1901 – Giants and Pirates outfielder Tom O’Brien, 28, dies in Phoenix, AZ. A popular player with the Giants, O’Brien played for Pirates in 1900, then accompanied the Giants and Superbas last fall on a trip to Cuba for a series of exhibition games. On the boat trip over, he was told that if he drank enough sea water he’d be sick, but would then be cured of any sea sickness. Both O’Brien and Kid Gleason became violently ill following the prescription, but O’Brien was so affected that all his internal organs were damaged, and he never recovered.
The Joint Rules Committee bans all foreign substances or other alterations to the ball by pitchers, including saliva, resin, talcum powder, paraffin, and the shine and emery ball. A pitcher caught cheating will be suspended for 10 days. The American League allows each club to name just two pitchers who will be allowed to use the pitch for one more season. The National League allows each club to name all its spitball pitchers. No pitchers other than those designated will be permitted to use the banned pitch, and none at all after this season (however, the designated pitchers will eventually be allowed to use the pitch for the rest of their careers). Other rules changes: the adoption of writer Fred Lieb’s proposal that a game-winning home run with men on base be counted as a home run even if the batter’s run is not needed to win the game. Also, the intentional walk is banned, and everything that happens in a protested game will go in the records.
1924 – Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith names 2B Bucky Harris, last year’s team captain, as the new Nationals’ manager. Harris had annoyed Griffith by playing pro basketball over the winter, in violation of his contract, but the owner still tabs him the job. Harris, 28, team captain, is at spring training when he receives the offer by letter.
Satchel Paige becomes the first Negro League star selected to the Hall of Fame. The right-hander, the oldest player in the majors to make his big league debut, became a legend during his professional career, which lasted from the 1920s until 1965, playing in several different Negro Leagues and with the Indians, Browns, and A’s.
2000 – The Reds send four players – pitcher Brett Tomko, outfielder Mike Cameron and two minor leaguers to the Mariners and agree to a contract extension to obtain Seattle’s superstar Ken Griffey Jr. Junior’s nine-year $116.5 million contract is the richest package in history, but in the current market is considered quite a bargain.
The Cubs trade reliever Kyle Farnsworth (4-5, 4.73) and a player to be named to the Tigers in exchange for pitcher Roberto Novoa (1-1, 5.09) and minor leaguers, Scott Moore, and Bo Flowers. Farnsworth’s inconsistency out of the bullpen last season made him very unpopular with the Wrigley Field fans.
2005 – The Cubs trade reliever Kyle Farnsworth (4-5, 4.73) and a player to be named to the Tigers in exchange for pitcher Roberto Novoa (1-1, 5.09) and minor leaguers Scott Moore and Bo Flowers. Farnsworth’s inconsistency out of the bullpen last season made him very unpopular with the Wrigley Field fans.
Deliberating for a little more than four hours, a jury rules the Angels did not breach a contract with the city of Anaheim when the ball club changed its name. Thirteen months ago, the team known as the Anaheim Angels became the “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim”, prompting the city where it plays to file a law suit claiming the change in name amounted to at least $100 million in lost revenue.
Free agent C Bengie Molina who hit .295 with 15 homers and 69 RBI for the Angels last year, comes to terms on a $5 million, one-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays with a $7.5 million mutual option for 2007 and a $500,000 buyout clause. Along with starter A.J. Burnett and closer B.J. Ryan, third baseman Troy Glaus and first baseman Lyle Overbay, the 31-year-old Gold Glove catcher becomes the latest blue chip player to join Toronto during the off-season.
After auditioning for about two-thirds of the teams in the major leagues last month and considering offers from four clubs, Keith Foulke comes out of retirement, signing a $700,000, one-year contract with the A’s. The 35 year-old reliever, best known for throwing the last pitch in the 2004 World Championship for the victorious Red Sox, retired prior to the 2007 season after signing a deal with the Indians.
2008 – Mark Kelly, a former Philadelphia Phillies farmhand, throws a one-hit shutout of the New South Wales Patriots in game two of the Claxton Shield finals to give the Western Australia Heelers the title. Kelly allows only a Gavin Fingleson single in shutting down a lineup which includes former California League batting champion Brendan Kingman. Mitch Graham’s solo homer off Pitcher of the Year Tim Cox is the only run of the contest. Kelly is named MVP of the 2008 Shield.
2009 – 12-time All-Star and 3-time MVP Alex Rodriguez publicly admits to using steroids from 2001 to 2003, while a member of the Texas Rangers. Rodriguez apologizes for his past errors; he had not commented on the issue since Sports Illustrated had broken a story about a positive 2003 test two days earlier.
2013 – The Canberra Cavalry win their first Australian Baseball League title, topping the Perth Heat, 7 – 6, to sweep the best-of-three finals. 1B Aaron Sloan goes 5 for 8 with a homer in the championship series to be named MVP. In this game, Perth pitching star Warwick Saupold gives up 9 hits and 6 runs in only 3 innings, while Ryan Stovall drives in 3 for Canberra and Michael Wells hits the deciding home run in the 7th off Jack Frawley to break a 6 – 6 tie.
2017 – Major League Baseball announces that a variation of the “Schiller Rule” used in international baseball will be tested in two Rookie-level minor leagues this season. In the Gulf Coast League and the Arizona League, if a game is tied after nine innings, every subsequent inning will start with a runner already on second base.
2019 – On the final day of first-round action in the 2019 Caribbean Series, Toros de Herrera defeat the Cangrejeros de Santurce, 1 – 0 to clinch a spot in the finals. Oriel Caicedo starts things off with 5 1/3 scoreless innings and Manny Corpas gets the save. Herrera, the first Panamanian team to play in the tournament in six decades, will face the Leñadores de Las Tunas, representing Cuba, who punch their ticket to the finals with a 3 – 0 victory over Cardenales de Lara.
2005 – Sometimes they seem like Siamese twins even though Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio are not. The two infielders receive induction into the Hall of Fame – the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco, that is. Soon to be Astro teammates for 15 years straight, the pair are closing careers they hope will land them in a bigger hall – the one in Cooperstown, NY.