-star outfielder twice as a free agent, the Giants finally acquire Steve Finley (.222, 12, 54) in trade with the Dodgers which sends third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo (.277, 2, 43) to Los Angeles. The veteran infielder appeared in only 109 games last season due to injuries.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

12-26-2007, 11:08 AM
Dec 26

» National League umpire Hank O'Day suggests that the batter's box be outlined with white rubber strips rather than chalk, making it impossible for hitters to obliterate the lines with their spikes.

One of the most famous umpires, O'Day spent most of his playing career as a pitcher, suffering three 20-loss seasons. His best year was his last, when he had a 23-15 season for New York of the Player's league in 1890. He umpired for 35 years in the NL, only two fewer than Bill Klem. Only Klem worked in more WS games than O'Day's ten. Tom Connolly and O'Day were chosen to umpire the first WS in 1903. In a career that spanned five decades, perhaps O'Day's two most memorable incidents occurred in 1908, when he was the senior umpire who called Fred Merkle's blunder, and in 1920, when he was the second-base umpire as Bill Wambsganss executed the only unassisted triple play in WS history.

» The Phillies trade their star and captain Sherry Magee to the Braves for cash and two players to be named later. The two turn out to be Possum Whited and INF Oscar Dugey. Magee led the National League in hits, doubles, RBIs, and slugging percentage, while hitting .314. On the first day of spring training, 1915, in Macon, Georgia, Magee will step in a hole while shagging flies and break his collarbone. He'll hit just .280 with two homers.

Magee was one of the great players of the dead-ball era, 1900-1919. He could hit, run, field, and throw with the best, and played intelligently and aggressively. He was critical of sloppy play and unimaginative management, and occasionally his temper got the best of him. On July 10, 1911 his one-punch knockout of umpire Bill Finneran, who had ejected Magee for arguing a called third strike, led to his suspension for the rest of the season; however, he was reinstated after five weeks.

Magee was Philadelphia's left fielder for a decade. In his second year, 1905, he played 155 games. His 85 RBI in 1907 were the league high. In 1910 he led the NL in batting (.331), slugging average (.507), runs scored (110), and RBI (123), and stole 49 bases. Over his career he had 441 stolen bases, including 23 steals of home. On July 12, 1906, he stole second, third, and home in the ninth inning against St. Louis. During a July 20, 1912 game with the Cubs, he stole home twice. In 1914 he led the NL in hits (171), doubles (39), RBI (103), and slugging average (.509).

When Magee was not named Philadelphia's player-manager for 1915, he asked to be traded. He was sold to the Braves, who finished second while the Phillies won their first pennant. He played center in Boston until he was waived to Cincinnati in August 1917. He led the NL in RBI a final time in the war-shortened 1918 season, and concluded his ML career by pinch hitting twice in the 1919 World Series.

Magee played in the minors from 1920 to 1926, then took up umpiring. In light of his misbehavior in 1911, he was watched closely while officiating in the NL in 1928, and he performed very well. But he contracted pneumonia and died the following March.

» Although it will not be officially announced until January, the Yankees buy Babe Ruth from financially pressed Harry Frazee, paying $125,000 (one-fourth cash, plus $25,000 a year at six percent) plus guaranteeing a $300,000 loan with Fenway Park as collateral.

The man who sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $100,000 and a $300,000 loan, Frazee was a theatrical producer who bought the World Champion Red Sox for $400,000 in 1917 and sold the last-place team for $1.5 million in 1923. Often when he needed money to cover his theatrical investments, he would sell off his best players, frequently to the Yankees. In the middle of the 1919 season, he sold pitcher Carl Mays, who had left the team, to New York. AL president Ban Johnson voided the deal, insisting Mays should have been suspended and not available for sale or trade. The Yankees went to court and won, causing a rift between club owners that was not healed until Johnson resigned nine years later. Meanwhile, Frazee had contributed Everett Scott and Herb Pennock to the budding Yankee dynasty.

» Judge Landis plays Scrooge to the Dodgers and denies their claim to the services of teenager Johnny Vander Meer.

Vander Meer is the only pitcher in major league history to have thrown back-to-back no-hitters. The Cincinnati hurler no-hit the Boston Bees 3-0 on June 11, 1938 and followed by no-hitting the Dodgers 6-0 on June 15. The latter contest was the first night game ever played at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field. In his next start, Vander Meer did not allow a hit until Boston's Deb Garms singled in the fourth inning, ending Vander Meer's string of hitless innings at a National League record 21.
Vander Meer recalled the last out of the second no-hitter: "The Dodgers had the bases loaded with two outs. The batter was Leo Durocher, who had a count of one ball and two strikes. On the next pitch I hit the outside of the plate with a fastball for a strike and umpire Bill Stewart called it a ball. On the next pitch Durocher popped out to centerfield for the final out...When the game ended Stewart was the first to congratulate me. Stewart said, `If Leo got a hit, I was to blame as I missed the pitch and the batter should have been struck out on the previous pitch.' "

Vander Meer was the TSN Minor League Player of the Year in 1936, when he went 19-6 at Durham and set a Piedmont League record with 295 strikeouts. He copped TSN Major League Player of the Year honors in 1938 on the strength of his extraordinary pitching feat. He threw hard and had a good sinker, and he led the NL in strikeouts three consecutive years (1941-43). Yet he often struggled with his control, topping NL pitchers in bases on balls in 1943 and 1948. He won in double figures six times, recording a career-high 18 victories in 1942. In 1943 he tied Carl Hubbell's record by fanning six batters in an All-Star Game, working 2-2/3 innings. Naval duty in 1944-45 and arm trouble shortened Vander Meer's career.

Matsutaro Shoriki, head of Yomiuri Newspapers, announces the official formation of Japan's first professional team, the Tokyo-based Yomiuri Giants. The team is made up of players signed to compete against the American all-star team. Professional league play, with six teams, does not begin until 1936.

With a large portion going to the players' pension fund, out-going Commissioner Happy Chandler announces the Gillette Razor Company has purchased the television rights to the All Star game for six years for six million dollars.

» Bob Lemon is named manager of the Seattle Angels of the Pacific Coast League.

The easygoing Lemon learned to pitch in the major leagues and went on to become one of the most successful righthanders of the post-WWII period. He was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1976. In two trials as a third baseman before the war he failed to stick with the Indians because of his mediocre hitting. He showed a strong arm in the field, but his throws had a natural sinking effect. Upon his return to Cleveland after three years in the Navy, he turned to pitching at age twenty-six.

Although bothered by wildness, Lemon showed enough promise in his first season on the mound (2.49 ERA in 94 innings) to continue the experiment. In 1947 he was 11-5 and became the Indians' second most effective starter behind Hall of Famer Bob Feller.

Cleveland won the 1948 pennant, as Feller, Lemon, and rookie Gene Bearden combined for 59 wins. Lemon, at 20-14, led the AL in shutouts (10), complete games (20), and innings pitched (294). On June 30, he threw a no-hitter to top the Tigers 2-0. In the World Series, he picked up two wins (1.65 ERA) as the Indians defeated the Braves.

Lemon became the leader of the outstanding Indians pitching staffs of the 1950s that also included Feller, Early Wynn, Mike Garcia, and later Herb Score. In a remarkably consistent nine-year stretch (1948-56), Lemon won 20 or more games seven times. He missed the magic number only in 1951 with 17 victories and 1955 when his 18 wins topped the league. A workhorse, he led in complete games five times and innings pitched four. TSN named him the Outstanding AL Pitcher three times (1948, 50, 54).

The 1954 Indians set an AL record with 111 victories (in 154 games) as Lemon led the pitching staff with a 23-7 mark. He opened the World Series against the Giants and took a 2-2 tie into the tenth inning before giving up a three-run home run to pinch hitter Dusty Rhodes. When the Indians lost the next two, manager Al Lopez brought Lemon back on two days' rest, but he was shelled early as the Giants swept the Series.

Lemon's money pitch was his sinking fastball. He led the AL in strikeouts with 170 in 1950, but he was most effective when opposing batters were beating the ball into the dirt. Always slightly wild, his season bases on balls and strikeout marks were usually similar, as were his career bases totals of 1,251 walks and 1,277 strikeouts.

Lemon was considered to be one of the best-hitting pitchers of his time and was often used as a pinch hitter, totaling 31 hits in 109 pinch-hit appearances (.284). His 37 home runs lifetime is just one behind Wes Ferrell's record for pitchers, and his 7 HR in 1949 ties him for second on the pitchers' season list.

After leaving the majors, Lemon pitched briefly in the Pacific Coast League, then turned to scouting, coaching, and managing. In 1966 TSN named him Minor League Manager of the Year when his Seattle team won the PCL championship. From 1970-72 he managed the Kansas City Royals, with a 1971 second place the team 's best mark, earning him Manager of the Year honors. He took over the Chicago White Sox in 1977, managing another mediocre team to a strong finish, and again won Manager of the Year. But Lemon was replaced the next season with the team in fifth place.

A few weeks later, Lemon began a bewildering series of ups and downs with the New York Yankees. First, he succeeded fiery Billy Martin as skipper of the third-place Yankees. The team responded to his relaxed leadership and finished the regular schedule tied with the Red Sox for the division title. New York won the one-game playoff on Bucky Dent's home run. After taking the LCS, Lemon's Yankees went on to a World Series win over the Dodgers.

Midway through the 1979 season, Martin replaced him as Yankee manager. In 1981, when the player strike split the season into two parts, Gene Michael managed the Yankees to a first-half division lead, but when the team faltered in the second half after the strike, Lemon returned as manager. He took the Yankees to victory in the divisional playoff between the Yankees and second-half winner Milwaukee and then a three-game sweep of Oakland in the LCS. The Yankees lost the World Series to the Dodgers in six games. When New York started slowly in 1982, Lemon was again replaced as manager, this time by Michael.

» The Little League is officially open to girls as President Gerald Ford signs legislation amending the charter of the organization. Little League had sought changes in their charter after a series of lawsuits challenged its boys-only rule.

» The Senior Professional Baseball Association folds in the middle of its 2nd season when the Fort Myers Sun Sox franchise collapses due to a financial dispute among club owners.

The Senior Professional Baseball Association was a winter baseball league based in Florida for players age 35 and over (with a minimum age of 32 for catchers). The league began play in 1989 and had eight teams in two divisions and a 72 game schedule. Pitchers Rollie Fingers, Ferguson Jenkins (both future Hall of Famers), and Vida Blue, outfielder Dave Kingman, and manager Earl Weaver were the league's marquee names, and former big league outfielder Curt Flood was the circuit's first Commissioner. At age 54, Ed Rakow was the league's oldest player. Former strikeout king J.R. Richard was drafted by the league but cut in preseason.

Throughout the inaugural season, most clubs struggled with poor attendance. On the field, the West Palm Beach Tropics ran away with the league's South Division, finishing 15 games ahead of the second place Fort Myers Sun Sox. In the North, the St. Petersburg Pelicans finished in first, and the Bradenton Explorers were second, narrowly holding off the Orlando Juice. Infielder Ron Washington of West Palm Beach was the league's big offensive star, hitting .359 with a league leading 73 RBIs. Washington's teammate Mickey Rivers hit .366, and Gold Coast Sun Bert Campaneris, the oldest everyday player in the league at 47, stole 16 bases. Bradenton's Jim Morrison hit .290 with 55 RBIs and led the league with 17 homers. Tim Ireland of Fort Myers hit a league best .374, and his teammate Kim Allen paced the circuit with 33 stolen bases. Willie Aikens hit 12 home runs and had 58 RBIs. West Palm Beach pitcher Juan Eichelberger went 11-5 with a 2.90 ERA, and St. Petersburg's Milt Wilcox went 12-3. Jon Matlack, Tim Stoddard, and Pete Falcone each won 10 games. Bradenton's Rick Lysander saved 11 games, and Winter Haven's Bill Campbell notched 5 saves to go along with a 2.12 ERA. Joaqu*n Andújar of Gold Coast had 5 wins and an ERA of 1.31.

In the first weekend of February 1990, the league's top four teams participated in a three game, single elimination tournament with a rather unusual format. On February 2nd, the league's second place clubs faced off. The Explorers defeated the Sun Sox for a chance to face the St. Petersburg Pelicans. The next day, the Pelicans beat the Explorers 9-2 to advance to the league championship game against the West Palm Beach Tropics. On February 4th, 1990, the Pelicans, powered by Lamar Johnson's home run and 3 RBIs, beat the Tropics 12-4 for the league's first championship.

For its second season, four of the league's eight teams (Gold Coast, Orlando, St. Lucie, and Winter Haven) folded, and the Bradenton Explorers relocated to Daytona Beach and became the Daytona Beach Explorers. The circuit added clubs in Arizona (the Sun City Rays) and California (the San Bernardino Pride). They also dropped the minimum age to 34 and shortened the season to 56 games. Less than halfway through its second season, the league folded in December 1990.

At least five of the circuit's players (Ron Washington, Joaqu*n Andújar, Paul Mirabella, Dan Boone, and Ozzie Virgil, Jr.) signed major league contracts after playing in the Senior League, and at least three (Mirabella, Boone, and Virgil) played in the big leagues after their Senior League appearances.

The Angels sign free agent Aaron Sele (15-5, 3.60) to a three-year contract. The 31-year old right-hander, who has pitched for the Red Sox, Rangers and Mariners has 107-68 career record.

It was a tough decision for Sele to choose to enroll in Washington State instead of signing with his favorite boyhood team, the Minnesota Twins, out of high school in the 1988 draft. But after he was All-America following his sophomore year, and pitched for Team USA in the summer of 1990, there was no doubt that Sele was still on track for the majors. He signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1991, and by '93 was named the International League Most Valuable Pitcher, sporting an 8-2 record with a 2.19 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings. That fine half-season also earned him a promotion to the bigs, where he went 7-2 with a 2.74 ERA. He finished third in the Rookie of the Year Award voting, losing out to Tim Salmon.

After a decent 1994 season with the BoSox, Sele came out strong in '95, and after six games had turned some heads with a 3-1 record and 3.06 ERA. Unfortunately, severe shoulder tendinitis sidelined him for the rest of the year, and he could only come back in '96 after a rehab stint in the minors. But Sele was rusty, and posted a 7-11 record, while his ERA jumped two runs to 5.32. When the righty posted similar numbers the following year, he was dealt with Bill Haselman to the Texas Rangers in November 1997 for Jim Leyritz and Damon Buford.

Though he posted high ERAs in the Lone Star State, Sele had tremendous run support -- in 1998, the Rangers averaged 6.69 runs per game for him, and in 2000, 7.4 runs. The righty parlayed that fortune into a 37-20 record over two years with Texas, totaling more wins over those two seasons than anyone in the majors save Pedro Martinez.

Once granted free agency, Sele came to the verge of signing with the Baltimore Orioles, until team doctors claimed he had failed his physical. The rising Seattle Mariners jumped at the sudden opportunity, and inked him to a two-year, $15 million deal in January 2000. There he was reunited with his old Washington State teammate, John Olerud. Sele helped lead the M's to the postseason in 2000, their first post-Ken Griffey Jr. year, as he recorded 17 wins, and was named to the All-Star team for the second time in his career.

» The Rangers sign free agent P Esteban Yan to a contract.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, and baseballibrary.com

12-27-2007, 10:51 AM
sorry guys, not much happened on this day in baseball history

Dec 27

At Palmar de Junco, a Havanan team plays Matanzas in the first documented baseball game played in Cuba. The game called after seven innings due to darkness with Havana leading, 51-9.

» The New York Giants obtain infielder Mickey Witek from the Newark Bears for $40,000 and infielder Alex Kampouris and catcher Tommy Padden. New York has high hopes for Witek, the 1939 MVP in the International League. Originally signed by the Yankees, Witek debuted with the Giants. In 1943, he hit a league-high 172 singles while batting .314, and led NL second basemen in putouts, assists, and errors.

Alex Kampouris
The Chicago Hellenic Society, hungering for a countryman to honor in 1937, assembled at Wrigley Field one day to salute the Reds' second baseman. Kampouris was given a car and extolled before the game, then proceeded to commit three errors in one inning. Kampouris hit .316 in 16 games for the Dodgers in 1941, but never hit better than .249 in any other season.

Braves' mascot Chief Nokahoma is born.

Chief Nokahoma's Teepee (1982)

In 1982, the Atlanta Braves management ordered that Chief Nokahoma's teepee (which was then located on a platform in the field seats) be taken down. The Braves were on a winning streak, and team officials wanted to free up the seats blocked by the large platform. After the teepee came down, the Braves lost 19 out of the next 21 games. Officials then directed that Nokahoma's teepee be erected again, and the Braves went on to win the division.

Former Major League Baseball outfielder Byron Ellis Browne is born. Browne was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1963. In his first major league at-bat, Browne struck out in the second inning of Sandy Koufax's 1965 perfect game. Browne had the dubious distinction of leading the league in strikeouts in 1966 with 143. Has a son Byron Browne Jr. Who played 10 years with the Milwaukee Brewers who is now an actor.

Former Yankee infielder Roy White is born. The Los Angeles native will play 15 years for the Bronx Bombers and compile a lifetime .271 batting average.

White was the quiet leader of the Yankees in a period when their lackluster, sometimes abysmal play was an embarrassing contrast to the franchise's long winning history. His consistently solid performance was finally rewarded in the mid-1970s when the club regained its winning touch; in that period he provided a dignity beyond many of the team's more obviously talented stars.

White hit home runs from both sides of the plate in the same game five times and also switch-hit triples in a game on September 8, 1970, which nobody has ever done more than once in a season. He had speed, too, and stole 233 bases in his career. He was in double figures in steals every season except for his first and last years, and he stole a career-high 31 bases in 1976 at the age of 32. His fielding was just as steady as his other talents, and in 1975 he fielded 1.000, the first Yankee ever to play an errorless season. League-leading performances offensively came in 1972 (99 walks), 1973 (639 at-bats), and 1976 (104 runs). In 1971 he set the AL record for sacrifice flies in a season with 17.

White came up briefly in 1965, the year of the Yankees' collapse, and stuck in 1966, when they dropped to last place. He achieved everyday status in 1968 and hit .267 with 17 HR, 20 steals, 89 runs, and 73 walks. Military service interrupted his 1969 season, when he made the All-Star team, but he had a career year in 1970 with personal highs of 22 HR, 109 runs, 94 RBI, and a .296 batting average. He continued to provide the Yankees with consistent everyday play at the plate and in left field until an injury in 1978 slowed him. He helped the Yankees to their first pennant since 1964 in 1976, and to back-to-back World Championships in 1977-78. In the 1976 LCS he tied the ML mark for walks in a five-game series (5), and his six doubles tied the ALCS lifetime record. His best postseason came in 1978 despite just having come off the DL; he hit .313 in the LCS, with a game-winning sixth-inning HR in the clincher, and hit .333 with a HR and four RBI in the World Series. He later played in Japan, but returned to the U.S. to coach for the Yankees.

Apollo Program: Apollo 8 splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first manned mission to the Moon.

Apollo 8 was the first manned voyage to another celestial body. Its crew – Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders – became the first humans to escape Earth's gravity and the first humans to see the far side of the Moon. It was also the first manned launch of the Saturn V rocket.

To beat the Soviet Union to the moon, in August 1968 NASA changed Apollo 8's D-mission from a low-earth orbit Lunar Module/Command Module test, to a lunar orbital flight, and renamed it the C-prime mission. The new mission's profile, procedures and training, were prepared in an uncharacteristically very short time-frame, between August and December 1968. Adding to the sense of urgency was the possibility that the Soviet Union might launch a manned lunar mission, similar to the Zond 5 and Zond 6 circumlunar missions, in December 1968. Due to its geography, the Soviets' launch facility, Baikonur Cosmodrome, had a lunar launch window that opened a few days earlier than the Americans' that December.

After launching on December 21, 1968, the crew took three days to travel to the Moon. They orbited it ten times, 20 hours in total. While in lunar orbit the crew made a Christmas Eve television broadcast in which they read from the book of Genesis. At the time, the broadcast was the most watched TV program ever. Apollo 8's successful mission paved the way for Apollo 11 to fulfill U.S. President John F. Kennedy's goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the decade.

Free agent Ed Whitson, 14-8 with Padres, signs a five-year $4.4 million contract with the Yankees. The deal becomes a nightmare for both the pitcher and the team.

Ed Whitson's career is best defined by the series of transactions involving him. A promising prospect for Pittsburgh, Whitson was a key to the deal that sent Bill Madlock to the Pirates and brought them a World Championship. After the 1981 season, he went to Cleveland for veteran second baseman Duane Kuiper. He spent a frustrating year in the Indians' bullpen before moving to San Diego for Juan Eichelberger and Broderick Perkins. After an injury-riddled 1983, Whitson attained his best season in 1984, going 14-8 with a 3.24 ERA. He was the first pitcher to win a postseason game for San Diego, the crucial third game of the Championship Series against the Cubs. He made a disastrous mistake by signing with the Yankees as a free agent for 1985. The high-priced pitcher was virtually booed out of town after failing to live up to his price tag. Traded back to San Diego, he was the Padres' top winner in 1987 (10-13) and 1989 (16-11).

After 21 years being heard on WABC, the Yankees will broadcast its spring training , regular-season and postseason games on all -news station WCBS-AM which is owned by Infinity Broadcasting. The five-year deal with the Yankees' YES Network, created earlier this year, is worth approximately about $50 million.

The Mets continue to stay busy this off season acquiring first baseman Mo Vaughn for 13-year veteran right-hander Kevin Appier (11-10, 3.57) and cash. The 1995 American League MVP will join Roberto Alomar, Roger Cedeno, and Shawn Estes as newest members of the Shea Squad.

After the Cubs decline Moises Alou (.293, 39, 106) contract option, the Giants sign the free agent outfielder to a one-year contract with an option for a second year. It will be second time the All-star will be managed by his dad Felipe as he did playing with the Expos from 1992-96.

The Yankees and pitcher Kei Igawa (14-9, 2.97) of Japan finalize a $20 million, five-year deal. New York bidded $26,000,194 for the rights to negotiate with 27-year old southpaw and now must pay that amount the Hanshin Tigers within five business days.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals states that lower courts wrongly blocked the government from access to confidential Major League Baseball drug tests taken in 2003. The 2-1 ruling allows names and lab results of about 100 Major League Baseball players who tested positive can be used by federal investigators.

The Giants have reached a preliminary agreement with former A’s hurler Barry Zito (102-63, 3.55 ) on the largest deal ever given to a pitcher in the history of the game. The 28-year-old southpaw will earn $126 million during his seven years on the other side of the bay.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, the University of Georgia, and baseballibrary.com

12-28-2007, 02:54 PM
Dec 28

» The AA officially admits the Metropolitans, having been forced by the courts to do so.

» The Cuban Giants, the top colored team in the nation, announces its plans for 1889: Monday and Saturday games at Elysian Field in Hoboken, Wednesdays and Fridays in Trenton; and Sundays at Long Island Grounds in Maspeth, Queens.

The Cuban Giants, also known as the Babylon Black Panthers, were a African-American professional baseball club, perhaps the first one.

The team was originally formed in 1885 at the Argyle Hotel, a summer resort in Babylon (village), New York. The team was so skilled in the game, and achieved victory over so many of the nearby amateur "white" teams that they attracted the attention of a promoter, Walter Cook. To appeal to a broader audience, Cook styled them the "Cuban Giants," a common ploy to avoid referring to the players as "black" or "Negro." There were no Cubans on the Cuban Giants. The team remained one of the premier Negro league teams for nearly 20 years.

The team went on to become the "world colored champions" of 1887 and 1888, and spawned imitators.

» Star Chicago SS Bill Dahlen breaks his left arm in a fall.

Dahlen played shortstop for a National League-record 20 years. His specialty was fielding, to which his NL-record 7,500 shortstop assists and ML-record 13,325 chances attest. Yet he lasted long enough to make 972 errors at shortstop, the most by a player at any position in a single league. He was also a consistent hitter with considerable power for the deadball era.

Dahlen broke in as a fleet-footed 21-year-old with the 1891 Chicago Colts (later the Cubs), playing third base and the outfield. By 1895 he was the everyday shortstop. Like many players of the era, he had his best season in 1894 (the year after pitchers were moved back), reaching personal highs of 15 HR, 107 RBI, and a .362 average. He set a record from June 20 through August 6 with a 42-game hitting streak that Willie Keeler exceeded three years later. After failing to hit on August 7, he reeled off a 28-game streak, thus hitting in 70 of 71 games. Twice in his career, in 1896 and 1898, he tripled three times in a game, and in 1900 tripled twice in one inning.

Dahlen played for Brooklyn from 1899 through 1903, then achieved his lifelong dream of playing for the Giants when Brooklyn dealt him for pitcher John Cronin and shortstop Charlie Babb. It was one of the worst trades in Brooklyn history, as Cronin lasted one season, Babb two. Meanwhile, Dahlen led the NL with 80 RBI in 1904, and was the SS for the 1905 World Champion Giants. After a stint with the 1908-09 Braves, he returned to Brooklyn and managed the club for four seasons, never finishing higher than sixth. He was replaced by Wilbert Robinson in November of 1913.

» The National League's 1926 MVP Bob O'Farrell is named to replace Hornsby as Cards manager. The job was reportedly first offered to Bill Killefer who, out of loyalty to Hornsby turned it down, and quit. Killefer will sign on as a coach of the Browns.

» Former Washington 3B Buddy Lewis wins the Distinguished Flying Cross for precision flying over the Burma War Theater.

One of several stars who lost the peak years of their careers to military service, Lewis joined the Senators for eight games as an 18-year-old in 1935. The next season, when second baseman Buddy Myer was injured, the Washington infield was reshuffled and Lewis took over at third base. Myer was the defending AL batting champ, but Lewis hit a very respectable .291 and scored 100 runs. Myer became Lewis's mentor and the veteran's nickname was given to the youngster.

In the years before World War II, Lewis hit over .300 three times and scored 100 or more runs four times, with a high of 122 in 1938. He led the AL in triples (16) in 1939. In 1940 he moved to right field, allowing longtime Senator shortstop Cecil Travis, who was slowing down, to move to third. After returning from the service, he hit .333 at the end of the 1945 season and .292 in 1946. He had an off-year in 1947, then missed all of 1948 with an injury. When he could not regain his earlier form in a 1949 comeback bid, he retired.

» Pittsburgh sends flashy infielder Danny O'Connell to Milwaukee for 3B Sid Gordon, OF Sam Jethroe, P Max Surkont, and minor league pitchers, Fred Waters, Curt Raydon, and Larry Lasalle. They also get $100,000 from the Braves. According to historian Sean Lahman, this is the only six-for-one trade in major league history and surpassed only by the 7-for-1 deal that will send Vida Blue from Oakland to San Francisco in 1978.

Branch Rickey uspet Pittsburgh fans when he traded O'Connell, a hustling and intelligent infielder, to the Braves in 1953. O'Connell became Milwaukee's second baseman for three seasons. Though he was considered the weak link in their awesome offense, on June 13, 1956, he tied a major league record with three triples in a game. He played with the Giants from June 1957 until his demotion in 1959, resurfaced with the new Washington Senators for 1961, and '62, then coached them for two seasons. He died in an auto accident in 1969.

» The NY Board of Estimate votes $25,000 for a survey regarding the Dodgers' proposed new stadium for downtown Brooklyn.

» CBS states that it will not broadcast baseball into any area at the time a minor league game is scheduled.

In a trade of first basemen, the Reds swap Ted Kluszewski to the Pirates for Dee Fondy.

How hard is it hitting? You ever walk into a pitch black room full of furniture that you've never been in before and try to walk though it without bumping into anything? Well it's harder than that." -TED KLUSZEWSKI, Major League first baseman

» Free-agent OF Warren Cromartie signs a reported 3-year, $2.5 million contract to play for Japan's Tokyo Yomiuri Giants. The 30-year-old Cromartie, who hit .278 for the Expos last season, is the best American player to jump to Japan while still in his prime.

» The Astros obtain OF Derek Bell, IF Ricky Gutierrez, P Pedro Martinez, OF Phil Plantier, and IF Craig Shipley from the Padres in exchange for 3B Ken Caminiti, SS Andujar Cedeno, OF Steve Finley, 1B Roberto Petagine, P Brian Williams, and a player to be named. P Sean Fesh will go to the Padres next May to complete the 12-player deal, the biggest in the major leagues since 1957.

» Former major league P John D'Acquisto is arrested on charges of trying to pass off a forged $200 million certificate of deposit as collateral on a deal at Prudential Securities Inc.

In 1974, TSN named D 'Acquisto NL Rookie Pitcher of the Year when he went 12-14 with a 3.77 ERA for the fifth-place Giants, but he missed most of the next season after elbow surgery. Always wild, he was easier to hit afterwards, and was no longer a good starter. He tied an NL record with three wild pitches in the seventh inning on September 24, 1976. The San Diego native made a comeback with the Padres in 1978 by switching to the bullpen (10 saves, 2.13 ERA) but declined in subsequent years.

Outgoing New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announces the Yankees and Mets have reached a tentative agreement with the city to build a pair of $800 million, retractable-roof stadiums. Mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg, who is concerned if the Big Apple can afford what is believed to be the largest private-public venture in baseball history, will have final word on the $1.6 billion cost of the proposed new ballparks agreements.

The White Sox and starter Jon Garland (18-10, 3.50) sign a three-year, $29 million contract. The deal to stay with the 2005 World Series champions, which takes him off the profitable free agent market next year, avoids salary arbitration and keeps the 26-year right-hander in the city he loves.

The Diamondbacks send Troy Glaus and highly touted infield prospect Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays in exchange for Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson and starter Miguel Batista. The Toronto’s active off-season in which the team has also signed starter A.J. Burnett, closer B.J. Ryan and first baseman Lyle Overbay convinced the third baseman to waive his limited no-trade clause.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, and baseballibrary.com

12-31-2007, 11:07 AM
Dec 31

A reported eight million bats are sold in the United States.

At the age of 38, Charles H. Ebbets gains a controlling interest of eighty-percent of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

» Three players purchased from the disbanded Kansas City AA franchise by the National League are divided by lot among the bidding NL clubs. Billy Hamilton is assigned to Philadelphia, while Boston is lucky enough to get both Herman Long and Dan Stearns in the drawing.

Billy Hamilton is one of only three players in ML history with more runs scored than games played, Hamilton was perhaps the best player of the 1890s. Seven times a stolen-base champion, he combined raw speed, daring baserunning, patience at the plate, and a .344 career average (sixth-best all-time) to become the game's first great leadoff hitter. In a period when stolen bases were also credited when baserunners gained more bases than a batter earned on a hit, Hamilton compiled phenomenal stolen base totals.

After 35 games with Kansas City in 1888, Hamilton won a starting spot the next year and hit .301 with a league-leading 117 stolen bases. He would not fall below .300 again until his final ML season. In 1890 Hamilton brought his head-first slides to the NL's Phillies, where he led the league with 102 steals in 1890 and 115 in 1891, the year he won his first batting title with a .340 mark. Following an off-year in 1892, he moved from left field to center in 1893 and hit .380 to edge teammate Sam Thompson for his second batting championship.

Sliding Billy continued his record-setting basepath feats in 1894 with the help of his fellow Phillies, who hit a ML-record .343 as a team that year. Playing in 131 of his club's 132 games, Hamilton scored 196 runs, by far the best ML season total ever. He accomplished this by leading the league in walks (126) and stolen bases (99), including 7 steals in one game on August 31. He also strung together a 36-game hitting streak, the sixth-longest in NL history, and had career highs of 87 RBI, 223 hits, 15 triples, 25 doubles, and a .399 batting average. After leading the league once again in runs, walks, and stolen bases in 1895, he was traded to the Braves for third baseman Billy Nash. In Boston, he continued to terrorize opposing infields, leading the NL in stolen bases twice more in 1896 and 1898. But knee and leg injuries in 1898 and 1899 finally began to slow him down, and he retired after hitting only .287 in 1901.

In addition to his lofty batting average, Hamilton finished his career with a .455 on-base percentage, 1,187 walks, 1,692 runs scored, and 937 stolen bases. He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans' Committee in 1961.

Herman Long

With a powerful arm, a quick release, and outstanding range, speed, and agility, Long played shortstop, according to the Boston Globe, "like a man on a flying trapeze." He joined Fred Tenney, Bobby Lowe, and Jimmy Collins in the Braves' (then called the Beaneaters) infield that was probably the best of the 19th century. His career chances-per-game (6.4) tops all shortstops.

One of three Beaneaters to play on five NL pennant winners in the 1890s, he was a strong run producer, twice knocking in over 100 and scoring over 100 seven times. His 149 runs scored led the NL in 1893 and his 12 home runs led in 1900. Noisy and uncouth on the field, he urged teammates to greater efforts, ragged opponents, and stirred up fans. He always played all out, once breaking Pittsburgh catcher Connie Mack's leg with a ferocious slide when there was no play at the plate.

After his playing days, he managed in the minors. However, he contracted tuberculosis, moved far from the scenes of his success to Colorado, and died broke and friendless.

» Charles H. Ebbets, 38, who "has handled every dollar" entering the Brooklyn club's treasury for the past 15 years, gains a controlling 80 percent interest in the team.

» Ban Johnson's efforts to strengthen the New York Yankees succeed when he arranges the purchase of the team by Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Cap Huston for $460,000 from Bill Devery and Frank Farrell. After Detroit owner Navin refuses to let Hugh Jennings go, the new Yankee owners will name longtime Detroit pitcher Bill Donovan as manager. Donovan was recently manager of Providence (IL).

Jake Ruppert

A colonel in the seventh regiment of the National Guard, Ruppert was a member of the New York social register and a lifelong bachelor. He went to work in the family brewery at 19 and was elected to four terms in Congress beginning in 1898. He became president of the brewery in 1915. At the suggestion of John McGraw, Ruppert and Tillinghast Huston, an engineer who had made a fortune in Cuba, bought the Yankees in 1914 for $450,000. When Ruppert hired Miller Huggins as manager in 1917 against Huston's wishes (Huston was in Europe), a rift developed between the partners.

The hiring of Huggins, the acquisition of Babe Ruth in 1919, and the selection of Ed Barrow as general manager in 1920 were the most important moves in turning the Yankees into a powerhouse. Ruppert let Huggins and Barrow handle the day-to-day affairs of the club, although he designed the Yankees' famous pinstripe uniform (in hopes it would make the bulky Ruth look slimmer). Yankee Stadium was opened in 1923 at a cost of $2.5 million. Shortly thereafter, Ruppert bought out Huston for $1.2 million.

