In an effort to prevent hitters from rubbing out chalk lines, National League umpire Hank O’Day suggests white rubber strips be used to mark out the batter’s box. The former right-handed hurler and future Hall of Famer will interrupt his 30-year umpiring career to manage the Reds in 1912 and the Cubs in 1914, becoming the only person ever to play, manage, and umpire for a full season in the major leagues.
1914 – The Philadelphia Phillies trade star outfielder and team captain Sherry Magee to the Boston Braves for cash and two players to be named later. The two turn out to be Possum Whitted and Oscar Dugey. Magee led the National League in hits (171), doubles (39), RBI (103), and slugging average (.509), while hitting .314 with 15 home runs and 92 runs. On the first day of 1915 spring training at Macon, Georgia, Magee will step in a hole while shagging fly balls and break his collar bone. He will hit just .280 with two home runs and 87 RBI in 156 games.
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, will not begin until 1936.
1990 – The Senior Professional Baseball Association folds in the middle of its second season when the Fort Myers Sun Sox franchise collapses due to a financial dispute among club owners. The other five teams will quickly follow Fort Myers’ lead. The league, which starred retired major leaguer players like Amos Otis, Dave Kingman, and Vida Blue, was plagued by poor attendance, among many financial problems.
The Associated Press reports that baseball took a lot of shots in 2005 from politicians, commentators and players themselves as the sport struggled with steroids. MLB went from no drug policy in 2002 to anonymous testing in 2003, to counseling for positive tests in 2004, to a dozen 10-day suspensions this year. Starting next year, an initial positive test will result in a 50-game suspension, and players will be tested for amphetamines for the first time, with penalties for a second positive result.
2010 – Having lost Cliff Lee earlier this month, the Rangers sign another former Cy Young Award winner to bolster their starting rotation. Brandon Webb, who last pitched in April of 2009 before being felled by shoulder injuries is expected to be fit for spring training as he joins the defending American League champs. However, he won’t pitch at all in 2011.