1914 – Declining to remain with the Chicago Cubs as a player after being fired as manager, second baseman Johnny Evers is traded to the Boston Braves for second baseman Bill Sweeney and cash considerations. Evers will have one good season left, leading the “Miracle Braves” to the National League pennant and winning the Chalmers Award for Most Valuable Player. Meanwhile, Sweeney will sour in Chicago.
New York Giants president Harry Hempstead rejects the International League’s request for permission to put a team in the Bronx. The shift of the IL’s Jersey City to the nearby borough, already the home to the Yankees, was conceived as a way to prop up the failing minor league franchise and perhaps as an opportunity to thwart the invasion of the Federal League into the Big Apple.
With rookie Jim Bottomley in the wings, the St. Louis Cardinals send first baseman Jack Fournier to the Brooklyn Robins in a trade for catcher Hy Myers. The veteran Fournier says he’ll quit if he has to move, but gives in and plays another five seasons. Fournier, with 22 home runs this year, will finish second in the National League, but his 20 stolen bases in 43 attempts – the 20th century worst percentage for anyone with 20 steals – will barely qualify him for the 20-20 club.
1928 – The New York Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates swap pitchers: Burleigh Grimes for Vic Aldridge. Grimes, 19-8 with the Giants last season, will lead the National League in wins this year with 25 after his return to Pittsburgh. Aldridge holds out till May 3, and then will win just four games for New York.
1937 – Philadelphia Athletics owner Connie Mack is interviewed by Boake Carter, one of the most famous journalists of the period, in a television demonstration by the Philco company to display its new technology. It is the first-ever baseball interview on television, although the audience consists only of selected guests at the Philadelphia Cricket Club, a few miles away from Philco’s studio.
1950 – Hall of Fame outfielder Hazen (Kiki) Cuyler dies in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at the age of 50. Considered an outstanding defensive player and baserunner, Cuyler was a .321 hitter with 2,299 hits and 328 stolen bases during an 18-year career. At the time of his death, Cuyler was serving as a coach for the Boston Red Sox.
Before the start of spring training, Don Zimmer and right-hander Bob Miller, both who reside in the St. Pete area, become the first players to don a Mets jersey when they model the club’s away uniform tops for a photo shoot at Huggins Field. The expansion team’s inaugural third baseman, who will be traded to the Reds in May for southpaw Bob Miller, poses with his nine year-old son Tommy on his shoulders.
1965 – Braves officials, who already intend to move to Atlanta, GA for 1966, propose to pay five cents from each ticket sold to a fund for the purpose of bringing a new major league team to Milwaukee, WI. Teams, Inc., a civic group, accepts the offer, buys out the park for Opening Day, and stages “Stand Up for Milwaukee Day”.
The Cubs trade two-time NL batting champ Bill Madlock along with Rod Sperring to the Giants for Bobby Murcer, Steve Ontiveros, and a minor leaguer. During the 1979 season, San Francisco will trade the fiercely competitive ‘Mad Dog’ to the Pirates, where he will play a major role in the team’s world championship that season and will win two more batting crowns during his seven-year tenure in Pittsburgh.
1977 – The Chicago Cubs trade two-time National League batting champion Bill Madlock and infielder Rob Sperring to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Bobby Murcer, third baseman Steve Ontiveros, and a minor league pitcher. In 1976, Madlock led the NL with a .339 mark, while Murcer hit 23 home runs and 90 RBI. Madlock leaves Chicago having hit .336 for them, which ties him with Riggs Stephenson for the top career average in team history.
Ozzie Smith agrees to go to the Cardinals to complete the December deal that finally sends Gary Templeton to the Padres. An outside arbitrator, Tom Roberts, will determine ‘the Wizard of Oz’s’ Cardinal salary before the season starts, awarding the light-hitting Gold Glove shortstop $450,000, rather than the $750,000 he requested.
As thousands cheer, Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh’s 30 year-old sports venue, is imploded when electricity surges through a detonating cord connected to more than 4,800 pounds of dynamite in 2,500 spots in the former home of the Pirates and NFL’s Steelers. Roberto Clemente’s 3,000th hit, as well as Mike Schmidt’s 500th career home run, are part of the historic park’s legacy.
2002 – Major League Baseball owners approve the sales of the Florida Marlins and Montreal Expos. Florida owner John Henry is selling the Marlins to Jeffrey Loria for $158.5 million, while Loria is selling the Expos to Baseball Expos LP, a limited partnership owned by the other 29 teams, for $120 million. The sales won’t officially close until later this week.