With the Yankees dominating the AL in the late 1930s, Ruppert answered proposals that the team should be broken up: "I found out a long time ago there is no charity in baseball. Every club owner must make his own fight for existence. I went into baseball purely for the fun of it. I had no idea I would spend so much money ... the only return I ever sought was to make ends meet."

» Kid Gleason replaces Pants Rowland as White Sox manager following the team's skid to 5th.

Giants pitcher Fred Toney is sentenced to four months in jail after he pleads guilty to violating the Mann Act, which prohibits taking a woman across state lines for immoral purposes.

Toney was a 6'6" 245-lb workhorse who, pitching 340 innings, went 24-16 for the Reds in 1917. That May 2, in one of baseball's all-time classic pitching duels, Toney threw ten innings of no-hit, shutout ball to defeat the Cubs' Hippo Vaughn, who did not give up a hit or a run until the tenth inning. Toney again displayed his skill and stamina on July 1, 1917, when he pitched both ends of a doubleheader, defeating the Pirates 4-1 and 5-1. He had hurled a 17-inning no-hitter as a 21-year-old in the Blue Grass league in 1909, striking out 19 and walking one.

Toney went 15-6 in 1915 with a 1.58 ERA - second in the league to Grover Cleveland Alexander. He had dropped to 6-10 in 1918 when he was sold in mid-season to the Giants, for whom he went 21-11 in 1920. He followed with an 18-11 mark for the 1921 World Champions, but didn't make it through the third inning in either of his World Series starts. He faded to 5-6 in 1922, refused to report when the Giants traded him to the Braves that July, and was waived to the Cardinals in October.

» The 1940s is the only decade in ML baseball history in which no new stadiums are built. After Cleveland opened Municipal Stadium in 1932, no new ballpark will be opened until County Stadium in Milwaukee is unveiled in 1953.

The 1940s will end with eight blacks on ML rosters: three each on the Dodgers and Indians, and two with the Giants. Although it will be another decade before all ML teams would be integrated, most teams will be playing blacks in the next two years. All but the Browns, Cubs, and Reds set attendance records in the 1940s. There were 81 scheduled night games in 1940 and 384 in 1949. The change to playing under the lights is underscored by the release of the 1950 schedule. The Cardinals have permission to open the season with the Pirates in a night game.

» The state of Ohio withdraws a suit against the Reds when owner Bill DeWitt agrees in writing that the club will stay in Cincinnati for 10 years.

» After 15 seasons with the Braves in three different cities, 3B Eddie Mathews is traded to the Astros, with P Arnie Umbach and a player to be named, for P Bob Bruce and OF Dave Nicholson.

A natural athlete blessed with tremendous power, a rifle arm, and a durable body, Mathews was the premier third baseman of his era, overshadowing Clete Boyer, the young Brooks Robinson, and Al Rosen. A key member of the excellent Braves teams of the late 1950s, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1978 on his fifth try. His 512 homers ties him with Ernie Banks; and his 486 homers hit as a third baseman were a record until surpassed by Mike Schmidt.

Heavily scouted in high school, Mathews signed with the Boston Braves in 1949 on the night of his high school graduation. He and his father had scouted major league rosters and had decided that Boston's Bob Elliott was the third baseman most likely to be replaced in a few years. In less than three years Mathews was starting at third for the Braves; he kept the job for fifteen years and two franchise shifts. Ironically, Mathews played for minor league teams in Atlanta and Milwaukee on his way up.

Mathews's ascension in the majors coincided with the decline of the Boston Braves. A shy twenty-year-old, he grew up quickly in the empty confines of Braves Field, and while the team slumped to seventh place, he provided one of the few bright spots for the future along with shortstop Johnny Logan and pitcher Lew Burdette. Mathews's 25 HR (and only 58 RBI) in 1952 included tape measure shots in Philadelphia, St. Louis and Cincinnati, plus three homers on September 27 in Ebbets Field off Joe Black and Ben Wade. His hustle and determination attracted attention throughout the league - particularly in spring training when he bowled over Commissioner Ford Frick and Braves publicist Billy Sullivan while running down a foul fly.

In 1953 the depressed Boston franchise was uprooted to Milwaukee in spring training. The Braves quickly became the darlings not only of the city but the entire upper Midwest region in a brief but intense romance unparalleled in baseball history. Coinciding with the deliverance from Boston was a dramatic improvement in talent as Adcock, Bruton, and Conley, and later Aaron, Buhl, and Covington joined the roster. Sparked by the new surroundings, Mathews improved from .242 with 25 HR and 58 RBI in 1952 to .302 with 47 HR and 135 RBI and became a star virtually overnight. Both of his power categories were career highs. The Braves shot to second place and were contenders through the rest of the decade.

Mathews had a remarkable physique, and his powerful stroke and bat speed were marveled at by opponents. "He swings the bat faster than anyone I ever saw," commented Carl Erskine. "You think you've got a called strike past him and he hits it out of the catcher's glove." Even Ty Cobb, not known for his appreciation of the modern ballplayer, was impressed. "I've only known three or four perfect swings in my time. This lad has one of them."

The fast start enjoyed by Mathews is still unsurpassed in baseball history. He hit 190 home runs in his first five seasons, putting him far ahead of Ruth at age 25, and piled up impressive RBI totals, although his average remained below .300 in most seasons. Mathews' World Series and All-Star statistics belie his excellence. In 10 All-Star games Mathews had three times as many errors (6) as hits. His lifetime All-Star average was .080 and he fielded just .647, but both of his hits were home runs. In three World Series he averaged but .200.

After losing the pennant to the Dodgers by a single game in 1956, the Braves came back the following year with a seven-game World Series triumph over the Yankees. Mathews won Game Four with a 10th-inning homer off Bob Grim, and his backhanded grab of Bill Skowron's shot down the line closed off the Yankees in Game Seven. Despite hitting only .227, four of Mathews's five hits were for extra bases. His .292 average, 32 homers and 94 RBIs contributed greatly to the Braves' regular season success.

In 1958 Mathews suffered through a subpar season at the bat, hitting only .251, and the Braves' one-year reign as World Champions ended with a Yankee win in seven games. Mathews could only manage a .160 average and struck out 11 times. Although he rebounded to a career high of .306 with a league-leading 46 HR and 114 RBI in 1959, the Braves were beaten by a rejuvenated Los Angeles Dodgers team in a two-game playoff series. Mathews contributed a second-game homer off Don Drysdale.

From 1959 on, Mathews's home run totals steadily declined. With one exception - the last Milwaukee year (1965), when he belted 32 - they dropped from 46 down to 10 in his last season as a regular, and his batting average, while never high, also showed his diminishing skills. He continued to play third base regularly but he reflected the Braves team as a whole: respectable, but not good enough to contend.

A final 1966 season with the Braves permitted Mathews to play in Atlanta, thus becoming the only three-city ballplayer with the same franchise. After Mathews hit .250 with 16 HR he was shipped to Houston for Dave Nicholson. He had little success in the Astrodome and in July 1967 he was traded to Detroit, which hoped he would regain his former power down the short right-field line in Tiger Stadium, but Mathews produced just nine homers in a year and a half.

Mathews coached for the Braves in the early 1970s and served as manager in 1972-74. His 1973 team featured slugging from former teammate Hank Aaron, Davey Johnson, and Darrell Evans, the first trifecta of 40-HR-season teammates.

» A plane carrying Roberto Clemente to Nicaragua on a mercy mission for earthquake victims crashes into the Atlantic Ocean. Clemente, who batted .317 in 18 seasons with the Pirates, is presumed dead at age 38.

Roberto Clemente left his mark on baseball with a style of play rarely seen in modern ML competition. In a combination of brilliant scouting and luck, the Pirates claimed the Puerto Rican-born 20-year-old from the Dodgers' Montreal farm club for $4,000 in the 1954 minor league draft.
Clemente came to a club that had suffered through three straight 100-loss seasons and was the laughingstock of baseball. He was not an immediate superstar, although his brilliant fielding ability and rifle arm were apparent from the beginning. He would eventually earn 12 Gold Gloves as a right fielder and set a ML record by leading the NL in assists five times.

In 1960 the righthanded hitter began a streak of eight consecutive seasons in which he batted no less than .312. He made the first of his 14 All-Star appearances in the two 1960 games. That year, Pittsburgh fielded its best team since Clemente's arrival, winning the NL pennant. He hit safely in every game of the World Series against the Yankees, batting .310. In Game Seven, he kept an eighth-inning rally alive with a hustling infield single, setting up a go-ahead homer by Hal Smith. But Clemente never wore his 1960 Championship ring. He finished eighth in the NL MVP voting, though he'd led the Pirates with 94 RBI; feeling snubbed, he wore his 1961 All-Star ring instead.

Clemente won the first of four NL batting titles with a .351 mark in 1961. For the next several years, he was consistently brilliant. In the outfield, he would track down every ball in range, often making spectacular diving or leaping catches. He played caroms out of the tricky right field corner at Forbes Field faultlessly. On routine flies, he used the basket catch made famous by his contemporary, Willie Mays. At bat, Clemente seemed forever uncomfortable, always rolling his neck and stretching his back. Standing deep in the box, he would pounce on inside pitches, or wait and drive outside deliveries to right field. Playing in spacious Forbes Field reduced his home run totals. His baserunning style was marked by effort and determination, with arms and legs pumping and helmet often flying off.

Despite his all-out play, Clemente was unjustly considered a hypochondriac. When he hurt, he said so, an uncommon practice in his day. Despite a severe back injury in 1954, an arm injury in 1959, and an attack of malaria in 1965, the label stuck, even though he played 140 or more games in eight straight seasons, 1960-67.

Clemente won two more batting titles in 1964 (.339) and 1965 (.329). Long overdue recognition finally came in 1966; though the Pirates finished third, and Clemente did not lead the league in any major offensive category, his career-high 29 HR and 119 RBI helped him win the MVP award. In 1967 he captured his fourth batting crown with a .357 average, his best ever. By then, he was becoming the elder statesman on a young Pittsburgh team. Undisputably one of baseball's greatest players, he still did not receive a great deal of national media attention until 1971, when Pittsburgh met Baltimore in the World Series. Clemente played like a man possessed, chasing down fly balls, unleashing great throws at every opportunity, batting .414 with 12 hits and two home runs, one in Pittsburgh's climactic Game Seven victory, and winning the Series MVP award.

On September 30, 1972, Clemente drove a double off Met pitcher Jon Matlack at Three Rivers Stadium for his 3,000th career hit. His .312 average that year marked his 13th .300 season and he was at or near the top of every batting category in Pirate history.

On New Year's Eve of 1972, Clemente boarded a DC-7 loaded with relief supplies for earthquake victims in Managua, Nicaragua. Shortly after takeoff, the plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, a mile off the Puerto Rican coast. There were no survivors. The five-year mandatory waiting period for Hall of Fame eligibility was waived and Clemente was inducted in 1973. The Pirates retired his uniform number 21.

» Happy New Year. The Yankees sign Catfish Hunter to a 5-year contract worth a reported $3.75 million. This is triple the salary of any other ML player. Catfish will win 40 games over the next two seasons before suffering arm trouble.

» The Basic Agreement between players and owners expires, precipitating more than 19 months of bitter negotiations, culminating in the 1981 player strike.

» Despite six weeks of negotiations, the Basic Agreement between the players and owners that was reached after the 1981 strike expires. The players are now seeking increased contributions to their pension plan from the clubs' additional television revenues, while the owners are hoping to slow the rapid growth of player salaries.

» A's 3B Carney Lansford is severely injured in a New Year's Eve snowmobile accident. He will undergo surgery on January 6th to reconstruct the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee as well as repair other ligament damage. Lansford will play just five games in 1991, but return to the starting lineup in 1992.

An often-overlooked outstanding natural hitter, Lansford was the Angels Rookie of the Year in 1978, third in the overall AL vote. Traded to Boston in December 1980, in 1981 Lansford became the first righthanded hitter since 1970 to lead the AL in hitting (.336). He went to Oakland in December 1982 in a deal for Tony Armas. A superb fielder despite a lack of range, Carney appeared headed to first base until the emergence of Mark McGwire. Slowed by wrist and ankle injuries in 1983 and a broken right wrist in 1985, the streaky Lansford was healthy over the next four years and was usually the leadoff or number-two hitter. He stole a career-high 29 bases in 1988 and was second in the AL with a .336 batting average as Oakland won AL pennants both years. A quietly intense player, Lansford became recognized as a team leader on the Athletics.

» Baseball's collective bargaining agreement runs out with no new agreement yet signed.

After the Devil Rays decline his 2005 $8 million contract option, Tino Martinez (.262, 23, 76) signs a one-year, $3 million contract to rejoin the Yankees. The popular 37-year old first baseman, acquired as insurance in the event Jason Giambi’s (the player who replaced him) health continues to fail, played in the Bronx from 1996-2001.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com and baseballibrary.com

01-02-2008, 11:51 AM
Jan 2

The Northwestern League, a minor league, is organized in Rockford, Illinois.

» Fred Dunlap finally signs with Pittsburgh following the sale of his contract by Detroit. He agrees to a $5,000 salary and a $2,000 bonus, making him the highest-paid player to date.

In ten NL seasons, the slick-fielding Dunlap at various times led NL second basemen in all fielding categories and twice batted over .300. But his greatest year was 1884 when, playing for powerhouse St. Louis in the short-lived Union Association, he led UA second basemen in all five fielding categories while leading the league in BA (his .412 was 52 points above that of the next-best hitter), slugging (.621), runs (160), and HR (13). His 160 runs scored set a new ML record, and still rank fourteenth-best of all time.

» Brooklyn Dodgers president Charles Ebbets announces he has purchased grounds to build a new concrete-and-steel stadium to seat 30,000. During the year he will ease his pinched financial condition by selling half the team to Ed and Steve McKeever.

» The Cardinals try to prevent OF Lee Magee, 25, from playing for the Brooklyn Tip-Tops. Like most such suits, it will fail. Magee will play and manage in the Federal League.

Magee batted a career-high .323 as player-manager for Brooklyn's 1915 Federal League entry. His career came to a turbulent end when a jury found him guilty of having bet against his own team, the Dodgers, in 1919.

With Mayor Fiorello La Guardia on hand, Lou Gehrig is sworn in as a menber of the New York City Parole Commission. Although his term is for ten years, the former Yankee slugger becomes too ill even to sign his name and will ask for the mayor a leave of absence in the spring of next year.

Lou Gehrig was the greatest first baseman ever and a key component in the Yankee legend. Gehrig's record of 2,130 consecutive games played perfectly reflected his steady, dependable character. Because he was also handsome, a native New Yorker, and eventually a tragic figure, he became as glamorous as a retiring "mama's boy" could be.

Born in a German neighborhood, Gehrig began his legendary career at Columbia University. Freshmen weren't eligible for varsity play, but in his sophomore season Gehrig set multiple school records, most notably season marks of seven HR, a .444 batting average, and a .937 slugging average. Also a pitcher, he still holds the Columbia record for strikeouts in a game, fanning 17 Williams batters in a game he lost. It is rumored that Columbia coach Andy Coakley, a former major leaguer, was paid $500 by the Yankees to convince the youngster to sign with the Yankees. By the way, although Gehrig did hit some prodigious shots at Columbia, he never hit one through a window in the athletic office in Low Library, as depicted in The Pride of the Yankees - nobody could.

Gehrig played two seasons with Hartford of the Eastern League and debuted in the majors four days short of his 20th birthday. He had brief but successful stints with the Yankees in 1923 and 1924. He started his famous streak on May 31, 1925, pinch hitting for Pee Wee Wanninger. (Earlier that year, Wanninger had replaced Everett Scott at shortstop, breaking Scott's much-remarked-upon string of 1,307 consecutive games.) The next day, regular first baseman Wally Pipp sat out a game with a headache, and Gehrig started in his place. The team was in seventh place at the time, and Babe Ruth was sick, so some experimentation was in order. Hindsight makes it seem as though the rookie then monopolized the position, but in fact Gehrig's position was still somewhat tenuous. He was pinch hit for three times that month, and didn't start on July 5, although he came into the game later. Gehrig had a good season, certainly, hitting .295 with 20 HR and 68 RBI in 126 games. But it was in 1927, when he was moved to the cleanup spot and had Bob Meusel protecting him in the order that became known as Murderer's Row, that Gehrig put up big numbers for the first time. He won the MVP award (then given by the league and not awarded to repeat winners) and led the AL with 175 RBI, 52 doubles, and 447 total bases. He finished behind Ruth with 47 HR, 149 runs, a .765 slugging average, and 109 walks. His .373 batting average also ranked second.

Gehrig was overshadowed by Ruth for as long as Ruth was a Yankee. Gehrig was great, Gehrig was consistent, Gehrig was a role model - but Ruth was larger than life. However, it is Gehrig who owns the AL season record for RBI, with 184 in 1931, and who hit a ML-record 23 grand slams lifetime. Gehrig and Rocky Colavito are the only AL players to hit four homers in a nine-inning game, and Gehrig hit for the cycle twice; Ruth never did. He had at least 100 RBI and 100 runs every full season of his career, 13 straight years, and led the AL five times in RBI and four times in runs. In fact, he topped 150 RBI seven times, also a ML record, and is third all-time on the RBI list. His .632 slugging average also ranks third, and when he retired, only Ruth had hit more home runs.

Ruth pursued media attention and made great copy, but Gehrig led a quiet married life. For a while the two were friends, but a coolness developed between them, variously ascribed to Ruth making a pass at a female friend of Gehrig's or making a derogatory comment about Mom Gehrig, whom Lou always worshiped. Nonetheless, Ruth and Gehrig had a cordial professional relationship until Ruth left the team after the 1934 season. In 1931, the year they tied for the AL HR lead, Gehrig lost a home run passing Ruth on the bases.

Ruth and Gehrig carried the Yankees, but there were some years when they just weren't enough. Connie Mack's Athletics won three straight years, 1929-31, before the Yankees came back in 1932 for another World Championship. In the following seasons, it became clear that Ruth was fading. In their last year together, 1934, Gehrig won the Triple Crown with 49 HR, 165 RBI, and a .363 BA; in 1935 he dropped off to .329 with 30 HR and 119 RBI. He was also bothered more and more by lumbago; in 1934 he had suffered an attack on the field and had to be carried off. He was quite aware of his consecutive games streak, as were manager Joe McCarthy and the writers. The next day he was penciled in the lineup as the leadoff hitter, listed at shortstop. Hardly able to stand, he singled, and Red Rolfe pinch ran for him and finished the game at shortstop. He kept his string going through the years despite a broken thumb, a broken toe, back spasms, and lumbago, stoically, in fact proudly, playing through the pain.

The arrival of Joe DiMaggio in 1936 made enough of a difference that Gehrig had his last two great seasons in 1936 and 1937 as the Yankees won World Championships. The Giants managed something no other team had done since 1926: they won a World Series game from the Yankees. But Gehrig homered in close contests in Games Three and Four. He was always a good World Series hitter, with 10 HR lifetime, including a record-setting four in the four-game 1928 WS.

The Yankees repeated in 1938, but Gehrig dropped below .300 for the first time since his rookie season. In 1939 he was obviously enfeebled, and on May 2 he took himself out of the lineup. He was hitting just .143, and was quite clumsy afield. Many players were afraid he would injure himself, but nobody would suggest that he sit down, not even manager McCarthy. Gehrig had to take the initiative himself. He never played again, and although, in his capacity as team captain, he continued to carry the lineup card out every day, eventually even that proved more than he could handle. He was diagnosed as having a rare, almost unknown, and incurable disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, forever after known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It was not announced that he was doomed, although many suspected it and Gehrig knew. On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig Day was held at Yankee Stadium. It may be the most famous ceremony in baseball history, with Gehrig's assertion that "today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth" an unforgettable statement. The waiting period for the new Hall of Fame was waived, and he was admitted the year it opened, in 1939. He spent his last two years of life working for New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, and died on June 2, 1941.

» The White Sox buy P Alex Carrasquel and SS Fred Vaughan from the Senators. Carrasquel will make only three appearances for Chicago before being farmed out. When the Sox acquire his nephew Chico Carrasquel in 1949, the Sox will swap Alex for reliever Luis Aloma, who will act as an interpreter for the young Venezuelan shortstop.

One of many fine Latin-American players imported by Washington owner Clark Griffith, Alex Carrasquel had a fine fastball, which complemented well the famed Senator knuckle-ball staffs of the early 1940s. The tall Venezuelan became more of an asset to the Senators as his pitching savvy increased and he moved more into relief roles.

Alfonso (Chico) Carrasquel Colón (January 23, 1928 – May 26, 2005) was a Venezuelan shortstop in Major League Baseball. Carrasquel batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Caracas. He is the nephew of Alex Carrasquel and the uncle of Cris Colón.

The first in a great line of Latin American Chicago White Sox shortstops, Carrasquel was also the first Latin-American All-Star in major league history. "El Chico" became the third Venezuelan to play in the majors after right-handed pitcher Alex Carrasquel (Washington Senators, 1939) and 1B/OF Chucho Ramos (Cincinnati Reds, in 1944). His major league career began with the Chicago White Sox, where he played from 1950 through 1955.

In 1951, Carrasquel became the first Latin American player to be selected to participate in an All-Star Game, beating out reigning American League MVP Phil Rizzuto as the AL starting shortstop. Carrasquel also would go on to be selected to the All-Star team in three consecutive seasons from 1953-55.

In 1946, as a six-foot, 193-pound 17-year-old Cervecer*a Caracas shortstop, Carrasquel hit the first home run batted in Venezuelan Professional Baseball League history. He was signed in 1949 by the Brooklyn Dodgers, but his inability to speak English may have caused Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey to sell him to the White Sox. Then, Sox' GM Frank Lane solved the language communication problem by trading journeyman pitcher Alex Carrasquel for reliever Witto Aloma, who served as the interpreter between Chico and manager Paul Richards.

Replacing Luke Appling in 1950, Carrasquel soon established himself as a top shortstop, and made an excellent double play combination with second baseman Nellie Fox. As a rookie, Carrasquel hit for a career-high .282 batting average in 141 games and amassed a 24-game hitting streak until Red Sox pitcher Ellis Kinder stopped the streak.

In 1951, Carrasquel broke an American League record by accepting 297 chances without an error in 53 games played). His most productive season came in 1954, when he posted career-highs in home runs (12), RBI (62), hits (158), runs (106) and walks (85).

Before the 1956 season, Carrasquel was sent to the Cleveland Indians along with Jim Busby for Larry Doby. The trade was made to make room for future Hall of Famer, and fellow Venezuelan, Luis Aparicio, Jr.

After two and a half seasons with the Indians, Carrasquel played for the Kansas City Athletics in 1958, and finished his major league career with the Baltimore Orioles in 1959.

In a 10-season career, Carrasquel was a .258 hitter with 55 home runs and 474 RBI in 1325 games. A patient hitter, he posted a solid 1.052 walk-to-strikeout ratio (491-to-467).

Chico Carrasquel is a national legend in his native Venezuela. He was the most important and influential figure for many countrymen that have played Major League Baseball, including shortstops Aparicio, Dave Concepción, Ozzie Guillén, Omar Vizquel and César Izturis; outfielders Vic Davalillo, Tony Armas, Magglio Ordóñez and Bobby Abreu; the versatile utility César Tovar; second baseman Manny Trillo; catcher Bo Diaz; first baseman Andrés Galarraga, and many more.

The Venezuelan Baseball League belatedly honored its native son in 1991, when the Puerto La Cruz baseball park was renamed Estadio Alfonso Chico Carrasquel. Until 2002, he worked as a Community Relations Representative for the White Sox.

Chico Carrasquel died in Caracas, Venezuela at age of 77 due to a cardiac/respiratory arrest.

» Commissioner Kuhn suspends Braves owner Ted Turner for one year as a result of tampering charges in the Gary Matthews free-agency signing, but the Braves are permitted to keep the outfielder.

"An aggressive, hustling ballplayer with a great attitude" was Wes Westrum's description of Gary Matthews as a young outfielder with San Francisco, and the description fit until his retirement 16 seasons later. Matthews teamed with Garry Maddox and Bobby Bonds with the Giants to form one of the best NL outfields in the 1970s. Matthews hit .300 with 10 triples and 17 stolen bases to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 1973, and was an amazingly consistent hitter throughout his career, never hitting below .278 or above .304 until 1985. His aggressive playing style was evident on the basepaths, where he grabbed extra bases and upended fielders with a formidable takeout slide, and in the outfield, where he was only average overall, but still made many astonishing catches. The Giants switched him from leadoff to cleanup hitter in 1975, but he broke his thumb and missed 50 games. Then, after a contract dispute to start the '76 season, he hit .279 with 20 HR and was traded to the Braves.

He had his best season in Atlanta in 1979 (.304, 27 HR, 90 RBI, 97 runs) and made the All-Star team for the only time in his career. He slumped early in 1980 but recovered to post respectable numbers, and when he was traded to Philadelphia in March 1981, he was reunited in the outfield with Garry Maddox. Matthews hit .301 in his first year in Philadelphia, and was brilliant in the 1983 LCS, winning MVP honors with a .429 average, three HR and eight RBI. He homered in each of the final three games, including a three-run shot off Jerry Reuss in the first inning of the finale, which the Phillies won 7-2. The Phillies began to unload their aging veterans in the off-season, and Matthews was dealt to Chicago, where the Cubs hoped he would provide inspired leadership. He led the NL in walks in 1984 as the Cubs won the NL East, and he quickly became a favorite of the Wrigley Field bleacher fans. After 1984 his contributions diminished. He was released by the Cubs in mid-1987, and played 45 games with the Mariners before he retired.

» At Ponce, (Puerto Rican League) Santurce beats Ponce, 11–4. Ponce's Rickey Henderson steals his 41st and 42nd bases, breaking the old league record of 41 set by Carlos Bernier in the 1949-50 season. Henderson will finish the season with 44 stolen bases.

Baseball's most brilliant leadoff man came to quick prominence under Oakland A's manager Billy Martin and his hustling brand of "BillyBall." The speedy Henderson set the AL season steal record with 100 in 1980, his second major-league season. After leading the American League in hits in strike-shortened 1981, Henderson broke Lou Brock's single-season steal record with 130 in 1982. He then topped the hundred-steal mark for a third time with 108 in 1983.

After the 1984 season the righty-batting, lefty-throwing Henderson was traded to the Yankees along with pitcher Bert Bradley in a December 5 deal that sent Stan Javier, Jay Howell, Jose Rijo, Eric Plunk and Tim Birtsas to Oakland. In New York, Henderson was soon reunited with Martin when Yogi Berra was canned after a 6-10 start and went on to have one of the best seasons of his career. Wearing number 24 in honor of Willie Mays, Henderson hit a career-high 24 homers, batting .314 with a league-leading 80 stolen bases. In doing so, Henderson became the first AL player ever with a 20 homer-50 steal season, a feat he repeated in 1986. His 146 runs scored were the most by any major leaguer since 1949 (when Ted Williams scored 150), and his average of more than one run scored per game was the best since the days of Lou Gehrig. Though teammate Don Mattingly won the 1985 AL Most Valuable Player award, Henderson may have been more valuable, scoring on 56 of Mattingly's 145 RBI. Rickey was a close second in the 1981 MVP voting, but a distant third in 1985.

A Gold Glove winner in 1981, Henderson proved somewhat versatile in the outfield, as he moved from left to center in 1985 (though he would later return to left, his preferred position). He became notorious for his snatch catch on easy fly balls, swatting his glove from over his head to his side; it earned him his nickname Style Dog. Henderson's 1985 achievements came despite missing the first 15 games of the season with a sprained ankle.

Henderson continued his power tear in 1986, this time ripping 28 home runs, nine of which were game-openers. In 1988, he broke both the Yankees' single-season steal record with 93 swipes. In the process, he stole his 249th base as a Yankee, surpassing Willie Randolph's record.

Off to a bad start in 1989, Henderson was soon victimized by the "what have you done for me lately?" attitude prevalent among New York fans and media. By June he was mired in the worst slump of his career and started hearing the catcalls from the Yankee bleachers; his flashy personality wasn't winning him many fans when his production couldn't back it up. On June 21, he was traded back to first-place Oakland for pitchers Greg Cadaret, Eric Plunk (again), and outfielder Luis Polonia. As it turned out, the blockbuster move ushered in a dark age for the Yankees and revived Henderson's career. In July, he stole five bases in one game against Seattle. His 1989 post-season was awesome; in nine games overall, he hit .441, scored twelve times, and stole eleven bases. In addition, he was named MVP of the Championship Series. The following season, Henderson was named American League MVP for an amazing year in which he batted .325 with 119 runs scored, 28 homers, and 65 steals.

Henderson continued to steal bases -- except for injury-torn 1987, he led the league every year from 1980-91 -- but leg injuries ranging from hamstring strains ("my hammies," he called them) to a sprained knee to frostbite slowly began to limit his playing time. All the same, more laurels started rolling in. His inevitable eclipse of Lou Brock's career steal record came with steal #939 on May 1, 1991 against New York at the Oakland Coliseum. During the celebratory ceremony he held his base aloft and told a packed crowd, Brock included: "Today I am the greatest of all time." A year later (to the day) he became the first player ever to reach 1,000 steals.

In 1993 Henderson was traded by the last-place A's to Toronto for the stretch drive, and was on base when Joe Carter hit his World Series-ending home run off the Phillies' Mitch Williams. After the season, he returned to Oakland for two more semi-productive years, then signed with the Padres in 1996. In his first season in the NL, Henderson hit .274 and stole 27 bases before being traded to the Anaheim Angels. Henderson re-signed with the A's in the offseason and began his fourth tour of duty in Oakland in 1998.

In December 1998, Henderson joined his sixth club, the New York Mets, as a free agent. The following year was filled with ups and downs for the future Hall of Famer. He exceeded all expectations, batting .315, getting on-base at a .423 clip, and stealing 37 bases, but his personality rubbed many in the Met organization the wrong way.

One of the most glaring incidents took place during the emotional sixth game of the NLCS, which New York ultimately lost to the Braves. As the Mets struggled, it was rumored that Henderson wiled away the last innings in the locker room, playing cards with Bobby Bonilla. New York released him the following May. The Seattle Mariners quickly became the seventh team to pick up the stolen base king, and Henderson once again went to the postseason.

In what has become a telling sign of Henderson's career, the wiry leadoff man remained in great physical shape, drawing walks, stealing bases, and scoring runs. However, his reputation for "dogging it" on the basepaths and in the outfield led yet another team -- Seattle -- to pass on re-signing Henderson, and he entered the 2001 season without a contract.

Henderson signed a minor-league contract with the Padres in March 2001, and got called up in April with injuries to outfielders Tony Gwynn and Mark Kotsay. Used as a pinch-hitter and platoon outfielder, he passed Babe Ruth as the career walks leader on April 25, 2001, drawing a base on balls against Philadelphia Phillies' reliever Jose Mesa. In an about-face from his relatively selfish attitude over the last two decades of his career, Henderson said, "It's great to be in a class with Babe Ruth and all that good stuff, but I'm the type of person that wants to win."

Due a conflict with the major league schedule, the annual Hall of Fame game which has been held the day after induction ceremonies will take place on different weekends for the first time in the Hall's history. The game between the Phillies and Devil Rays will take place on June 16 and with the induction taking place on July 27.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, and baseballibrary.com

01-02-2008, 08:14 PM
Another great post Bud.

Much appreciated, but I have to disagree with the statement....

"The waiting period for the new Hall of Fame was waived, and he was admitted the year it opened, in 1939."

It is my opinion that Ruth and a few others were inducted back in 1936.


01-03-2008, 09:49 AM
You are correct and thanks for piquing my interest, I’d never actually looked into the history of the HOF.

It looks like they were referring to the actual opening of the building since it mentions the 1st classes of '36 - '39 being honored on the opening day of the museum.

Here’s an excerpt for the HOF’s history page:

"They started something here and the kids are keeping the ball rolling. I hope some of you kids will be in the Hall of Fame. I'm very glad that in my day I was able to earn my place. And I hope youngsters of today have the same opportunity to experience such feeling."

Those were the words of the immortal Babe Ruth as he gave his acceptance speech upon his induction into the Hall of Fame on June 12, 1939. For guys like Yogi Berra, 11 years old at the time, Duke Snider and Robin Roberts, who were both 12, and Ernie Banks and Hank Aaron, age 8, those words could not have rung more true.

Ruth was one of nine players, and 12 living legends overall (Lou Gehrig did not make the opening), honored among the first 26 Hall of Fame members elected spanning the classes of 1936-'39. Ruth, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner were the first class of inductees, elected three years before the Museum would open.

Fifteen thousand visitors flooded Main Street, as the Museum officially opened its doors to the world after the conclusion of the Induction Ceremony, which commenced at 12:15 p.m. and was covered by three nationwide radio networks. After Ruth's speech, Baseball Commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis said, "I now declare the National Baseball Museum and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York - home of baseball - open!"

After the ceremony, two teams of all-stars managed by Honus Wagner and Eddie Collins - with players representing each of Major League Baseball's 16 teams - played a game at Doubleday Field in the first-ever Hall of Fame Game, now played annually between two major league teams. The Wagners won the seven inning contest, 4-2. Dizzy Dean started for Collins and Lefty Grove for Wagner, with 12 current and future Hall of Famers participating in the game.

Dubbed the "Cavalcade of Baseball," June 12 was the crowning day of a four-month celebration of the 100th anniversary of baseball in Cooperstown in 1939. That day, the United States Post Office issued a special commemorative stamp as part of the celebration, with a million of them being sold in Cooperstown. Commissioner Landis purchased the very first sheet of stamps - which was later donated to the Hall of Fame - and nearly half of the stamps issued in Cooperstown were postmarked that day. The newly-refurbished Doubleday Field played home to ballgames and suddenly Cooperstown - a village of fewer than 3,000 residents - became the home of a national shrine.

01-03-2008, 12:20 PM
Jan 3

» The recently disbanded Cleveland team (National League) release their players.

» At Laughery club house, near Rising Sun, Indiana, the National Baseball Commission adopts a rule that bars World Series winners from playing post-season exhibition games. This obscure rule will lead to a direct confrontation between Babe Ruth and Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis in 1921.

The secret deal made on December 26 to sell Babe Ruth to New York for $125,000 (twice the amount ever paid previously for a player) is announced publicly. Harry Frazee, the cash-strapped owner of the Red Sox, also secures a $300,000 loan from the Yankees as part of the deal.

» The Yankees pluck two rookies from the Red Sox, P George Pipgras and OF Harvey Hendrick, in exchange for 2nd-string C Al DeVormer.

