1911 – Future Hall of Fame catcher Josh Gibson is born in Buena Vista, Georgia. Although record-keeping in the Negro Leagues is somewhat nebulous, Gibson will become the leading home run hitter in all of black baseball. His legendary power will earn him the nickname, “The Black Babe Ruth.” Gibson wil begin his pro career at age 18 with the Homestead Grays before becoming a star with the Pittsburgh Crawfords.
Given the outpouring of public support for the popular players and the failure of the accuser to publicly defend his claim at a hearing last month, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis announces Ty Cobb’s former Tiger teammate Dutch Leonard had accused the Georgia Peach and Indian outfielder Tris Speaker of betting on a fixed baseball game played six years ago. The commissioner will declare the matter closed, giving both future Hall of Famers a clean bill of health.
1944 – Official National League statistics published today show Brooklyn’s Dixie Walker at the top of the hitters with a .357 batting average, ahead of Stan Musial at .347. In an even closer vote than occurred in the American League, the National League Most Valuable Player Award goes to fielding wizard shortstop Marty Marion of the Cardinals, who tallies one more vote than Cubs slugger Bill Nicholson (189). The Cardinals committed only 112 errors and fielded .982, both better than previous records held by the 1940 Cincinnati Reds. Marion is the third different Cardinals player in three years to win MVP honors.
After Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh rejects the A’s offer to deal Roger Maris for shortstop Dick Groat, Pittsburgh obtains Gino Cimoli along with Tom Cheney from the Cardinals for right-hander Ron Kline. Maris, who goes to the Yankees, will enjoy the first of his two consecutive MVP years in New York, but Groat will play a key role for the World Champion Bucs next season, and he will also be named the most valuable player of his league.
1960 – Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley announces the club will not have a manager for the next season, but will instead use a college of coaches, who will take turns managing the ballclub. The original eight coaches include Charlie Grimm, Ripper Collins and Rube Walker. Before the season is over, Vedie Himsl, Harry Craft, El Tappe and Lou Klein will have taken turns leading the team. The results will be disastrous for the Cubs, who will finish the season 35 games out of first place, but the experiment will be repeated in 1962 before being shelved for good.
Twenty-two-year-old Royals pitcher Mike Jones, who was 6-3 with a 3.20 ERA in the second half of the season and was projected to be the club’s third 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.
1999 – The Dodgers are fined $50,000 and banned from scouting any Dominican Republic players for one year as a penalty for having signed third baseman 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, but the ruling will stand.
2000 – Hoping to pick it up where it all started, 41-year old OF Tim Raines agrees to a minor league contract with the Montreal Expos, the team he broke in with in 1979. After retiring in Yankees camp during spring training with a .295 career batting average, Raines failed to make this year’s U.S. Olympic team.
Hoping to pick it up where his success started, 41 year-old outfielder Tim Raines agrees to a minor league contract with the Expos, the team he played for as a rookie in 1979. After retiring in Yankee camp during spring training with a .295 career batting average, he failed to make this year’s U.S. Olympic team.
With the announcement Oakland 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 from 44,073 to 34,179, is less than Fenway Park, which has been recently increased to accommodate 38,805 denizens of Red Sox Nation.
Four persons come out to accuse long-time Philadelphia, PA columnist and Spink Award winner Bill Conlin of having molested them when they were children. Conlin abruptly retires from the Philadelphia Daily News, while the BBWAA is criticized for issuing an initial statement that defends its long-time member without expressing any sympathy for the alleged victims.
The Dodgers pull off a big trade with the Reds, sending four major leaguers – OFs Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, P Alex Wood and C Kyle Farmer, in return for P Homer Bailey and prospects Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs. The main purpose of the trade for L.A. appears to be to clear roster and salary space in order to sign free agent OF Bryce Harper, as they release Bailey immediately after acquiring him, buying off $28 million he is still owed on his contract.
The Associated Press reports that the average salary in the major leagues went down last season, for the first time since 2004, albeit by a very small amount, according to data provided by the Players Association. The typical player took home $4.095 million, down from $4.097 million the year before. The other times salaries had failed to rise were during collusion in the mid-1980s and after the devastating 1994 strike. In 2018, teams had been notably reticent to offer salaries to free agents, with a huge number being still unsigned when spring training opened and many forced to accept salaries below their previous market value.