This Day In Baseball December 31
Baseball history on December 31 includes Major League baseball players born that day of the year, Major League baseball players who died on that date, baseball players who made their Major League debut on that date, and Major League baseball players who appeared in their final game that date.
1984 – Despite six weeks of negotiations, the Basic Agreement between the players and owners that was reached after the 1981 strike expires. The players are now seeking increased contributions to their pension plan from the clubs’ additional television revenues, while the owners are hoping to slow the rapid growth of player salaries.
2004 – After the Devil Rays decline his 2005 $8 million contract option, free agent first baseman Tino Martinez, who hit .262 with 23 home runs and 76 RBI for Tampa Bay last season, signs a one-year, $3 million contract to rejoin the New York Yankees. Martinez played in New York from 1996 through 2001 before being replaced by Jason Giambi. This time, he is acquired as insurance in the event Giambi’s fragile health, suspected by some sportswriters to be the result of steroid use, continues to fail.
After the Devil Rays decline his 2005 $8 million contract option, Tino Martinez (.262, 23, 76) signs a one-year, $3 million contract to rejoin the Yankees. The popular 37 year-old first baseman, acquired as insurance in the event Jason Giambi’s (the player who replaced him) health continues to fail, played in the Bronx from 1996-2001.
2005 – Today, Roberto Clemente Jr. will head to Nicaragua to distribute humanitarian aid, mirroring a trip that claimed the life of his father 33 years ago. He had planned a similar effort last year, but the December 26th tsunami convinced him to direct the relief supplies collected to affected areas of the Pacific Rim.
The Cubs agree to a $15 million, three-year deal with Texas free-agent Marlon Byrd (.283, 20, 89) to fill the void in the outfield created when an agitated Milton Bradley was traded to Seattle. Chicago’s new outfielder will patrol centerfield, replacing Kosuke Fukudome, who will move over to right field.
The Red Sox, a team which has tried seven regular shortstops since trading Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs in 2004, sign Marco Scutaro to a deal that guarantees the 34 year-old infielder to a $12.5 million, two-year deal to fill the void. The former utility player with the Mets and A’s had a career year last season for the Blue Jays after becoming their everyday shortstop with Toronto in 2008.
During year-end celebrations, a shooting takes place in Luperon, a town on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, leaving a 25-year-old man dead and his 17-year-old brother wounded. Three days later, police announce that the main suspect is Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon, who claims his innocence but goes in hiding in his hometown of Santiago. He will surrender to police on January 3rd.