George Pipgras

After serving overseas with the army engineers during WWI, Pipgras became one of the Yankees' most successful pitchers. The fastballer led the AL in wins (24), starts (38), innings (301), and hits allowed (314) in 1928, and in shutouts in 1930. The Yankees' pitcher when Ruth supposedly called his home run shot in 1932, Pipgras won all of his WS starts (one each in 1927, 1928, and 1932), but when he was robbed in a railroad station, it was his 1923 World Series watch that was taken. Brother Ed had a brief stint with the Dodgers in 1932.
In 1938 Pipgras became an AL umpire. Once during a Browns-White Sox game, he ejected 17 players.

Harvey Hendrick

The 6'2" Vanderbilt graduate played every position but catcher and pitcher. In his one full season at a single position, Hendrick led the NL with 18 errors and 147 double plays at first base for the 1931 Reds. He was traded frequently, as most teams found his poor defense outweighed his .300 bat.

» White Sox star Luke Appling reports for duty at Camp Lee, VA. Appling was the American League batting leader last season, finishing 2nd in the MVP voting.

» The Red Sox get Rudy York from Detroit in a trade for Eddie Lake.

Rudy York

Always threatening at the plate, the 6'1" 210-lb York overcame defensive troubles and jibes at his ancestry (he was half American Indian) to become a productive ML first baseman. As MVP of the Texas League in 1935 and the American Association in 1936, York was trapped behind the Tigers' first baseman Hank Greenberg, who was AL MVP himself in '35. As a rookie in 1937, York put together one of the greatest months in baseball history, breaking Babe Ruth's record for home runs in one month with 18 in August, while driving in 49 runs, another ML one-month record. He finished at .307 with 35 HR and 103 RBI in only 375 at-bats while splitting time between catcher and third base. When Mickey Cochrane suffered a career-ending skull fracture, York became Detroit's everyday catcher, but by 1940 Tiger management realized York belonged at first base. They paid Greenberg a bonus to move to left field, and he hit 41 home runs that year. York added 33, and the Tigers won the pennant.

Greenberg left for WWII in 1941, leaving York to supply the Tigers' power, but he slipped to 27 and 21 HR in 1941-42, although he hit three in one game on September 1, 1941. York rebounded in 1943 to lead the AL in both HR and RBI, but fell below 20 the next two years. When the Tigers switched Greenberg back to 1B at the end of his career, York was traded to the Red Sox. He hit only 17 HR for Boston in 1946, but added two in the WS, including a game-winner in the tenth inning of Game One.

York was never a defensive whiz, leading AL first basemen in errors three times and prompting one sportswriter to quip, "Rudy York is part Indian and part first baseman." He was, however, extremely dangerous with the bases loaded, belting 12 career grand slams, including two in one game July 27, 1946, a game in which he drove in ten runs.

Eddie Lake

Although a weak bat kept him in a utility role most of his career, Lake had a knack for drawing walks and topped 100 in each of the three years he played regularly, 1945-47. He led AL shortstops in assists and double plays in '45 for the Red Sox and scored 105 runs for the 1946 Tigers.

» The Orioles purchase veteran OF Hoot Evers from the Tigers.

Hoot Evers

An outstanding prospect, Evers never achieved the stardom predicted for him. After his career was delayed four years by WWII, he returned as the Tigers' starting centerfielder in 1946, only to miss half the season with a broken ankle. He played his first full season in 1947, hitting .296, then hit over .300 three straight years. He peaked in 1950, making his second All-Star appearance, leading AL outfielders in fielding (.997), and hitting .323 with 21 homers, 103 RBI, and a league-leading 11 triples. He also hit for the cycle September 7. He slumped badly the next year. In 1952, as the Red Sox' left fielder while Ted Williams was in the military, a broken finger hampered Evers's batting grip and he never regained his stroke. A fine defensive player, Evers bounced from team to team until 1956 but never hit higher than .264.

» Frank Lane quits as GM of the Indians to take the same post with the Athletics.

Frank Lane

Lane played a little minor league ball and was a minor league executive and president of the American Association, but gained fame as general manager of the White Sox, Cardinals, and Indians. He traded stars like Red Schoendienst, Rocky Colavito, and Roger Maris with abandon. Cardinal owner Gussie Busch blocked Lane's attempted trade of Stan Musial. Lane became business manager of the Athletics in 1961 and later scouted for the Orioles and Brewers.

» Ground is broken for the Houston Astrodome.

The Astrodome, is a domed sports stadium, the first of its kind, located in Houston, Texas. The stadium is part of the Reliant Park complex. It opened in 1965 as Harris County Domed Stadium and was nicknamed the "Eighth Wonder of the World".

Major League Baseball expanded to Houston in 1962 with the Houston Colt .45s, who were later renamed the Astros. Houston's unpredictable subtropical weather made outdoor baseball difficult for players and spectators alike. Several baseball franchises had toyed with the idea of building enclosed, air-conditioned stadiums. Former Houston Mayor Judge Roy Hofheinz claimed inspiration for what would eventually become the Astrodome when he was on a tour of Rome, where he learned that the builders of the ancient Colosseum installed giant velaria to shield spectators from the Roman sun.

The world's first domed stadium was conceived by Hofheinz as early as 1952 when his only daughter, Dene, and he were rained out once too often at Buff stadium (the minor league stadium they frequented.) They shared a passion for baseball. The little girl, disappointed about time cut short with her Dad, asked ,"Why can't we play baseball inside?" Hofheinz abandoned his interest in the first air-conditioned shopping mall, The Galleria in Houston and immediately set his sights on bringing major league baseball to his beloved city where he had served as mayor. He promised the National League perfect weather in order to secure a team. The Astrodome was later designed by architects Hermon Lloyd & W.B. Morgan, and Wislon, Morris, Crain and Anderson. Structural engineering and structural design was performed by Walter P Moore Engineers and Consultants of Houston. It was constructed by H.A. Lott, Inc. for Harris County, Texas. It stands 18 stories tall, covering 9½ acres. The dome is 710 feet (216.4 m) in diameter and the ceiling is 208 feet (63.4 m) above the playing surface, which itself sits 25 feet (7.6 m) below street level. The Dome was completed in November 1964, six months ahead of schedule. Many engineering changes were required during construction, including the modest flattening of the supposed "hemispherical roof" to cope with environmentally-induced structural deformation and the use of a new paving process called "lime stabilization" to cope with changes in the chemistry of the soil. The air conditioning system was designed by the Houston civil engineer Jack Boyd Buckley (1926-2007).

The Astrodome was well-known for a four-story-tall scoreboard, composed of thousands of lightbulbs, that featured animations until its removal in the late 1980s. This loss was brought about by threats from Oilers owner Bud Adams to move his football team to Jacksonville, Florida unless stadium seating capacity was expanded. (Jacksonville won an NFL expansion franchise in 1995.) The city buckled to his demands. Harris County spent $67 million of public funds on renovations. The scoreboard was removed and approximately 15,000 new seats installed to bring total capacity over 60,000. On September 5, 1988, a final celebration took place to commemorate the legendary scoreboard. In 1989, four cylindrical columns were constructed outside the Dome, housing pedestrian ramps.

When the Astrodome opened, it used a natural Bermuda grass playing surface. The dome's ceiling contained numerous semitransparent plastic panes made of Lucite. Players quickly complained that glare coming off of the panes made it impossible for them to track fly balls, so all of the panes were painted over, which solved the glare problem but caused the grass to die from lack of sunlight. For most of the 1965 season, the Astros played on green-painted dirt and dead grass. As the 1966 season approached, there was the possibility of the team playing on an all dirt infield.

The solution was to install a new type of artificial grass on the field, ChemGrass, which became known as AstroTurf. Because the supply of AstroTurf was still low, only a limited amount was available for the home opener on April 18, 1966. There wasn't enough for the entire outfield, but there was enough to cover the traditional grass portion of the infield. The outfield remained painted dirt until after the All-Star Break. The team was sent on an extended road trip before the break, and on July 19, 1966, the installation of the outfield portion of AstroTurf was completed and ready for play. The infield dirt remained in the traditional design, with a large dirt arc, similar to natural grass fields. The "sliding pit" configuration, with dirt only around the bases, did not arrive in Houston until the mid 1970s. The sliding pits were introduced by Cincinnati with the opening of Riverfront Stadium on June 30, 1970. It was then installed in the new stadiums of Philadelphia in 1971, and Kansas City in 1973. The artificial turf fields of Pittsburgh and St. Louis were traditionally configured like the Astrodome, and would also change to sliding pits in the 1970s.

» A group of investors, headed by shipbuilder George Steinbrenner, purchases the New York Yankees from CBS for $10 million.

George Steinbrenner

George Steinbrenner made himself synonymous with owner meddling, involving himself with the day-to-day fortunes of his ballclub to an extent unmatched by any owner since Connie Mack, who was his own manager. Only Charlie Finley can approach Steinbrenner in this, but not even Finley equaled Steinbrenner's record of 17 managerial changes in his first 17 seasons. Finley rehired Alvin Dark as manager just once; Steinbrenner gave Billy Martin five separate terms. Graig Nettles commented, "Every year is like being traded - a new manager and a whole new team."

The son of a Great Lakes shipping family, Steinbrenner made his money as chairman of the American Shipbuilding Company, a Cleveland-based firm. In his youth he was an assistant football coach at Northwestern and Purdue universities (Jim Spencer said of his employer, "George Steinbrenner knows nothing about baseball. He doesn't understand that this is a major league team, not Purdue") and assembled national champions in the National Industrial and American Basketball leagues. In 1973 he put together the group that bought the Yankees from CBS, promising at the time, "I won't be active in the day-to-day operations of the club at all." But one-time associate John McMullen, who later owned the Astros, said, "Nothing is more limited than being a limited partner of George's."

The advent of free agency proved a boon to Steinbrenner although he said of it early on, "I am dead set against free agency. It can ruin baseball." After Catfish Hunter was released from his A's contract in 1974, the Yankees paid him the unheard-of salary of $2.85 million for four years. He signed Reggie Jackson after the team won the AL pennant in 1976, and the move was largely responsible for back-to-back World Championships in 1977-78. However, in that period Steinbrenner had solid baseball minds such as Al Rosen and Gabe Paul in the front office making trades like the one that brought Graig Nettles and Chris Chambliss from Cleveland, and also refusing to trade Ron Guidry. Steinbrenner's initial success purchasing free agents led to a tendency to overstock the team with superstars to the point where there wasn't room in the lineup for them all. His preference for name players came from the conviction that "you measure the value of a ballplayer by how many fannies he puts in the seats." The departure of general managers nearly matched the turnover of managers and apparently was accompanied by a corresponding lack of GM control over major decisions. A series of disastrous acquisitions in the early 1980s (Ed Whitson, John Mayberry, Doyle Alexander, Mike Armstrong) was made worse by a steady stream of departing stars escaping from what had been dubbed The Bronx Zoo. From 1979 through the end of the next decade, the Yankees won only one more pennant, in the strike-split 1981 season; the 1980s were the first decade since the 1910s in which the Yankees did not win a World Championship.

» The Royals release P Lindy McDaniel, ending his 21-year career. He appeared in 987 games, 2nd only to Hoyt Wilhelm's 1,070.

Lindy McDaniel

Tall, lanky, and durable, McDaniel pitched mostly in relief for 21 ML seasons and retired with 987 appearances, second only to Hoyt Wilhelm in ML history. A righthander with splendid control, McDaniel was rarely overpowering and recorded 20 or more saves in a season only three times, but his quiet consistency was welcome in any bullpen. Off the field McDaniel was deeply religious (he was an ordained minister in the Church of Christ) and in great demand as an off-season speaker, but he avoided preaching to his teammates directly, instead confining his thoughts to a monthly newsletter, "Pitching for The Master."

McDaniel bypassed the minor leagues completely after signing with the Cardinals in 1955, and in 1957 he was 15-9, 3.49 as a 21-year-old starter. His ERA swelled to a career-worst 5.80 in 1958, however, and he was demoted briefly to the American Association, and in 1959 he became a reliever almost exclusively and led the NL with 15 saves while also winning 13 games in relief. McDaniel led the NL in saves again the following year with 26, and after an October, 1962 trade sent him to the Cubs he led the NL in saves for the third time in five seasons, posting 22 in 1963. He pitched for the Cubs and Giants from 1963 to 1967, but was no longer used to finish games as frequently, and in mid-season 1968 he was traded to the Yankees for Bill Monboquette. McDaniel enjoyed a resurgence with the Yankees in 1970, finishing second in the AL with 29 saves while posting a career-best 2.01 ERA, but by 1974 he had been traded a final time, to the Royals for Lou Piniella and pitcher Ken Wright. When he retired, McDaniel's 172 career saves placed him fourth all-time, but he has since fallen out of the top ten.

The Astros sign free agent 32-year old hurler Ken Bottenfield, who started last season with the Angels after being traded by the Cardinals for Jim Emmonds, to a one-year contract. The deal does not work out for Anaheim as the former 19-game winner is 7-8 with an ERA of 5.71 before being dealt to the Phillies.

Hoping to make the team appeal to a broader marketplace, the Angels announce the franchise will now be known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Officials from Anaheim likely will file a lawsuit to block the change believing the new name violates the terms of the team's 33-year lease with the city.

Bud Selig okays the trade which will send Shawn Green to the Diamondbacks if Arizona and the outfielder can come to terms on a contract extension within 72 hours. The commissioner’s approval is necessary because the Dodgers will pay $8 million to help offset Green’s current contract if the deal is finalized.

Bud Selig also approves the potential trade of Diamondback southpaw Randy Johnson to the Yankees in exchange for Javier Vazquez, Dioner Navarro, Brad Halsey and $9 million dollars.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, and baseballibrary.com

01-04-2008, 12:32 PM
Jan 4

» The newly organized Union League changes its name to the Eastern League to avoid confusion with the new Union Association. The EL continues today as the AAA International League.

P Larry Corcoran, who had signed with Chicago of the outlaw UA, breaks his contract to re-sign with his old club, Chicago's National League White Stockings.

Corcoran was one of the best pitchers of the 1880s, winning 170 games and losing only 84 from 1880 through 1884 for the Chicago NL team. He pitched three no-hitters. According to historian Lee Allen, Corcoran was the first pitcher to work out a set of signals with his catcher. He invariably carried a huge chew of tobacco in his mouth and when he chewed it shifted visibly. His regular catcher, Silver Flint, suggested that he signal his curve by shifting his chew, and the idea worked perfectly. Overwork, dissipation, and Bright's disease ended his career, and he was dead by the age of 32. His .663 winning percentage is eighth all-time.

» Having waited in vain for the $1,000 check from the Baltimore club, St. Louis owner Chris Von Der Ahe takes $1,000 from Pittsburgh for the rights to Sam Barkley, ignoring the fact that the infielder has already signed with the Orioles.

Sam Barkley played six seasons in the major leagues primarily as a second baseman with four teams. He was also player-manager for about half a season in 1888.

His batting average went down steadily from 1884-1888 but went up in his last season, 1889.

In 1884 he had by far the highest batting average on the 1884 Toledo Blue Stockings, a team that batted .231 while Barkley batted .306. He was 9th in the league in batting average and first in doubles. The Toledo team was the one where Fleet Walker and his brother Welday Walker, two black players, appeared on. Fleet, at .263, had one of the highest batting averages on the team.

Toledo and the St. Louis Browns made an arrangement in the off-season for a trade of several players, but the trade broke down after the waiting period and only Barkley and one other player actually played with St. Louis. A lawsuit came out of it all, and it was estimated that Barkley had been valued for $800. Chris Von der Ahe later said that Barkley's value was $1,000, but that may have been the asking price.

In 1885 Barkley moved to the St. Louis Browns, which won the pennant, and he appeared in post-season play with them. His batting average of .268 was higher than the team average of .246, and his slugging percentage of .380, boosted by 10 triples, was well over the team average of .321.

In March 1886, the American Association suspended Barkley for signing with Pittsburgh before the details of his sale had been worked out. Denny McKnight, president of the Association and one of its co-founders, lost his job over his handling of the Barkley case.

He played for Pittsburgh in 1886, posting roughly the same numbers with a team that hit roughly the same as his previous team. In 1887, though, he moved to first base and his batting and slugging fell off.

The Wheeling Daily Register from March 30, 1888 carried this about him (Barkley was from Wheeling):

Kansas City, of the Association, is making a big effort to secure Sam Barkley, and the wires were burthened with telegrams regarding the affair. Barkley has been signed with Pittsburg, but it is understood that that club is anxious to release him. All the clubs in the League will have to consent to his release . . .

His last two years were with the Kansas City Cowboys in 1888 and 1889. His .216 average in 1888 is misleading, because the team hit .218. His .309 slugging percentage was higher than the team average of .288. The next year he appeared in only 45 games, hitting a good .284 on a team that hit .254.

» The Tourists play their final game in Australia, with the Chicagos winning, 5–0.

» A portion of the fence surrounding the Polo Grounds blows down in a fierce storm.

Most famous for its unusual shape, the Polo Grounds was baseball's most unique stadium. Built by Giants owner John T. Brush to replace the original Polo Grounds, which burned down April 14, 1911, the Polo Grounds stood on Manhattan's West 159th Street, between Coogan's Bluff and the Harlem River. It was New York's first concrete-and-steel stadium, and the first 16,000 seats were ready for spectators by June 28, 1911. The stadium wasn't fully completed until the following season, when it was formally dedicated with 34,000 seats in a double-decked grandstand and bleachers.

By 1923 the grandstand had been extended into the outfield in both left and right, leaving bleachers only in dead centerfield, but it was the configuration of the field itself that made the Polo Grounds unique. Often described as ovular or horseshoe shaped, it is more accurately bathtub shaped with a small square added to one end. Round behind home plate, the sides did not run parallel to the foul lines, but rather to a line drawn from home to second, extending straight into the power alleys before curving toward the middle in deep left and right centerfields. The center field wall ran straight across, except for a large cutout square in dead center that was the entrance to the clubhouses. Its back wall was usually 60' high, 480-500' from home plate, and no ball ever hit that wall, much less cleared it.

The park's straight sides made every batter a home run threat, with the foul lines only 279' and 258' in left and right, but the fences merely ran away from the plate, and were approximately 450' at the left- and right-center field bullpens, which were on the field and in play. The upper deck in left extended 23' over the field, intercepting many balls that might have been caught, and the outfield was slightly downhill, meaning a manager in the dugout could not see his outfielders' legs. At the base of the wall in center stood a five-foot-high memorial to Eddie Grant, a former ML player killed in action during WWI. Like the bullpens, it was in play, but rarely in the way.

The Polo Grounds hosted several World Series as the Giants battled the Yankees for city supremacy, and was the scene of Willie Mays's sensational over-the-shoulder catch in Game One of the 1954 WS. Babe Ruth was the first batter to hit a home run over the right field roof, and Luke Easter (in a Negro League game), Joe Adcock, Lou Brock, and Hank Aaron were the only batters to reach the centerfield bleachers.

The Polo Grounds was home to the Giants until they moved to San Francisco in 1958, then stood empty until the Mets arrived in 1962. When Shea Stadium was completed two years later, the Polo Grounds was abandoned and demolished. A housing project (the Polo Grounds Towers) and playground (Willie Mays Field) occupy the site today.

» The Baltimore American League club incorporates, with John McGraw as manager and part owner.

» Bill Dinneen, winner of 36 games for the Beaneaters (National League) in the past two years, signs with the rival Boston Somersets (American League), for whom he will win 20 or more for the next three years.

Dinneen won 20 games for the 1900 Braves but really came into his own when he jumped to the Red Sox in 1902. He had three straight seasons of 21 or more wins. The hero of the 1903 WS, he won three of four decisions. Two of his victories, including the final game, were shutouts. In 1905, he pitched a no-hitter against the White Sox. Dineen went directly from pitching in the AL to umpiring in the league. During his 29 years as an AL umpire, he worked in 45 WS games. During the early 1930s, the AL gave a cash prize to the umpire with the lowest average time for his games. The winner was Dineen.

» The Highlanders announce plans to play on Sundays at Ridgewood Park on Long Island, but the Brooklyn club objects. Sunday games are legal in Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, and Cincinnati.

» Hans Lobert, "fastest man" in the National League, is traded by the Phils to the Giants for righthander Al Demaree, infielder Milt Stock, and C Bert Adams. The speedster will injure his knee in a preseason game at West Point.

A four-time .300 hitter, Lobert was a top NL third baseman in the days before WWI. Bearing a slight physical and facial resemblance to Honus Wagner, the speedy, bowlegged Lobert stole 30 or more bases seven times in 1907-14. His six steals of home as a Phillie tie him for second on their all-time list. He stole second, third, and home on September 27, 1908 and he once raced a horse around the bases following an exhibition game. On October 12, 1910 at Field Day in Cincinnati, he was clocked rounding the bases in 13.8 seconds. Following his playing days, Lobert coached at West Point (1918-25), spent nearly two decades as a minor league manager and ML coach, and managed the Phillies for two games in 1938 and all of 1942. He was influential in transforming Bucky Walters from a marginal ML infielder into a star pitcher.

» The St. Louis Browns are the first of two ML franchises awarded to Federal League owners. Philip de Catesby Ball, ice-manufacturing tycoon and principal stockholder of the Feds' St. Louis Terriers, pays a reported $525,000 for the Browns and replaces manager Branch Rickey with his own Fielder Jones.

» The Depression deepens, and American League costs are cut by dropping an umpire from the AL staff of 11.

Casey Stengel returns from exile in the minor leagues to become coach for the Dodgers.

The Casey Stengel legend is well-known among baseball enthusiasts. A prime contender for the title of greatest manager ever, his greatest fame came from managing the Yankees to ten pennants and seven World Championships between 1949 and 1960. His quotes, delivered in a personal language dubbed "Stengelese," are famous for their practicality, their humor, and their longwindedness.

The Stengel story begins in late 1912 when the rookie, renamed for his hometown of Kansas City, went 4-for-4 in his first game ever to set a since-broken record. In 1913 he became the Dodgers' regular centerfielder; in 1914 the team moved him over to right field. When Wilbert Robinson took over the team as their manager in 1915, Stengel's education began. Stengel, through long practice, made himself an expert at the tricky caroms off the oddly angled concrete wall in Ebbets Field. He would later astonish the young Mickey Mantle by taking him out there to teach Mantle how to play the caroms before the 1952 World Series; Mantle couldn't conceive of Stengel as having been a player 35 years earlier. Stengel played fairly regularly for Brooklyn, sometimes being platooned, until 1917. He was a line-drive hitter, a hard swinger who, unlike most players of the era, held the bat down at the end instead of choking up. In 1916 he got his first taste of postseason play and hit .364 in the World Series for Brooklyn. On January 9, 1918 he was traded along with infielder George Cutshaw to the Pittsburgh Pirates for infielder Chuck Ward, pitcher Burleigh Grimes, and pitcher Al Mamaux. He sat on the bench for Pittsburgh in 1918 and 1919. It was during 1919 that one of Stengel's most famous antics took place. During the course of a rough Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn against his old teammates, Stengel had received a small bird from one of the Dodger pitchers in the bullpen and when he came up to bat, Stengel tipped his hat to the jeering crowd; out flew the bird, to the delight of the fans. This along with other antics caused Stengel to be traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in August for outfielder Possum Whitted. He played right field until, on July 1, 1921, he was traded to the New York Giants along with infielder Johnny Rawlings and pitcher Red Causey for outfielder Goldie Rapp, outfielder Lee King, and outfielder Lance Richbourg.

He was ecstatic that he would be playing under the skilled hands of John McGraw, who would go on to teach him most about managing. He became a backup outfielder for the Giants and was on three pennant winners from 1921 to 1923. He sat on the bench in the 1921 WS but did well in 1922 in a limited role. In 1923 he hit two game-winning home runs. In Game One his inside-the-park homer with two out in the ninth inning gained added drama from his seemingly torturous course around the bases; sportswriters assumed it was due to age, but in fact one of his shoes was falling apart, making him limp. On November 12, 1923 the Giants shuffled him along with Dave Bancroft and Bill Cunningham to the Boston Braves for Bill Southworth and Joe Oeschger. He was the regular right fielder for the cellar-dwelling Braves in 1924, but by 1925 his playing days in the majors were over.

In 1926 he was hired to manage the Toledo Mud Hens of the minor leagues, but he lost that job in 1931 when the team went bankrupt and into receivership. In December 1931 he was hired as a coach for the Brooklyn Dodgers and on February 23, 1923 he took over as the Dodger manager from the fired Max Carey. His greatest thrill of that first year was beating the Giants in the final series of the season and thus gaining revenge for a comment Giants manager Bill Terry had made earlier in the year ("Is Brooklyn still in the league?"). Casey struggled with the Dodgers for three years, with a sixth-place finish in 1934, a fifth-place finish in 1935, and a seventh-place finish in 1936. Years later, he mused, "Brooklyn, that borough of churches and bad ball clubs, many of which I had." Stengel was fired by Brookyn at the end of the 1936 season and in 1938 was named manager of the Boston Braves, then called the Bees. He managed the team for six years from 1938 through 1943, never finishing higher than fifth place (in his first year there). He was let go in spring 1944 and went back to managing in the minor leagues. He took over the Milwaukee Brewers (American Association) in 1944 and led them to a first-place finish. Quitting there in 1945, he took over Kansas City of the American Association and led them to a seventh-place finish before he was pushed out of that job. Taking over Oakland (Pacific Coast League), whose GM was George Weiss, in 1946, Stengel led the Oaks to a second-place finish, a fourth-place finish (1947), and a first-place berth (1948).

In 1949 the New York Yankees, whose GM was old friend Weiss, called on Casey to take over the managerial reins from Bucky Harris. At a press conference, Casey summed up his naivete with the comment, "This is a big job, fellows, and I barely have had time to study it. In fact, I scarcely know where I am at." The baseball establishment, judging him by his previous failures with bad ballclubs, dismissed Stengel as a clown, but he shocked them with a World Championship; the Yankees had finished third the year before. Stengel went on to make it five consecutive World Championships, a record not only for World Championships, but even for pennants, breaking McGraw's consecutive-pennants record set from 1921 to 1924, with Stengel on that team for the first three years. Stengel began to use an extensive platooning strategy that was soon emulated elsewhere, although never with the same complexity. He took the idea from the way Robinson and then McGraw had platooned Stengel himself years before. Stengel had inherited a team already considered a powerhouse that included the immortal Joe DiMaggio. Within three years he had remade it into a completely different type of ballclub. Rather than featuring superstars at most every position, Stengel built his team around just three: Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Whitey Ford. Mantle in particular was a special project of Stengel's; the manager wanted his protege's fame to exceed that of any other player and reflect credit on Stengel himself. The rest of the team consisted of role-players, many of whom would have preferred to be regulars; Stengel had them compete against each other for playing time, which drove them to perform at their highest level whenever they were in the game. Some players found it hard to take; Hank Bauer and Gene Woodling in particular chafed under their restricted playing time. Stengel once said, "The secret of managing is to keep the five guys who hate you away from the five who are undecided."

But some of his players worshiped him, in particular Billy Martin. Stengel treated the scrappy second baseman like a son, and later, when in Oakland for Stengel's funeral, Martin slept in Stengel's bed overnight. It has been said of Stengel that he never established a pitching rotation in his 12 seasons with the Yankees. He was protective of Ford to the point that Whitey didn't get enough starts to win 20 games until 1961, when new manager Ralph Houk gave him the 39 starts that were normal for a staff ace; only in 1955 had Ford's starts exceeded 30. The Big Four of Stengel's best staff, Ford, Vic Raschi, Allie Reynolds, and Ed Lopat, were all used in relief. The Yankees finished in second place in 1954 despite their most wins under Stengel (103); Al Lopez's Indians set the AL wins record that season with 111. Lopez was a catcher for Stengel in 1934 at Brooklyn.

In 1955 the Yankees were back on top and continued winning AL pennants in 1956, 1957 and 1958. In 1958 he was involved in perhaps his most famous off-field incident. On July 9 he was called in front of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly to testify on why baseball should be exempt from antitrust regulation. He gave an hour's worth of classic Stengelese to the baffled and amused politicians. After Stengel left the stand, Mantle was asked to testify. "My views are about the same as Casey's," he replied with a straight face. The Yankees finished third in 1959 to the White Sox, managed, like the 1954 Indians, by Al Lopez. In 1960 New York finished on top again, only to lose the World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Bill Mazeroski. The Yankees fired Stengel a few days later for being too old. "I'll never make the mistake of being seventy again," Casey quipped. His friend Weiss was also fired. In the 12 years that Stengel had managed the Yankees, he set records, including the most years as a championship manager in the American League (10); the most consecutive first-place finishes (5); the most World Series games managed (63); and the most World Series wins (37). He won seven World Championships: 1949-53, 1956, and 1958.

However, the Stengel story was not over. In 1962 he was named manager of the newly founded New York Mets, and George Weiss was named GM. Stengel said, "It's great to be back in the Polar Grounds again with the New York Knickerbockers." The 1962 Mets went on to become one of the worst teams in baseball history, finishing with a 40-120 record. Some 1962-vintage quotes: "Can't anybody here play this game?" "Look at him. He can't hit, he can't run and he can't throw. That's why they gave him to us." The Mets became quite popular despite, or perhaps because of, their ineptness, and Stengel skillfully distracted the press with his endless string of witticisms. Comedian George Gobel said of Stengel, "If he turned pro, he'd put us all out of business."

Stengel managed until mid-1965, when a broken hip forced him to retire a week before his 75th birthday. He spent his retirement working in a bank in Glendale, California with a sign on his desk that read, "Stengelese Spoken Here." He died on September 29, 1975. His career was summed up perfectly by The Old Professor himself: "There comes a time in every man's life and I've had plenty of them."

» As the 2nd part of the December 10th deal for Jimmie Foxx, the Boston Red Sox get outfielder Doc Cramer (.332) and SS Eric "Boob" McNair from the A's for Henry Johnson, Al Niemiec, and $75,000. Even with the free spending, and the presence of 20-game winners Ferrell and Grove, Boston will finish 6th in 1936.

» The Reds send sore-armed lefty Lee Grissom to the Yankees for 26-year-old pitcher Joe Beggs. As noted by Lyle Spatz, Beggs had to clear waivers from all seven American League teams, who likely were not aware of the impending swap. This is due to the new rule voted last month barring the AL pennant winner (read Yankees) from any trades within the league. Beggs will go 12–3 for the Reds, while Grissom will be sold to the Dodgers on May 15.

» Rogers Hornsby becomes the 14th player selected to the Hall of Fame, getting 78 percent of the vote. But Frank Chance with 58 percent and Rube Waddell with 54 percent miss out.

"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." - ROGERS HORNSBY, Cardinal Hall of Fame infielder (1915-34)

» A wartime tone for the season is set when Red Ruffing, just months short of his 38th birthday, and minus four toes, is drafted into the Army Air Corp.

Ruffing's career was made by a change of scenery. He joined the Red Sox at age 19, and from 1924 through May 1930, toiled for consistently last-place Boston clubs, compiling an unimpressive 39-96 record. The righthander led the AL in losses in both 1928 (25) and 1929 (22), as his team was always last in batting and averaged a meager 35 HR annually.

Yankee manager Miller Huggins was interested in him, seeing his strength, foreseeing durability and effectiveness, and knowing that Yankee power could give Ruffing the support he deserved. In 1930, Boston ownership, badly in need of money, sold Ruffing to New York for backup outfielder Cedric Durst and $50,000.

Ruffing went 15-5 for the Yankees that first year, though his ERA remained high. In the 15 seasons that followed, the Yankees won seven pennants and six World Series, averaging .276 with 146 homers a year. Ruffing contributed a 231-124 record and had four straight 20-win seasons, coinciding with four Yankee championships, from 1936-39. He threw 42 of his 48 career shutouts'Zh)''for New York. In 1938 his 21 wins topped the AL, as did his .750 (21-7) winning percentage and four shutouts.

In World Series competition, he was 7-2, tying him for second place in wins behind Whitey Ford.

Ruffing was also one of the best-hitting pitchers of all time, with lifetime marks of .269 (10th among pitchers with 500 at-bats), 36 HR (3rd), 273 RBI, and 58 hits in 228 pinch-hitting appearances. He batted over .300 eight times, his .364 (40-for-110) in 1930 standing as the second-best single-season average for a pitcher (Walter Johnson hit .433 in 1925).

The determined Ruffing accomplished what he did despite having lost four toes on his left foot in a mine accident as a youngster. The injury cut down on his speed, and the pain, he said, never ceased.

He spent three years in the army in WWII, but lasted for only three injury-plagued seasons upon his return. After retiring at age 43, he managed in the minors, scouted, and in 1962 became the Mets' first pitching coach. He was admitted to the Hall of Fame in 1967 by the BBWAA in his last year of eligibility.

» Ex-Reds pitcher Lee Grissom is acquitted of man slaughter charges stemming from a bar room fight on July 30, 1950 when he struck a 27-year-old truck driver. Grissom was 12–17 for the last-place Reds in 1937.

» The Dodgers buy a 44-passenger twin-engine airplane for $775,000, which they will use to transport the club during the season. They are the first team to own their own plane.

» Attorney Jack Reynolds, administrator of the new umpires union, says an economic agreement has been worked out between the American League and umpires that will avert a strike in 1969.

» Executives of the International Amateur Baseball Association (IABA) meet in Mexico City to end a long-standing feud between delegations, creating in the process a new organization named the Asociacion Internacional de Beisbol Amateur (AINBA). With the United States returning to the IABA fold, after a several-year absence, the first AINBA World Championships are scheduled for Cartagena, Colombia. Manuel Gonzalez Guerra of Cuba is named the first AINBA president.

» Mary Shane is hired by the Chicago White Sox as the first woman TV play-by-play announcer.

» Five bills aimed at ending the baseball strike are introduced into Congress.

» The Rangers sign free agent OF Mike Devereaux.

An exceptional athlete, Devereaux set several state track and field records during his high school days in Wyoming. At Arizona State he played in the same outfield as Oddibe McDowell. He unexpectedly made the Dodgers with a hot spring training in 1987, but soon played himself back to the minors. After batting .340 at Triple-A Albuquerque in 1988 he was sent to Baltimore in March 1989 for starter Mike Morgan.

As an Orioles' rookie he displayed tremendous outfield range and a penchant for clutch hits. On July 15th he hit a disputed ninth-inning home run down Memorial Stadium's left field line to defeat California 11-9. Three weeks later he beat Texas by launching another sudden-death home run to the same part of the ballpark. He ended his first full major-league season batting .267 with eight home runs, 46 RBIs and 22 steals.

