On December 17 this day in baseball history, there were over 200 notable events including Birthdays and Deaths, all on December 17 this Day In Baseball history.
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1891 – The American Association passes out of existence after ten years as a settlement is finally reached with the National League. Four AA clubs (St. Louis, Louisville, Washington, and Baltimore) join the National League’s existing eight clubs to form a twelve-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.
The Yankees get four-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.
At a joint meeting, a rule is changed that ends the practice of minor league teams selling star prospects to friendly Major League 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.
1942 – 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. 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 veteran C Rollie Hemsley.
December 17, 1954 – Milwaukee civic leader Fred Miller, credited with persuading Lou Perini to move the Braves from Boston to Milwaukee, died in a fiery plane crash shortly after takeoff from Mitchell Field. It was widely believed that Miller would have used his business connections to buy the Braves when Perini was ready to sell, thus keeping them in Milwaukee.
2000 – 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”. The deal will soon run into snags and the stadium will not be built for another decade, however.
After bringing the Giants to the brink of a world championship, Russ Ortiz (14-10, 3.78) is traded by San Francisco 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 of the World Series with 5 – 0 lead, but the Giants bullpen was unable to hold the lead and lost the series to the Angels in seven games.
2003 – After agreeing to basics weeks ago, the Yankees and 35-year-old Gary Sheffield (.330, 39, 132) finalize 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.
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 inks 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.
A three-team deal is concluded which includes 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 Javier 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) when 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.
A flurry of deals take place today before the holiday break rolls in. San Diego’s deal for SS Jason Bartlett, rumored for a week already, is officially completed, with prospects Adam Russell, Brandon Gomes, Cesar Ramos and Cole Figueroa heading to Tampa Bay. The Padres then complete the revamp of their infield by signing free agent 2B Orlando Hudson for two years. Hudson’s former team, the Twins, in turn announce they have reached a deal with Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka for three years.
After losing the right-hander to free-agency two seasons ago, the Cubs sign Kerry Wood, one of the franchise’s most popular players of the recent past, to a $1.5 million, one-year deal that includes bonuses for appearances and games finished. After attending Ron Santo’s funeral last week, the 33 year-old free-agent reached out to Tom Ricketts, letting the club owner know he would accept a modest offer to return to the North Side of Chicago.
The Padres acquire their former shortstop Jason Bartlett and a player to be named later by trading relievers Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos, along with minor league right-hander Brandon Gomes and infielder prospect Cole Figueroa to the Rays. At the end of the day, the Friars will finalize their deal with second baseman Orlando Hudson, completing the team’s new double-play combination for next season.
The Reds obtain right-hander Mat Latos from the Padres for four players that include two former first-round picks, infielder Yonder Alonso and catcher Yasmani Grandal, along with starting pitcher Edinson Volquez and minor leaguer Brad Boxberger. The deal fills a crucial need by bolstering Cincinnati’s rotation, but many observers believe the team gave up too much to acquire the quality starter.
In a seven-player swap, the Mets acquire highly-regarded minor leaguers Travis d’Arnaud, a catcher, and right-hander Noah Syndergaard, in addition to backstop John Buck and outfielder Wuilmer Becerra from the Blue Jays in exchange for right-handed pitcher R.A. Dickey and catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas. New York decided to deal their 38 year-old knuckleballer, last season’s NL Cy Young award winner with a year remaining on his contract, to procure two of Toronto’s top prospects.
The Yankees continue their off-season spending spree, signing free agent 2B Brian Roberts for one year and P Matt Thornton for two years. While those two deals are not particularly large, the team gets hit once again with the largest luxury tax payment in Major League Baseball at $28 million; the Dodgers are the only other team which has to pay the tax, being assessed at $11.4 million, while the Red Sox manage to just squeeze under the $178 million payroll threshold.
A busy off-season continues with the Rays pulling off a couple of trades involving 11 players. First, they get C Rene Rivera, 1B Jake Bauers and P Burch Smith from San Diego along with P Joe Ross and IF Trea Turner in return for OF Wil Myers, C Ryan Hanigan and Ps Gerardo Reyes and Jose Castillo, then they flip Ross and Turner to the Nationals for OF Steven Souza and P Travis Ott .
2017 – Nicaragua wins the baseball portion of the Central American Games for the 7th time in the 10 times baseball has been included. In the Gold Medal game, they edge Panama, 3-1. In a duel of former major league pitchers. Nicaragua’s Wilton López allows one run in five (Gerald Chin drives in Edgar Muñoz with an unearned run in the 1st) while Davis Romero gives up three in seven, two on an Elmer Reyes homer in the 4th. Roniel Raudes pitches four innings of one-hit, no-walk, six-K ball for the save. It is the second time in two months that Panama lost a Gold Medal game to a host nation, as they dropped the 2017 Bolivarian Games to Colombia in November. The Bronze Medal game is rained out in the second; Guatemala’s Fabián Vizcaíno goes deep off El Salvador’s Marcelo Parker to open the game and Alejandro Amezquita battles out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the frame before the rains start. The two countries share the Bronze as a result.
1990 – Reliever Dave Smith signs a free agent deal with the Chicago Cubs. Sadly, he would pass away 18 years later to the day of a heart attack. The bullpen closer in Houston since 1985, Smith would end an eleven-year run with the Astros, holding a 53-47 record and a 2.53 ERA to go with 199 saves. The veteran would not serve the Cubs well, posting an 0-6 record with 17 saves over two injury-plagued seasons.