1916 – Energetic recruiting by Ban Johnson produces a pair of Chicago contractors to take over the Cleveland franchise from Charles W. Somers, a lavish spender at the American League’s creation but now in financial difficulties. J.C. Dunn and P.S. McCarthy pay $500,000 – $60,000 less than the asking price. E.S. Barnard will stay on as vice president and Lee Fohl, as manager.
1924 – Boston Braves third baseman Tony Boeckel becomes the first major leaguer to be killed in an automobile accident when he dies from injuries received as a passenger yesterday in San Diego, CA. Yankee outfielder Bob Meusel, also a passenger of the car driven by Los Angeles theater man Bob Albright, escapes without any serious injuries.
Red Ruffing, the former Yankee pitcher who authored 273 major league wins, is selected to be in the Hall of Fame by getting the most votes on the second ballot made necessary as a result of the BBWAA failing to choose a player in January. Former Cardinal outfielder Joe Medwick also received 75% of the writer’s votes that is usually enough to be selected, but under the rules of this special run-off election, only the top vote-getter gets the nod.
Orel Hershiser, who will earn $3,166,167 in the final year of the deal, becomes baseball’s first three-million dollar man when he signs a three-year $7.9 million contract with the Dodgers. The 1987 Cy Young Award recipient will post an 18-18 record along with an ERA of 3.65 during the span of the agreement.
The Rangers trade Alex Rodriguez along with cash to the Yankees in exchange for Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later, Joaquin Arias. The deal comes on the heels of the Red Sox’s inability to land the American League MVP in a swap with Texas for Manny Ramirez due to the players’ association’s objection because of the need to restructure A-Rod’s existing contract as a result of the tentative transaction.
Baseball’s Playing Rules Committee approves several changes, making it the first time since 1996 the rules of the game has been altered. The new regulations include a ten-game suspension scuffing a baseball, elimination of tie games halted after the fifth inning due to weather by resuming the contest before the next scheduled start at the same ballpark, prohibiting players going into a dugout to make a catch, and allowing pitchers to wear multicolored gloves.
The Indians bring back 1B Russell Branyan, whom they originally drafted in 1994 and who played for the team until 2002. Coming off his best year in the majors, in which he slugged 31 homers for Seattle, Branyan missed the last month of the season with an ailing back and his health remains a concern.
Rickie Weeks and the Brewers come to terms on a $38.5 million, four-year deal that includes a 2015 option based on plate appearances which could increase the total value of the contract to $50 million. The 28 year-old second baseman broke a franchise record last season with 754 trips to the plate, mostly as the team’s leadoff hitter.
Speaking to reporters at the Phillies’ spring training complex, a tearful Dallas Green, former big league manager and senior adviser to general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., thanks everyone for their support after the shooting death of his granddaughter. Nine year-old Christina Taylor Green was one of six victims killed five weeks ago in a shooting rampage during U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords’ ‘Congress on Your Corner’ gathering outside of a Tucson supermarket.
Albert Pujols’ self-imposed deadline for reaching agreement on a long-term contract extension with the St. Louis Cardinals expires without a deal. Pujols, who is seeking $300 million over 10 years, states that there will be no more negotiations during the season in order to avoid a potential distraction. The three-time National League MVP is slated to become a free agent next fall.
Late tonight, Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera is arrested in Fort Pierce, FL and charged with driving under the influence and refusing to cooperate with police officers. In October 2009, Cabrera was arrested for threatening his wife while intoxicated as the Tigers were playing a crucial series to determine the AL Central champion.
2013 – It looks like there will be no salary arbitration hearings this year, as two of the remaining unsigned players who had filed for arbitration sign deals with their teams. P Homer Bailey agrees to a $5.35 million deal with the Reds, while P Clayton Richard signs on the dotted line for $5.2 million with the Padres. The only unsigned player remaining is P Darren O’Day, but he has agreed to a contract with the Orioles, with only a physical examination required to make it final. Since arbitration was implemented in 1974, there had never been a year with fewer than three hearings being held.
2014 – One of the remaining prize free agents still on the market, P A.J. Burnett, signs a two-year deal with the Phillies worth up to $33.5 million with performance bonuses. Burnett is coming off two very good seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates that have re-energized his career. He says he chose the Phils over the Bucs because they are located a mere hour and a half from his hometown in Maryland.
Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami, FL sue former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria for failure to execute a clause in the contract through which the governments provided funding for the construction of Marlins Park, which called for Loria to pay a 5% equity on any profit from the sale of the team. Through what the city and county call “fuzzy math”, Loria claims to have made a loss on the sale, even though he received $1.2 billion for the team, having bought it for $158 million in 2002.
2009 – Routine physicals at the beginning of spring training sometimes reveal the unexpected. Returning pitcher Mike Hampton is told he has an irregular heartbeat and is sent back to Houston for tests and a minor procedure. Doctors then determine no procedure was necessary and fly him back to Florida the next day.