Devereaux spent the next two years as the club's de facto leadoff hitter, even though his developing power numbers made him better suited for an RBI spot. When Brady Anderson took over the leadoff role in 1992, Devereaux won the Orioles MVP (and finished seventh in league MVP voting) when he cracked 24 round trippers and drove in 107 runs despite spending most of the season batting second in the lineup. He ranked among the AL's top 10 in RBIs, hits, triples, total bases and extra bases hits. He also earned a reputation as one the league's most spectacular center fielders, using his speed to rob batters of sure hits, and his fantastic leaping ability to climb outfield walls and rescue long drives that appeared destined for the bleachers. His most memorable play came on June 5th against division-rival Toronto, when he leapt high above the left-center field wall at Camden Yards to steal a three-run homer from Blue Jays' slugger Joe Carter in a game the Orioles would go on to win 1-0.

Seemingly poised for stardom (he made an appearance on the soap opera "The Young and the Restless" in 1993), Devereaux was unable to capitalize on his 1992 breakthrough. He slipped to .250 with 14 home runs the following year, and was batting just .203 in 85 games when the players strike prematurely ended the 1994 season. After signing a free-agent deal with the White Sox in April 1995, he rediscovered his batting stroke, hitting .306 in 92 games before Chicago dealt him to Atlanta that August. The Braves' pennant run pickup paid dividends when he won the NLCS MVP on the strength of a three-run homer in Game Four, a game he had started because of a knee injury to right fielder David Justice.

Devereaux returned to Baltimore in a part-time role in 1996, then closed out his career with short-lived stints for Texas and Los Angeles.

» Blue Jays C Benito Santiago is injured when he loses control of the car he is driving and crashes into a tree in Ft. Lauderdale. Toronto also loses 1B Carlos Delgado to a shoulder injury which he sustains while diving for a ball in a game in Puerto Rico. He will be lost to the team until late April.

» Padres P Carlton Loewer suffers a broken leg after falling from a tree while hunting. At the very least, he will miss spring training. While pitching for the Phillies last year, Loewer missed almost four months due to a stress fracture in his arm, an injury that doctors say could easily have resulted in a situation in which the arm broke while he was throwing a pitch.

The Indians sign Matthew Haynes, a participant in major league's first-ever Australian Baseball Academy, which included the best 60 players from Down Under. The 6-3, 185-pound 18-year-old is a right-hander who the Tribe predict will be a starter in the major leagues.

Tired of the losing, Tony Tavares resigns as president of Angels. The 52-year old executive, who until today also was the chairman of the Mighty Ducks, became Anaheim's president after Disney bought the team from Jackie Autry in 1996. The Angels went on this year to win their first ever World Series Championship.

Five-time batting champ Wade Boggs, who receives 92% of the record number of 516 votes cast, becomes the 41st player elected to Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The Baseball Writers also give the nod to Ryne Sandberg, the 1984 National League MVP.

On his way to begin a goodwill tour of the Dominican Republic with other big league players, Jake Peavy is arrested outside the terminal building at Mobile Regional Airport. Due to double-parking violation and his refusal to move his car, the 25-year-old Padres pitcher is charged with disorderly conduct and s taken to the Mobile County Metro Jail.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, baseball-reference.com, and baseballibrary.com

01-07-2008, 11:17 AM
Jan 7

» The National League will continue the practice of using different color patterns on uniforms for the different positions. Third basemen will wear gray and white uniforms, as the blue and white uniforms originally sought were "impossible to obtain."

» The Tigers waive Wally Pipp to the New York Yankees. Pipp hit .161 in 12 games, but he'll anchor first base in New York for a decade.

Wally Pipp

When the Yankees won three straight pennants in 1921-23, Pipp was their solid, sure-handed first baseman. When they again won three in a row in 1926-28, he read about it in the Cincinnati Enquirer. In 1925, his eleventh Yankee year, he had asked for a day off because of a headache. A beaning in practice a few days later prolonged his hiatus. By the time he was fit, Lou Gehrig owned his position (for 2,130 consecutive games). Pipp, a good hitter with three .300 seasons and six 90-plus RBI years, was shunted to the Reds and obscurity.

» Babe Ruth reacts to the trade in the Boston Evening Standard saying, "Frazee is not good enough to own any ball club, especially one in Boston."

» The Indians trade veteran C Steve O'Neill, 2B Bill Wambsganss, OF Joe Connolly, and P Danny Boone to Boston for 1B George Burns, 2B Chick Fewster and C Al Walters. Burns gives the Indians a 6th .300 hitter in the lineup.

George Burns

Silent and self-effacing - the antithesis of hot-tempered mentor John McGraw - Burns was a country boy and pool shark from Utica, N.Y. An outstanding leadoff batter who led the NL five times in runs scored and walks, Burns twice topped the league in stolen bases, with a high of 62 in 1914. He had a special knack for playing the Polo Grounds' notorious sun field in left, abetted by a long-billed cap and primitive sunglasses. He was beloved by the rooters in the left field bleachers, or "Burnsville." "Silent George" spent eleven seasons with the Giants, and was sent to Cincinnati after the 1921 World Series in a trade for third baseman Heinie Groh. On his first visit to the Polo Grounds with the Reds, Burns was honored with a day and given a diamond-studded watch.

The Yankees buy the contract of Louisville star, Earle Combs, who hit .380 last year for the Colonels. Colonels owner Bill Kneblekamp gets $50,000, Elmer Smith and an outfielder, and demands that the Yankees play an exhibition game in Louisville with a guarantee that Babe Ruth is in the lineup. This reportedly nets Kneblekamp an additional $5,000.

Earle Combs

A husky six-footer, the quiet leadoff man of the powerful 1927 Yankees covered Yankee Stadium's spacious center field, leading the league's centerfielders in putouts. Combs's specialty was the three-base hit; he had three in a 1927 game, led the AL in triples three times, and collected 154 in his career.

A cool, determined player, Combs was often overshadowed by his superstar teammates, but in nine seasons, he batted well over .300. In 1927 he hit .356, leading the AL with 231 hits (a team record until Don Mattingly broke it in 1986). He had a 29-game hitting streak in 1931.

The Kentucky Colonel's career came to an end in 1934 when, before the advent of warning tracks, he smashed into the wall at Sportsman's Park chasing a fly ball. His skull was fractured and his career virtually ended. After trying a comeback in 1935, and knowing that the Yankees would bring Joe DiMaggio up the next season, he accepted a coaching job. When DiMaggio arrived, Combs instructed him on the nuances of Yankee Stadium's outfield.

Combs left the Yankees during WWII. A good teacher, he returned to coach the Browns, Red Sox, and Phillies. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1970 by the Veterans Committee.

» Baseball Commissioner Landis voluntarily cuts his salary by 40 percent as a signal that all salaries are to be trimmed because of the Depression.

» In the most violent incident in Cuban baseball history, OF Roberto Ortiz of Almendares attacks umpire Bernardino Rodriguez in a dispute at home plate and knocks the umpire unconscious.

Roberto Ortiz

A 6'4" reserve outfielder from Cuba, Ortiz jumped to the Mexican League after WWII. Among those suspended, he was reinstated in 1949, and returned to the Senators. His younger brother, Oliverio "Baby" Ortiz, pitched and lost two games for Washington in 1944.

» The 61-year-old Three-I League (B) is disbanded by the six remaining clubs.

» Reds OF Bobby Tolan suffers a ruptured Achilles tendon while playing basketball on the Reds off-season team and undergoes surgery. He'll return to action but reinjure the heel May 7 and miss the entire 1971 season. The front office disbands the basketball team.

Bobby Tolan

After four seasons as a backup in St. Louis, Tolan got his chance as an everyday outfielder when he and Wayne Granger were traded to Cincinnati for Vada Pinson on October 11, 1968. Using a distinctive batting style, with his bat held high above his head and perpendicular to the ground, Tolan had brilliant seasons in 1969 and 1970. Batting second behind Pete Rose, he had career highs of 21 HR and 93 RBI in 1969. He batted .316 and led the NL with 57 stolen bases in 1970. In Game Two of the 1970 LCS, he homered and scored all three Cincinnati runs in their 3-1 victory over Pittsburgh.

Tolan ruptured his Achilles tendon playing basketball in January 1971 and missed the entire season. He came back in 1972 to bat .283 and steal 42 bases, capturing TSN Comeback Player of the Year honors. But he feuded with Cincinnati management, was suspended during a dismal 1973 season, and was traded to San Diego in November. A 1974 knee injury eliminated his speed, and he played sparingly after joining the Phillies in 1976, mostly at first base. He spent 1978 in Japan. Later he served as a major league coach and a minor league manager.

» The Reds are the last team to enter the free agent market signing their first free-agent, OF Larry Biittner. Biittner will prove a bust and be released after the 1982 season.

Larry Biittner

Biittner finished the 1980s tied for 12th on the all-time list for pinch hits with 95 (in 370 pinch at-bats). He was an inconsistent batter who sometimes had respectable averages, with a high of .315 in 1975 for Montreal. He showed power only in 1977, his first full season in Wrigley Field, when he hit .298 with career highs of 12 HR, 28 doubles, 62 RBI, and 74 runs.

» Lou Brock, the major leagues' all-time stolen base king, and Hoyt Wilhelm, who rewrote the record book on relief pitching, are elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. Nellie Fox is named on 295 of the 395 ballots (74.7%), but the BBWAA and the Hall of Fame committee decline to round Fox's total to the required 75%.

Lou Brock

Signed out of Southern University for a $30,000 bonus in 1961, Brock moved up to the Cubs within one season. He hit only .263 and .258 in two full seasons with Chicago while showing flashes of both speed and power, including a 450-foot home run into the centerfield bleachers at the Polo Grounds, one of only four homers ever to land there.

He came into his own after moving to St. Louis in a six-man trade on June 15, 1964. The deal was essentially Brock for pitcher Ernie Broglio, and is regarded as one of the worst the Cubs ever made. Brock averaged .348 in the 1964 stretch drive and finished the season at .315, with 111 runs scored, 200 hits, 30 doubles, 11 triples, and 43 stolen bases. In fourth place when Brock joined them, the Cardinals overtook the Phillies, Giants, and Reds to claim the pennant in the last week of the season. Brock then batted .300 with a homer as the Cardinals beat the Yankees in the World Series.

He scored 107 runs and stole 63 bases in 1965, then won his first of four straight and eight total stolen-base championships with 74 in 1966. Brock's greatest season was probably 1967, when he led the Cardinals to another World Championship with a league-leading 113 runs scored, 52 steals, and career highs of 21 homers, 76 RBI, and a .472 slugging average. Brock batted .414 with seven steals against Boston in the WS, breaking or tying four Series records.

Although he slumped to .279 in 1968, Brock helped St. Louis win the pennant again by leading the NL in doubles (46) and triples (14) as well as steals (62). The Cardinals lost the World Series to the Tigers in seven games, but Brock was sensational. He hit .464 to lead both clubs, with two homers and seven steals. At that time he had the highest average (.391) of any player in two or more World Series, along with a Series-record 14 steals. His .655 slugging average ranked fifth and his seven doubles ranked eighth.

Brock hit between .297 and .313 in each season from 1969 through 1976 and led the NL with 126 runs in 1971. Former teammate Bobby Tolan edged Brock, 57 to 51, for the 1970 stolen- base championship, but Brock then won four more titles in a row with 64, 63, 70 and 118. Brock's 118 steals in 1974 shattered Maury Wills's major league record of 104, set in 1962, and remains the National league record through the 1980s (Rickey Henderson broke the ML record with 130 in 1982). At 35, Brock was by far the oldest man to steal 100 bases. "I figured it was now or never," he said. He dropped off to "only" 56 steals in each of the next two seasons.

Dipping to .221 and 17 steals in 1978, Brock lost his regular job and was urged to retire. Instead he rebounded to .304 with 21 steals, retiring first all-time in stolen bases with 938. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1985, his first year of eligibility. Despite Brock's high averages and electrifying feats on the bases, his stature is disputed by baseball experts. He struck out over 100 times in nine seasons, over 90 times in 12 seasons, and fanned more often than he scored in 11 seasons. He also struck out 1,730 times career, the most all-time at his retirement, while walking only 761 times, a poor ratio for any player and horrendous for a leadoff man. Brock also led the NL in errors seven times, including five years consecutively, never committing fewer than 10 from 1964 through 1973. He was shifted from centerfield to right before settling in left in 1966, primarily because of his defensive shortcomings.

Hoyt Wilhelm

At the time of his retirement in 1972, knuckleballing master reliever Hoyt Wilhelm had appeared in more games (1,070) than any pitcher in major league history, with a late-starting ML career that still spanned 21 years. He established records for relief wins (123), games pitched in relief (1,018), games finished by a pitcher (651), and innings pitched in relief (1,870). His 227 saves place him among the all-time leaders. Fittingly, he was the first relief pitcher elected to the Hall of Fame, and the first pitcher inducted with fewer than 150 career wins.

Wilhelm was a high school pitcher in North Carolina when he read an article about knuckeballer Emil "Dutch" Leonard and began experimenting with the pitch. After a year in the minors, his progress was interrupted by WWII, in which he won the Purple Heart for heroic duty during the Battle of the Bulge. He then spent two seasons in the North Carolina State League, winning 21 and 20. Drafted by the Giants in 1948, he remained in their farm system for four years. He was 28 when New York decided to try him in their bullpen in 1952.

Wilhelm hit the only home run of his lengthy career in his first ML at-bat on April 23, 1952. That season, he set a then-record with a NL-high 71 appearances, all in relief, and recorded league bests with a 2.43 ERA, an .833 winning percentage (15-3), and 15 relief wins. He led the league in appearances again in 1953 (68), and in 1954 won a league-high 12 in relief, with only 4 losses.

Wilhelm struggled in 1955-56; in 1955 he did not record a save. He was traded to St. Louis and sold to Cleveland in 1957. In 1958, after 363 consecutive relief appearances, he was given six starts by Indians manager Bobby Bragan before being waived to Baltimore in August. In his ninth ML start, on September 20, 1958, pitching through a drizzle on a day with little wind, he no-hit the Yankees on national television. Don Larsen allowed just one hit through six innings, but Wilhelm's batterymate Gus Triandos homered off reliever Bobby Shantz to give Baltimore the 1-0 victory. It was Wilhelm's only win for the Orioles that year.

Kept in the starting rotation in 1959, Wilhelm won his first nine games, finished at 15-11, and won the AL ERA title (2.19). He did not record a relief win or save. His knuckler was largely responsible as Orioles catchers set a modern record with 49 passed balls (28 by Triandos, 21 by Joe Ginsberg). The following year, manager Paul Richards introduced the oversized catcher's mitt that became standard equipment for catching the knuckler. With the emergence of the Orioles' good young pitchers (the "Baby Birds") in 1960, Wilhelm, age thirty-seven, was returned to the bullpen.

After four full seasons in Baltimore, Wilhelm was sent to the White Sox in the January 14, 1963 deal that brought Luis Aparicio to the Orioles. From 1964 to 1968, he rattled off five consecutive seasons with ERA below 2.00, including 1.31 in 1967. He got his career-high 27 saves in 1964. Always one of baseball's most frequently used pitchers, he worked in 361 games in six seasons with Chicago. He set a ML record for pitchers in 1968 when he worked in his 319th straight game without an error. With the knuckleball putting little strain on his arm, he appeared in a career-high 72 games in 1968 at the age of forty-five.

The White Sox lost Wilhelm to the Royals in the 1968 expansion draft, but he was traded to California that same winter. He was reunited with Paul Richards, by then a vice-president of the Braves, when Atlanta purchased the reliever on September 8, 1969. In eight games, Wilhelm went 2-0 with two saves to help Atlanta capture the NL West title. In 1970 he led the Braves in games pitched and saves before his late-season trade to the Cubs. He pitched briefly for the Braves and Dodgers before retiring in 1972. He was voted into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA in 1985.

Nellie Fox

The 5'10" 160-lb Fox was long one of the top AL second basemen. After an unimpressive 1948 rookie season, Fox was traded to the White Sox for catcher Joe Tipton. He became a vital member of the Go-Go Sox for 14 seasons, noted for his tobacco-chewing and aggressive play. He withstood injury and illness to establish a record for consecutive games at second base, playing 798 straight (August 7, 1956 through September 3, 1960).
Teaming first with Chico Carrasquel and then with Luis Aparicio, Fox gave the team strength up the middle. Hard work made him a reliable hitter (six .300-plus seasons) who rarely struck out. He led the AL in fewest strikeouts 11 times and he struck out only 216 times in 9232 career at-bats, the third-best percentage in ML history. In 1959, when the Sox won their first pennant in 40 years, he was AL MVP. The White Sox retired his uniform number, 2, and he was elected to the Hall of Fame by the veteran's committee in 1997.

» Pete Rose is released from federal prison in Marion, Illinois, after serving five months for tax evasion. He will now begin the second part of his sentence, consisting of 1,000 hours of community service at Cincinnati inner-city schools.

» P Tom Seaver and Rollie Fingers are elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Seaver finishes with a record 98.8% of the votes cast. Pete Rose, ineligible because of his ban from baseball, receives 41 write–in votes.

Tom Seaver

An intelligent, hard-working perfectionist and the quintessential professional, Seaver was the first true star for the Mets and led them to their miracle World Championship in 1969. In his 10 years in New York from 1967 to 1977, he won 25% of the Mets' games. The 17th 300-game winner in major league history, Seaver set a major league record by striking out 200 or more hitters in 10 seasons, nine in a row from 1968 to 1976.

Seaver came to the Mets via a strange lottery: In 1966, the Braves offered him $40,000, but the NCAA and baseball commissioner William Eckert voided the offer and made Seaver, still at USC, available to any team willing to match the Braves' offer. The Phillies, Indians, and Mets were willing and, in a drawing held in the commissioner's office, the Mets were picked out of a hat. Seaver was an immediate star, picked to the All-Star team in his first season when he won 16 games for a Met team that won just 61 games, and captured Rookie of the Year honors. In 1969 he won his first of three Cy Young Awards with a 25-7 record and a 2.21 ERA and led the NL in wins and winning percentage. On July 9, Seaver lost a perfect game when rookie Jimmy Qualls of the Cubs singled with one out in the ninth. The game was more important, however, since the Mets won 4-0, and began to make their move on the Cubs on their way to the World Championship. In Game One of the LCS against the Braves, Seaver was pinch hit for in the eighth inning, down 5-4, and emerged the winner over Phil Niekro as the Mets rallied for five runs. Seaver had less luck in Game One of the World Series, as he surrendered a homer to the Orioles' first batter, Don Buford, and lost 4-1. He came back to win a 2-1 ten-inning thriller in Game Four, helped by Ron Swoboda's game-saving catch in the ninth inning.

Seaver picked up where he left off the next season. On April 22, 1970, he struck out 19 Padres, including a record 10 in a row to end the game, to tie the then-ML record for a nine-inning game, set by Steve Carlton. Although he didn't duplicate his 20-win season, he led the league in strikeouts (283) and ERA (2.81). Seaver himself felt that 1971 was his best season; he compiled a 20-10 record and led the league for the second year in a row in with a 1.76 ERA and 289 strikeouts. Overshadowed by Steve Carlton in 1972, in 1973 Seaver became the first non-20-game winner to win the Cy Young Award when he led the NL in ERA (2.08) and strikeouts (251) and tied for the lead in complete games (18) while leading the Mets to another improbable pennant. In Game One of the LCS, Seaver drove in the Mets' only run and almost made it stand for the victory, walking none and striking out 13, but he gave up solo homers to Pete Rose and Johnny Bench in the eighth and ninth innings to take the loss. The Mets' chronically weak offense often let him down during his career, but never so glaringly. He did come back in Game Five to win the clincher 7-2, giving up only one earned run. He took a no-decision in the Mets' 11-inning 3-2 loss in Game Three of the World Series, striking out 12 in eight innings. He pitched another strong game in the sixth contest, surrendering two runs in seven innings, but once again lost a tough one 3-1.

A sore hip caused Seaver's worst season in 1974 with an 11-11 record and his first ERA over 3.00 (3.20). He bounced back in 1975 with his last great season for the Mets, going 22-9 and leading the league in strikeouts, wins, and winning percentage to capture another Cy Young trophy. In September, Seaver put together a seven-game winning streak, including another near no-hitter against the Cubs, broken up by Joe Wallis. By 1976, Seaver was having trouble with Met general manager M. Donald Grant over Seaver's salary and how the team was being run, and the two traded private and public taunts. On April 17, 1977, Seaver pitched his third one-hitter against the Cubs, a single in the fifth by Steve Ontiveros keeping him from the elusive no-hitter. Two months later, on June 15, the bomb dropped. Seaver was unceremoniously dealt to Cincinnati for four players, Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, and Dan Norman, a trade that ripped out the hearts of New York fans. Seaver completed his last 20-win season with the Reds, finishing with a combined 21-6 mark and leading the NL with seven shutouts. Almost exactly a year from the trade, on June 16, 1978, Seaver finally got his no-hitter, blanking the Cardinals 4-0. Seaver had four winning years with the Reds, including 1979, when he went 16-6 and led the NL in winning percentage and shutouts (5). He took another tough no-decision in the LCS when he left Game One after eight innings tied 2-2 with the Pirates' John Candelaria; Pittsburgh won in the 11th inning. In the strike-shortened 1981 season, Seaver went 14-2 and led the majors in victories but lost a controversial Cy Young vote to rookie sensation Fernando Valenzuela.

After Seaver slumped to 5-13 in 1982, the Reds completed the circle by trading The Franchise back to the Mets for three players. Although compiling only a 9-14 record (due mostly to the Mets' usual poor offense; his ERA was a better-than-average 3.55), fans were outraged when he was claimed by the White Sox after he was mysteriously left unprotected in the free agent compensation pool. He won 15 games for the White Sox in 1984, and 16 in 1985 when he set several career standards. On August 4 in Yankee Stadium, he won his 300th game, a 4-1 complete game on a six-hitter. On October 4, he moved past Walter Johnson into third place on the all-time strikeout list. After getting off to a slow start the following season, he was dealt to Boston (closer to his Greenwich, CT home), where he finished his career. An ankle injury prevented him from appearing against the Mets in the World Series, and the Red Sox released him following the season. Seaver tried to latch on with the Mets in 1987, but called it quits when he wasn't satisfied with his performance while getting into shape. After sitting out the 1988 season, Seaver was named to replace newly named National League president Bill White in the Yankee broadcast booth, and replaced Joe Garagiola for NBC Saturday telecasts with Vin Scully.

» The Tigers sign Cecil Fielder to a 5-year $36 million contract, temporarily making him the highest paid player in the majors.

Cecil Fielder

After 31 home runs in four seasons as a part-timer for the Blue Jays, Fielder revived his major-league career following a year in Japan, emerging almost overnight as one of the 90s most prolific sluggers and placing his name alongside baseball's most-hallowed home runs heroes.

Often weighing in at over 250 pounds, he put to full use his considerable girth, massive arms and powerful legs, uncoiling a ferocious, all-or-nothing swing in the classic power-hitter mold that routinely generated both tape-measure blasts and prodigious strikeout totals. The good-natured first baseman, immensely popular with fans and players alike, was the first Tiger to hit a baseball completely over the left field roof at Tiger Stadium, and the first player ever to hit a ball over the outfield bleachers at Milwaukee's County Stadium. An harbinger of the home run happy decade that followed, Fielder's 51 circuit blasts in 1990 marked the first time an AL player had reached 50 since Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in 1961.

In 1989 Fielder blasted 38 round trippers for the Hanshin Tigers, leading Japan's Central League with a .628 slugging percentage. Detroit took a chance and signed him to a two-year deal in January 1990. Fielder made the decision look like a good investment when he began wowing teammates and opposing hurlers with displays of his massive power in spring training while winning the club's first base job. Overcoming a slow start to the regular season, Fielder soon heated up (including a three-homer display on May 6th at Toronto) and didn't stop busting fences the rest of the season. On October 3rd, the final game of the year, he joined the 50-home run club by clouting a pair of circuit blasts at Yankee Stadium. He led all of baseball in home runs, RBIs (132) and slugging percentage (.592), while also leading the AL in total bases and extra-base hits. His 182 strikeouts, meanwhile, were the fifth-highest total in baseball history. He finished second to Rickey Henderson in the AL MVP voting.

The next year produced much of the same. Fielder again led all of baseball in home runs (44) and RBIs (133), and again finished second in the MVP voting, this time behind Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. Angry over missing out on the honor for the second straight season, Fielder lashed out at over the voters, going so far as to accuse them of racism in their selection of Ripken, who was white.

He felt snubbed again in 1992, when he was left off the All Star team despite leading the league in RBIs at the midway point. "It's an ugly situation," Fielder said. "Is it the city we play in? Is it that so few fans come to our games?" He added that, "It's kind of petty stuff compared to the other disappointments of my career", referring to the years he spent in Toronto, when he posted good numbers in limited action but had to play in Japan to prove he deserved a full-time job. At season's end Fielder wound up third to Juan Gonzalez and Mark McGwire in the home run chase, but his 124 RBIs made him the first American Leaguer since Babe Ruth to lead the majors in runs batted in for three consecutive seasons. Over the next several years he continued to pile up impressive power totals for a series of mediocre Tiger teams. In the ninth inning of an April 2nd game at the Minnesota Metrodome, Fielder took off from first on a hit-and-run and lumbered safely into second when Melvin Nieves swung through the pitch and catcher Greg Myers' throw kicked off the heel of shortstop Pat Meares. It was Fielder's first stolen base at any level since 1984, and his first ever in 1,096 major-league games, a record for the most games at the start of a career without a steal. The Minnesota crowd cheered wildly after learning that it was his first steal, and after the game a Twins' attendant delivered the base to his locker. "The pressure is off now," Fielder said. "He (manager Buddy Bell) might start moving me a little more now that he has seen me run. Hopefully he won't."

After years of finishing well out of pennant contention with Detroit, Fielder was sent to the Yankees for outfielder Ruben Sierra in July 1996 just hours before the trading deadline. He launched 13 of his 39 home runs during his 53 games with New York, but his most vital contributions came during the post-season. Fielder homered and drove in four runs during the Yanks' four-game dismissal of Texas in the Division Series, and then helped New York polish off Baltimore with home runs in Game Three and Five of the League Championship Series at Camden Yards. His biggest hit however, which came during Game Five of the World Series at Atlanta, did not leave the ballpark. With the series even at the two games apiece and Andy Pettitte and John Smoltz settled into a scoreless pitcher's duel, Fielder ripped a fourth-inning double down the left field line to score Charlie Hayes. It would stand up as the only run of the game (and the last in the history of Fulton-County Stadium), as the Yankees hung on to claim a 3-2 series advantage. The club would win again in Game Six to capture the franchise's first World Series since 1978.

Fielder spent one more year with the Yankees, hitting just 13 home runs in 361 at-bats. He signed a free-agent deal with Anaheim in December 1997, and was tied for the team lead with 68 RBIs before unexpectedly getting released that August. Many speculated that the club didn't want to pay him several performance bonuses he would soon have been due, or that he failed to get along with manager Terry Collins. Whatever the reason, the Indians promptly picked him up for a pennant-run boost to their lineup, but let him go in mid-September after he hit .143 in 14 games. The following spring he signed a minor-league contract with the Blue Jays but was cut just before the start of the season when Toronto traded for Dave Hollins to serve as their DH.

In October 2004, The Detroit News reported that Fielder was suffering from extensive domestic and gambling problems. They relied on court documents from Fielder's divorce and a lawsuit brought against him by Trump Plaza Hotel and Casinos in New Jersey describing debts to various casinos, credit card companies and banks. Fielder later filed a libel suit against Gannett, the parent company of The Detroit News, and the lead reporter, Fred Girard, accusing them of slander and defamation of character. The suit sought US$25 million in damages and fees. Fielder lost his defamation suit. The trial court dismissed the suit and the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.

The origins of the Fall of the House of Fielder are spelled out in a file in New Jersey Superior Court, titled Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino versus Cecil G. Fielder. It's about one 40-hour period in which Fielder's gambling compulsion apparently broke all bounds, with a casino extending him credit every step of the way.

On a February day in 1999, Cecil Fielder walked into the Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City just before noon, and filled out an application for credit.

Under "Income/Assets," he included: "Salary — $5 million."

Under "Other Casinos," he listed a $100,000 line of credit at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas.

Trump extended Fielder a $25,000 line of credit. That money, plus whatever cash he had started with, lasted a day and a half.

Fielder requested, and was given, another $25,000 line of credit.

That was gone in two hours and 40 minutes.

The casino lent him $27,500 more.

That lasted less than 20 minutes.

The casino extended Fielder's credit by another $50,000.

The minute-by-minute records stop there, but the file contains a total. By the time the binge was over, Fielder owed the Trump casino $580,000.

Fielder repaid some small amounts, but held off Trump's collectors on the bulk of the money until September 2000. On the 9th, he wrote a personal check to Trump Plaza for $300,000, and authorized his bank to pay a half-dozen more drafts for $25,000 each.

The next day, Fielder authorized four more drafts from his bank, totaling $130,000.

Fielder stopped payment on his personal $300,000 check. The 10 bank drafts all bounced for insufficient funds.

A spokesman for the New Jersey State Police Gaming Enforcement Division said they investigated the transactions, but determined no criminal conduct had occurred.

Trump Plaza Associates sued for the money it was owed and won, but has yet to collect. With interest and attorney's fees, the bill stands at $563,359.

Trump officials, including Ford Palmer, vice president of casino operations, and Fred Cunningham, vice president for legal affairs, said they could not discuss the case — or a casino's obligation, if any, when a patron may be out of control.

"I never knew anything about any of this until I started noticing things when I was doing the finances," Stacey Fielder said. "I'd be going over the bills with the accountant, and I'd be like, 'Hey, there's $35,000 gone from this account. What happened to it?' Then these gambling people just descended on the house one day, and started just taking things out of it. They took my truck."

"We talked about (Cecil's gambling) only a few times. I was under the impression he was going to get some help."

Life became a swirl of lawsuits, process servers, bounced checks, lien after lien filed against their property — and not even the children were spared.

As Prince Fielder, then a husky, 18-year-old first-baseman for the Class A Beloit (Wis.) Snappers, trotted off the field after a home game one day in August 2002, a man stepped out from behind the bleachers to intercept him.

It wasn't a reporter or fan. It was a process server, who for months had been searching for his dad, who was living with his son at the time. The man shoved some papers into Prince Fielder's hands, naming his father as defendant in a $387,744 lawsuit.

Although Prince Fielder wasn't a defendant in the suit, the sins of the father — poor business decisions and an unstoppable gambling compulsion — had been visited upon the son, in the form of an extremely embarrassing incident.

"Oh, my God, this is the first time I'm hearing that story," Stacey Fielder said "That's just another thing I was kept in the dark about."

Prince Fielder declined to be interviewed.

In addition to the Trump judgment, the bills, all annotated in the Fielders' still-pending divorce case and other public records, eventually included:

• $716,000 to Union Bank for a warehouse mortgage, plus another $300,000 for a loan.

• $660,000 to a company listed simply as "GHF, LLC." The News reached the company's registered agent, but he declined to be interviewed or reveal the type of business involved.

$387,744 from the lawsuit served on his son — because Cecil was living with him at the time — resulting from a trailer-rental business gone bad in Wisconsin.

• $300,000 for a loan from Colonial Bank.

• $300,000 to Paris Las Vegas casino.

• $150,000 in credit-card debt.

• $1 million from a mortgage the Fielders took out on their Melbourne mansion from Standard Federal Bank.

• $1,065,864 in back taxes and a second mortgage to Comerica Bank, which won a foreclosure judgment on the estate in June, paid off Standard Federal, and now hopes to sell the property.

The liens filed by Trump Plaza and all others against the property are now worthless.

There was a welter of smaller liens as well — by unpaid attorneys, an Atlanta businessman, a Tennessee stable, and a Melbourne moving and storage company. One creditor who did get paid by the Fielders is Ed Frommelt of Melbourne, who ran the mansion's cleaning crew.

"They owed us $2,500 for our regular twice-a-week stuff, plus an all-day cleanup we did for a Super Bowl party," Frommelt said. "It was Mrs. Fielder — she just refused to pay us. We had to go to court three times, and they never showed once. We won the judgment, but then we still had to get the money ourselves. I filed a contractor's lien against the property, and they paid up right away."

Fielder's son, Prince, is a talented young first baseman whom the Milwaukee Brewers selected in the 1st round of the 2002 amateur draft. Currently he is the Brewers' starting first baseman. Although Fielder was originally involved in his son's professional career, even negotiating his first contract, Prince and his family are no longer on speaking terms with Cecil. On September 25th, 2007, Prince hit his 50th home run of the season, making Cecil and Prince the only father/son duo in Major League history to each reach the milestone.

Fielder is currently the manager for the South Coast League's Charlotte County Redfish, as of June 16, 2007.

» The Diamondbacks obtain submarine–style relief P Mike Myers from the Rockies in exchange for OF Jack Cust and catcher JD Closser.

Jack Cust

During an August 16, 2003 game, between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees, Cust was the tying run in the 12th inning with two outs when he tried to score from first base on a single to the gap by Larry Bigbie. Cust first stumbled and fell down between 3rd and home plate, resulting in his being caught in a rundown. Cust outmaneuvered the defense, and eventually found himself sprinting towards home plate with nobody covering it. Instead of scoring easily, however, Cust fell down for the second time in the same play. He was tagged out by third baseman Aaron Boone to end the game, providing one of the wildest endings to a baseball game in recent history.

Cust finished the 2003 season batting .260 (19-73) with 4 home runs in the majors after being with the Ottawa Lynx (Orioles Triple-A team) for the first 4 months of the season. He would have just 1 one at bat in the majors with the Orioles in the 2004 season and was granted free agency after the end of the season.

On November 15, 2004 he was signed by the Oakland Athletics. He spent the whole season in Triple-A Sacramento and was granted free agency after the season. On December 6, 2005, he signed a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres. He just had 3 at bats in the 2006 season.

Cust began the 2007 with the San Diego Padres Triple-A team, the Portland Beavers. On May 3, 2007, the Padres traded Cust to the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics needed another designated hitter due to an injury to veteran Mike Piazza. He made his season debut on May 5, 2007, going 1-3 with a home run. Cust quickly endeared himself to A's fans by hitting 6 home runs in his first 7 games with the A's. Cust hit .346 with 14 RBIs during the seven game stretch. On May 13, 2007, with two outs and an 0-2 count in the bottom of the ninth, the A's rallied to score 5 runs to beat Joe Borowski and the Cleveland Indians 10-7, with Cust hitting a walk-off 3-run home run off Fernando Cabrera.

After hitting .348 with 1 double and 5 home runs along with 13 RBIs, Cust shared Co-American League Player of the Week honors along with teammate Dan Johnson for the week ending May 13th, 2007.

