After designing the device last season to protect his team’s promising, but skittish, catcher James Tyng, Fredrick Thayer receives a patent for his innovative invention, the catcher’s mask. The Harvard captain, who will never play in a major league game, designed an oblong wire frame modeled after a fencing mask with eyes holes that supports a series of strategically-placed pads made from animal skins.
1903 – Charles (Chick) Hafey is born in Berkeley, California. Hafey will make his major league debut in 1924 with the St. Louis Cardinals. During a 13-year career with the Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds, Hafey will hit .317, including a National League batting crown with .349 in 1931, and will be part of two World Series championships in 1926 and 1931. Hafey will enter the Hall of Fame in 1971.
Dissatisfaction with the National Commission system comes to a head. The National League votes 6-2 for a one-man commission while the American League votes 6-2 for the status quo. Chairman Garry Herrmann resigns, stating his belief that no club owner should serve on the governing board. When the two leagues cannot agree on a chairman, it is left to the league presidents to decide disputes.
The National League announces it will join the AL in awarding a thousand dollars to the player selected by writers as the league’s Most Valuable Player. Dazzy Vance, who posts a 28-6 record along with an ERA of 2.16 for the Dodgers, easily outpoints Rogers Hornsby to become the Senior Circuit’s first MVP.
After leading his A’s to a world championship, Connie Mack becomes the first Philadelphian sports figure to receive the prestigious Edward W. Bok Prize. The honor, now known as the Philadelphia Award, recognizes distinguished Philadelphians for their achievements in education, industry, law, politics, science, medicine, philosophy, and the creative arts.
1932 – George Weiss is named head of the Yankees’ new minor league system. Weiss will eventually become the general manager of the Yankees, and along with manager Casey Stengel, will oversee an unprecedented five consecutive World Championships from 1949 to 1953. Weiss will eventually gain election to the Hall of Fame in 1971.
Former Texarkana outfielder Gordon Houston is the first professional ballplayer to be killed in WW II. The minor league batting champion, who became a full-time fighter pilot following the attack on Pearl Harbor, dies at the age of 25 when his Republic P-43 Lancer crashes at Washington’s McChord Field, after leading a sortie along the West Coast, looking for Japanese submarines.
The plan of Marv Davis to buy the A’s from Charlie Finley is thwarted when the American League offers to buy out the Oakland Coliseum lease. The billionaire businessman, who will also make failed bids for the NFL’s Cowboys and Broncos, had hoped to move the franchise from the City by the Bay to Denver.
Arbitrator Raymond Goetz officially declares Carlton Fisk a free agent, citing the Boston Red Sox had violated the CBA by not mailing the catcher’s contract by the December 20th deadline as specified in the agreement. Next month, the 33 year-old future Hall of Fame backstop will sign a $3.5 million deal to catch for the White Sox this upcoming season.
With two outs and a 7-6 deficit in the bottom of the 9th, Paul Gorman of the Gold Coast Cougars cracks a two-run homer off Sydney Storm closer Graham Cassel (a future Baseball Australia Hall of Famer) for a dramatic ending to game 1 of the 1998-1999 Australian Baseball League finals. Gold Coast will win a slugfest tomorrow to wrap it up.
With unanimous approval of the sale of the Florida Marlins to Jeffrey Loria, the former owner of the Montreal Expos, and the MLB’s acquisition of the Montreal franchise, many personnel changes are announced. The Expos name Frank Robinson as their manager, Tony Tavares as president, along with Omar Minaya as the general manager, while south of the border, former Expo skipper Jeff Torborg will pilot the Marlins, with Larry Beinfest as the GM, and David Samson taking over the duties of team president.
2002 – One day after the acquisition of the Montreal Expos by Major League Baseball as a result of the sale of the Florida Marlins to former Expos owner Jeffrey Loria, a number of personnel changes are announced: the Expos name Frank Robinson as manager, Tony Tavares as president of the club and Omar Minaya as the major leagues’ first Hispanic general manager; south of the border, former Expos manager Jeff Torborg will manage the Marlins with former Expos’ interim general manager Larry Beinfest as the GM and David Samson taking over the duties of team president.
Federal Judge James Holderman gives the Cubs and the owners of rooftop bleachers which provide fans a view of Wrigley Field a year to settle their dispute. The team believes the seating provided above the field via rooftops directly competes with the club for ticket sales revenue, and the surrounding neighbors, in turn, have not been sympathetic to the team’s expansion plans.
2003 – Federal judge James Holderman gives the Chicago Cubs and the owners of rooftop bleachers which provide fans a view of Wrigley Field a year to settle their dispute. The team believes the seating provided above the field on the rooftops directly competes with the club for ticket sales and the surrounding neighbors, in turn, have not been sympathetic to team’s expansion plans.
The Major League Baseball Players Association asks the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its 2-1 decision which would allow the names and urine samples of more than 100 players who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs to be made available to authorities investigating the use of steroids in baseball. The 1993 samples were collected by MLB to gauge the prevalence of steroid use with players and owners agreeing the results would be confidential.
“While Alex deserves credit for publicly confronting the issue, there is no valid excuse for using such substances, and those who use them have shamed the game.” – BUD SELIG, commenting Alex Rodriguez’s admission of using PEDs.Three days after Alex Rodriguez apologizes for using steroids, commissioner Bud Selig chastises the Yankee superstar, and all the other players, who used such substances, for bringing shame to the game. The third baseman’s apology followed a SI.com report that he was one of 104 players who tested positive in tests taken in 2003 to determine the extent of steroid use in the national pastime.
Corey Hart (.260, 12, 48) is awarded a raise from $3.25 million to $4.8 million in the Brewers’ first salary arbitration hearing in a dozen years. In the first case to use the process this year, Milwaukee’s offer of $4.15 million to their 27 year-old right-fielder, an All-Star in 2008, was rejected by a panel of arbitrators.
On the second day of Pool A of the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, held in Sydney, Australia, New Zealand eliminates the Philippines with a 17 – 7 mercy rule win. It’s harder than it looks however, as the Philippines have leads of 4 – 3 and 7 – 4 before New Zealand explodes for 6 runs in the 6th and doesn’t stop scoring after that. Boss Moanaroa leads the Kiwi offense by going 4 for 5 with two doubles and a three-run homer, while 18-year-old high school student Jimmy Boyce picks up the win in relief. In the other game, Australia rides its superior pitching to a 4 – 1 win over South Africa, as four pitchers combine to allow 6 hits while striking out 11. Australia jumps on former Olympian Carl Michaels for an early 3 – 0 lead as its first four batters of the game get base hits.
Pitcher Jenrry Mejia becomes the first player to be permanently banned from baseball for a third failed drug test. In the midst of serving a 162-game suspension for a second offense dating back to the previous July, Mejia again tests positive for a banned steroid, prompting the unprecedented punishment under Major League Baseball’s joint drug treatment and prevention program. He will still be eligible to apply for reinstatement after two years – if he trespasses no more.
1991 – Astros owner John McMullen announces he has cleared the way for Houston to host the 1992 Republican National Convention at the Astrodome. The GOP has already selected Houston but there are details to resolve. National League President Bill Giles and Players Union chief Donald Fehr both voice their disapproval of the proposed 30-day road trip that the Astros will take in order to free up the Dome for the convention.