Johnny Murphy becomes the Mets’ third general manager in franchise history when he replaces Bing Devine. During his tenure, the team begins to benefit from their talented farm system, especially its young pitching prospects which include Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, and Gary Gentry, all who will play a major role in the club’s World Championship in 1969.
1972 – Roberto Clemente’s final home run comes on his final swing during a batting demonstration in front of “300 admiring kids during a baseball clinic at the town of Aguadilla,” reports United Press International, according to whom Clemente hits “the fifth pitch about 350 feet out of left field at the local park.” Clemente’s fellow Pirate and fellow Puerto Rican Fernando Gonzalez is on hand and his recollections will later be recorded by Clemente biographer Kal Wagenheim: “That day in Aguadilla, he spent the whole afternoon under the sun – giving a clinic for the kids. At one point he was giving batting pointers, and there was a kid – about eighteen years old – pitching to him. The people in the stands kept yelling, ‘Roberto, bet you can’t hit a homer!’ Finally, on the last pitch, he smacked the ball right out of the stadium. He gave the kid the bat as a souvenir, and somebody else got the ball. Afterward, they erected a small monument to mark the spot where the ball fell. I think that was the last time Roberto swung a bat, and he hit a home run.”
1984 – Free agent pitcher Ed Whitson, who went 14-8 for the National League champion San Diego Padres, begins a nightmarish association with the New York Yankees by signing a five-year $4.4 million contract. By the middle of his second year with the club, Whitson gets so rattled in Yankee Stadium that manager Lou Piniella will refuse to use him in home games. He can only pitch on the road. The Yankees will ship him back to San Diego, where he will have four solid seasons.
After 21 years being heard on WABC, the New York Yankees will broadcast their spring training, regular-season and postseason games on all-news station WCBS-AM which is owned by Infinity Broadcasting. The five-year deal with the Yankees’ YES Network, created earlier this year, is worth approximately $50 million.
2004 – Free agent OF Moises Alou, who hit .293 with 39 home runs and 106 RBI for the Chicago Cubs, is signed by the San Francisco Giants to a one-year contract with an option for a second year. It will be the second time Alou will be managed by his dad Felipe as he did playing with the Montreal Expos from 1992 to 1996.
2018 – Veteran DH Nelson Cruz ends an excellent four-season run with the Seattle Mariners by signing a one-year deal with the Twins for $14.3 million. The Mariners are in full rebuilding mode and have no room for the 38-year-old slugger, even though he was still one of their most productive hitters last season.