This Day In Baseball February 23
Charlie Finley gives in to American League pressure and signs a four-year lease with the municipal government to keep the A’s in Kansas City. Finley wanted two years. His exasperated AL colleagues vote 9-1 that KC’s offer is reasonable. Finley will move the team out of KC as soon as the lease expires after the 1967 season.
The San Francisco Giants acquire P Masanori Murakami, 3B Tatsuhico Tanaka, and C Hiroshi Takahashi on a player development deal with the Nankai Hawks, who own rights to all three. They are the first Japanese natives ever to play for American teams. All three are assigned to the Magic Valley Cowboys (Pioneer League). Although none of the three are considered top prospects, Murakami will confound everyone by reaching the major leagues by September after an outstanding season in the minors.
Three days into spring training, Dick Howser’s attempted comeback after undergoing brain tumor surgery comes to an end when the frail-looking Royals manager finds he is physically too weak to continue. Third base coach Billy Gardner replaces the ill skipper, who will die three months later at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City.
Facing the loss of the 1990 All-Star game and possible postseason games, the Chicago City Council passes an ordinance, 29-19, allowing the Cubs to play 18 night games a season through the year 2002 at Wrigley Field, the last major league ballpark to be illuminated. The legislation prohibits beer sales after 9:20 p.m. and organ music ten minutes later.
Although the owners drop their arbitration and minimum salary proposals, spring training camps remain closed. Baseball’s seventh work stoppage in baseball will last 32 days, resulting in Opening Day being moved back a week and the over-all season extended by three days to accommodate the 162-game schedule.
Complaining about the lack of support from local baseball officials, Roberto Kelly resigns as manager of Panama’s team in the World Baseball Classic. The Giants spring training instructor believes some players were held back from participating in the WBC so they would play in the Panamanian championships.
2006 – Complaining about the lack of support from local baseball officials, Roberto Kelly resigns as manager of Panama’s team in the World Baseball Classic. The Giants spring training instructor believes some players were held back from participating in the WBC so they would play in the Panamanian championships.
Major League Baseball announces that it will begin testing minor leaguers for human growth hormone this season. The illegal performance-enhancing substance has long been considered undetectable by conventional doping tests, but its presence has recently been isolated through a blood test, which will be used for this purpose.
The Atlanta Braves sign 18-year-old Dominican shortstop Edward Salcedo to a contract. Considered as one of the top talents available on the international market, the youngster receives a signing bonus of $1.6 million. Although expected to begin his professional career with the Class-A Rome Braves, he will be assigned to the Rookie-level DSL Braves instead. Salcedo first signed with the Cleveland Indians in 2007, but the contract was voided when it was discovered that he was underage. He will fail to develop as a star, however.
2011 – The first injury reports come out of spring training, with the Cardinals getting the worst news. Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright, runner-up for the Cy Young Award last season, has a “significant injury” to his pitching elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire season. Also out indefinitely is Dodgers P Vicente Padilla who will undergo surgery on his forearm tomorrow. Finally, Brewers starting C Jonathan Lucroy fractures the little finger of his throwing hand during drills and will be out from four to six weeks.
Ryan Braun becomes the first major league player to successfully appeal a positive PED test when arbitrator Shyam Das rules in his favor with regard to a positive test performed during the 2011 postseason. The test showed a testosterone level so high as to be almost unimaginable without outside interference. The three-man pannel chaired by Das rules that the fact that proper protocol was not followed in collecting and storing the sample prior to testing, makes it impossible to be certain that it has not been subject to tampering at some point. Braun had proclaimed his innocence all along, and now no longer faces a 50-game suspension.
The group featuring former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre announces it is bowing out of the bidding for the team because current owner Frank McCourt will not include the parking lots outside Dodger Stadium in the package. McCourt built his now-threatened fortune by operating parking lots in large cities. Torre’s group states that by keeping control of this key resource, McCourt will make it impossible for the winning bidders to manage the team’s assets effectively. The group, which was among the favorites to emerge as the new owners at the end of the court-supervised process, leaves the door open to a re-engagement if the terms of the sale are changed to include the disputed lots.
Their line-up already depleted by off-season trades, the Marlins lose another key player when C Jeff Mathis is struck by a foul tip off the bat of St. Louis’ Matt Holliday at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL. Mathis suffers a broken right collarbone, putting him on the shelf for six to ten weeks, while the Fish have no other catcher in camp with any major league experience to speak of.
2015 – The Red Sox outbid a number of other team to sign Cuban defector Yoan Moncada to a contract that includes a $31.5 million signing bonus. The Red Sox will need to pay a penalty almost equal to that amount for exceeding their bonus cap for international signees, which had $1.8 million remaining, but seemingly do not care as they see the young infielder as a future All-Star. For now though, the 19-year-old will be headed to the minor leagues for at couple of seasons before getting a chance to justify his lavish contract.
Jose Reyes becomes the first player disciplined under baseball’s new domestic violence policy when he is placed on paid leave until the completion of criminal proceedings, stemming from his arrest following an argument with his wife at a Hawaiian resort in late October. The 32-year-old All-Star shortstop, who pleaded not guilty to a charge of abuse of a family member, will not report to spring training with the Rockies.
2016 – For the second time in a week, the Orioles are said to have signed a top-rank free agent who has fallen through the cracks because of draft choice compensation tied to his signature. After inking Yovani Gallardo to a three-year deal, the O’s are said to be bringing CF Dexter Fowler on board with an offer of $35 million over three years. However, two days later, Fowler will announce that he has in fact rejected the offer and instead accepted a one-year deal worth $13 million to return to the Cubs.
2018 – The first Cactus League and Grapefruit League games of spring training are played today with Major League Baseball paying tribute to the victims of the horrific school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL as all players wear special caps. Proceeds from the sale of this autographed memorabilia will go to a fund dedicated to the victims. Some teams also go further by inviting students and school personnel to meet players and perform various roles at the games as a show of solidarity.