On August 10, 2007, Cust hit his first Major League grand slam off relief pitcher Macay McBride of the Detroit Tigers. He also hit a 3-run double earlier in the game to give him a career high 7 RBIs. He finished the 2007 season leading the Athletics in home runs with 26. In 2007, he walked 21.0% of the time, tops in the major leagues, and struck out 41.5% of the time, also tops in the majors.[2]

On December 13, 2007, he was named in the Mitchell Report to the Commissioner of Baseball of an Independent Investigation Into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major League Baseball.

Red Sox owner, John Henry, calls Doug Mientkiewicz to discuss the defensive replacement’s possession of the game ball caught at first base for the last out of the World Series. Larry Lucchino, the club’s president, has made it clear he wants the team to have ownership of the historic ball, which now resides in a safe deposit box along with back-up infielder's Olympic ring.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announces Major League Baseball and the Players Association will donate $1 million to help the victims of last month’s Indian Ocean tsunami.

At the sixth Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Legacy ceremonies in Kansas City, Bob Watson, the first black general manager in baseball history, receives the Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award. The honor is the highest bestowed by the NLBM.

Robert Watson

Robert Jose Watson (born April 10, 1946 in Los Angeles, California) is a former first baseman in Major League Baseball for the Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Atlanta Braves from 1966-1984. Nicknamed "Bull", Watson's best seasons and lengthiest tenure were with the Astros. Though originally a catcher, he also played first base, outfield and was a dependable hitter (serving as Designated Hitter during his tenure in the American League). His home run numbers were somewhat hurt by the fact that he played the majority of his career in the Astrodome.

In 1979, as a member of the Red Sox, he hit for the cycle, becoming the first player to accomplish this feat in both the National League and American League.

At the end of the 1993 season he was named general manager of the Houston Astros, becoming the first ever African American to serve as a GM in the major leagues. He served as GM for the New York Yankees from 23 October 1995 to 2 February 1998. The 1996 team won the World Series, the first Yankee team to do so since 1978. After the 1997 season, Watson retired from the Yankees and now serves as Major League Baseball's vice president in charge of discipline and vice president of rules and on-field operations. He was under consideration for the Astros General Manager position, but the position was given to Ed Wade, the Philadelphia Phillies former GM.

Watson holds the distinction of having physically scored the 1,000,000th run (reaching home plate and narrowly eclipsing Dave Concepcion by 1.5 seconds) in Major League history on May 4, 1975. At 12:32 in the afternoon, Watson scored from second base on a three-run homer by teammate Milt May at San Francisco's Candlestick Park. The 1,000,000 run total only included runs scored in the National and American Leagues (not "3rd" major leagues, such as the Federal League).

Randy Johnson agrees to a $26 million, two-year Diamondback deal, leaving only a physical and MLB approval to finalize his trade from the Yankees back to the desert. In exchange for the ‘Big Unit’, the Bronx Bombers will receive reliever Luis Vizcaino and minor league prospects right-handers Ross Ohlendorf (RHP) and Steven Jackson (RHP), and Alberto Gonzalez (INF).

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, The Detroit News, and baseballibrary.com

01-08-2008, 11:15 AM
Jan 8

» National League president Nick Young says he will have the more experienced umpires such as Tom Lynch, Bob Emslie, and Hank O'Day stay behind the plate when he institutes the new 2-umpire system. Previously, the single umpire would move behind the pitcher only with men on base.

Bob Emslie

Emslie's three-year ML pitching career was highlighted by his 32-17 season for Baltimore in 1884, a year of unusual records because talent was stretched thin with three major leagues operating. He became a ML umpire in 1890 and remained on the job for 35 years. Emslie was working the bases in the famous "Merkle Boner Game," but when he admitted he hadn't seen whether Merkle had touched second or not, fellow ump Hank O'Day was forced to make the call. According to a famous story, Emslie, irritated that Giants' manager John McGraw had called him a "blind robber," showed up at a Giants' practice with a rifle, placed a dime on the pitching mound, and then with a shot fired from behind home plate sent the coin spinning into the outfield. Reportedly, McGraw never again challenged his eyesight.

» Frank Chance inherits Hal Chase and the weakest lineup the New York Yankees will ever have when he signs to manage the team.

Hal Chase

Among the most unsavory characters in the history of the game, Chase was an oddly charismatic star. He was considered by contemporary observers to be the best-fielding first baseman ever, but he repeatedly threw games for the quick money he could make betting against his own team, and he was eventually banned for life.

He led his league's first basemen in errors seven times, but only in 1911, as a playing manager, did he lead in any positive fielding categories (putouts and assists, but also errors once again). He holds the AL career first baseman's mark for errors (285). On September 21, 1906, he tied the ML record for putouts by a first baseman in a nine-inning game with 22; two other times he had 21.

The venal gate attraction jumped the Highlanders (later the Yankees) after the 1907 season, demanding a $4,000 salary. Management gave in to him, but he jumped anyway, playing for San Jose (California League) under an assumed name. He was suspended, then reinstated; when he returned to New York, his teammates presented the redhead with a silver loving cup. In 1910 manager George Stallings accused Chase of throwing games. Chase beat the charge and then used his popularity to take over the managerial post himself at the end of the season. In his first full year at the helm, the team dropped from second place (88-63) to sixth (76-76). Traded to the White Sox in June 1913 after his lackadaisical play became blatant, he jumped to the Federal League a year later. Playing in a small park, he hit an atypical 17 HR (his previous high was four) to lead the league in 1915. This made him much sought-after when the FL folded, and he was signed by the Reds. He led the NL in batting in 1916 with a career-high .339. He hit .300 four times, but usually with very few walks. He did steal as many as 40 bases (1910), and he finished his career with 363 steals. However, Chase never scored more than 85 runs or drove in more than 89, both highs coming in 1915.

In 1918, playing under the scrupulously honest Christy Mathewson, Chase was suspended for throwing games. He was initially cleared by an establishment eager to disbelieve Chase's accusers, but the charge was later proven. John McGraw of the Giants, always sure of his ability to reform the wayward, tried Chase in 1919, but by the end of the season wouldn't play him. Chase was implicated in the Black Sox scandal when the World Series was thrown at the end of the season, and thereafter he was persona non grata.

» Profiting handsomely on his 1913 investment of $187,000, owner James E. Gaffney sells his Boston Braves for $500,000 to Harvard's famous football coach, Percy Haughton, and a banker associate.

The Giants pick up Jesse Barnes, last year's National League leader in losses (21), along with Larry Doyle from the Boston Braves. Boston receives veteran Buck Herzog. Barnes will go 6–1 this year and then win a league high 25 games in 1917.

Jesse Barnes

Barnes was a hard thrower who came to the ML with the Braves the year after their 1914 "miracle" pennant. By the time he became a regular starter, the team had strong pitching but little else. Barnes led the NL in losses (21) in 1917. After being traded to the Giants with Larry Doyle for aging Buck Herzog in January 1918, Barnes spent most of the season in the infantry but was 6-1 in nine starts for New York. The next year he was John McGraw's ace, leading the NL in wins with a 25-9 record and a 2.40 ERA. He was one of three Giants with 20 wins the following year with a 20-15 mark. In 1921 he contributed 15 wins to the Giants' pennant and won twice in the WS. Although his win total fell to 13 in 1922, one of the victories was a no-hitter against the Phillies (5/7/22). That fall he was on the mound for the Giants in the 10th inning of Game Two of the WS with the score tied at 3-3 when umpire George Hildebrand called the game because of darkness. Most observers insisted there was still plenty of light, and Commissioner Landis was so incensed he gave the gate receipts to charity. Barnes's younger brother Virgil pitched for the Giants during these years but did not become a regular starter until after Jesse was traded back to the Braves in 1923. They pitched against each other ten times, five as starters, with Jesse winning five and losing three. With the Braves, Jesse again led the NL in losses (20) in 1924. A lifetime .214 hitter, he is the only NL pitcher to walk twice in one inning (10/2/17).

» Buck Herzog, in John McGraw's doghouse since September, is traded to the Braves for veteran Larry Doyle and righty Jesse Barnes. Doyle, a former Giant and fan favorite, was acquired from the Cubs four days ago and his trade was rumored. He will play three years in New York before retiring.

Buck Herzog

Giants manager John McGraw traded away the aggressive Herzog three times. The second trade, in 1913, came after Herzog played third base on three straight Giants pennant winners and hit .400 in the 1912 WS. McGraw brought Herzog back a third time, and in 1917, Herzog was on another New York pennant-winner, this time playing second base. The much-traveled University of Maryland graduate found an appropriate second career as the general athletic passenger agent for the B&O Railroad.

Larry Doyle

Doyle was a nervous youngster in June 1907 when he took the wrong ferry across the Hudson River and arrived late for his first ML game. Giants manager John McGraw started the scrappy prospect at second base, a position unfamiliar to Doyle. The game was close, coming down to a crucial ninth-inning grounder which Doyle booted. Certain McGraw would send him down, Doyle sheepishly confronted him, only to receive words of encouragement and, the following season, the Giants' captaincy. He became a five-time .300 hitter.

Doyle's hitting and solid defense helped New York to three straight pennants, starting in 1911, when he led the NL in triples and said, "It's great to be young and a Giant." He scored the famous "phantom" run that forestalled the Athletics' victory in the 1911 World Series. In the dusk of Game Five's 10th inning, Doyle came home on an outfield fly but did not touch the plate, umpire Bill Klem later admitted, saying he would have called Doyle out had the A's tried to tag him.

Doyle led the NL with 172 hits in 1909, and batted a high of .330 in 1912. He won the NL batting title in 1915 with a .320 mark and league highs of 189 hits and 40 doubles. He stole 297 career bases, swiping home 17 times. His eight errors tie him with Eddie Collins for most in total World Series at 2B.

» Art Nehf, who pitched in five World Series, announces his retirement. He won 184 games in his career, last pitching for the Cubs in the 1929 Series.

Art Nehf

Just 5'9" and 176 lbs, Nehf joined the Braves late in 1915 after leading the Central League with 218 strikeouts and a 1.38 ERA. The crafty southpaw went 17-8 in 1917 and in 1918 topped the National League in complete games. He pitched a 21-inning game that season against the Pirates, only to lose 2-0. He had compiled a 52-41 record for the light-hitting Braves when, on August 15, 1919, he was traded to the Giants for four players and cash. He went 9-2 the rest of the way, but the Giants still couldn't catch the Reds and finished second.

In 1920, Nehf won a career-high 21 games. From 1921 through 1924 he helped the Giants to four consecutive pennants. Following a 20-10 season in 1921, he lost his first two World Series starts (the Giants scored a mere one run - unearned - in those games), but defeated the Yankees 1-0 in the final game. In the 1922 WS rematch, Nehf again won the decisive contest. He pitched another 1-0 shutout against the Yankees in Game Three of the 1923 Series. In the 1924 Series opener, he beat the Senators' Walter Johnson in 12 innings, but Nehf lost Game Six 2-1. Washington took the title the following day.

Nehf won 107 while losing only 60 in seven years with the Giants. Sold to the Reds in 1926, he pitched infrequently, and he was released in August 1927. He rebounded with 13 wins for the Cubs in 1928. His last major league appearance came with Chicago in Game Four of the 1929 World Series, when he failed to retire a batter.

During his 15 ML seasons, Nehf recorded 30 shutouts. He participated in 12 double plays in 1920, equaling the NL record for a pitcher. In 12 World Series games, he placed himself among the all-time WS leaders in seven pitching categories. A competent, lifetime .210 batter, he hit five home runs in 1924, including two in one game.

» Bill Terry announces he is through with baseball and plans to enter the cotton business.

Bill Terry

Terry's .401 batting average in 1930 makes him the last NL player to hit over .400. Though there were unusually high batting averages that year (the entire NL averaged .303), 30 other future Hall of Fame members playing regularly in both leagues in 1930 did not hit .400. Terry was a great hitter who had three other seasons over .350 and averaged .341 for his 14-season career. When he wanted to, he could pull the ball into the stands; in 1932, he slugged 28 homers. But more typically, he hit doubles and triples into the deep power alleys of the Polo Grounds.

Defensively, he was the best of his day. In the ten seasons he played regularly, he led NL first basemen in fielding average twice, double plays three times, putouts and assists five times each, and total chances per game nine times. Terry was 26 before he came to the ML and then had to move future Hall of Famer George Kelly off first to play regularly for the Giants. Most of his record was achieved from the age of 30 on, and, during his last five seasons, he also served as the Giants' manager.

Terry's Giants won the 1933 pennant and WS with a tattered team he'd taken over the season before from an ailing John McGraw. After rebuilding the club, he won pennants in 1936 and 1937.

But despite his accomplishments with a bat and glove, and as a manager, he was never a favorite with the New York writers. He was blunt and unwilling to cater to them. Most of all, they resented his insistence on keeping his private life private. Among other gripes they had was his refusal to hand out his private telephone number; he spent 16-18 hours available at the Polo Grounds and that was enough, as far as he was concerned.

Early in 1934, when he was asked about the perennially tail-end Dodgers, he responded jokingly, "Is Brooklyn still in the league?" His off hand remark was widely considered a contemptuous put-down. When the Dodgers won the last two meetings of the season to knock the Giants out of the pennant, some New York writers insisted Terry's "arrogance" had cost his team the title.

The baseball writers elected Terry to the Hall of Fame in 1954, 18 years after he retired as a player. Terry showed no bitterness that his election was so long delayed and became a regular participant in the annual induction ceremonies for many years.

» The Cleveland Indians bar night games with the Browns due to St. Louis owner Bill Veeck's refusal to share receipts of the telecasts.

» Commissioner Ford Frick denies charges that Carl Furillo has been blacklisted by the ML because of a 1959 salary dispute with the Dodgers.

Carl Furillo

Furillo was one of Roger Kahn's famed Boys of Summer. Kahn described him as "The Hard Hat Who Sued Baseball". He sued the Dodgers in 1960 for dropping him while he was hurt. He was awarded $21,000 as a settlement. From then on, Furillo couldn't find a job in baseball. He contended that he had been blackballed. Kahn found him years later, installing Otis elevators at the World Trade Center.

Furillo had his best season in 1953, when he hit .344 to win the NL batting title. A volatile and intense competitor, Skoonj (short for scungili, Italian for snail) broke his hand during a September brawl with Leo Durocher and the Giants, and missed most of the rest of the season.

The Reading Rifle had a gun for an arm, and read the tricky, 40'-high right field wall in Ebbets Field masterfully. His career highlights include a miraculous catch of Johnny Mize's bid for a home run in Game Five of the 1952 World Series; a game-tying, ninth-inning homer in Game Six of the 1953 WS; and throwing pitcher Mel Queen out at first on a 300' shot hit into the right field gap at Ebbets Field.

Funeral services for Hall of Fame second baseman Rogers Hornsby are held in Chicago, Illinois. Hall of Fame director Sid Keener, American League president Will Harridge and Hall of Famers Lou Boudreau, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons and Ray Schalk attend the services for Hornsby, who died from a heart attack on January 5.

» Jose Lizandro of Marlboro (Panama) pitches a 3-0 no-hitter against Novatos. It is the first no-hitter in Panama since 1948.

» Willie McCovey is the only player elected this year to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA, and becomes the 16th player elected in his first year of eligibility. Billy Williams falls four votes shy of the 319 needed for election.

Willie McCovey

On October 16, 1962 at Candlestick Park, McCovey came within inches of being a World Series hero. The Giants trailed the perennially powerful Yankees 1-0 with runners at second and third and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game. McCovey hit a line drive toward right field that second baseman Bobby Richardson speared to end the Series. The play has been discussed by fans ever since. It even became a running element of Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" comic strip, a moment in life that Charlie Brown could relate to with complete empathy.

After belting 29 homers in three months in the Pacific Coast League in 1959, McCovey joined the Giants in the middle of the season and debuted by going 4-for-4 with two singles and two triples against Robin Roberts. He hit .354 that year and, despite playing in only 52 games, won NL Rookie of the Year honors. McCovey slumped badly in 1960 and spent time in the minor leagues at Tacoma. The stay was a short one, for the Giants, headed toward a fifth-place finish, sorely needed his bat in their lineup. McCovey was a first baseman by trade, but he spent three seasons in the early 1960s primarily in the outfield in deference to smoother-fielding Orlando Cepeda. When Cepeda was felled by a knee injury in 1965, first base became McCovey's.

Since he was a soft-spoken man playing on a star-studded Giants team, McCovey's talents were not as often heralded by the media and fans as those of teammates Mays, Cepeda, and Marichal. However, his opponents respected the devastating dead-pull power that was his majestic personal trademark and made him one of the most feared home run hitters of his time. McCovey first led the NL in homers in 1963, with 44, and won the title again in 1968, with 36, and in 1969, with 45. For four consecutive seasons, 1967-1970, he led the NL in home run percentage. In 1970 the slugger homered in all twelve parks, one of the few players ever to accomplish that feat. Toward the end of his career, on June 27, 1977, McCovey hit a grand slam and a solo home run in the same inning against the NL champion Cincinnati Reds, becoming the only player in history to hit two home runs in one inning twice; his first such effort came on April 12, 1973.

McCovey had his banner year in 1969 and won the MVP award. In addition to leading the NL with 45 homers, 126 RBI, and a .656 slugging percentage, he drew a record 45 intentional walks and finished fifth with a .320 batting average. His 9.2 home run percentage that year is one of the highest ever. McCovey's appearance in the 1969 All-Star Game was his third of six, and he paced the NL to a 9-3 victory with two home runs. McCovey was an integral part of an ever-changing Giants team that contended for a decade, reaching the World Series in 1962 and the NL playoffs in 1971. Giants owners devastated Bay Area fans by sending McCovey, their favorite player, to the upstart San Diego Padres prior to the 1974 season. Tagged Big Mac in deference to Padres and McDonald's owner Ray Kroc, McCovey had two good seasons and one poor one before the Padres sold him to the Oakland Athletics, the Giants' cross-bay competition. He played in only 11 games for the A's, who released him at the end of the season. McCovey was invited by new Giants ownership to San Francisco's spring training camp in 1977, and he responded with a 28-homer, 86-RBI comeback at the age of 39.

The final hurrah of McCovey's career came in 1980 when he hit his only home run of the season and the 521st and final one of his career, which then tied him with Ted Williams for tenth place all-time in home runs. Having played during four decades, he retired during the season and joined the Giants' public- and community-relations staff. McCovey was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.

» Ten free agents (Tim Raines, Lance Parrish, Bob Horner, Andre Dawson, Rich Gedman, Ron Guidry, Bob Boone, Doyle Alexander, Toby Harrah, and Gary Roenicke) fail to meet a midnight deadline and thus will not be allowed to re-sign with their former clubs until May 1st if they are not offered contracts by new teams. The general lack of interest in the players will become the focus of the Players' Association's first anti-collusion suit against the owners.

» Faced with a midnight deadline to re-sign with the Yankees, pitcher Bill Gullickson agrees to a 2-year contract with Japan's Tokyo Giants instead.

Bill Gullickson

Gullickson was the second player taken in the June 1977 draft, and his 10-5, 3.00 record in 1980 earned him TSN NL Rookie Pitcher of the Year honors. He finished second (behind Steve Howe) in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. In 1981 he helped the Expos to their only division title with a 7-9, 2.81 record and beat the Phillies 3-1 in Game Two of the divisional playoff necessitated by the split-season format used after the players' strike. In the LCS, he lost Games One and Four to the Dodgers when Montreal could muster only one run each game for him. With the exception of the strike season, the consistent Gullickson was in double figures in wins every season from his rookie year on. Acquired by the Reds for 1986, he went 15 12. The Yankees traded Dennis Rasmussen to get Gullickson, in the last year of his contract, for their 1987 pennant drive, but he was unhappy with the atmosphere in the Bronx and accepted a $2 million offer to pitch in Japan the following season. In an April 10, 1982 game, Gullickson tied the modern ML record with six wild pitches.

» Rod Carew, Gaylord Perry, and Ferguson Jenkins are elected to the Hall of Fame, with Carew becoming the 22nd player to be named in his first year of eligibility.

Rod Carew

"Carew had great hand action, probably as good as anyone who ever swung a bat. He always used the entire field. Because he could bunt so well, he brought the third baseman in close. He made the defense come to him instead of the other way around. He had a great sense of the strike zone, never chasing a bad ball, and had no fear at the plate," said Bill Rigney, one of Carew's managers.

Born on a train in the Panama Canal Zone, Carew moved with his mother to New York at age 17. After signing with the Twins a day out of high school in 1964, he played three minor league seasons before jumping from Class C to the majors in 1967. He got his first ML hit on Opening Day off Baltimore's Dave McNally; 18 years later, on August 4, 1985, with California, Carew singled off Minnesota's Frank Viola to become the 16th player to attain 3,000 hits.

Carew batted .292 in 1967 and was named AL Rookie of the Year. He hit .273 in 1968, but followed with 15 consecutive seasons over .300. Only Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, and Honus Wagner have exceeded that achievement. Carew won seven AL batting championships, and won them by consistently larger margins than anyone except Rogers Hornsby. In his MVP 1977 season, Carew's .388 was 50 points higher than the next-best average in ML baseball, Dave Parker's NL-leading .338. This was the largest margin in ML history.

In 1970 Carew was off to his best start when he injured his knee, and he played just 51 games. In 1972 he became only the fourth player and the first in the American League to win a batting title without hitting a home run. After capturing three more straight championships (1973-75) Carew batted .331 in 1976, but lost the title on the last day, to George Brett (.333) and Hal McRae (.332). He came back in 1977 to lead with his .388, and in 1978 led for the final time with .333.

Hitting was Carew's trademark, but he was also one of the game's best baserunners. Said Twins manager Frank Quilici, "There's nobody alive, nobody, who could turn a single into a double, a double into a triple the way Rod could. He may have been the most complete player of his time." Twins owner Calvin Griffith put Carew in the same class with Hall of Fame second basemen Hornsby and Charlie Gehringer.

Carew was moved from second to first base in 1975 to lengthen his career. After a dozen years with Minnesota, Carew forced a trade by announcing he would play out his option if the Twins did not deal him. (This was prompted in part by racist public statements by Griffith regarding black fans.) The club would receive nothing in return if he became a free agent. On February 3, 1979, he was traded to the Angels for Ken Landreaux, Dave Engle, Brad Havens, and Paul Hartzell. Carew, despite sitting out more than six weeks with a thumb injury that season, was instrumental in the Angels' drive to their first division title.

When Carew first came up, he was a loner - temperamental, often sullen - and didn't get along with his managers. He said in his autobiography, "I was always moody with managers...threatening to jump the club." Carew met with some racism in baseball, and following the announcement of his engagement to a Jewish woman, Marilynn Levy, he received death threats. As Carew matured, he became a family man, and a friendly, outgoing team leader.

Carew was on the losing club in four LCS, two with Minnesota and two with California. He would have played in 18 consecutive All-Star games, but was replaced due to injury in 1970 and 1979, and for the same reason was not chosen in 1982. In 1977 Carew received over four million All-Star votes, more than any other player ever. He established an All-Star record with two triples in the 1978 classic.

Always a base-stealing threat, Carew tied a ML record with seven steals of home in 1969, and amassed 348 career stolen bases. On May 18, 1969, he stole three bases in one inning. He led the league three times in base hits and once in runs scored, and led once and tied once in triples. He recorded 200 hits four times, and his 239 hits in 1977 was the highest total in the majors in 47 years. His 128 runs scored in '77 was the highest since 1961. Carew hit for the cycle in 1970, connected for five hits in a single game five times, and is 12th on the all-time hit list. His .339 average in 1983 set an Angels record, and he holds Twins season records for runs, hits, singles, triples, stolen bases, and batting average.

» The Colorado Silver Bullets, professional baseball’s first women’s team, holds its first public tryouts in Orlando, Florida. An invitation-only tryout was held in Orlando on December 18.

» For only the 7th time in history, the Baseball Writers Association of America fails to select a player for induction into baseball's Hall of Fame.

» Turning down a deal worth a million dollars more with no deferred money offered by the Mets, Juan Gonzalez agrees to a $24 million, two-year deal with the Rangers that includes $10.5 million in deferred payments. The outfielder, who preferred to stay in the American League established franchise records for home runs, RBIs, total bases and extra-base hits while playing for Texas from 1989-1999.

Ozzie Smith is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the baseball writers in his first year of eligibility. Smith, named on 91.7 percent of the ballots, is the 37th player to be elected in his first year.

Ozzie Smith

Smith was the best defensive shortstop of the 1980s and most likely the best ever. For nineteen years, the "Wizard of Oz" (or "The Wizard of Ah!'s", as some put it) dominated baseball with his breathtaking, and often game-saving, defensive play. To watch Ozzie play was to see a combination of baseball, ballet, and gymnastics. Smith won thirteen straight Gold Glove Awards (1980-1992) at shortstop and led the National League in fielding percentage seven times; St. Louis manager Whitey Herzog has argued that at his peak Smith saved 75 runs per year with his glove.

Smith began his major league career with the San Diego Padres in 1978 after only 68 games in the minors. Despite an unremarkable performance at the plate (.258, one homer, 46 RBIs) Smith's 40 stolen bases and incredible glove work helped him to a second-place finish to Bob Horner in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. On April 28, 1978, Smith made what he rated as his best play ever when he dove to his left to snare a grounder hit by Atlanta's Jeff Burroughs. The ball took a bad hop and skipped behind Smith's head, so Smith promptly stuck out his bare right hand to snag the ball before popping to his feet and throwing Burroughs out at first base. Cardinal fans came to expect such plays from the Wizard, who consistently obliged.

Smith's outstanding defensive play for San Diego was at times tempered by his failures at the plate. In 1980, Smith set the record for most assists in a season (621) but hit just .230. The following year he hit only .222. Unwilling to give Smith the pay raise he demanded, the Padres dealt him to the St. Louis Cardinals for shortstop Garry Templeton in February 1982. Whitey Herzog's Cardinals, who emphasized speed and defense in spacious Busch Stadium, turned out to be a perfect match for the young defensive wizard. Because they rarely routed an opponent, the Cardinals relied heavily on Smith's ability to thwart late-inning hits. With the Gold Glover at short, the Cardinals won it all in 1982 and enjoyed pennant-winning seasons in 1985 and 1987.

As the switch-hitting Smith gained big-league experience, his hitting began to improve. In 1985 he posted a .276 batting average -- his best to date. His average would improve to .280 in 1986 and a career-high .303 in 1987. During Game Five of the 1985 League Championship Series, Smith hit his first left-handed home run in 3,009 at-bats in the bottom of the ninth off of Tom Niedenfuer to win the game.

Smith's career year in 1987 was instrumental in the Cards' World Series run. He hit .303 with 43 stolen bases, 75 RBI and 104 runs scored and finished second in the MVP balloting to the Cubs' Andre Dawson. Smith's performance, both at the plate and in the field, inspired an injury-riddled club to the top of the NL East. Prior to the Cardinals' three home games during the 1987 World Series, Smith put on a show with an awesome flurry of cartwheels, handsprings, and back flips. Although St. Louis defeated Minnesota in all three games, they were unable to win in the raucous Metrodome and eventually fell to the Twins in seven games.

Smith continued his strong play into the '90s. His eight miscues set an NL record for fewest errors in a season by a shortstop in 1991. The following year, he collected his 2,000th hit and stole his 500th base. He also won his thirteenth consecutive Gold Glove, breaking an NL record held by Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente. By this time, several "young Ozzies," such as Ozzie Guillen and Omar Vizquel, were being heralded as his defensive heir.

When Smith announced that 1996 would be his last season, a special effort was made to let Smith, now platooning with Royce Clayton, play in each NL park as a farewell to his adoring fans throughout the country. NL fans had voted in Ozzie as their starting All-Star shortstop a record twelve times.

Near the end of his career, Smith was also lauded for his involvement in community service, winning both the Branch Rickey Award in 1994, and the Roberto Clemente Award in 1995. After his retirement, Smith turned in his glove but continued to please baseball fans with his exuberant personality by taking over for Mel Allen as the host of the long running "This Week in Baseball."

Eddie Murray, the only switch-hitter with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits becomes just 38th player to be elected in his first year of eligibility by being chosen on 85 percent of the ballots cast by the BBWWA. Former All-Star Gary Carter (Expos and Mets) also is elected on his sixth try after falling 11 votes short last year.

Free-agent hurler Kevin Millwood (9-6, 4.85 ) signs a one-year contract with the Indians. The 30-year old starter missed nearly of the last two months this past season with the Phillies due acute tendonitis in his right elbow.

After ending a 17-year Fall Classic drought, the Cardinals and skipper Tony La Russa agree to three-year contract extension. The 60-year manager, who piloted the team to 105 wins this season and has been in the post season five of the nine seasons with St. Louis.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, baseball.wikia.com, and baseballibrary.com

01-08-2008, 02:31 PM
Jan 8

Goose Gossage Elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Associated Press

NEW YORK — Goose Gossage became only the fifth relief pitcher elected to the Hall of Fame, earning baseball's highest honor Tuesday on his ninth try on the ballot.

Known for his overpowering fastball, fiery temperament and bushy mustache, the Goose received 466 of 543 votes (85.8 percent) from 10-year members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Jim Rice was passed over yet again, getting 392 votes (72.2 percent), up from 346 (63.5 percent) last year and 16 short of the 75 percent needed. He will appear on the writers' ballot for the 15th and final time next year, when career steals leader Rickey Henderson will be among the newcomers.

Andre Dawson was third at 358 (65.9 percent), followed by Bert Blyleven at 336 (61.9 percent).

Mark McGwire, a casualty of the Steroids Era in some writers' minds, received just 128 votes — the exact total he had last year. His percentage increased slightly to 23.6 percent, up from 23.5 percent last year when he was on the ballot for the first time.

Gossage, who fell short by 21 votes last year, joins Hoyt Wilhelm (1985), Rollie Fingers (1992), Dennis Eckersley (2004) and Bruce Sutter (2006) in Cooperstown's bullpen.

Gossage was a nine-time All-Star who pitched for nine major league teams from 1972-94 and had 310 saves — 52 of them in which he got seven outs or more.

He will be inducted July 27 in Cooperstown, joined by five men elected last month by the revamped Veterans Committee: former commissioner Bowie Kuhn, former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley, managers Dick Williams and Billy Southworth and ex-Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss.

Richard Michael "Goose" Gossage (born July 5, 1951 in Colorado Springs, Colorado) is a former right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played 22 seasons from 1972 to 1994 for nine different teams, spending his best years with the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was one of the earliest manifestations of the dominating modern closer, with wild facial hair and a gruff demeanor to go along with his blistering fastball. He led the American League in saves three times and was runnerup twice; by the end of the 1987 season he ranked second in major league history in career saves, trailing only Rollie Fingers, although by the end of his career his final total of 310 had slipped to fourth all-time. When he retired he also ranked third in major league history in career games pitched (1,002), and he remains third in wins in relief (115) and innings pitched in relief (1,556⅔); his 1,502 strikeouts place him behind only Hoyt Wilhelm among pitchers who primarily pitched in relief. From 1977 through 1983 he never recorded an earned run average over 2.62, including a mark of 0.77 in 1981, and in 1980 he finished third in AL voting for both the MVP Award and Cy Young Award as the Yankees won a division title. He was named an All-Star a record eight times as a reliever, in addition to one selection as a starting pitcher. He now works in broadcasting. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.

During his career, Gossage pitched in 1,002 games and finished 681 of them, earning 310 saves. Per every nine innings pitched, Gossage averaged 7.45 hits allowed and 7.47 strikeouts. He also made nine All-Star appearances and pitched in three World Series.

He led the American League in saves in 1975 (26), 1978 (27) and 1980 (33). On October 2, 1978 he earned the save in the Yankees' dramatic one-game playoff against the Boston Red Sox for the AL East title, entering with one out in the seventh inning and a 4-2 lead following Bucky Dent's legendary home run. He was also on the mound when the Yankees clinched the pennant in the ALCS against the Royals, entering Game 4 in the ninth inning with a 2-1 lead and a runner on second base; he earned the save by striking out Clint Hurdle and retiring Darrell Porter and Pete LaCock on fly balls. He was again on the mound ten days later when they captured the World Series title against the Los Angeles Dodgers for their second consecutive championship, coming on with no one out in the eighth inning and retiring Ron Cey on a popup to catcher Thurman Munson to end Game 6.

He missed most of the 1979 season with the Yankees due to a thumb injury sustained in a locker-room fight with teammate Cliff Johnson. Ron Guidry, the reigning Cy Young Award winner, volunteered to go to the bullpen to replace him. Gossage recorded saves in all three Yankee victories in the 1981 AL Division Series against the Milwaukee Brewers, not allowing a run in 6⅔ innings, and he was again the final pitcher when they clinched the 1981 pennant against the Oakland Athletics. In 1983, his last season with the Yankees, Gossage broke Sparky Lyle's club record of 141 career saves; Dave Righetti passed his final total of 150 in 1988. Gossage holds the Yankees career record for ERA (2.14) and hits per nine innings (6.59) among pitchers with at least 500 innings for the team.

In eight of his first 10 seasons as a closer, Gossage's ERA was less than 2.27. Over his career, right-handed hitters hit a minuscule .211 against him.

In 1984, Gossage clinched another title, earning the save in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series and sending the Padres to their first World Series. On August 17, 1986, Gossage struck out Pete Rose in Rose's final major league at bat. On August 6, 1988, while with the Chicago Cubs, Gossage became the second pitcher to record 300 career saves in a 7-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, coming into the game with two out in the ninth and two men on base and retiring Phil Bradley on a popup to second baseman Ryne Sandberg.

Goose Gossage was one of the few pitchers who employed basically just one pitch, a fastball. However, his fastball was one of the best of all time, routinely throwing in the 98 - 102 mph range in his prime, with pinpoint accuracy. Occasionally he would throw a curveball or a changeup, but mainly just came right at hitters with heat, not afraid to knock them down to keep them from crowding the inner half of the strike zone. Even into his 40s, in the early 1990s, he still threw regularly in the mid-90s, though he did not close games as often as he did in his youth, serving as a capable and intimidating setup man.

resources from associated press and wikipedia

01-09-2008, 10:13 AM
Jan 9

» Brooklyn is selected by the AA as a new franchise. Syracuse, Rochester, and Toledo were selected earlier. However, the Brooklyn team will be transferred to Baltimore before the end of the season.

» Cap Anson is quoted in the New York Clipper as saying that "I don't care if they can't field a little bit. In my experience I have found that a man can be taught to almost stop cannon balls, but it is a very difficult task to teach them to line 'em out."

"Slide, Kelly, Slide," by George Gaskin, makes the popular music charts, the first baseball song to do so.

