On December 16 on this day in baseball history, there were over 100 notable events, Birthdays and Deaths, all on December 16 on this Day In Baseball history.
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1889 – The Players League is formally organized with Colonel E.A. McAlpin of New York as president. The league will not allow player transfers without the player’s consent, excess profits will be split between the capitalists and the players, and prize money will be awarded to the teams in the order of their finish.
Court proceedings in Charlie Finley’s $10 million damage suit against Commissioner Bowie Kuhn begin in Chicago. At issue is Kuhn’s voiding of Finley’s attempted player sales last June. The proceedings will take 15 days, and the decision will take three months, but it will uphold the Commissioner’s authority to act “in the best interests of baseball.”
The Giants obtain their first Japanese player since 1964 when Masanori Murakami became the first ballplayer from Japan to appear in a major league game. San Francisco trades starting pitcher Shawn Estes (9-8, 4.02) to the Mets in exchange for outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo (.267, 10, 56) and infielder Desi Relaford (.302, 8, 36), who will be traded the Mariners for David Bell.
After declining the $4.6 million two-year December 7th contract offer by the Yankees, which he only had 15 minutes to consider, Mike Stanton (7-1, 3.00, 6 saves) still decides to stay in town by agreeing to a $9 million, three-year, no-trade contract with the cross-town rival Mets. The All-Star reliever wasn’t offered salary arbitration by the Bronx Bombers after he failed to respond to their ultimatum.
After being invited to the Dominican Republic by President Hipolito Mejia, Japanese home run king Sadaharu Oh meets one his favorite players, island resident Sammy Sosa. The Dominican outfielder, who is one homer shy of the coveted 500, will have to hit several hundred more to reach the mark of 868 set by the 62-year-old during his 22 seasons playing for the Yomiuri Giants.
In a deal, involving four teams and nine players, and resulting in two Cy Young Award winners getting traded, the Phillies send three top minor leaguers, Travis d’Arnaud, Kyle Drabek (son of former CYA winner Doug Drabek), and Michael Taylor, who will be traded to get A’s third baseman Brett Wallace, to the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay. After securing their new ace, Philadelphia sends their former ace, Cliff Lee, to the Mariners to restock their minor league system by getting prospects outfielder Tyson Gillies and right-handers Phillippe Aumont and Juan Ramirez from Seattle.
The Athletics trade for OF Josh Willingham with the Nationals, giving up youngsters Henry Rodriguez and Corey Brown in return. The patient power-hitting Willingham, like newly-signed DH Hideki Matsui, is a throwback to the “Moneyball” type of player whom A’s general manager Billy Beane favored in the 2000s.
In a Mexican Pacific League game, OF Jeff Salazar of the Yaquis de Obregon is on second base after a steal when P Alejandro Martinez of the Aguilas de Mexicali hits him in the leg on a pick-off attempt. While, the ball rolls in to the outfield, Salazar and 2B Oswaldo Morejon begin a heated conversation that turns into a fight, which ends with Morejon delivering a knock-out punch to Salazar. With Salazar lying unconscious behind the bag, the benches clear, resulting in the ejection of both players, and six suspensions being handed out.
The Mets trade Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey to Toronto, provided the Jays can reach a contract extension with Dickey. They will do so on December 17th, the two sides agreeing to a two-year deal worth $25 million, that will make the deal official. Cs Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas accompany Dickey to Toronto, while Cs Travis d’Arnaud and John Buck and Ps Noah Syndergaard and Wuilmer Becerra head to the Big Apple.
Torii Hunter signs a two-year, $26 million contract with the Tigers, the team the free-agent clearly wanted to play for after leaving the Angels. The deal, completed in less than an hour, brings the well-respected Gold Glove outfielder to the Motor City in the pursuit of a World Championship, a prize yet to be realized in the All-Star’s 16-year major league career.
The Dodgers sign free agent P Brandon McCarthy to a four-year deal worth $48 million. McCarthy had an excellent second half after being traded from the Diamondbacks to the Yankees in mid-year, leading to the big deal. The decision is even more costly for the Dodgers as they decide to release Brian Wilson to make room on the roster, swallowing the $9.5 million they owe him for the upcoming season.
A record number of six teams are assessed luxury tax payments for the coming season. Not surprisingly, the Dodgers ($31.8 million) and Yankees ($27.4 million) lead the pack of profligate spenders by a long shot. They are joined by Boston, Detroit, San Francisco and the Cubs, who are all assessed penalties under $5 million. The Yankees have been assessed a penalty in each of the 14 years the system has been in existence.
The Dodgers swing a big trade with the Braves, sending four players – 1B Adrian Gonzalez, SS Charlie Culberson and Ps Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy – in return for OF Matt Kemp, a former star with Los Angeles. The objective seems to be to clear some payroll to allow the Dodgers to bid on high-ticket free agents in a year’s time.
Dustin Fowler, whose season with the Yankees ended after just one inning when he tore his knee at Guaranteed Rate Field on June 29th, is suing the Chicago White Sox and the ballpark for negligence. He claims the injury was caused by improper padding on a protruding electrical box, creating a “hidden and undetectable hazard” that has put his career in danger.
2002 – Astros deal reliever Nelson Cruz to the Colorado Rockies for minor league outfielder Victor Hall. Cruz, who became disguntled with manager Jimy Williams, had fashioned a 5-9 record in 109 games over two seasons in Houston. Hall returns to Arizona, where the Rule V draftee was claimed, after spring training.
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