At the National League meetings at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, NY, 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 meeting on the second day. Mrs. Britton took no voice in the meeting. She allowed President Edward A. Steininger to do all the voting.”
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.
1948 – 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 major league season in New York. 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 next season.
1969 – The Red Sox send 1B Syd O’Brien and pitcher Billy Farmer and cash to the White Sox for P Gary Peters and C Don Pavletich. Boston also picks up 3B Tom Matchick from the Tigers for Dalton Jones. Farmer will announce his retirement and in March the White Sox will replace him with P Jerry Janeski.
The Blue Jays sign free agent P Roger Clemens (10-13) to a 3-year contract worth $24.75 million. The Red Sox’s last-minute offer falls short and The Rocket’s flirtation with the Yankees comes to naught. However, the Sox are successful in retaining Tim Naehring, who was minutes away from signing with Cleveland.
In what is believed to be baseball’s first 4-team swap since 1985, the Rockies obtain 3B Jeff Cirillo, P Rolando Arrojo and Scott Karl, and IF Aaron Ledesma, the Devil Rays obtain 3B Vinny Castilla, the Brewers obtain P Jamey Wright and Jimmy Haynes and C Henry Blanco, and the Athletics obtain P Justin Miller.
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 Yankees sign free agent 1B Jason Giambi to a seven-year deal worth $120 million. The 2000 MVP and this year’s runner-up drove in 120 runs, hit 38 home runs, and had a .342 batting average for the wild card Oakland A’s this season. In another move, New York acquires OF John Vander Wal from San Francisco in exchange for P Jay Witasick.
The Dodgers trade 38-year-old Kevin Brown (14-9, 2.39) to the Yankees 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.
“We can jump to this conclusion: that steroids have sullied the game. My hope is that this report is a part of putting the steroid era of baseball behind us.” – GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. president and former owner of the Rangers. The Mitchell Report, a document of 409 pages as well as a paper trail of 115,000 copies of receipts, canceled checks, telephone records, and e-mail messages, is released. The much anticipated investigative missive, the work of former Senator George Mitchell and his committee, calls the steroid era in the sport a collective failure and names 89 former and present big league players who allegedly used illegal, performance-enhancing drugs, including potential Hall of Famers Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Gary Sheffield.
“Roger Clemens adamantly, vehemently or whatever adjective can be used, denies he has ever used steroids or whatever the word is for improper substance. There has never been one shred of tangible evidence that he ever used these substances and yet he is being slandered today.” – RANDY HENDRICKS, Roger Clemen’s lawyer denying claims made in the Mitchell Report. In a statement released by his attorney, Randy Hendricks, Roger Clemens vehemently denies the allegations put forth by the Mitchell Report concerning his use of performance-enhancing drugs. Brian McNamee, the former trainer of the seven-time Cy Young Award winner, states in the report he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone at least 16 times while Clemens was a member of the 1998 Blue Jays and the 2000-01 Yankees.
The Associated Press reports a few more features of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement signed earlier this month. The All-Star break will go from three days to four beginning in 2013, with the Mid-Summer Classic being played on a Wednesday; teams will no longer be allowed to have players on the 40-man roster share a room during spring training; and players are forbidden from displaying tattoos with corporate logos.
The Marlins seem to be conducting yet another fire sale as they send OF Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals for P Sandy Alcantara and three other prospects. Unimpressed, agent Scott Boras says that the Marlins “have turned into a pawn shop,” as they have already traded OF Giancarlo Stanton and 2B Dee Gordon in cost-cutting moves this off-season.
The 2018 Rule V Draft is held to conclude the meetings. Richie Martin, a shortstop from the Athletics organization is the first of 13 players selected by a major league club, in his case the Orioles. However, the most intriguing selection is made by the Blue Jays, who pluck 18-year-old P Elvis Luciano from the Royals. While he has never pitched above Rookie-class, he is described as having electrifying stuff and was made a available in spite of his limited professional experience because of a contract loophole.
2007 – The Mitchell Report on steroids in baseball is released, naming those players whom there was either evidence or testimony of using performance enhancing drugs. A handful of former Astros, including Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte are named. Newly-acquired shortstop Miguel Tejada also makes the list. Clemens, through an attorney, denies using steroids.
1998 – Efforts to bring Texas legend Roger Clemens to the Astros collapse in spectacular fashion when General Manager Gerry Hunsicker blasts additional contract demands made by Clemens’ Houston-based agents during a press conference at the winter meetings. It was a rare stipulation in Clemens’ contract with the Toronto Blue Jays that allowed him to demand a trade. The Astros are willing to part with outfielder Derek Bell and pitcher Scott Elarton among others to acquire Clemens until they are informed the pitcher is also demanding a $43 million dollar contract extension rather than the $16 million dollars left on his two-year deal. Talks quickly reduce to name-calling. Owner Drayton McLane says he still hopes to make a deal but decides to stand with his negotiators. Ten days later, Clemens withdraws the trade demand but later invokes it when a deal is arranged with the New York Yankees.