Slide, Kelly, Slide
The National Baseball Hall of Fame enshrined King Kelly in their halls way back in 1945. Their online bio reads in part, "Not only was Mike 'King' Kelly one of the premier players of his day, he was also one of the most flamboyant. His daring baserunning prompted fans to coin the battle cry, Slide, Kelly, Slide, and the catcher-outfielder sparked the Chicago Nationals to five pennants." Baseball Almanac is pleased to present that legendary battle cry / turned poem / turned song, Slide, Kelly, Slide.

"The inspiration of the immortal poem, 'Slide, Kelly, Slide,' was that most idolized ballplayer, Mike Kelly, one of the most fascinating figures ever to dig a cleated shoe into the diamond. He was a slashing, dashing, devil-may-care athlete, good-natured, big-hearted, sincere. He had perhaps the keenest brain that baseball ever knew." - Author Frank Menke in Encyclopedia of Sports (1944)

Slide, Kelly, Slide
Recorded by George J. Gaskin (1893)

Published by Frank Harding, New York (1889)

Slide, Kelly, Slide!
Your running's a disgrace!
Slide, Kelly, Slide!
Stay there, hold your base!
If some one doesn't steal you,
And your batting doesn't fail you,
They'll take you to Australia!
Slide, Kelly, Slide!
Slide, Kelly, Slide

Mike "King" Kelly was not only a hall of fame baseball player, but also the author of the first baseball autobiography (Play Ball: Stories of the Ball Field) ever published (1888).
The "Slide, Kelly, Slide" expression became so popular in the United States that it was a common expression used whenever imminent danger was near.

The nickname came due to his immense popularity which extended well beyond the team he was playing for. His legendary career was (incorrectly) reported as the inspiration for Casey at the Bat (though it was often referred to as Kelly at the Bat), often credited as the creator of the hit & run play, and his Hall of Fame plaque reads as follows:


» Boston's veteran C Charlie Bennett loses both legs in a horrific train accident. In 1900, Detroit, Bennett's first team, will name its ballpark Bennett Park in his honor.

» Frank Navin is named president of the Detroit club. Bennett Field will be renamed Navin Field.

» The National Commission declares University of Michigan senior George Sisler a free agent after a 2-year fight. The Pirates' owner Barney Dreyfuss claimed rights to Sisler, who had signed a contract as a minor but never played pro ball. After graduating, Sisler will sign with the St. Louis Browns, managed by his former college coach, Branch Rickey.

» Brooklyn sends OF Casey Stengel and infielder George Cutshaw to Pittsburgh for P Burleigh Grimes, P Al Mamaux, and infielder Chuck Ward.

» The Giants sign Chinese-Hawaiian infielder William "Buck" Lai, to a major league contract. Lai had been signed by the Pirates in 1918 but never appeared in a game, and since then has played in the minors and for the semipro Brooklyn Bushwicks. Alas, he'll be on the Giants for a month but never appear in a game (as noted by Bob Timmerman).

Buck Lai

William "Buck" Lai was reported by The Sporting News and the New York Times as being the first Chinese major leaguer, though that was a long stretch of the truth. While Lai is a Chinese name, Buck, who was born in Hawaii in 1894, was of mostly European heritage.
Signed by the Pirates in 1918 he played infield briefly in spring training for the Bucs. For the rest of the season, Lai played for Bridgeport in the Eastern League. Over the next decade, Lai played minor league and semipro ball in the New York area, starring for the semipro Brooklyn Bushwicks, where he attracted the attention of John McGraw. The Giants signed Lai in 1928 and Lai again played only in spring training.

Lai took an All-Hawaii team, consisted of semi-pro Hawaii Leagueplayers, for barnstoming in the US and Canada in 1935, winning 47 games andlosing 77 with 2 ties. The team was called the Chinese All-Stars on the mainland.

Buck wrote the popular "Championship Baseball" in 1954, which was used in the Dodgers' system. His son, Buck Lai Jr., was the baseball and basketball coach at Long Island University, as well as a scout for the Dodgers.

» As the Korean War drags on, the marines give notice that they will recall Ted Williams to active duty. He'll be recalled on May 1st.

» Leo Durocher joins the Dodgers as 3B coach.

The new Minnesota Twins and the American Association finally agree on a $500,000 indemnity payment to the minor league for the Minneapolis/St. Paul territory, ending two months of negotiation.

» Picking first in the January amateur draft, the Rangers select SS Roy Smalley, Jr, son of 10-year ML vet SS Roy Smalley and nephew of manager Gene Mauch. Smalley, who dropped out of USC in the fall to make himself eligible, will sign for $100,000.

Roy Smalley, Jr.

Drafted by the Expos, Red Sox, and Cardinals, but opting to attend the University of Southern California, Smalley turned pro with Texas as the number-one draft choice in January 1974. Soon acquired by Minnesota in a six-player-plus-cash deal, the Californian began a five-year stint playing for his uncle, manager Gene Mauch, a teammate of his father, Roy Sr.

A switch-hitting, wide-ranging shortstop with power, Roy Jr. led pro baseball in homers at his position in 1978 (19) and 1974 (24). He was the Twins' MVP the former year and a starter in the All-Star Game the latter.

Smalley's success diminished after suffering with spondylolysis, a condition in his lower back, in 1981, though he continued to be a dependable hitter and versatile performer. He spent two-plus unhappy years (1982-84) with the Yankees, being moved among all four infield positions. He was used primarily as a designated hitter upon returning to Minnesota in 1985. Smalley set a Twins record for career sacrifice bunts and was among the club's all-time leaders in homers, hits, and RBI.

» Charles Ruppert, Giants VP and son-in-law of Horace Stoneham, announces the sale of the team to a Toronto group for $13.3 million. The fans' outrage prompts San Francisco mayor George Moscone to get a preliminary injunction preventing the move.

» In the January draft - secondary phase, the Phils take Mark Davis with the top pick while the second pick, Nattie George, will go unsigned. The Reds don't sign the 3rd pick, P Bill Bordley.

Mark Davis

This stocky curveballer spent five seasons with the Giants, split between the bullpen and the starting rotation, before he blossomed as a relief stopper with the Padres in 1988. Originally signed by the Phillies, Davis was the Eastern League MVP in his second pro season (19-6, 2.47 at Reading in 1980) and was traded to the Giants with Mike Krukow for Joe Morgan and Al Holland before the 1983 season.

Davis never found his niche in San Francisco. He was exclusively a starter in 1983 and was the Giants' Opening Day starter in 1984, but he spent almost all of 1985-86 in the bullpen, where he struck out over a batter an inning but saved only 11 games in two years. In a game against the Mets in 1985 he threw 23 straight curveballs.

Davis rejoined the Giants' rotation in 1987 before he was traded to San Diego in July, part of a seven-player deal that included Kevin Mitchell, Craig Lefferts, Dave Dravecky, and Chris Brown. Handed the stopper role for the first time in his career, Davis emerged as an overpowering reliever in 1988. He was the Padres' lone All-Star, recording 28 saves, a sterling 2.01 ERA, and 102 strikeouts in 98.1 innings.

Those numbers however, would prove merely a prelude to his magnificent 1989 campaign, which saw him lead the NL with 44 saves while posting a 1.85 ERA and allowing just 66 hits in 92 2/3 innings. His efforts earned him the National League Cy Young Award, just the fourth time in league history (following Mike Marshall in 1974, Bruce Sutter in 1979 and Steve Bedrosian in 1987) that the honor had been bestowed upon a reliever.

Incredibly, after saving 72 games over the previous two seasons, Davis would manage as many as six saves just once more for the remainder of his career. His downward spiral began when he parlayed his award-winning season into a four-year $14 million free-agent contract with the Kansas City Royals (coupled with KC ace Bret Saberhagen's 1989 AL Cy Young, the Royals became the first team in history to own both defending Cy Young winners) in December 1989. Davis' success in the Senior Circuit would not translate into the American League, as he suffered a miserable 2-7 season with a bloated 5.11 ERA. Kansas City eventually removed him from the stopper job, and even tried putting him into the starting rotation.

The remainder of his tenure with the Royals turned out little better, and the deal was often cited as one of the biggest busts of the free-agent era. After showing promise as a starter at the tail end of 1991, he spent the next three seasons bouncing from Kansas City to Atlanta to Philadelphia and finally back to San Diego. His career was essentially over when the player's strike prematurely ended the 1994 season, although he did resurface for one final tour of duty with Milwaukee in 1997.

» Al Kaline and Duke Snider are elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. Kaline is the 10th player to be elected in his first year of eligibility, while Snider is making his 11th appearance on the ballot.

Al Kaline

Al Kaline is Mr. Tiger, not only because he played in more games as a Tiger than anyone else and hit more home runs than any Tiger, but also because he gave his Detroit teammates and fans his classiest best in baseball skill, leadership, and determination each inning he played.

Kaline was born into a sports-minded family that included a father and two uncles who played semi-pro baseball. Though smaller than most boys his age and somewhat shy, he became a top-notch player by sheer practice and playing time. He enrolled in several organized leagues each season, being transported from field to field by family members. Young Al possessed a great arm, developed solid hitting skills, and had great infielder quickness.

Scout Ed Katalinas signed Kaline ($35,000 bonus) right off the Baltimore sandlots and Al never played one inning in the minor leagues. On June 25, 1953, his first game, he played right field for the first time in his life. He was used sparingly by Manager Fred Hutchinson, usually as a pinch runner. His first homer came off Dave Hoskins (Cleveland) and he singled off Satchel Paige before that first season ended.

In his rookie year of 1954 Kaline hit a modest .276 with four HR and was part of an outfield corps that included Don Lund, Bob Nieman, Bill Tuttle and highly touted Jim Delsing. By 1959 all of these phenom outfielders were gone in favor of Charlie Maxwell, Harvey Kuenn, and Kaline. Kaline's second career homer in 1954 was a grand slam, making him the second youngest ever to have hit one. (Eddie Onslow of the 1912 Tigers was the youngest until Boston's Tony Conigliaro moved him back in 1964.) Red Sox legend Ted Williams told Kaline to build his wrist strength up over the winter by squeezing baseballs as hard as he could. Though the slender rookie's glove was never in doubt, his power was. Those doubts were laid to rest early in 1955 as Kaline hit in 23 of his first 24 games, including seven home runs - three at Kansas City in one game (his only three-homer game), two in one inning. Ending at .340, 27 HR, 102 RBI, and 121 runs, he was the youngest AL batting champ, shading the immortal Ty Cobb for the honor. It was the only time he would amass 200 hits in a season. He finished second in MVP voting, just 17 points behind Yogi Berra.

As a perennial All-Star, Kaline homered off Lew Burdette (1959) and Bob Buhl (1960) while hitting .324 in 16 All-Star games. In 1962 Kaline was having a fantastic year (.336, 13 HR, 38 RBI) when on May 26 he fractured his right collarbone diving for the last-out catch in a 2-1 Hank Aguirre win at New York. Two months later he reentered the race with a game-winning, two-run single in a 4-3 Aguirre win. In a mere 100 games that year he hit 29 HRs with 94 RBI. Proportionately, had he played the entire season, he would have eclipsed 30 homers and possibly 40 for the only time in his career. That injury certainly cost him the opportunity to later become the first American Leaguer to collect 400 homers and 3,000 hits in a career. Various injuries removed Kaline from some 200 games during his 15 "prime" years. In 1963 Kaline again finished second to a Yankee catcher, Elston Howard, in the MVP balloting.

After missing a third of the 1968 season, Kaline was fit into manager Mayo Smith's World Series lineup by playing centerfielder Mickey Stanley at shortstop. In the seventh inning of Game Five, the bases were full and the Tigers were down 3-2 in score and 3-1 in games. Kaline singled home two runs to win the game and ignite Detroit's comeback for the World Championship.

Kaline made playing right field into an art form. He won 10 Gold Gloves in 11 years (1957-59, 61-67). All comparisons to his glove work eventually fell short because he was so graceful and quick. Never a wasted motion, never a wrong decision. Kaline has said, "When I first came up to the Tigers I was scared stiff, but I had desire. Desire is something you must have to make it in the majors. I was never satisfied with just average." Though he was not spectacular, he was as close to perfect as a player could be. All of his baseball skills were impeccably honed: hitting for power and average, speed, throwing, and fielding judgment.

Always a Detroit hero, Al Kaline joined the Tiger broadcasting crew after his retirement from the field.

Duke Snider

Along with Willie Mays of the Giants and Mickey Mantle of the Yankees, the Dodgers' Snider was one of a trio of Hall of Fame centerfielders about whom fans debated one of the most frequently asked baseball questions of the 1950s: "Who's the best centerfielder in New York?"

Snider debuted in Brooklyn with Jackie Robinson in 1947, but it wasn't until 1949, after Branch Rickey hired George Sisler to help Snider "establish an acquaintance with the strike zone," that Snider showed the form that would make him the leading home run hitter of the 1950s, with 326. In the four years (1954-1957) that Mays, Mantle, and Snider starred simultaneously in New York in full-time capacities, it was Snider who led the three in homers and RBI. His power stroke was well suited to the bandbox structure of Ebbets Field, and the drives he hit that didn't leave the ballpark regularly pounded the stadium's high right-field wall for extra bases. From 1947 to 1961, Snider teamed with Gil Hodges to hit 745 homers, the third-highest total for a duo in National League history, and the fourth-highest total in the majors.

In 1955 TSN named Snider Major League Player of the Year in recognition of the completeness of his game. At one time or another, Snider finished among the top three in the National League in batting average, slugging average, hits, runs, RBI, doubles, triples, home runs, total bases, and stolen bases. He was also speedy and graceful as an outfielder. Stan Musial named Snider, Carl Furillo, and Andy Pafko "the best-throwing outfield I ever saw." He also named Snider, Mays, and Aaron his all-time NL outfield.

Although Snider did not hit lefthanders well, he was protected from facing them often by the Dodgers' lineup, which was heavily weighted with righthanded hitters Reese, Robinson, Hodges, Campanella, and Furillo. With those five Boys of Summer, Snider participated in five World Series from 1949 to 1956. He made his sixth and final Series appearance in 1959, en route to posting National League World Series home run and RBI records of 11 and 26. He hit four homers in each of the 1952 and 1955 Series, and is the only man to accomplish that feat twice.

Snider was not the darling of the press during his career. Over 50 newspaper articles castigated him following the publication of a 1956 Collier's article in which he told Roger Kahn that he wouldn 't be playing baseball if it weren't for the money. Nevertheless, he was a favorite of Brooklyn fans, who rued his departure and that of the Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1958. From 1958 through 1961, the Dodgers played their home games in the Los Angeles Coliseum, a football stadium converted to house the Dodgers. A vast right field compensated for a short left-field line and combined with injuries to end Snider's days as a dominant home run hitter. Snider was named team captain in 1962, his last season as a Dodger. He collected the first hit in Dodger Stadium, which opened that year.

The Mets acquired Snider for sentimental reasons in 1963, and he finished his career, ironically, with the Giants in 1964. After he retired, the Dodgers retired his uniform number 4, ending the use of the number by New York's original teams; Lou Gehrig and Mel Ott had already had their uniforms retired by the Yankees and Giants. Snider scouted for the Dodgers and Padres and managed in the minor leagues before becoming an announcer for the Montreal Expos. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980.

Snider is the subject of "The Occurrences of Duke Snider", one of the strangest books ever written about a baseball player. This small, surrealistic cartoon book by Lee Dejasu features a fantasy Duke Snider who meets up with characters as diverse as Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Pallas Athene. Snider's own autobiography became a best-seller in 1988.

» Former Red Sox OF Tony Conigliaro, in Boston to interview for a broadcasting position, suffers a massive heart attack while being driven to the airport by his brother Billy Conigliaro and lapses into a coma. The 37-year-old Tony C. will remain hospitalized until March 2nd.

Tony Conigliaro

Tony Conigliaro hit .290 with 24 home runs in 1964, but broke his arm in August; Tony Oliva won the AL Rookie of the Year award. When the 20-year-old Conigliaro hit 32 HR in 1965, he became the youngest home run leader in AL history. The hometown hero was enjoying another standout year in 1967 when, on August 18, he was struck by a Jack Hamilton fastball that broke his cheekbone and so damaged his eyesight that he missed the entire 1968 season. He returned in 1969 to win Comeback of the Year honors, and in 1970 hit 36 HR. But his vision was still impaired, and he left the majors in July 1971, returning for a short comeback try in 1975. Further tragedy befell Conigliaro at age 37, when he suffered a heart attack (while riding in a car with brother Billy) that left him severely incapacitated.

» Braves Pascual Perez is arrested for cocaine possession in his native Dominican Republic. Under local law he will remain in jail until his trial, forcing him to miss the beginning of the season. Perez maintains that he was given the packet by a woman he did not know and was unaware of what it contained.

Pascual Perez

No matter what his win-loss record, Perez was always in the spotlight for his antics, intensity, fines, suspensions, and incarcerations. His showmanship pleased fans but could annoy opponents: shooting batters with an imaginary finger-gun, pounding the ball into the ground, and running full speed to the dugout (gold chains and long, curly locks bouncing) after an inning-ending strikeout. He eventually added the "Pascual pitch" (his version of the "eephus") to his repertoire. And he was involved in more than one beanball incident.

The animated, rail-thin Dominican hot dog became a legend in Atlanta on August 19, 1982, the day he was to make his first start for the Braves. He had just passed his driver's test and got lost on his way to the stadium. He circled Atlanta three times on I-285, ran out of gas, and arrived 10 minutes after gametime.

Perez went 15-8 in 1983 but faced drug charges in the Dominican Republic that winter and found himself in jail. By May he was allowed to rejoin the Braves, and he went 14-8. Disabled three times in 1985 with shoulder pain, he went AWOL on the way to Montreal after a July 21 loss in New York and was suspended until August 5. He finished the year 1-13 and was released the following April.

Though he was out of organized ball in 1986, the Expos signed Perez to a minor league contract for 1987. Visa problems kept him from reporting until May. He joined the Expos in August and went 7-0. One of his 12 wins in 1988 was a five-inning, rain-shortened 1-0 no-hitter in Philadelphia on September 24. He also pinch ran 14 times that year. He started slowly in 1989, but by mid-season was back to his 1988 form.

Pascual's brothers Melido, Dario, and Valerio, were all signed as pitchers by Kansas City. Melido pitched for the White Sox in 1989.

» Johnny Bench and Carl Yastrzemski are elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA in their first year of eligibility. Bench was named on 96.4 percent of the ballots, the 3rd-highest figure in history behind Ty Cobb and Hank Aaron.

Johnny Bench

Considered by some the greatest catcher of all time, Bench got a "can't miss" tag when Peninsula of the Carolina League retired his uniform after he hammered 22 homers in 98 games as an 18-year-old in 1966. He spent the first four months of the 1967 season at Buffalo, then took over the Cincinnati catching job in August 1967. In spring training of 1968, Ted Williams autographed a baseball "To Johnny Bench, a Hall of Famer for sure." Bench met expectations quickly by catching a rookie-record 154 games that season, setting a record for catchers with 40 doubles, and becoming the first catcher to win National League Rookie of the Year honors. He went on to become the National League's dominant catcher for nearly a decade and a half.

Bench batted either fourth or fifth for the Big Red Machine team that dominated the National League in the 1970s and won six division titles, four pennants, and two World Series. From 1970 to 1977, Cincinnati players won six of eight MVP awards; Bench won two of them. The first came in 1970 following his league-leading 45 home runs and 148 RBI, all-time records for catchers. After holding out and slumping somewhat in 1971, Bench rebounded in 1972 to win his second MVP award. That year, he had the hottest streak of his career, hitting seven homers in five straight games from May 30 through June 3, and he finished with 40 homers and 125 RBI, leading the league in both categories for the second time. He homered three times on July 26, 1970, en route to setting a record of 36 homers by July 31, and twice more had three-homer games, on May 9, 1973 and May 29, 1980. He won his third RBI crown in 1974, driving in 129 runs and leading the NL with 314 total bases.

Of partial Native American descent, Bench was named to the All-Star team in 13 consecutive seasons, and he faced fellow Native American catcher Bill Freehan in five of them. He batted .370 in All-Star competition, hitting homers in the 1969, 1971, and 1973 games and narrowly missing a second homer in 1969. His selection as an All-Star was based as much on his defensive abilities as his offensive skills. He won ten straight Gold Glove Awards and set a NL record by catching at least 100 games in each of his first 13 seasons. He established career records for putouts and chances. Blessed with exceptionally large hands, he was one of the first catchers after the Cubs' Randy Hundley to use a hinged mitt and a one-handed catching style. His throwing arm was unrivaled by catchers of his era.

Bench suffered his worst year as a regular in 1976 when he hit .234 with 16 homers, and some thought he was finished at the age of 29. But competing head-to-head in the World Series against Thurman Munson, the American League's best catcher, brought him alive. He outhit Munson .533 to .529 and won the Series MVP award. Bench recorded his last super season in 1977, hitting .275 with 31 home runs and 109 RBI.

Worn out by catching, Bench repeatedly requested a shift to another position, but the Reds lacked a suitable replacement, and were reluctant to accommodate him. They finally moved him to first base in 1981. On May 28, Bench fractured his ankle, with his batting average at .343. He missed two months and finished the season at .309, his only year over .293. Bench played primarily third base the next two seasons, but went back behind the plate for his last game at the end of 1983. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility and was inducted in 1989.

» Jim Palmer, a 3-time American League Cy Young Award winner, and Joe Morgan, a 2-time National League MVP, are elected to the Hall of Fame in their first years of eligibility.

Jim Palmer

High-kicking Jim Palmer spent his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles, becoming the greatest pitcher in their history. Signed in 1963, he replaced the departed Milt Pappas in Baltimore's rotation in 1966, and led the club with 15 wins. That October 6, he became the youngest pitcher (20 years, 11 months) to win a complete-game, World Series shutout, defeating Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers in Game Two. But Palmer was almost finished by arm, shoulder, and back problems; during the next two years, he pitched in the minors for 17 of his 26 games. He was left unprotected in the draft, but there were no takers.

Finally, thanks to surgery, work in the 1968 Instructional League and in winter ball, Palmer regained his form. He was still disabled for 42 days in 1969, but four days after coming off the DL, on August 13, he no-hit Oakland 8-0. He led the American League in winning percentage (.800) by going 16-4. He won the deciding game of the first AL Championship Series, but lost Game Three of the WS to the Mets.

Having overcome the wildness and arm miseries of his early career, Palmer became one of the most dependable and durable pitchers in baseball. His eight 20-win seasons were interrupted in 1974 when he was downed for eight weeks with elbow problems. Only two other AL pitchers had as many 20-win seasons as Palmer: Walter Johnson (12) and Lefty Grove (eight). He won his first ERA title (2.40) in 1973, when he went 22-9, and his second in 1975 (2.09) when he threw a league-high 10 shutouts and tied for the lead with 23 wins. His 22 victories in 1976 and 20 in 1977 were again league highs. He started more games in 1976-77, and threw more innings in 1976-78 than any other AL pitcher.

Palmer's three Cy Young Awards were matched only by Steve Carlton (four), Tom Seaver (three), and Sandy Koufax (three). His picture-perfect delivery and all-around athleticism helped him to four Gold Gloves (1976-79). His clutch wins included the Orioles' pennant-clinchers in 1966, 1969, 1970, and 1971. He established LCS records for strikeouts (46) and complete games (five), and tied records by pitching in six LCS and winning four games.

Meanwhile, Palmer established a much-publicized running feud with manager Earl Weaver. Their love-hate relationship seemed largely theater, and neither man could hide his admiration for the other. Palmer gained more widespread attention in 1980 when, because of his attractive physique and matinee idol looks, he became sports representative and model for Jockey Underwear.

The elder statesman of the Orioles during the 1980s, Palmer added a 16-10 mark in 1980, and a 15-5 record in 1982, good for a league-best .750 winning percentage. Used sparingly in 1983, his last ML win came in relief of Mike Flanagan in the third game of the 1983 WS; he defeated Carlton to become the first pitcher in ML history with WS wins in three different decades. On May 23, 1984, he was released by the Orioles after refusing to go on the voluntarily retired list. He retired as the Orioles' all-time leader in wins, losses, strikeouts, games, innings, and shutouts. He went on to broadcast on both local and national TV.

Joe Morgan

Morgan was a rare commodity, a speedy second baseman with power. The 5'7" 150-lb Little Joe was also one of the smallest number-three hitters in recent baseball history. Morgan ranks third all-time in walks behind Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. He is also the only second baseman to win consecutive MVP awards, in 1975 and 1976. In the batter's box, Morgan would flap his front elbow distinctively as a timing device, and he was a major component of the Big Red Machine, the first National League team to win consecutive World Series since the 1921-22 New York Giants.

Morgan started his career in the spacious Astrodome, and actually spent more years with Houston than with Cincinnati. He was the main player acquired by the Reds in a nine-player swap that sent Lee May to the Astros. Morgan's power was shown to better advantage in Riverfront Stadium, helped by coaching from Ted Kluszewski. Morgan doubled his home run output in two seasons. His first year in Cincinnati, he made the All-Star team for only the second time, and was named the game's MVP when he singled in the winning run in the bottom of the tenth. He ended up leading the league in walks with 115 and runs scored with 122.

In 1975 Morgan led the NL in walks for the third time with 132, while combining a .327 BA with 17 HR, 94 RBI, and 67 stolen bases. Morgan's MVP season sparked the team into the 1975 World Series against the Red Sox, one of the most exciting Series ever played. Morgan, as usual, was in the thick of the excitement. In Game Three, Morgan knocked in the winning run with a single in the 10th inning. In Game Four, he made the last out in a 5-4 Boston victory. In Game Five, he drew 16 pickoff throws at first just prior to a single by Bench and a three-run homer by Perez. In the seventh and deciding game, Morgan's RBI single in the top of the ninth gave the Reds their first World Championship.

In 1976 Morgan topped his previous power totals with a career-high 27 HR, became only the fifth second baseman to drive in more than 100 runs (111), and led the league in slugging average at .576. He also batted .320, stole 60 bases, and had an on-base average of .516 to earn his straight second MVP. The Reds then swept the Yankees in the Series.

In 1980 he went back to Houston, where he helped the Astros to a division title, and spent two years in San Francisco, almost leading the untalented Giants to a surprise pennant in 1982. Still productive, even if unable to match his earlier high standards, Morgan ended up on a geriatric Phillies team in 1983 with fellow Reds alumni Pete Rose and Tony Perez, making it as far as the World Series but losing in five games to Baltimore. He ended his playing career in Oakland in 1984 and then became an announcer for the A's and for ABC.

A spring training lockout of major league players will begin February 15 unless there is a new agreement according an announcement made by the owners. The work stoppage will last 32-days.

» Former Padres and Orioles IF Alan Wiggins dies in a Los Angeles hospital at age 32, reportedly from complications due to AIDS.

Alan Wiggins

The promising career of Alan Wiggins fizzled amid drug and personality problems. A first-round draft choice of the California Angels in 1977, Wiggins was released, signed by the Dodgers, then drafted away by San Diego in 1980. Playing the outfield and first base in 1983, he set a Padres record with 66 stolen bases. Moving to second base, the switch hitter was the spark plug of the 1984 San Diego Padres with 70 steals and 106 runs scored; his 75 walks compensated for his .258 batting average. Drug involvement ended his San Diego career, but Baltimore hoped the Los Angeles native would solve its lead-off problems. Wiggins did not, and also fell into disfavor with manager Earl Weaver.

» Former Yankee Joe Pepitone is charged with assault after a scuffle at a hotel in Kiamesha Lake, NY. The fight started when Pepitone was called a "has-been."

Joe Pepitone

Pepitone joined the Yankees in 1962, playing behind Moose Skowron at first base. Fun-loving and carefree, he spent his $20,000 signing bonus on a fancy car and a motorboat. Pepitone had a powerful swing and an excellent glove, and some of Pepitone's tougher friends thought he should be the regular first baseman ahead of Skowron. They offered to help Joe out by breaking Skowron's legs; Pepitone declined. The Yankee brass believed he could handle the job and before the 1963 season traded Skowron to the Dodgers. Pepitone responded admirably, hitting .271 with 27 HR and 89 RBI. He went on to win three Gold Gloves, but in the 1963 World Series he made an infamous error. With the score tied 1-1 in the seventh inning of Game Four, he lost a routine Clete Boyer throw in the white shirtsleeves of the Los Angeles crowd, and the batter, Jim Gilliam, went all the way to third base and scored the Series-winning run on a sacrifice fly. He redeemed himself somewhat in the 1964 Series against the Cardinals with a Game Six grand slam.

The ever-popular Pepitone remained a fixture throughout the decade, even playing centerfield after bad knees reduced Mickey Mantle's mobility. After the 1969 season he was traded to the Astros for Curt Blefary. Later he played for the Cubs and finished his major league career with the Braves.

Pepitone briefly played baseball in Japan in 1973, but the regimented Japanese didn't know what to make of the free-spirited Pepitone, who was unhappy away from home. He jumped the Yakult Swallows in 1973 while hitting .163, becoming a one-man international incident. In the 1980s he was arrested on gun and drug charges while hanging out with the wrong people and served a small amount of time in prison; he eventually got out on a work-release program, working in the Yankee front office.

» Red Sox 1B Mo Vaughn is arrested and charged with DWI when his pickup truck strikes an abandoned car and flips over.

» The Expos agree to a one-year contract with RDS and TSN to telecast 55 games (46 on RDS, 12 on TSN and 3 on both) this year. The approximately $2 million pact with French-language Reseau des Sports ends the year-long local television blackout which resulted in the departure Dave van Horne, a respected play-by-play announcer, and the loss of the team's main sponsor, Labatt Brewery, which cited the lack of local TV rights as a factor in ending its 15-year relationship with the club.

Hoping to fill the void creating by Manny Ramirez's departure to Boston, the Indians sign Juan Gonzalez to a one-year, $10- million deal. After turning down an $143 million, eight-year extension with the Tigers last year, the two-time American League MVP leaves the Detroit after hitting .289 with only 67 RBIs in a disappointing injury-plagued season.

» The Rangers sign free agent OF Juan Gonzalez to a 2-year contract.

Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan says Bud Selig should resign because he appeared to violate major league rules in a 1995 loan from a company controlled by the owner of the Minnesota Twins. Conyers, The House Judiciary Committee's ranking Democrat says the loan created an "irreparable conflict of interest" for Selig in his plan to fold two franchises, a proposal that most likely would include the Twins." Selig rejects the suggestion saying, "The suggestions made in your letter are wholly unacceptable."

Signing a $27 million deal with the Astros, Billy Wagner becomes one of baseball's highest-paid relievers. The thirty-year old will get $8 million in each of the next three seasons with a $9 million club option for 2005 with a $3 million buyout.

Carlos Beltran (.267, 38, 104) becomes the tenth $100 million player in major league history as the 27-year old native of Puerto Rico agrees to seven-year deal for $119 million with the Mets. The five-tool outfielder, who had his market value increase in the post season by helping the Astros come within a win of their first World Series appearance in franchise history, goes to New York after Houston refuses to include a no-trade clause in their very attractive monetary offer to keep him on the club.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, baseball-almanac.com, and baseballibrary.com

01-09-2008, 06:59 PM
"In the batter's box, Morgan would flap his front elbow"

Front or back????????

IIRC, it was his left elbow while batting left handed. If that is correct, then that would be his back elbow.

Dang Bud, you are making me work. I do not know if you are just trying to trick me or seeing if I read every line.

But it is working.


01-10-2008, 09:21 AM
"In the batter's box, Morgan would flap his front elbow"

Front or back????????

IIRC, it was his left elbow while batting left handed. If that is correct, then that would be his back elbow.

huh, that part blew right by me, lol

I read it and didn't even think how awkward that would be to flap your front elbow, lol

here's something else I found that will clear the matter though

Morgan was signed by the Houston Colt .45's as an amateur free agent in 1962. Early in his career, Morgan had trouble with his swing because he kept his back elbow down too low. Teammate Nellie Fox suggested to Joe that while at the plate he should flap his back arm like a chicken to keep his elbow up. Morgan followed the advice, and his flapping arm became a familiar sight to baseball fans.

so apparently the original post was wrong and I stand corrected

thanks for pointing that out

01-10-2008, 09:38 AM
Get today's post up in a hurry.......I need a nap.


01-10-2008, 10:43 AM
Jan 10

» At the annual meeting of the minor-league Northwest League, 1st-place Toledo is declared the league champion for 1883. But because Toledo has moved from the NWL to the major league AA for 1884, the NWL pennant is awarded to 2nd-place Saginaw, MI. The NWL also rescinds its prohibition of Sunday base ball and the sale of beer at its ball parks, thereby aligning itself with AA policy and against the National League policy.

» At an National League meeting, St. Louis is admitted to the League, Cleveland's registration is formally accepted, and Detroit has its request to remain in the NL granted, leaving only one opening for 1885.

As noted by Jerry Molloy, The "New York Clipper" reports that Paul Hines, an outfielder for the Providence club, and resident of Washington, D.C., had been challenged to catch a ball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument, a distance of "over 535 feet from the ground." The "Clipper" calculated the "natural philosophy" involved, and warned Hines of the danger he would confront in attempting such a foolish stunt. "Hines would probably prefer to stop a pistol ball when it was coming down, hurtful as it would be to his hand, than to interfere with it when it left the barrel. It would be a good idea for Hines to first practice both ways with the pistol ball. If he likes it, he will certainly enjoy the baseball which, by the time he can see it, will be coming at a 'stand-from-under' gait of 140-ft. a second. It will not weigh much when it starts on its journey, but, great Scott, there is a rule of natural philosophy that will tell Hines before he begins just how many dozens of pounds it practically will weigh when it lands on his sconce, in case he fails to judge it correctly." The "Clipper" thought that if Hines thought matters through, there was "a possibility that Paul is not going to fool much with a baseball around the base of the Washington Monument."

Paul Aloysius Hines (March 1, 1855 – July 10, 1935) was an American center fielder in professional baseball who played in the National Association and Major League Baseball from 1872 to 1891. Born in Virginia, he is credited with winning baseball's first triple crown in 1878; the accomplishment was not noted at the time, as runs batted in would not be counted until years later, home runs were rare and home run leadership obscure, and Abner Dalrymple was then erroneously recognized as the batting champion. There is some controversy over whether Hines was also the first player to turn an unassisted triple play.