Jose Canseco’s controversial book, Juiced, is made available in selected markets in anticipation of his appearance on CBS’s Sixty Minutes. The self-proclaimed godfather of the steroids in baseball alleges Mark McGwire, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, and Ivan Rodriguez all used illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
Jose Canseco’s controversial book, Juiced, is made available in certain markets in anticipation to his appearance on the television news show 60 Minutes. The self-proclaimed godfather of steroids alleges former teammates Mark McGwire, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro and Ivan Rodriguez, among others, all used illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
The New York Mets announce their former All-Star and Rookie of the Year Darryl Strawberry will rejoin the team as a special outfield instructor during spring training. Strawberry will also join former 1986 World Champion teammates Gary Carter, Lenny Dykstra, Howard Johnson and Tim Teufel at Shea Stadium on February 27 when single-game tickets go on sale.
Avoiding salary arbitration, AL’s reigning batting champ Joe Mauer (.347, 13, 84) and the Twins come to terms on a $33 million, four-year contract. The hometown 23 year-old All-Star backstop is the first catcher to lead the majors in batting average and the first to win the batting title in the American League.
2009 – Miguel Tejada is the first star player convicted of a crime related to steroids. The 2002 American League MVP pleads guilty to lying to Congress when he said in 2005 that he did not know about any players being involved with steroids. Adam Piatt had later admitted Tejada had discussed steroids with him.
Ernie Harwell, the long-time voice of the Tigers, will receive the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting during WFUV Radio’s Spring Gala at Fordham University. The 92 year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster is the third recipient of the VSLA, named for the former alum and Dodger broadcast icon, joining inaugural honoree Vin Scully (2008) and Dick Enberg (2009).
The Mets round out their squad as spring training is about to get under way, signing veteran Japanese lefthander Hisanori Takahashi, 1B Mike Jacobs and C Shawn Riggans to minor league contracts. Takahashi, unrelated to Ken Takahashi who pitched for New York last year, was 10-6 with a 2.94 ERA with the Yomiuri Giants in 2009; he joins Ryota Igarashi, who was signed earlier this off-season, on the Mets’ pitching staff.
Two long-time baseball icons officially hang their spikes today, although neither played last season. Pitcher Tom Glavine, after 305 wins and two Cy Young Awards, accepts a position in the Atlanta Braves’ front office as a special assistant to team President John Schuerholz, putting an end to any desire for a comeback attempt, which would have required undergoing another arm surgery. For his part, 1B/DH Frank Thomas, nicknamed “The Big Hurt”, veteran of 19 seasons during which he hit .301 with 521 homers and 1704 RBI, announces he will not attempt a comeback either. He last played for the Oakland Athletics in 2008 but could find no takers for his services last season.
2011 – The Perth Heat win the 2010-2011 Australian Baseball League title, sweeping the Adelaide Bite in three games. In the finale, Ben Moore tosses a 10-strikeout, 4-hit gem for Perth, allowing only one 9th-inning run. Paul Mildren matches him for four innings before folding and Perth goes on to win, 7 – 1. Mitch Graham drives in two, Robbie Widlansky hits a two-run homer and Tim Kennelly gets three hits for the victors.
2015 – Little League International decides to strip the Jackie Robinson West team of Chicago, IL of its United States Championship won at the 2014 Little League World Series because it used players from outside its territory and manipulated district boundaries in order to field a stronger team. Various officials from the district are also suspended for their actions.
2016 – The 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers start with the first pool in Sydney, Australia. South Africa tops the New Zealand national team, 7-1, as Dylan Unsworth allows two hits in eight shutout innings and Brett Willemburg produces three runs. The host Australian national team has a 11-1 mercy rule rout of Philippines, as Steven Kent gets the win and James Beresford goes 4 for 5 with a run and three RBI.
2018 – The Brisbane Bandits win their third straight Australian Baseball League title. In the 2017-2018 finals, they face the Canberra Cavalry in a winner-take-all Game 3. Travis Blackley allows one hit in six shutout innings for the win while #9 hitter Adam Weisenburger hits a three-run homer and Mitch Nilsson adds a solo shot in the 4 – 2 victory.
2019 – Kyler Murray, the 9th overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft by the Oakland A’s, announces that he is giving up baseball to concentrate on becoming an NFL quarterback. Murray, an outfielder, was originally committed to give professional baseball a try and accepted a $4.66 signing bonus from the A’s, but his plans changed after a tremendous season as a junior at the University of Oklahoma that saw him win the Heisman Trophy as the best college football player in the nation. He has declared for the NFL draft and is expected to be a top pick.
2009 – Miguel Tejada pleads guilty in Washington D.C. to lying to congressional investigators about performance enhancing drugs. He claims he also purchased but did not use human growth hormone which he bought from former Oakland teammate Adam Piatt. He is later sentenced to one year probation, 100 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine.
1944 – Ollie Brown is born in Tuscaloosa, AL. The outfielder plays just 27 games as an Astro in 1974 and bats .217. Hailed as “the next Willie Mays” when he came up with the Giants, Brown has a good 13 seasons in the bigs but could never live up to the lofty promotion, something with which teammate Cesar Cedeno could sympathize.