The Cubs exchange second basemen with the Braves, sending future Hall of Famer Johnny Evers to Boston for Bill Sweeney. Boston gets the better of the deal when their new middle infielder plays a pivotal role in the club’s World Championship this season, garnering the Chalmers Award as the Most Valuable Player of the league.
A group of eight midwestern team owners meets at the Kansas City YMCA to organize the Negro National League, which will become one of the most successful ventures of its kind. Rube Foster, the owner, and manager of the American Giants will become president of the new circuit, leading to accusations of favoritism, which appear especially true when the schedule had Chicago play a disproportionate number of games at home.
In honor of their longtime owner and manager, the A’s rename their Philadelphia ballpark from Shibe Park to Connie Mack Stadium. During his 50-year tenure as Athletics skipper, the ‘Tall Tactician’ guided the team to nine American League pennants and appeared in eight World Series, winning five of the Fall Classics.
1953 – The Philadelphia Athletics change the name of Shibe Park to “Connie Mack Stadium”, in honor of their longtime owner and manager. Mack was part-owner and manager of the franchise for a record 50 years. The Athletics will depart Philadelphia at the end of the following season, and the Phillies will continue to inhabit Connie Mack Stadium until the end of the 1970 season, when they will move to Veterans Stadium. After being badly damaged in a fire in 1971, Connie Mack Stadium will continue to decay until being torn down in 1976.
1954 – Roberto Clemente’s smash to straight-away center provides the margin of victory in Puerto Rico’s 1 – 0 victory over the Virgin Islands in game one of a three-game exhibition inter-island tourney. Clemente’s clout combines with Tellito Lopez’s 5-hit shutout to relegate Walter “Mahoo” James to the ranks of runner-up, although the latter does record 12 strikeouts en route to his hard-luck loss.
The Los Angeles Dodgers trade infielders Ron Hunt and Nate Oliver to the San Francisco Giants for catcher Tom Haller and pitcher Frank Kasheta. Haller will hit .285 as the Dodgers’ regular catcher this season. This is the first trade between the two franchises since 1956, when Jackie Robinson was sent to the Giants but retired instead.
A day after his 27th birthday, Paul Edmondson and his girlfriend are killed in an automobile accident in San Barbara, California when his automobile skids on a rain-slicked U.S. Route 101 and crashes into oncoming traffic. The White Sox had hoped their sophomore right-hander would become the fourth starter in the team’s rotation, after compiling a misleading 1-6 record last season.
1996 – The St. Louis Cardinals complete a long-rumored swap, acquiring closer Dennis Eckersley from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for minor league reliever Steve Montgomery. Eckersley replaces Tom Henke, who announced last month he was retiring. The Cardinals also announce that they are laying nearly three acres of grass over the field at Busch Stadium, replacing the artificial turf that has been used for 26 years. The grass turf will be ready for the April 8th opener against Montreal.
After 19 years at shortstop for the Reds, Barry Larkin announces his retirement as an active player to become special assistant to Nationals’ general manager Jim Bowden, who had served as the team’s GM from 1992 to 2001. The 40 year-old former Gold Glove infielder spent his entire career in his hometown of Cincinnati.
After 19 years at shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds, Barry Larkin announces his retirement as an active player, to become special assistant to Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden. A 12-time All-Star, National League MVP, and three-time Gold Glove winner, Larkin spent his entire career in Cincinnati, his hometown.
Avoiding arbitration, starting pitcher Ben Sheets (12-14, 2.70) and the Milwaukee Brewers agree to a one-year contract valued at $5.5 million. Sheets, who made $2.5 million last season while posting a 12-14 record with a 2.70 ERA, established a team record last May by striking out 18 batters in a game.
In a much anticipated congressional hearing, Roger Clemens and his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, testify for four and a half hours concerning the allegations of the Rocket’s use of performance-enhancing drugs. Although no definitive conclusions are reached, Republicans appear to believe the seven-time Cy Young Award winner while Democrats seem to favor his chief accuser’s account of events.
2008 – Roger Clemens and his former personal trainer Brian McNamee spend almost five hours testifying before the U.S. House oversight committee. Both Clemens and McNamee contradict themselves during the course of testimony, providing plenty of fodder for those who criticize the latter as a drug dealer and the former as a user of steroids. Clemens’ denials of Human Growth Hormone use look flimsier when teammate Andy Pettitte reveals that Clemens had admitted such usage to him.
In a deal confirmed by his agent, Yoenis Cespedes has reached a four-year, $36 million agreement with the A’s, pending the results of a physical. The Cuban defector, who is slotted to play center field, moving Coco Crisp to left, hit .458 with a double, three triples, two home runs, and five RBIs in the six games he played in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
2012 – The A’s sign OF Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year contract worth $36 million, a record for a Cuban defector, outbidding at least five other teams. The signing belies some of the A’s other off-season moves in which they traded established young players in return for prospects, but they see Cespedes as a future franchise player, and his outstanding rookie season will be a key contribution in the A’s unexpected AL West division title.
2016 – South Africa eliminates New Zealand from the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers with a 9-2 win to earn a rematch with host Australia; a spot in the 2017 World Baseball Classic will be at stake tomorrow. Jared Elario, Lloyd Stevens and Robert Lewis-Walker provide strong pitching while Keegan Swanepoel gets 4 hits, Anthony Phillips 4 walks and 3 runs and Kyle Botha 3 RBI for South Africa. Control is somewhat of an issue as pitchers combine for 17 walks.
2008 – Former Astro pitcher Roger Clemens has his day before Congress, denying again in testimony that he had used steroids or other performance enhancing drugs while his accuser, former trainer Brian McNamee, sat at the other end of the table facing accusations of his own. Clearly both can’t be telling the truth but the only bombshells to come out were an admission from Clemens’ teammate Andy Pettitte that he tried human growth hormones during the 2004 season when he injured his elbow and that Clemens’ wife admitted to using human growth hormones while preparing for a swimsuit layout in Sports Illustrated. The prospect of federal charges still loom ahead.
1997 – Houston wins and loses their arbitration case with Darryl Kile. The inconsistent pitcher asks for a salary $1.27 million dollars more than what the Astros offer. The club prevails but, under the instruction of new Astro manager Larry Dierker and pitching coach Vern Ruhle, Kile goes on to have an outstanding year only to shun Houston and leave as a free agent after the season.