Hines probably practiced with the original Washington Nationals or played on its junior team before joining the National Association with that club in 1872. When the original Chicago White Stockings resumed play in 1874, the teenage Hines played every game, usually in center field. He remained with the club four seasons, including the inaugural National League championship season of 1876, and then played eight seasons for the Providence Grays from 1878-85, that club's entire major league association including two more pennants. He remained an every day major league center fielder through two seasons for a new Washington Nationals club and one for the Indianapolis Hoosiers, shifting to first base for a second Indianapolis season in 1889. He returned to center field with gradually declining playing time for the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, Boston Beaneaters and Washington Statesmen in 1890 and 1891. As of 2006 he is commonly listed as the oldest player in the major leagues during those seasons, ages 38 and 39, but recent research has shown that he was three years younger. He finished his professional career splitting 1896 between Burlington, Iowa and Mobile, Alabama at age 41.

During the first five NL seasons, from 1876 through 1880, Hines made more base hits than any other player, and he retired third to Cap Anson and Jim O'Rourke with 1,884 career hits in the majors. On May 8, 1878 he made the 1st unassissted triple play in organized baseball. He also remained among the top ten major league career home run hitters as late as 1887. His total of 16 seasons as a major league team's primary center fielder was not surpassed until Tris Speaker and Ty Cobb in 1925.

Hines died at age 80 in Hyattsville, Maryland, deaf and blind. His hearing had been impaired in the 1880s if not earlier.

Sorry, couldn't find any mention as to whether or not he attempted the catch, but I did find this.

Record Catches

This probably isn't about the kind of record catches you have in mind, but it worth a quick read anyway. People will do almost anything on a dare or to "break an existing record" no matter what that record might be, and baseball players are no different. That is unless you've ever tried to catch a baseball dropped from several hundred feet.

Contrary to popular belief, Gabby Street was not the first person to have caught and held on to a ball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument. He accomplished this feet on August 21, 1908. However, almost exactly 14 years earlier, on August 24, 1894, Pop Shriver of the Chicago White Stockings beat him to the honors. The ball was dropped from a window at the top of the 555 foot obelisk by pitcher and Shriver teammate, Clark Griffith. When Street's catch was publicized, Shriver's was never even mentioned and for years never got his due.

Hall of Famer, Gabby Hartnett and the Cubs were in Los Angeles on April Fool's Day (when else?) 1930, to play the Angels farm club in a pre-season match up. Before the game, a blimp flew over the ball field at 800 feet and tossed out a baseball. Gabby watched it drop and grabbed it, then he promptly caught a second ball that had been tossed out. Gabby still holds the record for catching a ball dropped from the greatest height.

In 1914, the Brooklyn Dodgers', Wilbert Robinson was talked into a challenge to catch a ball dropped from an airplane flying over the Dodger's training camp. Wilbert agreed to catch the ball, but what he didn't realize was, the pilot, Ruth Law forgot to take a baseball up with her. Not to worry. Our intrepid aviatrix substituted a fresh grapefruit for the baseball and "let 'er fly". The surprised Robinson was knocked down, but managed to hold on to the grapefruit to complete the catch. Some people say teammate Casey Stengel was behind the fruity substitution but, he wasn't even in camp yet. There goes another baseball myth.

» Tim Hurst, former National League umpire and St. Louis manager, referees the Tom Sharkey knockout of Kid McCoy in 10 rounds at the Lenox Athletic Club in New York.

Tim Hurst

Pugnacious Tim Hurst had a reputation for settling arguments over disputed calls by striking arguing players on their heads with his mask or his fists. In 1897 an irate fan tossed a beer stein at Hurst. The umpire threw it back, hit the wrong fan, and was fined $100 and dismissed by the NL. Hired to manage the Cardinals, he took them to a last-place finish while reputedly leading the league in umpire-baiting. After another stormy five years as a NL ump, Hurst joined the AL. In one game, after an argument with New York manager Clark Griffith, he followed Griffith to the dugout and knocked him cold. On August 4, 1909, he spit in the eye of Athletics second baseman Eddie Collins, ending an argument and igniting a riot. Hurst was fired by the AL, after which he became a boxing referee.

» At Cincinnati peace talks, the National League proposes a consolidated 12-team league, which the American League rejects. An agreement is reached to coexist peacefully if the AL promises to stay out of Pittsburgh. In the awarding of disputed contracts, the most hotly contested case is that of Sam Crawford, Reds OF who batted .333 and led the NL with 23 triples in 1902. The future Hall of Famer, signed for 1903 by both Detroit and the Reds, is awarded to the Tigers, having signed with them first. He will lead the AL in triples this year with 25.

Despite attempts by John Brush and Andrew Freedman to use their political influence to prevent the AL from finding suitable grounds in New York, Ban Johnson, aided by baseball writer Joe Vila, finds backers. He also finds a ballpark site at 165th Street and Broadway. Frank Farrell and Bill Devery pay $18,000 for the Baltimore franchise and will build a wooden grandstand seating 15,000 on the highest point of Manhattan. The team, logically, will be called the Highlanders.

» John McGraw stops a runaway team of horses in Los Angeles, saving two young women from injury.

» Sent down to Louisville by the Cubs, Three Finger Brown is bought by Cincinnati. He will be 11–12 with a 2.91 ERA for the 7th-place Reds.

» Connie Mack alarms Philadelphia by dealing Stuffy McInnis, the last player in his $100,000 infield, to Boston for players to be announced. The furor dies down when Mack announces he has received 3B Larry Gardner, OF Clarence "Tilly" Walker, and C Hick Cady.

Stuffy McInnis

Wearing the small, rounded mitt of his day, Stuffy McInnis set still-standing fielding records for first basemen: in 1921, playing for the Red Sox, he made only one error in 152 games for a .9993 fielding average; with the Red Sox and Indians over the course of 163 games in 1921-22, he accepted 1,700 chances without an error; his 1,300 errorless chances in 1921 set the record for a season. His reputation for skillful defensive play developed with the Athletics, with whom he first appeared as a shortstop in 1909.

In 1911 he replaced Harry Davis at first base in the "$100,000 Infield," hooking up with Frank Baker, Eddie Collins, and Jack Barry for three pennant winners (1911, 1913, and 1914). He appeared with six league champions altogether; the Red Sox were AL champs his first year with them in 1918, and, when the Pirates picked him up in 1925 as an extra, they won the championship. McInnis batted over .300 in 12 of his 19 seasons, and in each year from 1910 to 1915. A righthanded line-drive pull hitter, he could punch the ball to the opposite field as well. He gained his nickname as a youngster in the Boston suburban leagues, where his spectacular playing brought shouts of "that's the stuff, kid." He quit as manager of the Phillies after one last-place season in 1927, and coached at Harvard for five years.

Acknowledging that Ty Cobb, Speaker, and Collins are all good ball players, Cap Anson picks his all-time team, leaving them off. In the current issue of TSN, Anson selects, C–Buck Ewing and King Kelly; P–Amos Rusie, John Clarkson, Jim McCormick; 1B-himself; 2B–Fred Pfeffer; 3B–Ed Williamson; SS–Ross Barnes; OF–Bill Lange, George Gore, Jimmy Ryan, and Hugh Duffy.

» The following round-robin deal benefits everyone: Roger Peckinpaugh goes from Boston to Washington; Joe Dugan, from the Athletics to Boston; and OF Bing Miller and P Jose Acosta, from Washington to Philadelphia. Acosta will be sold to Chicago on February 4th.

Joe Dugan

Dugan's major league career began when he was signed to play shortstop by Philadelphia Athletics manager Connie Mack in 1917. He struggled as a hitter his first two years, batting only a combined .195, but in 1919 he batted .271, and then the next year hit .322. He was moved permanently to third base in 1921, and would be a steady .280-.300 hitter as well as a fine defensive third baseman for the rest of his career.

It was in his first years in baseball that Dugan acquired the nickname of "Jumping", a nickname bestowed on him since he would often take unauthorized leaves from the team.

In 1922, Dugan had been traded by the Athletics to the Boston Red Sox. On July 23, 1922 he was sent by the Red Sox to the New York Yankees in a controversial deal. Red Sox owner Harry Frazee had been unloading his Red Sox players almost haphazardly, and Dugan's acquisition by the Yankees helped them edge out the St. Louis Browns in a tight 1922 pennant race. Because Dugan's trade occurred in the latter part of the season, and worried that teams might try to buy their way to a pennant during the season, Major league Baseball would later move up its trading deadline to June 15.

» After unsuccessful attempts to engineer a trade with Chicago, Cincinnati and Brooklyn, Giants owner Charles Stoneham announces "that in the best interests of the team" he has traded Rogers Hornsby to the Braves for a young catcher Shanty Hogan and journeyman OF Jimmy Welsh. Stoneham was not a fan of Hornsby abrasive style as fill-in manager for McGraw this past season, and thought that Hornsby welched on gambling debts. Hornsby was sued by a gambler, but in a civil case decided the previous December 21st in Missouri, where gambling is illegal, was found not liable.

» William Walker is elected president of the Cubs, filling the vacancy created by William Veeck, Sr.'s death during the World Series.

William Veeck, Sr., a baseball writer for the Chicago American under the paper’s standard “Bill Bailey” byline, entered the picture in 1917, opining on a number of ways that the Cubs could return to their winning ways (the team had taken four National League pennants between 1906 and 1910, but was flagless since and on its way to a third consecutive sub-.500 season). Wrigley called Veeck on the carpet for a face to face meeting, reportedly telling the writer, “All right, if you’re so smart why don’t you come and (run the team)?” Veeck took him up on the unlikely offer, accepting a position as vice-president of the Cubs. The team won the pennant in 1918 and Veeck was promoted to president in July 1919, but the Cubs would not return to the World Series again until 1929, when they lost to the Philadelphia Athletics. Three years later, they again represented the National League in the Fall Classic, but once again were defeated, this time by Babe Ruth’s New York Yankees. It was the last World Series for Veeck, who lost a brief battle with leukemia the following October.

William Veeck, Sr. was a well-liked individual who enjoyed reasonable success as a baseball executive, but he would have been no better remembered than Murphy, Taft or Weeghman if not for his son. Bill Veeck, Jr. had worked for his father in various capacities over the years, but his baseball career began in earnest with the elder Veeck’s death. Shortly thereafter, he left school at Kenyon College and approached Phil Wrigley, who had taken over the Cubs following his own father’s passing the previous year and would continue to run the club into the 1970s, and asked for a job.

» Before a gathering of writers, players and executives in Baltimore, Jimmie Foxx, Chuck Klein, and Charlie Keller (representing the American League, National League, and IL) try out the balls to be used in the new season. The Sporting News reports (as noted by Dick Thompson) that ". . . regarding the dead ball, as adopted by the National League, and the lively ball, as retained by the American and International Leagues . . .the NL ball has a distinctly 'dead' sound coming off the bat, compared to the livelier AL ball."

» Baseball writers again fail to elect a new Hall of Famer. Frank Chance, Rube Waddell, and Ed Walsh come closest, but none get the required three-fourths of the vote.

» The Cleveland Indians fire coach George C. "Good Kid" Susce when his son, George D. Susce, signs with the Red Sox.

» Commissioner Ford Frick rules that singer Bing Crosby can keep his "token" stock in the Detroit Tigers, even though he owns part of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

» In Mexico's PCL Mazatlan whips visiting Navojoa-Guaymas, 26–10. Deer 1B Angel Castro has three home runs, a single, two walks and 11 RBIs. Castro had two home runs during an 11 run, 1st inning; his second home run was a grand slam.

» In the January amateur draft, the Phillies pick Dick Ruthven, the Rangers take C Jim Sundberg, and the Cubs pick RHP Donnie Moore. The Reds pick Southern Miss punter Ray Guy on the 3rd round, but he chooses the NFL instead.

» New York Supreme Court Justice Richard Lane issues a preliminary injunction barring the Yankees from playing their season-opening series against the Tigers in Denver. The club had sought to move the games because it feared off-season renovations to Yankee Stadium would not be completed for the April 11th-13th series.

» Luis Aparicio, Harmon Killebrew, and Don Drysdale are elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA.

Luis Aparacio

Playing side by side with Nellie Fox during the late 1950s and early 1960s, Aparicio helped form the nucleus of one of the slickest-fielding infield combinations in baseball. His 506 stolen bases ranked him seventh all-time when he retired, and he holds the lifetime shortstop records for games, double plays, and assists and the AL records for putouts and total chances. He dominated on a season-to-season basis too; in the first thirteen years of his career, he led AL shortstops eight consecutive years in fielding, seven times in assists, four times in putouts, twice each in total chances per game and double plays, and only once in errors.

Aparicio succeded Chico Carrasquel, continuing the Venezuelan connection that gave the White Sox amazing depth at shortstop for years. Chicago was so confident in him as a rookie that they traded Carrasquel, a perennial fan favorite, to Cleveland for Larry Doby. Named Rookie of the Year in 1956, Aparicio lead the league in stolen bases for the first of nine straight years. White Sox manager Marty Marion advised Aparicio to shorten his stance and stride into the pitch. Then he was told to play deeper to gain more range. His cannonlike arm took care of the rest. Bill Veeck arrived on the scene in 1959 and was amazed. "He's the best I've ever seen. He makes plays which I know can't possibly be made, yet he makes them almost every day."

Always a steady hitter, but never one of the great ones, Aparicio relied on his speed to make things happen in an era known for lead-footed sluggers. With Aparicio leading off followed by Fox in the lineup, Chicago had a deadly hit-and-run duo that helped catapult them to their first pennant in 40 years. Fittingly, it was Aparicio who fielded the ground ball off of Vic Power's bat that clinched it on September 22, 1959. In 1963, a new general manager decided a house-cleaning was in order, so Aparicio was sent to the Orioles. He established a since-broken AL shortstop record for fielding percentage that year (.983) and remained long enough to get into another World Series in 1966. He had lost some speed, but compensated by becoming a better hitter. Returning to Chicago in 1968, he enjoyed some of his finest years. He topped the .300 mark for the only time in his career in 1970, a year in which his team finished dead last in the standings with 106 losses.

Aparicio played his 2,219th game on September 25, 1970 in front of a mere 2,000 fans to break Luke Appling's record of games played at shortstop. Rumors abounded that he was to be the Sox manager at the start of the 1971 season, but instead the club traded him to Boston for Mike Andrews. Aparicio finished his career in 1973, and in 1984 he took his place in the Hall of Fame. Now residing in Venezuela, his son's name is Nelson, after Luis's long-time sidekick Nellie Fox.

Don Drysdale

A tall, charismatic sidearmer, Drysdale combined an explosive fastball with great control to become one of baseball's premier power pitchers. His greatest personal achievement came in 1968, "the year of the pitcher." He logged six consecutive shutouts en route to a since-broken record 58.2 consecutive scoreless innings. He pitched his record-tying fifth shutout on the day of the California presidential primary and was congratulated by Robert Kennedy in the speech he gave just before he was assassinated.

Drysdale's real glory days were earlier, when he was paired with Sandy Koufax as the most feared pitching duo of the 1960s. The Dodgers finished the regular season in first place in four out of five years from 1962 to 1966 without an overwhelming offense. The two staged a highly publicized joint holdout following their combined 49-20 record in 1965. They sought a three-year, $1.05 million contract to be divided evenly. Drysdale eventually signed for $110,000, quite a bit better than the $35,000 he made when he won 25 in 1962. He summed up his perspective in 1980: "When we played, World Series checks meant something. Now they just screw up your taxes."

Drysdale was a workhorse, leading the NL in games started every year from 1962 to 1965, as well as in innings pitched in 1962 and 1964. He never missed a start. He also led in shutouts in 1959. One of the best-hitting pitchers of his day, he led NL pitchers in homers four times, twice tying the NL record of seven. His career total of 29 ranks second to Warren Spahn's in NL history. In 1965 he hit .300 and slugged .508, pinch hit frequently, and achieved the rare feat of winning 20 and hitting .300 in the same year. In 1958 he slugged .591.

Drysdale's tenure spanned Dodger eras. He won 17 in their last year in Brooklyn, and pitched the team's first West Coast game (a loss at San Francisco). When he retired, he was the last Brooklyn player left on the Dodgers. He had the longest career played under a single manager - 13 years with Walter Alston. When Drysdale came up, he played with Duke Snider and the "Boys of Summer." He retired from a staff that included Don Sutton, who pitched through the 1980s.

Knocking down hitters was a major tool in Drysdale's pitching repertoire. He set the 20th-century NL career record by hitting 154 batters, and led the NL in that category a record five times. His philosophy on the knockdown pitch was simple - "If one of our guys went down, I just doubled it. No confusion there. It didn't require a Rhodes scholar."

A fixture at All-Star time, Drysdale holds All-Star records with eight games pitched, five starts, 19.1 innings, and 19 strikeouts. He went 2-1, 1.40, allowing only 10 hits.

Drysdale was one of the most appealing Dodgers to the Hollywood entertainment community. He appeared on numerous TV shows including "You Bet Your Life," "The Donna Reed Show," and "The Brady Bunch." After his playing days, Drysdale became an announcer for the Angels and the White Sox before returning to the Dodgers. "Interviews were the hardest thing for me at first," he said. "I felt so damn funny asking players questions when I already knew the answers."

» The Orioles obtain slugging 1B Glenn Davis from the Astros but give up the farm sending OF Steve Finley, P Pete Harnisch, and P Curt Schilling to Houston.

» Former NL President Chub Feeney dies of a heart attack at age 72.

» Arbitrator Thomas Roberts awards 11 players a total of almost $10 million as a result of collusion charges brought against the owners.

» The Mariners sign free agent P Aaron Sele to a 2-year $15 million contract after Orioles owner Peter Angelos nixes a negotiated 4-year $29 million because of questions of Sele's physical condition. Sele had been offered a four year, $28 million deal by the Rangers, but didn't act on it. "Sele fell out of the sky," marvels M's GM Pat Gillick. Sele will win 17, just one of seven pitchers to win 15 or more games in each of the past three seasons (Martinez, Maddux, Johnson, Wells, Burba, Nagy).

In an effort to authenticate autographed and game-used merchandise sold by its licensees, Major League Baseball has hired Arthur Andersen, an accounting company to assure the authenticity of approximately 40,000 items this season. The memorabilia will have a tamper proof hologram and an ID number with a company official observing the removal of the item being physically taken from the player or event.

As part of its 100th Anniversary festivities, the Indians present three-time All-Star Jim Thome with his very own bobblehead doll. The first baseman is one of seven current Cleveland players which will be part of the bobblehead doll promotional giveaways to celebrate the club's centennial this season.

» Bud Selig asks the players to accept a luxury tax that would slow the increase of salaries. He also proposes that teams vastly increase the amount of local revenue they share.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, onemoredyingquail.blogspot.com, chilliman.com, and baseballibrary.com

01-10-2008, 10:45 AM
Get today's post up in a hurry.......I need a nap.

sorry it took so long, but they actually expect me to work around here, the nerve of these people, lol

01-10-2008, 03:14 PM
Bud, I was through with my work by noon. Otherwise the job would be too big for me.

Now "Hush" while it is nap time.


01-11-2008, 10:14 AM
Jan 11

» The first of a series of Tuesday games on ice is played in Chicago using professional and amateur players. These games would be a regular winter feature.

» The National Commission approves owner Charles Murphy's payment of a $10,000 bonus to his Cubs for their 1908 World Series triumph. (Still considered a tradition even though it's been 100 years since they've had to pony up again).

» With the Phils franchise in disarray following the expulsion of President Horace Fogel, William H. Locke and his cousin William F. Baker buy the club.

Fogel was a Philadelphia sportswriter best known as a baseball authority for Philadelphia newspapers, who, unfortunately for the cities of Indianapolis, New York and Philadelphia, realized his dream of becoming a manager and then a president of a ball club. Although he was merely inept as the pilot of the Hoosiers in 1887, he came close to aborting a Hall of Fame career when, as manager of the New York Giants, he tried to move Christy Mathewson to first base. Even when he was officially fired 41 games into the season, he still hopped back into the dugout from time to time to call the plays - and to get a closer look at his successor Heinie Smith's rival inspiration that Mathewson belonged at shortstop.

After being cast aside by the arrival of John McGraw in New York, Fogel returned to his pen and notebook until resurfacing in 1909 as the front man for a business consortium taking over the Philadelphia Phillies. His first insight in his new position was that the club shouldn't be called the Phillies (or the Quakers, as they had also been known), but rather the "Live Wires". To promote this cause, he gave away thousands of watch fobs that featured the image of an eagle holding sparkling wires.

Mainly thanks to the pitching of Grover Cleveland Alexander, Fogel's Phillies (as fans adamantly continued to call them), weren't the worst team in the league; Fogel himself, however, had doubts about what was the best team. After one too many drunken accusations that the Giants had beaten the Chicago Cubs in 1912 mainly because St. Louis Cardinals manager Roger Bresnahan had not fielded his best nine against his former Giants teammates and because league umpires were pro-New York, he was summoned to a league meeting to back up his charges. When he couldn't, he was banished for having "undermined the integrity of the game". Bresnahan was also ill advisedly removed from his position.

Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Colonel Tillinghast L. Huston buy the New York Yankees from Frank Farrell and Bill Devery for $460,000. Ruppert, who owns a brewery, is thinking of renaming the team the Knickerbockers to promote his product, but is dissuaded by newspaper men.

» The Pacific Coast League shifts two franchises moving the Vernon, CA team to San Francisco where it becomes the Mission Club. The Salt Lake City, UT franchise is transferred to Hollywood.

» Bill Terry sends his contract back to the Giants, telling writers he is "thoroughly disgusted." Terry, who just missed the National League batting title, was offered a $9,000 cut from his 1931 contract of $22,500. The Giants counter by saying that the combined salaries of Hafey and Bottomley, the two Cardinals who finished ahead of Terry in hitting, is only $24,000.

» The Cardinals send C Bob O'Farrell and P Syl Johnson to the Phillies for P Glenn Spencer and cash. The Phils immediately name O'Farrell as player-manager.

Syl Johnson

Syl Johnson's injury-plagued career extended for 19 unspectacular seasons as a starter and workhorse reliever. At various times, line drives broke his cheekbone, ribs, big toe, and three fingers on his pitching hand. He did have six consecutive healthy seasons, in which time he compiled almost half his career wins and appeared in three Cardinals' WS.

» Before an exhibition game in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Willie Mays and teammate Ruben Gomez get into a brawl. It starts when Gomez slips into the batting cage ahead of Mays, and batting practice pitcher Milt Ralat then refuses to throw. The sulking Gomez sits down on the plate, and Mays then steps to the side and directs the pitcher to throw to him there. Ralat then throws an insulting slow pitch which Willie barehands and fires back. He and Ralat exchange words and when Mays walks towards the mound, Gomez, brandishing a bat, attempts to interfere. Mays drops him with a right. The two later apologize to each other.

Willie Mays

Considered by many the greatest player of all time, Mays was the prototype of the complete player; he hit for average and power, ran the bases with intelligence and speed, played a spectacular centerfield, and possessed a great arm. He was also remarkably durable, playing in at least 150 games for 13 consecutive seasons.

Mays starred in baseball, basketball, and football at Birmingham, Alabama's Fairfax Industrial High School before joining the Birmingham Barons of the Negro National League at age 17. The New York Giants purchased his contract in 1950, and he played for Trenton of the Interstate League, then joined the Triple-A Minneapolis Millers of the American Association in 1951. In his 35-game stay at Minneapolis, he hit a sizzling .477, and the Giants called him up in late May 1951.

Mays had a discouraging 0-for-12 start with the struggling Giants. Manager Leo Durocher kept his spirits up by declaring that despite his poor start, Mays was and would remain the Giants' full-time centerfielder that season. His first hit was the first home run of his ML career, off Warren Spahn. It helped Mays to end his slump, and he became one of the sparks that ignited the Giants in their classic, come-from-behind pennant chase, climaxed by Bobby Thomson's dramatic ninth-inning playoff home run that beat Brooklyn for the NL championship. Mays was on deck when Thomson hit it out. His World Series debut saw him play opposite future cross-river rival Mickey Mantle, who was also a rookie. The meeting foreshadowed the debate of nearly a decade about who among Mays, Mantle, and Brooklyn's Duke Snider was the greatest New York centerfielder of the 1950s.

Mays served in the army in 1952 and 1953, and the Giants finished second and fifth, respectively. He returned to the Polo Grounds in 1954, leading the NL with a .345 batting average with 41 homers and 110 RBI to help the Giants to the NL flag. The 1954 World Series is most often remembered for a marvelous outfield play by Mays in the first game. With the score tied late in the game, Indians first baseman Vic Wertz clubbed a long drive to deep centerfield at the Polo Grounds. At the crack of the bat, Mays turned his back to the plate, raced for the outfield wall, glanced up at the last minute, and pulled the ball in over his shoulder. Nearly 430 feet from the plate, he whirled and threw on a line to the infield. The play killed the Indians' threat, and the Giants won the game and swept the Series.

In 1955, his last season under manager Durocher, Mays led the league with 13 triples, 51 home runs, and a .659 slugging average. He won four consecutive stolen-base titles from 1956 through 1959. He stole 338 bases in his career and might have had more had he and the Giants not elected to minimize his chance of injury on the basepaths. His unique 1957 performance of 20 or more doubles, triples, homers, and stolen bases established his claim as one of the game's greatest all-around offensive threats.

Mays had a habit of addressing his fellow players with a high-spirited "say hey" salutation, prompting New York sportswriter Barney Kremenko to call him the Say Hey Kid. An exuberant figure during his earlier days in New York, he became a folk hero by playing stickball with children in Harlem streets bordering the Polo Grounds. He was embraced lovingly by New Yorkers, who were heartbroken when the Giants moved to San Francisco following the 1957 season, but his reception in the Bay Area was lukewarm by comparison, and he was never shown the affection accorded to Orlando Cepeda and Willie McCovey, who debuted there. Some writers ascribed Mays's limited popularity to his New York affiliation. Other writers found Mays to be aloof from the fans as well as the media, and there were rumors that he demanded special treatment from his managers. Nevertheless, he continued to shine. He cracked 49 home runs in 1962 as the Giants tied the Dodgers for first place on the last day of the season and captured the pennant in a three-game playoff before losing the World Series to the Yankees in a seventh-game 1-0 squeaker.

Along with Mantle and Aaron, Mays was the dominant slugger of the 1950s and 1960s. From 1958 through 1966, he produced eight consecutive seasons of over 100 runs and RBI. He collected four home runs in a game in Milwaukee on April 30, 1961, and he hit three homers in a game on two other occasions. He hammered 52 homers in 1965 to join Ruth, Foxx, Kiner, and Mantle as the only players with more than one 50-home run season. He hit 30 or more homers in each of 11 seasons. On May 4, 1966, Mays passed Mel Ott's 19-year-old record of 511 National League home runs and finished his career with a total of 660, ranking him third on the all-time list behind Henry Aaron's 755 and Babe Ruth's 714.

Mays's preeminence as a centerfielder is supported statistically by his career total of 7,095 putouts, the most in major league history. He used his patented basket catch on routine fly balls, and he regularly dumbfounded onlookers by making seemingly impossible plays. After a particularly astonishing display in which Mays raced to his left, speared a fly ball, spun 360 degrees counterclockwise, and threw the ball on a 325-foot line to nail a tagging Dodger baserunner at the plate, Brooklyn manager Charlie Dressen commented, "I won't believe that play until I see him do it again."

In May 1972, the fading Mays was traded to the Mets. With them, he played his final season and made his final World Series appearance on a 1973 team that had finished the year with a record just slightly over .500. The ten-year contract he signed as a goodwill ambassador and part-time coach for the Mets took effect after his retirement as a player. Shortly after Mays's election to the Hall of Fame in 1979, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn issued a controversial order requiring Mays to choose between his employment by the Mets and his job as a greeter for a hotel casino. Mays chose employment by the casino, and he was barred from his baseball duties in October 1979. However, the edict was lifted in 1985 by new commissioner Peter Uberroth. Mays then retained his job as greeter while serving as a part-time hitting coach for the Giants.

» Representatives Kenneth Keating and Patrick Hillings drop their plan to bring baseball under the nation's antitrust laws.

» The Cubs send infielders Alvin Dark, #B and Chicago-native Jim Woods, and P John Buzhardt to the Phillies for OF Richie Ashburn. Ashburn hit .259 last year.

Alvin Dark

In 1969 fans chose Alvin Dark as the top shortstop in Giants' history. He won the 1948 Rookie of the Year award, hit .300 four times, led the NL in doubles once, led league shortstops three times each in putouts and double plays, and hit 20 or more home runs and scored over 100 runs twice each. Dark's single in the ninth inning of the third 1951 NL playoff game started the rally that culminated in Bobby Thomson's famous pennant-winning homer. As a manager, Dark won the 1962 NL pennant for San Francisco and the 1974 World Championship with Oakland. While leading San Francisco, he once tore off a finger at the joint throwing a metal chair after a loss. After finding religion, his calmer personality enabled him to work two tours for A's owner Charlie Finley.

Richie Ashburn

The ultimate singles hitter, Ashburn hit leadoff for 15 years, batting over .300 nine times, winning two batting titles and finishing second three times. He is also the most recent player to hit .300 in his last season; he batted .306 for the expansion Mets and was their only All-Star. He became a Phillies broadcaster in 1963 and after retirement became known as a familiar short and smiling figure who wore an Irish hunting cap.

An All-Star in his first season, Ashburn knew how to get on base, leading the NL in walks four times. He was a model of consistency. He batted 6-for-10 and scored four runs in five All-Star games, and only once did he fail to score at least 84 runs in a season for the Phillies. A spray hitter with little power, 86 percent of his hits were singles. He reached his season high for homers (seven) with the Mets in his last year, playing in the Polo Grounds with its short distances down the lines.

Together with Robin Roberts, Jim Konstanty, Del Ennis, Curt Simmons, and Granny Hamner, he was a core player on the 1950 Philadelphia Whiz Kids, who won the NL pennant on the last day of the season over the Dodgers. On May 20, 1951, he singled eight times in a doubleheader.

» Tigers P John Hiller, age 27, suffers a heart attack and will miss the 1971 season. Hiller will have seven feet of intestine removed to relieve a cholesterol problem before making a remarkable comeback.

John Hiller

Hiller nearly died when he suffered a massive stroke in 1971, but after a miraculous recovery he was pitching again for the Tigers by the end of 1972. He posted 38 saves in 1973 to set a ML record and win Comeback Player of the Year and Fireman of the Year honors. He was also 10-5 with a 1.44 ERA and led the AL with 65 appearances.

After a moderately successful career as a reliever and occasional starter (he tied a since-broken ML record for consecutive strikeouts from the start of a game with six on August 6, 1968) Hiller missed all of 1971 after being stricken. He came back as a batting-practice pitcher in June 1972 and returned to action a month later, helping Detroit to the division title and winning Game Four of the LCS. Hiller set some more relief marks in 1974, the year after his save record, when his 17-14 record (13 saves) tied both the AL mark for relief wins and the ML standard for relief losses. The Canadian had several more seasons as the ace of the Tigers' bullpen and retired with a club-record 125 saves.

After the American League approves the new rule 8-4 and the National League vetoes the idea, all 24 owners approve the junior circuit's three-year experiment to use a designated hitter. Although the DH was his idea, A’s owner Charley Finely votes against the concept because his brainchild of implementing a designated runner is nixed.

» For the 3rd time in eight years, George Steinbrenner hires Billy Martin as Yankee manager. Martin replaces Clyde King, who will move to the front office.

"The Yankee pinstripes, they stay with you wherever you go. To me, being a Yankee always meant playing with pride, desire, self confidence, the will to win." -BILLY MARTIN, Yankee manager (1975-79, '83, '85, '88)

One of the few good players to be drafted and also sign in the January free agent draft is Ellis Burks, picked on the first round by the Red Sox. The Yankees pick and sign a Canseco -- Ozzie Canseco -- with their 4th pick.

Ellis Burks

"Have bat, will travel" could have been Burks' motto. Tabbed a future MVP by Twins manager Tom Kelly, the speedy Burks earned the Red Sox' starting centerfield job at the age of 22, and as a rookie in 1987 became only the third player in club history to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases in one season. He earned spots on both the Baseball Digest and Topps all-rookie teams, and in 1988 hit .294 with 92 RBI and 25 stolen bases. Defensively, Burks was one of the best centerfielders in the majors, with great range and a sure glove offsetting a somewhat erratic arm. His rise to stardom was interrupted by shoulder surgery in 1989.

It was the first of many setbacks for Burks, who later suffered through bad knees, bad quads, and a bad back. None of his injuries were career-threatening, just nagging battle wounds that took him out of the lineup for short stretches. His oft-injured status maddened teammates, fans and managers alike, but to Burks it was just a by-product of playing good, hard baseball. "They're all baseball injuries, it's not like I got hurt falling out of the damn bed," he told newspaper reporters in 1999.

It was hard to argue with him, because a healthy Burks was worth having. In 1996 he got over 600 at-bats and, helped by the thin air of Coors Field, scored 142 runs, knock in another 128, and batted .344. With the Giants four years later, he again hit .344. That performance earned him a three-year, $20 million contract from the Indians after the season.

» The Rev. Jesse Jackson tells baseball owners that unless a plan to hire more minorities for front-office jobs is in place by April 5, he will call for selective boycotts.

» The baseball writers elect C Carlton Fisk and 1B Tony Perez to the Hall of Fame. Fisk is chosen in his 2nd year on the ballot, while Perez is picked on his 9th try.

Carlton Fisk

One of the AL's premier catchers for almost two decades, Carlton Fisk overcame a series of serious injuries early in his career to establish himself as a marvel of durability at baseball's most taxing position. A ten-time All-Star and the all-time leader in home runs by a catcher (351) and in games caught (2,226), Fisk was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000.
A true New Englander, Fisk was born in Vermont, attended the University of New Hampshire, and in January 1967 was the first-round draft choice of the Boston Red Sox, the fourth player chosen in the nation. When he arrived in the big leagues in 1972, he already had a nickname (Pudge, from his childhood), and a trademark wad of tobacco that bulged inside one cheek. At the age of 21, he beat out Duane Josephson and Bob Montomery for the full-time job and never looked back.

Fisk was an immediate star. He hit .293 with 22 homers and a league-leading nine triples in '72, won a Gold Glove, and became the first player ever to win the Rookie of the Year award unanimously. But he proved to be a magnet for injuries over the next few seasons. His average slipped to .246 in 1973 and he missed the first three weeks of the 1974 season after a foul tip off the bat of Joe Torre struck his groin in spring training. His season ended early when his knee was seriously injured in a home-plate collision with Cleveland's Leron Lee on June 28.

As it turned out, Fisk missed nearly a full year. An errant pitch from Detroit's Fred Holdsworth in spring training 1975 sidelined him until June. But less than a week after he returned, Boston moved into first and Fisk hit .331 in 79 games to help the Red Sox reach the World Series.

