1896 – The National League adopts changes in the National Agreement. The minor leagues are divided into six classifications based on population, and new draft fees are instituted. The league also forbids players from deliberately soiling baseballs, and declares that “a ball cutting the corners of the home plate, and being requisite height, must be called a strike.” It also empowers umpires to eject players.
1948 – The Chicago White Sox trade Ed Lopat to the New York Yankees for Aaron Robinson, Bill Wight and Fred Bradley. Lopat will star for seven seasons in pinstripes, winning 21 in 1951 and going 16-4 in 1953. Robinson’s main value to the Sox will come at the end of the season when he’s swapped for another lefty pitcher, Billy Pierce.
2000 – The National Labor Relations Board certifies the results of the November election that kicked out the Major League Umpires Association and replaced it with the newly-formed World Umpires Association. About 50 of the 71 major league umpires have joined the new union. The decision ends Richie Phillips’ 21-year reign as union chief.
In the wake of Steve Belcher’s death, Commissioner Bud Selig bans the use of ephedra in the minor leagues. Players on the current 40-man major league rosters, which would have included the 23 year-old Oriole pitcher who died last week, are not prohibited to use the substance because as union members they are already covered by the drug-testing rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, which bans only drugs of abuse and certain illegal steroids.
2003 – In the wake of Steve Bechler’s death, Commissioner Bud Selig decides to ban the use of ephedra in the minor leagues. Players on the current 40-man major league rosters, which would have included the 23-year old Oriole pitcher who died on February 23rd, are not prohibited to use the supplement because, as union members, they are already covered by the drug-testing rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, which bans only drugs of abuse and certain illegal steroids.
A Kansas man, who sat six rows behind the third-base dugout, files a lawsuit against the Royals as a result of being hit in the eye by a hot dog thrown by Sluggerrr, the team’s mascot. The suit is seeking $25,000 in damages for injuries caused by the flying frank, which includes a detached retina and the development of cataracts in the left eye.
2010 – The Rangers get some bad news as All-Star OF Josh Hamilton, whose 2009 season was curtailed by a string of injuries after a breakthrough 2008 campaign, leaves the first workout of spring training with a bruised left shoulder. Hamilton injures himself diving to catch a pop-up. However, he will recover to become the American League MVP.
1B Miguel Cabrera returns to the Tigers training camp, one week after his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving. He apologizes to teammates, team management, family and fans for the incident and has agreed to enter a treatment program. MLB officials warn him that “any future alcohol-related incidents could involve more serious consequences”.
Major League Baseball announces that three of its most experienced umpires have decided to retire. They are Jerry Crawford, who umpired his first game in 1977, making him the majors’ longest-serving official, and was head of the Umpires Union, along with Mike Reilly and Chuck Meriwether. To replace them, Scott Barry and Brian Knight, both with major league umpiring experience as fill-ins, are added to the umpiring staff. Three other veterans retired before the 2010 season, and four new umpires were brought on at the time as the cadre is undergoing a renewal.
2013 – The Yankees lose a big piece of their projected line-up when LF Curtis Granderson suffers a broken forearm after being struck by a pitch by Toronto’s J.A. Happ in the 1st inning of a Grapefruit League game in Tampa, FL. The Yanks’ most prolific home run hitter over the past two seasons is expected to be out for 10 weeks.
2006 – It’s normally not news when a player shows up for spring training but that’s not true this time for Jeff Bagwell. The first baseman arrives with a $15.6 million dollar insurance tag on his head if he can’t play. Bagwell insists he’ll play despite an arthritic right shoulder that required surgery the previous year. He fields grounders and hits in light drills the first day and talks briefly with owner Drayton McLane.