1910 – Both major leagues adopt resolutions banning syndicate baseball, which allowed owners to have financial interests in more than one team. The National League votes for a 154-game schedule to open on April 12th, which the American League has already adopted. Other rules: umpires must announce all team changes to spectators; batting orders must be delivered to the umpire at home plate before the game; a batter is out if he crosses the plate from one batter’s box to the other while the pitcher is in position to pitch; a baserunner is out if he passes another runner before the latter has been put out.
Crescent Lake Field, the Yankees spring training site since 1925, is renamed Miller Huggins Field in honor of the team’s late manager, who passed away at the end of the 1929 season. In 1963, the facility will be called Huggins-Stengel Field, to honor another Bronx Bomber skipper, Casey Stengel, who is now piloting the National League’s expansion team which is working out in the St. Petersburg ballpark.
1940 – The Detroit Tigers’ roster lists Hank Greenberg as an OF. The willingness of the team’s leading power hitter to switch, at a contract boost, from 1B allows manager Del Baker to find a position for Rudy York. Also on the list are Dick Bartell, picked up from the Chicago Cubs for Billy Rogell and Pinky Higgins, who had been shopped around. The four, along with Barney McCosky and Charlie Gehringer, produce the stuff that will move the Tigers from fifth to first, although its .588 mark will be as low as that of any pennant-winner yet.
1945 – Billy Southworth Jr., the son of Cards manager Billy Southworth, is killed when his B29 crashes into the water off Flushing, New York. The 27-year-old was a veteran of 25 missions in Europe, and was the first player in organized baseball to enlist in World War II. The young Southworth was a well-regarded outfielder with the Toronto Maple Leafs (International League) in 1940.
In a national poll, Phillies’ southpaw Steve Carlton beats out golf legend Jack Nicklaus to win the $15,000 diamond-studded gold buckled Hickok Belt, an award given to the top “Professional Athlete of the Year.” Last season’s National League Cy Young Award winner joins an elite list of previous recipients that includes Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, Jim Brown, Rocky Marciano, and Arnold Palmer.
With the issue of the implementation of salary cap unresolved, a thirty-two-day lockout begins when major league owners refuse to open spring training camp without reaching a new Basic Agreement with the players. The season will be delayed one week due to baseball’s seventh work stoppage and will need to be extended for three days to accommodate the 162-game schedule.
After the Dragons released him for an undisclosed payment, the Red Sox acquire Kevin Millar (.306, 16, 57) from the Marlins. The 31 year-old first baseman-outfielder, who had originally agreed to a two-year, $6.2 million deal to play in Japan, had a change of heart after at first rejecting Boston’s waiver claim for him made in January.
2003 – One day after the Chunichi Dragons released him in return for an undisclosed payment, the Red Sox acquire Kevin Millar (.306, 16, 57) from the Marlins. The 31-year-old 1B/OF, who had originally agreed to a two-year, $6.2 million deal to play in Japan, had a change of heart after at first rejecting Boston’s waiver claim for him made in January.
Former Los Angeles Dodgers starter Jeff Weaver (14-11, 4.22) agrees to a one-year contract with the other team with Los Angeles in its name. The deal for the last major player left on the free agent market is worth $8,325,000, and the 29-year-old right-hander can earn an additional $600,000 in performance bonuses for innings pitched and game starts with the Angels.
The Rangers also add an outfielder renowned for his speed, inking Endy Chavez to a minor league deal. He is coming off knee surgery, the result of an on-field collision with SS Yuniesky Betancourt on June 19th that ended his 2009 season after 54 games; he is not expected to be ready for Opening Day.
2011 – The Mets bring back a figure from the past, signing reliever Jason Isringhausen to a minor league deal coupled with an invitation to spring training. Isringhausen is attempting a comeback from Tommy John surgery at age 38. He was part of the Mets’ vaunted “Big Three” in the mid-1990s along with Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson: the minor league standouts were supposed to anchor the Mets’ pitching staff for the next decade, but all three fell victim to arm injuries, and none of them had much success in the Big Apple.
Major League Baseball announces that it will void the contract reached by the Baltimore Orioles with teenage Korean pitcher Seong-Min Kim on January 30th. The Korea Baseball Association filed a formal protest after the signing, alleging that the O’s have breached protocol by inking Kim without obtaining prior clearance from Korean baseball authorities.
Major League Baseball sets up a vetting committee chaired by Bill Bartholomew, chairman emeritus of the Atlanta Braves and including six other major league owners, to evaluate the merits of the various bids to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. 11 groups have cleared the initial round of qualification. The final choice is to be made by current owner Frank McCourt, who will first select five bidders to be submitted to the newly-formed committee for approval; the final sale also requires the approval of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross. The complex process must be completed by April 30th, when McCourt is required to pay a $131 million divorce settlement to his ex-wife Jamie.
“Baseball is known as our national pastime, but the game has deep roots and a rich history here in New York State. From the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in storied Cooperstown to the Mets and Yankees — the pinnacles of Major League Baseball, to our recently crowned Little League World Series champions from Maine-Endwell, New York State is clearly the epicenter of baseball greatness. It is time that we formally recognize baseball as our official state sport.” – JAMES SEWARD, New York state senator. New York State Sen. James Seward (R-Milford), thanks to a suggestion from a group of fourth-graders at Cooperstown Elementary School, announces he has introduced legislation (S.4288) to designate baseball as New York’s official state sport. In a press release, Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson says he “enthusiastically supports” the proposed bill, citing Cooperstown serves as the spiritual home of baseball.
2006 – Reaction continues to simmer over a memoir published by Astros broadcaster Milo Hamilton, who is in his 22nd year with Houston. While he has some critical comments for local folks, the national media focuses on Hamilton’s portrayal of deceased Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray as “a miserable human being”. Caray’s widow, Duchie, responds that Hamilton hasn’t “shown any class at all”. In the Chicago restaurant that bears Caray’s name, a new drink called the “Milo” is christened made of “cheap shots and sour grapes”.