Fisk found himself in the spotlight twice in the World Series. In the 10th inning of Game Three, he collided with Reds pinch-hitter Ed Armbrister while chasing a bunt in front of home plate, but no interference was called, and the Reds rallied for the winning run. In Game Six, Fisk got his revenge, drilling a Pat Darcy sinker off the left-field foul pole for a 12th-inning, game-winning home run in what many consider the most dramatic game in World Series history. Fisk's leaping gyrations down the first base line as he urged the ball to stay fair were recorded by NBC's television cameras, and placed the "reaction shot" into the vocabulary of baseball TV producers.

Distracted by a contract dispute, Fisk's 1976 season was a forgettable one, but he rebounded in 1977 to hit .315 with 26 homers and 102 RBI. Allowing just four passed balls over the entire season, he battled the Yankees' Thurman Munson for the distinction of being the AL's best catcher. Fisk started the All-Star Game in both 1977 and 1978, but the Yankees edged the Red Sox for the pennant and went on to win the World Series each year. A late-season rib injury suffered by Fisk in August 1978 contributed to Boston's collapse. The same injury limited him to just 91 appearances in 1979, mostly as a DH.

After a decent 1980 (.289, 18 homers) Fisk stunned Boston fans by signing with the Chicago White Sox. The Red Sox' front office had blundered by failing to postmark his new contract in time, allowing Fisk to become a free agent. With his change of Sox, Fisk flip-flopped his uniform number from 27 to 72. Chicago opened the 1981 season at Fenway Park and in fairy-tale fashion, Fisk hit a three-run, eighth-inning homer to win the game for his new team, 5-3.

In Chicago, Fisk defied the aging process, accepting occasional assignments in the outfield, at first base, or as a DH, but playing most of his games behind the plate. In 1983, his steady play helped the White Sox to their first AL West title, but he hit only .176 in the ALCS as Chicago lost to Baltimore in four games. In 1984 he hit 21 homers but drove in only 43 runs, the fewest RBI ever for a player with 20 home runs. Fisk hit only .238 in 1985, but recorded career bests in both home runs (37) and RBI (107).

Fisk's relationship with White Sox was marred by regular skirmishes with team management. The Yankees reportedly tried to sign Fisk to a contract in 1985, but the offer was pulled after White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf pressured Yankee boss George Steinbrenner -- an accusation that later was used as a cornerstone of the players' successful battle against collusion.

Even though thirty-three of his 37 homers came as a catcher, eclipsing Lance Parrish's year-old AL record for the position, the White Sox tried to move Pudge to left field in 1986 to make room for young backstop Joel Skinner. Fisk never felt comfortable in his new position and the ill-fated experiment lasted little more than a month.

Fisk was notorious for taking excruciatingly slow walks to the mound. After one particularly tedious "Pudge Trudge," opposing manager Bobby Valentine wondered aloud if the White Sox were being paid by the hour. It was once asserted that games Fisk caught ran twenty minutes longer than the average AL game.

As a 40-year-old in 1988, Fisk hit .277 with 19 homers in only 76 games. After missing much of the first half of 1989 with a broken hand he rebounded with a .293 average, 13 home runs and 68 RBI in 103 games. Fisk continued to put up solid power numbers in 1990, but in '91 his average dropped to .241 and his on-base average dropped below .300 for only the third time in 21 years. 1992 proved to be another difficult year as Fisk missed the first 55 games of the year with foot problems. When he returned, he was unproductive, hitting just three home runs. The unusually low total broke his streak of ten straight seasons with a dozen or more homers.

Fisk was involved in a memorable confrontation in May 1990, when he berated the Yankees' Deion Sanders for not running out a popup. Sanders was too stunned to respond, but the incident nearly instigated a brawl between the two teams. "Yankee pinstripes, Yankee pride," Fisk scoffed. "I'm playing for the other team, and it offended me." Sanders apologized the next day.

In the early '90s, Fisk began to yield playing time to Ron Karkovice, a solid defensive catcher who, at age 29, seemed young compared to his 44 year-old mentor. In 1993, Fisk only played 25 games as age finally took hold of him. Less than a week after surpassing Bob Boone for most games caught, Fisk was released by the White Sox.

Incredibly, Fisk was barred from joining his teammates in the White Sox clubhouse when the team reached the playoffs. Enraged, Fisk refused to participate in any promotion of his farewell ceremony -- even though he eventually appeared at the event. He had often joked he would design a special "dual-Sox" cap for his Hall of Fame plaque, but when he was elected to the Hall in 2000, it didn't take long for Fisk to announce his likeness would feature a Red Sox hat.

Tony Perez

One of baseball's greatest run producers, Perez retired as the 14th-best RBI man in ML history. After sharing Cincinnati's first-base job in his first two years, Perez was switched to third base from 1967 to 1972 to get slugger Lee May into the lineup.

For ten years (1967-76) Perez was one of the leaders of The Big Red Machine, six times topping 100 RBI. With Perez in the infield, the Reds won four pennants. In 1970, his top season, he hit .317 with 40 homers and 134 RBI. He belted three home runs in the 1975 WS against the Red Sox, two in Game Five, and one in Game Seven when Bill Lee tried to fool him with a soft lob.

He later had several excellent years for Montreal and Boston, and he remained a dangerous pinch hitter for several seasons after his days as a regular ended. He was often compared to first baseman Orlando Cepeda, and Perez's final homer in 1986 tied him with Cepeda at 379 for the most career homers by a Latin player.

Perez joined the Marlins' front office after a brief managerial stint with the Reds in 1993. He was tabbed as Florida's interim skipper when John Boles was fired in May 2001.

David Cone agrees to a one-year contract with the Red Sox. The former Cy Young Award winner could make between $4 million and $5 million with Boston, compared to $500,000 guaranteed-offer made by the Yankees, if he makes the roster and pitches regularly during the season.

After a one-year experiment, the Orioles plan to return Camden Yards to its original dimensions by moving in the fences. The team, which hit only 58 homers at home - 44 less than in the previous season, said the fences are returning to their initial distances because the new configuration "adversely affected the viewing angle of the batter's eye."

The Devil Rays make their first agreement with a Japanese player as 31-year right-hander relief pitcher Shinji Mori signs $1.4 million, two-year contract to play in Tampa Bay. In 431 games, the former Seibu Lion reliever was 44-44 with 50 saves and a 3.39 ERA playing in Japan's Pacific League.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, baseball-reference.com, and baseballibrary.com

01-14-2008, 10:05 AM
Jan 14

» Philadelphia officials, justifiably proud of their new multi-purpose baseball park, declare that it "will be placed in first-class condition for base ball, football, lacrosse and law-tennis; also bicycle and pedestrian performances."

» The National League votes to allow the AA to place a team in Boston, despite the vehement opposition of the owners of the Boston NL club.

» Former Chicago star Frank "Silver" Flint dies of consumption.


The Chicago Tribune, January 15th, 1892
Frank S. Flint Is Dead

Frank S. Flint, the ballplayer, died of consumption at 7 o'clock last night, at his divorced wife's residence on Twenty-fifth street.

Flint has been at death's door for a week, and only his wonderful vitality kept him alive. He had wasted away to a mere skeleton, and during the last days of his illness was too weak to recognize his most intimate friends.

A few months ago Flint's wife met him on the street, and, seeing then the stamp of death on his wan and wasted face, invited him to her home, paid all his doctor's bills, and nursed him tenderly to the end. Flint lost two brothers by consumption.

Frank S. Flint was in his prime one of the leading pitchers (sic), if not the leading pitcher (sic), of the country. He was born in Philadelphia Aug. 3, 1855, but moved to St. Louis when a mere boy, and made his professional debut with the Red Stockings of that city, from whence graduated Tom Loftus, Jimmy Galvin, and other good ballplayers. Flint in 1875 caught for the Reds, doing brilliant work. In 1876 he was with the Stars of Covington, Ky., but the club disbanded before the season was finished and Flint went to Indianapolis. In 1878, Anson took from the Hoosier city Flint, Quest, and Williamson, and "Silver" remained with the Chicagos during the rest of his professional career.

Flint has not played professionally since 1889, when he caught but fifteen games for the Chicagos. In the early days of the game, before catching paraphernalia was as complete as it is now, Flint was looked on as a phenomenon. In 1877, he caught 120 out of 121 games played by Indianapolis, and in 1878 56 out of 60 games with the same club. In 1879 he caught 74 out of 79 played by Chicago; in 1880, 82 out of 84 games; in 1881 77 out of 84 games; in 1882 73 out of 84 games; and in 1883, 85 out of 95 games. Then, as the seasons were lengthened, Flint began to catch less, but he was in active practice to the end of his ballplaying days.

Flint's hands were a study. They had been knocked out of all shape by foul tips, and many a good story has been told at the expense of Flint and his deformed digits.

» The Cuban Giants, perhaps the nation's best black baseball team, announce their desire to join the proposed Middle States League. Their application is rejected.

» Baltimore's grandstand burns to the ground.

» A Chicago jury acquits OF Walter Wilmot of charges of violating the Sabbath law by playing Sunday baseball last year. Charges against other players are subsequently dropped, and the way is cleared for future Sunday ball in Chicago.

» Giants owner John T. Brush, who refused to play the American League pennant winners in 1904, proposes rules governing future World Series.

John T. Brush

One of the organizers of the original NL franchise in Indianapolis, where he owned a large clothing store, Brush became president of the club in 1887 and decided to become a leader in the game. The next year he pushed through the salary-limit rule, which helped spark the Players' League revolt in 1890. When his club dropped from the NL in 1889, Brush invested in the Giants, and in 1891 he was awarded the Cincinnati franchise in the reorganized, 12-team NL. He continued to own Indianapolis in the Western League. Ban Johnson, president of the league, accused him of using Cincinnati to draft players to send to Indianapolis. In 1902 he sold the Reds and bought control of the Giants. He tried to push through the idea of a trust holding all NL teams. The idea didn't get anywhere, and Brush made many enemies in the game. A diehard opponent of Ban Johnson, he fought the AL's attempts to put a team in New York and opposed the peace treaty between the AL and NL. Brush and his manager John McGraw refused to let the Giants play a WS in 1904. He won his fourth pennant with the Giants in 1912, then left for California to recuperate from ill health after losing the WS to the Red Sox in seven games. He died on the train as it was passing through Missouri.

» Bobby Wallace, the era's outstanding American League SS, is named manager of the Browns. But St. Louis will finish last, and he will be an infielder again by June 1912.

Bobby Wallace

Wallace's association with baseball spanned more than 60 years. He came to the major leagues as a pitcher with the Cleveland Spiders in 1894. Though he won ten games and hurled two shutouts in 1896, he moved to third base in 1897. With the Cardinals in 1899, he shifted to shortstop, remaining a regular at that position for 14 years.

Though known primarily for his fielding skills, Wallace batted better than .300 in 1897, 1899, and 1901 and finished second in the NL with a career-high 12 home runs in 1899. In 1897 and 1899 he drove in more than 100 runs. He became a highly coveted player. In 1902, the Browns lured him away from the Cardinals with a five-year, no-trade contract worth more than $32,000 - a fortune at the time. That June 10, he set a still-standing AL record with 17 chances accepted at shortstop in a nine-inning game. He often led the league in one fielding category or another and stands ninth among shortstops in career chances, putouts, and assists. Though his hitting dropped off in the AL, he continued to show good speed, collecting 153 career triples and stealing 201 bases.

As his career wound down, Wallace's time on the diamond was curtailed by a broken hand in 1912 and serious burns in 1914, and was interrupted by a stint as an AL umpire from June 1915 until August 1916. He finished his ML playing days with the Cardinals in 1918 at age forty-four. He managed in the minors, coached briefly for Cincinnati, and scouted for them for 33 years until his death. He compiled the worst record in history for a manager with 200 or more ML games - 62-154 - with the Browns in 1911-12 and the Reds in September 1937. He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1953.

» Former major leaguer Walt Goldsby commits suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

» John McGraw, Charles A. Stoneham, and Tammany politician Judge Francis X. McQuade buy controlling interest in the Giants from the John Brush estate. Having drawn just 265,000 fans in 1918, the club is sold at a bargain price. The 3 will spend many days in courtrooms fighting among themselves, and fending off government charges about Stoneham's business practices.

» OF Clyde Milan is named the manager of the Washington Senators. Milan took over for George McBride at the end of last season after McBride was hit in the face with a ball during batting practice. McBride began suffering vertigo and fainting spells and relinquished the manager's job.

Ben Shibe, half-owner and president of the Athletics since their American League start in 1906, dies at 84. A partner in the A.J. Reach sporting goods company, Shibe invented the machinery that made possible the manufacture of standard baseballs.

» Alfred J. Reach, founder of the A.J. Reach sporting goods firm, dies at 87. Before 1860, he became the first ballplayer to receive a regular salary when he signed as a catcher with the Philadelphia Athletics for $25 a week.

Al Reach

Born in London, Reach first attracted attention on Brooklyn baseball diamonds in the 1850s. In 1865, he was brought to Philadelphia for $25 a week "expenses," making him one of the earliest professionals. A second baseman, although by most accounts a lefthanded thrower, he was considered an excellent batter. In 1871, when Philadelphia won the first National Association championship, he hit .348. After retiring as a player, he was one of the founders of the Phillies and served as team president from 1883 to 1902. He later was part owner of the Athletics. A sporting-goods company he founded in the 1870s prospered and eventually made him millions. In 1889 he sold out to A.G. Spalding, although he continued in an executive position. An annual baseball guide that he began in the 1880s was instrumental in developing interest in baseball statistics.

» Babe Ruth rejects a Yankee offer of $70,000, as the major leagues vow to cut salaries by $1 million.

» Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis gives free agency to 91 Detroit players and farm hands. Citing cover-ups in its organization, Landis hands freedom to Roy Cullenbine, Benny McCoy, Lloyd Dietz, and Steve Rachunok from the parent roster and orders $47,250 paid as compensation to 14 players. Johnny Sain is one of 23 players who will later make it to the ML. Landis's edict nullifies a deal that would have brought Wally Moses to the Tigers for Benny McCoy and George Coffman. McCoy is considered the plum of the emancipation, and several clubs bid for the 2B. Connie Mack keeps Moses and signs McCoy for a $45,000 bonus and 2-season contract at $10,000 a year.

» Former Yankee great Joe DiMaggio marries actress Marilyn Monroe in San Francisco.

» Charles Comiskey, Jr., says Bill Veeck has turned down his offer to buy the White Sox.

» Johnny Murphy, the Mets general manager who had seen his team rise from the NL cellar to the World Championship, dies of a heart attack at age 61. Murphy was a star relief pitcher for the Yankees in the 1930s and early 1940s.

» Ted Turner completes the purchase of 100 percent of the Atlanta Braves.

» Picking second in the January draft, the Pirates go for blood lines, selecting Moises Alou. The Indians, selecting first, take pitcher Jeff Shaw.

» After playing last season with Japan's Yakult Swallows, Bob Horner signs a one-year contract with the Cardinals, who need a power-hitting 1B to replace Jack Clark.

» The White Sox obtain pitchers David Wells and Matt DeWitt from the Blue Jays for pitcher Mike Sirotka, Kevin Beirne, and Mike Williams, and OF Brian Simmons. Sirotka will pass one physical but a later one will show arm damage and the Jays will seek, unsuccessfully, additional compensation. Sirotka will be operated on April 24 and will be out for the season without ever throwing an inning for the Jays. Boomer will struggle to 5–7 before going down in July and need surgery.

In an attempt to buy time as closer Eric Gagne recovers from elbow surgery, the Dodgers trade right-hander Edwin Jackson and prospect lefty Chuck Tiffany to the Devil Rays to obtain All-Star penmen Danys Baez, Lance Carter as well as a minor league player to be named. Baez, who saved 41 games for Tampa Bay last season, will becomes the team’s closer until Gagne is ready to return.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, thedeadballera.com, and baseballibrary.com

01-15-2008, 11:32 AM
Jan 15

» At a Union Association meeting held in Milwaukee, only two clubs show up, Milwaukee and Kansas City. It is decided to disband the league.

The outlaw Union Association was formed in September 1883, hoping to capitalize on player dissatisfaction with organized baseball's reserve rule, which effectively limited a player's pay by binding him to his club. But the UA lured few top players away from the National League and American Association--and attracted too few fans to their games to succeed financially. The St. Louis club, owned by UA president Henry V. Lucas, ran away with the pennant in 1884. But that winter Lucas precipitated the association's demise by transferring his club to the National League. Reduced to only two clubs by January 1885, the UA disbanded.

» The Texas League is organized when the following six cities are awarded franchises: Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Galveston, Houston, and San Antonio.

In San Francisco, George Van Haltran, pitching for the Giants, tosses a no-hitter against the St. Louis Browns in an exhibition game. The only solidly hit ball is a Tip O'Neill line drive caught by 1B Buck Ewing.

Tip O'Neill
Given Name: James Edward
OF 1883-92 Giants, Browns, Pirates, Reds

Led League in HR in 1887
Led League in BA in 1887-88

Games Average HR RBI
Career 1054 .326 52 757

Career 289 16-16 3.39

O'Neill was a star slugger in the dead-ball era, a vital member of the St. Louis teams that won four straight American Association pennants, 1885-88. In 1887, the year a base on balls was counted as a hit and charged as an at-bat, O'Neill hit a league high .435, and was one of 11 players to bat more than .400. Even without that advantage, his performance that year was phenomenal: he led the league in hits, doubles, triples, home runs, runs scored, and slugging average. Because James O'Neill foul-tipped many balls in order to wait the pitchers, hoping they eventually would walk him and build up his average, he became known as "Tip". He was a hero to Irish-American fans, who frequently named their sons after him. The next year, when bases on balls were not considered hits, his league-leading average was .335.

Buck Ewing

When the doors of the Baseball Hall of Fame were first opened, in 1939, Buck Ewing's plaque was ready to go up on the wall. Elected by the Committee on Baseball Veterans, Ewing had simply been baseball's best catcher and, according to his contemporaries, was unequaled as an all-around player in the 19th century. Until Mickey Cochrane, Bill Dickey, and Gabby Hartnett came along, Ewing was listed as the catcher on virtually everyone's all-time team.

A lifetime .303 hitter with a high of .344 in 1893, Ewing was also a dead-ball-era NL home run champ, hitting 10 for New York in 1883. He topped the NL with 20 triples in 1884, and hit 15 triples four other times. In a June 9, 1883 game, he hit three triples. When stolen bases started being tallied, Ewing averaged 37 a season, with a high of 53 for the 1888 Giants.

Ewing played during a time when catchers did not catch every day. He never caught more than 97 games a season, and only once caught more than 80. He was said to have been a master at throwing out baserunners; he led NL catchers in assists three times in the 1880s, and in double plays twice. He spent few games behind the plate after 1890. Instead, he was stationed mostly in the outfield and at first base. He also pitched 47 innings.

Buck's brother John, a pitcher, compiled a 53-63 career record. He pitched for Buck in the 1890 Players' League, when Buck caught for and managed New York. John led the NL with a .724 winning percentage (21-8) and a 2.27 ERA as Buck's batterymate with the 1891 Giants. John then retired, and Buck went on to Cleveland in 1893. Buck returned to his hometown of Cincinnati as a first baseman-manager in 1895, and played one final game in 1897. Managing the Reds through 1899, he never finished higher than third. He piloted the Giants for part of 1900, and died six years later.

» The new Columbus club (AA) signs Spud Johnson, who had played with the defunct Kansas City (WA) team last season. That club was sold to Kansas City (AA), which vows to fight Columbus for Johnson's playing rights.

» Minor leaguer Nicholas Mathewson, brother of Christy Mathewson, commits suicide by shooting himself at age 22.

The New York Times, Friday, January 15th, 1909

“Nick” Mathewson Shot

Brother of Famous Christy May Die
From Self-inflicted Wound

Scranton, Penn., Jan 14- “Nick Mathewson, brother of famous New York pitcher, Christy Mathewson, and himself a twirler who gave promise of occupying his brother’s place on the diamond at some future day, shot himself in the right temple this afternoon, evidently with suicidal intent. Mathewson, who is a student at Lafayette College, Easton, has been home ill for two weeks, and it is thought that overstudy unbalanced his mind. His condition is critical.

“Nick” is the third of the Mathewson brothers known as baseball players. “Christy” Mathewson, who is New York’s most popular player, resides here, and during the Winter spends his time writing insurance, playing billiards and checkers. Hank Mathewson, another brother, was a member of the Giants for two seasons, but was released to a minor league club.

The New York Times, Saturday, January 16th, 1909

Young Mathewson Dies of Wound

Scranton, Penn., Jan 15- Nicholas Mathewson, brother of Christy Mathewson, a pitcher of the New York National League Baseball Club, died to-day from a bullet wound in the head, self inflicted, yesterday in his home in Factoryville, Penn., near here.

The young man was a baseball pitcher and was training under the tutelage of his famous brother, but was continuing his studies in Lafayette College in deference to his parents wishes. Ill health brought on a physical breakdown, which it is thought, affected his mind. He was to have played this year with Nashville in the Southern League.

» Former Brooklyn P Elmer Stricklett, said to be the inventor of the spitball, is reinstated by the National Commission after playing outside organized baseball for three years. But he does not make it back to the major leagues.

Elmer Stricklett

Stricklett is often credited with introducing the spitball to the major leagues, though it was his disciples, Jack Chesbro and Ed Walsh, who became Hall of Famers with it. He was a sore-armed minor leaguer in 1904 when he learned the pitch from its accidental discoverer, George Hildebrand. Stricklett approved the banning of the spitball years later, believing it was too dangerous and hard to control.

» Washington veteran SS Roger Peckinpaugh is traded to the White Sox for P Sloppy Thurston and Leo Mangum.

Sloppy Thurston

Sloppy Thurston's nickname was a misnomer. He inherited it from his father, a charitable restaurant owner who would dish out free soup to the poor. But the curveballing pitcher was a meticulous and dandy Jazz Age dresser. In the 12th inning of an August 22, 1923, game against the Athletics, he struck out the side on nine pitches. He had his best season for the last-place 1924 White Sox. He reeled off ten straight victories before the Yankees beat him on July 29, and ended the season at 20-14 with league highs of 28 complete games and 330 hits allowed. He was mediocre from then on.

After Thurston's 6-8 performance in 1926, manager Eddie Collins declared his arm was dead and traded him to the Senators. Thurston was pitching for the Dodgers on August 13, 1932 when he allowed six HR in the first game of a doubleheader, tying the post-1900 ML record. He was one of the best-hitting pitchers of all time, with a .270 lifetime average and four .300 seasons. He became a longtime scout and signed Ralph Kiner to a Pirate contract.

» Babe Ruth accepts a cut of $17,000 and signs a 1934 contract for $35,000.

» IRS figures for 1934 show Branch Rickey as the highest paid man in baseball at $49,470. Commissioner Landis had voluntarily taken a cut in 1933 from $65,000 to $40,000 because of the Depression.

The Chunichi Dragons of Nagoya, Japan, are officially formed. Eight days later the Hankyu Braves of Nishinomiya are formed.

Horace Stoneham is elected president of the New York Giants, succeeding his late father. Stoneham, 32, will remain president for the next 40 years before selling the team in 1976.

Horace C. Stoneham

He was the principal owner of Major League Baseball's New York/San Francisco Giants from the death of his father, Charles Stoneham, in 1936 until 1976. During his ownership, the team won National League pennants in 1936, 1937, 1951, 1954 and 1962, a division title in 1971, and a World Series title in 1954.

New York baseball fans and media vilified Stoneham and Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley when they moved their clubs to California after the 1957 season. Stoneham was alarmed by a dramatic post-1954 drop-off in attendance at his team's historic ballpark, the Polo Grounds in Upper Manhattan. Impressed by the success of the Braves after their 1953 shift from Boston to Milwaukee, Stoneham decided to move his Giants to Bloomington, Minnesota, where a stadium had just been constructed for his AAA farm team, the Minneapolis Millers.

When Stoneham confided his plan to O'Malley, the Dodger chief informed him that he (O'Malley) was negotiating to move his club – the Giants' bitter rival – to Los Angeles. He suggested that Stoneham contact San Francisco mayor George Christopher and explore moving his team there to preserve the rivalry. Stoneham then abandoned his Minnesota plan and shifted his attention, permanently, to San Francisco.

At the New York Giants' last home game, Stoneham was confronted by fans both angry — one sign read: "We want Stoneham! (With a rope around his neck!)" — and grief-stricken. After meeting with a group of weeping youngsters who begged the team to stay, Stoneham was moved, but said: "I feel badly for the kids, but we haven't seen too many of their fathers [i.e. paying fans] around here lately."

Writer Roger Kahn said years later, during promotional tours for his book The Era 1947-57, that the Giants' deteriorating ballpark and shrinking fan base made it necessary for Stoneham to abandon New York. He noted, however, that the Dodgers – a year removed from the 1956 pennant and two from Brooklyn's first world championship – were still profitable and O'Malley's move West was motivated by a desire for even greater riches.

While their early years in San Francisco produced only one pennant, the Giants of the late 1950s and 1960s were one of the most talented assemblages in the National League. They included five Hall of Famers — Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda and Gaylord Perry — and many other stars. The Giants were the first major league team to heavily scout and sign players from the Dominican Republic.

But the NL was so powerful and competitive — it had far outpaced the American League in signing African-American and Latin American players — the Giants had only one pennant to show for a decade-plus of contention. Stoneham was partially to blame for this, as he squandered the resources of his productive farm system through a series of poorly advised trades, and hired as his manager from 1961-64 Alvin Dark, who had a brilliant baseball mind but a poor relationship with at least some of his minority players. Dark was fired after the '64 Giants fell just short in a wild, end-of-season pennant race but, more notably, he had made derogatory remarks to the press about Latin ballplayers during the season. (He later said he was misquoted.)

After their initial success, Stoneham's Giants fell on hard times during the 1970s. Attendance at cold and windy Candlestick Park plummeted, and Stoneham faced financial hardship. Finally, in 1976, he put the team up for sale. The Giants very nearly moved back east, to Toronto. In addition, it was briefly rumored they considered a return to the metropolitan New York area, perhaps to a new baseball stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands. But local businessman Bob Lurie stepped in as the buyer, and the Giants remained in Northern California.

» President Roosevelt gives baseball the go-ahead to play despite W W II. In his famous "green light" letter FDR says, "I honestly think it would be best for the country to keep baseball going." He encourages more night baseball so that war workers may attend.

The Cubs, who had signed contracts to install lights at Wrigley Field, drop their plans because of the military needs for the material.

» The Brooklyn Dodgers extend their 5-year lease on Ebbets Field by signing a new 3-year lease with real estate developer Marvin Kratter, who bought the field in 1953.

» In a deal worth over a million dollars, the Yankees announce that they will televise 140 games in the 1958 season. Six days later, the Phillies agree to televise 78 games into the New York City area.

» The Texas League votes to issue automatic intentional walks instead of throwing four wide pitches.

» ML baseball executives vote to hold a free-agent draft in New York City. A new TV pact is also signed.

Willie Mays, the highest-paid player in baseball, signs for $105,000.

» In his first year of eligibility, former Cardinals P Bob Gibson is the only person elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. Players falling short of the 301 votes needed for election include Don Drysdale (243), Gil Hodges (241), Harmon Killebrew (239), Hoyt Wilhelm (238), and Juan Marichal (233).

Bob Gibson

Born Pack Gibson, after his father who died 3 months before his birth (the Gibson family could not afford a camera, therefore no photographs of his father exist). Gibson changed his name to Robert when he turned 18. Despite a childhood filled with health problems, including rickets, asthma, pneumonia, and a heart murmur, he was active in sports as a youth particularly baseball and basketball. After a standout career in baseball and basketball at Tech High in Omaha, Gibson won a basketball scholarship to Creighton University.

In 1957, Gibson received a $3,000.00 bonus to sign with the Cardinals. He delayed his start with the organization for a year, playing with the Harlem Globetrotters, earning the nickname "Bullet" Bob Gibson (his nickname in baseball was "Hoot", after Hoot Gibson, the cowboy and silent movie star). Although one of the star players on the team--Gibson was famous for backhanded dunks--he resigned from the Globetrotters to play baseball because he could not stand the clowning. In 1958 he spent a year at the triple-A farm club in Omaha. He graduated to the major leagues in 1959 and had the first of nine 200-strikeout seasons in 1962.

In the eight seasons from 1963 to 1970, he won 156 games and lost 81, for a .658 winning percentage. He won nine Gold Glove Awards, was awarded the World Series MVP Award in 1964 and 1967, and won Cy Young Awards in 1968 and 1970.

In Game 7 of St. Louis's World Series triumph on October 15, 1964, Gibson held on to earn the win despite allowing ninth-inning home runs to New York Yankees Phil Linz and Clete Boyer(brother of the Cardinals' Ken Boyer).

His 1967 World Series performance was also notable. Gibson allowed only three earned runs and 14 hits over three complete game victories (Games 1, 4, and 7), the latter two marks tying Christy Mathewson's 1905 record, also hitting a vital home run in Game 7. Moreover, he had come back late in that season from having his leg broken earlier in the season (July 15) from a line drive by Roberto Clemente. The next time he faced Clemente he threw a pitch over Clemente's head which forced Clemente to take a dive into the dirt of the batter's box.

His earned run average in 1968 was 1.12, which is a live-ball era record. He threw 13 shutouts, and allowed only two earned runs in 92 straight innings of pitching. Gibson also pitched 47 consecutive scoreless innings, at the time the second longest scoreless streak in Major League history behind only Don Drysdale's 58 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, which had been set earlier that very season. He also won the National League MVP Yet, because 1968 was known as "The Year of the Pitcher", he somehow managed to lose 9 games despite such eye-opening statistics, finishing with a record of 22-9. In Game One of the 1968 World Series, he struck out 17 Detroit Tigers to set a World Series record for strikeouts in one game (breaking Sandy Koufax's record of 15 in Game One of the 1963 World Series), which still stands today. His season was so successful that his performance is widely cited in Major League Baseball's decision to lower the pitcher's mound by five inches in 1969. The change had only a slight effect on him; he went 20-13 that year, with a 2.18 ERA. Some say that his 13 shutouts combined with his 28 complete-games season may never be repeated by anyone again given the heavier emphasis on pitch counts, relief pitching, and the continuing shift to hitters with newer ballparks having smaller foul areas, shorter distance to the outfield walls, and a smaller strike zone today.

On May 12, 1969, Gibson struck out three batters on nine pitches in the seventh inning of a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gibson became the ninth National League pitcher and the 15th pitcher in Major League history to accomplish the nine-strike/three-strikeout half-inning.

On August 14 1971, at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium in a night game, he pitched his only career no-hitter in an 11-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

He was the second pitcher in MLB history (after Walter Johnson) to strike out over 3,000 batters, and the first to do so in the National League. He accomplished this at home, at Busch Stadium on July 17, 1974, the victim being César Gerónimo of the Cincinnati Reds. (Gerónimo would also become Nolan Ryan's 3,000th strikeout victim, in 1980.)

Gibson was also one of the best-hitting pitchers of all time. In 1970, he hit .303 for the season (over 100 points higher than teammate Dal Maxvill) and was sometimes used by the Cardinals as a pinch-hitter. For his career, he batted .206 with 24 home runs (plus two more in the World Series) and 144 RBIs. He is one of only two pitchers since World War II with a career batting average of .200 or higher and with at least 20 home runs and 100 RBIs (fellow Hall of Famer and former Major League manager Bob Lemon, who had broken into the majors as a third baseman, is the other).

Gibson was above average as a baserunner and thus was occasionally used as a pinch runner, despite managers' general reluctance to risk injury to pitchers in this way.

Gibson was known for pitching inside to batters. Dusty Baker received the following advice from Hank Aaron about facing Gibson:

"'Don't dig in against Bob Gibson, he'll knock you down. He'd knock down his own grandmother if she dared to challenge him. Don't stare at him, don't smile at him, don't talk to him. He doesn't like it. If you happen to hit a home run, don't run too slow, don't run too fast. If you happen to want to celebrate, get in the tunnel first. And if he hits you, don't charge the mound, because he's a Gold Glove boxer.' I'm like, 'Damn, what about my 17-game hitting streak?' That was the night it ended."

Gibson was surly and brusque even with his teammates. When his catcher Tim McCarver went to the mound for a conference, Gibson brushed him off, saying "The only thing you know about pitching is you can't hit it. Get back behind the plate unless you want the medic to carry you back to the dugout."

Gibson maintained this image even into retirement. In 1992, an Old-Timers' game was played at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego as part of the All-Star Game festivities, and Reggie Jackson hit a home run off Gibson. When the 1993 edition of the game was played, the 57-year-old Gibson threw the 47-year-old Jackson a brushback pitch. The pitch was not especially fast and did not hit Jackson, but the message was delivered, and Jackson did not get a hit.

Although a dominating pitcher never known for laughing or smiling during a game, but for a perpetual scowl, Gibson was also a man of great humility. He never claimed to be "the best," just "the hardest working." To this day he claims both Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver are the two best pitchers he ever faced, although both Ryan and Seaver return the compliment, each stating Gibson was the toughest competitor either had ever seen.

» Former Blue Jay Cecil Fielder signs with Detroit as a free agent after spending last season with Japan's Hanshin Tigers, where he hit 38 home runs.

The Braves trade outfielder Brian Jordan (.295, 25, 97), pitcher Odalis Perez (7-8, 4.91), and a minor leaguer to the Dodgers to acquire All-Star outfielder Gary Sheffield (.311, 36, 100). The deal ends Sheffield's stormy tenure with Los Angeles.

resources for these posting are from nationalpastime.com, Wikipedia, thedeadballera.com, and baseballibrary.com

01-16-2008, 10:59 AM
Jan 16

» Washington is admitted to the National League, bringing the membership up to seven teams.

» Dallas catcher Charlie Bradley is shot dead by Tom Angus because Bradley had won the favor of Angus's old girlfriend.

» Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, and three other labor leaders pledge support for the PL at a league meeting in Philadelphia.

» The National League, AA, and Western Association sign a new National Agreement calling for the creation of a 3-man Board of Control to settle disputes between clubs and leagues.

» It seems simple enough on paper; the Red Sox buy OF George Stone from Washington. The Browns reclaim Frank Huelsman from the Senators, where he had been on loan, and send him along with OF Jesse Burkett to Boston for Stone. Boston then sends Huelsman back to Washington in payment for George Stone. This is Huelsman's 4th trade in eight months and his playing for four American League teams in one season will not be matched until Paul Lehner does it in 1951.

Frank Huelsman

Huelsman played for three other AL teams in 1904 before landing a regular position for the Senators, but after hitting .271 for Washington in 1905 he returned to the minors. He was a star in the minor leagues, compiling a .342 batting