This Day In Baseball January 10
Find your favorite!
1884 – At the annual meeting of the minor-league Northwest League, the first-place Toledo Blue Stockings are declared the league champion for 1883. But because Toledo has moved from the NWL to the major league American Association for 1884, the NWL pennant is awarded to the second-place Saginaw Greys. The NWL also rescinds its prohibition of Sunday baseball and the sale of beer at its ballparks, thereby aligning itself with AA policy and against the National League policy.
The New York Clipper reports that Paul Hines, a Providence Grays outfielder, and resident of Washington, DC, had been challenged to catch a ball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument, a distance of “over 535 feet from the ground.” The Clipper calculates the “natural philosophy” involved, and warns Hines of the danger he would confront in attempting such a foolish stunt.
At Cincinnati peace talks, the National League proposes a consolidated 12-team league, which the American League rejects. An agreement is reached to coexist peacefully if the AL promises to stay out of Pittsburgh, PA. In the awarding of disputed contracts, the most hotly-contested case is that of Sam Crawford, a Reds outfielder who batted .333 and led the NL with 23 triples in 1902. Signed for 1903 by both the Tigers and the Reds, Crawford is awarded to the Tigers, having signed with them first. He will lead the AL in triples this year with 25.
Despite attempts by John T. Brush and Andrew Freedman to use their political influence to prevent the American League from finding suitable grounds in New York, league President Ban Johnson, aided by baseball writer Joe Vila, finds backers. Johnson also finds a ballpark site at 165th Street and Broadway. Frank Farrell and Bill Devery pay $18,000 for the Baltimore franchise and will build a wooden grandstand seating 15,000 on the highest point of Manhattan. The team, logically, will be called the New York Highlanders.
Acknowledging that Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Eddie Collins are all good ballplayers, Cap Anson picks his all-time team, leaving them off. In the current issue of The Sporting News, Anson selects catchers Buck Ewing and King Kelly; pitchers Amos Rusie, John Clarkson and Jim McCormick; as first baseman, himself; second baseman Fred Pfeffer; third baseman Ned Williamson; shortstop Ross Barnes, and outfielders Bill Lange, George Gore, Jimmy Ryan and Hugh Duffy.
Philadelphia Athletics owner Connie Mack trades first baseman Stuffy McInnis, the last remaining player from their famed $100,000 infield, to the Boston Red Sox for three players to be named later. Philadelphia will later receive third baseman Larry Gardner, outfielder Tilly Walker and catcher Hick Cady in return for McInnis.
1922 – The following round-robin deal benefits everyone: Roger Peckinpaugh goes from the Boston Red Sox to the Washington Senators; Joe Dugan, from the Philadelphia Athletics to Boston; and Bing Miller and Jose Acosta, from Washington to Philadelphia. Acosta will be sold to the Chicago White Sox on February 4th.
Giants owner Charles Stoneham, displeased with Rogers Hornsby’s abrasive style and gambling habits, trades his second baseman to the Braves for backstop prospect Shanty Hogan and journeyman fly chaser Jimmy Welsh. During Rajah’s one-year stay in Boston, his third team in three seasons, the future Hall of Fame infielder will lead the major leagues in hitting with a .387 batting average along with an astounding .498 on-base-percentage while playing and managing the seventh-place club.
The late Bill Veeck Sr., a former sports writer who won three pennants (1918, 1929, and 1932) during his reign in Chicago’s front office, is replaced by William Walker as president of the Cubs. The 56 year-old baseball executive, whose son will become a Hall of Fame major league owner, died of leukemia during the World Series last season.
Before a gathering of writers, players and executives in Baltimore, Jimmie Foxx, Chuck Klein and Charlie Keller, representing the American League, National League and International League respectively, try out the balls to be used in the new season. The Sporting News reports that “… regarding the dead ball, as adopted by the National League, and the lively ball, as retained by the American and International Leagues… the NL ball has a distinctly ‘dead’ sound coming off the bat, compared to the livelier AL ball.”
George Susce is relieved of his duties by Cleveland general manager Hank Greenberg when the bullpen coach’s son declines an offer to sign with the Tribe, deciding instead to play for less money with Louisville, a farm team of the Red Sox. George Jr., who will make his major league debut against the Yankees in 1955, compiles a 22-17 record in 117 games during his five seasons with Boston and Detroit.
Commissioner Ford Frick allows Bing Crosby, part of an eleven-man syndicate that made a successful bid to buy the Tigers, to keep his token stock in the Detroit club although he is part owner of the Pirates. The famous crooner, who became one of the Bucs’ owners in 1946, presently has a 16% share of the Steel City club.
“The Yankee pin stripes belong to New York like Central Park, like the Statue of Liberty, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, like the Metropolitan Opera, like the Stock Exchange, like the lights of Broadway, etc.” – RICHARD S. LANE, ruling against the Yankees’ bid to play their first home games in Denver.A ruling by Acting Justice Richard S. Lane of State Supreme Court in Manhattan bars the Yankees from playing their opening series of the season against the Tigers at Denver’s Mile High Stadium. George Steinbrenner sought to move the three games fearing the renovations to the Bronx ballpark would not be completed on time, but the judge dismissed the rescheduling the games to Colorado, citing the owner ignored the obvious solution of playing the contests at Shea Stadium, the home of the Mets located seven miles away, or at Detroit’s Tiger Stadium.
1984 – Luis Aparicio, Don Drysdale and Harmon Killebrew are elected to the Hall of Fame. Killebrew totaled 573 home runs to rank fifth on the major league all-time list, Drysdale won 209 games with a 2.95 ERA, and Aparicio led the American League in stolen bases nine straight seasons and won nine Gold Gloves at shortstop. Killebrew gains election in his fourth year on the ballot, Aparicio in his sixth year, and Drysdale in his 10th year.
First baseman Glenn Davis is traded to Baltimore for outfielder Steve Finley and pitchers Curt Schilling and Pete Harnisch. Davis would suffer a spring injury and never play effectively for the Orioles. All three players Houston acquired would later become stars although not so much for what they did while wearing Astro stars and stripes.
1991 – In one of the most unbalanced trades ever made in major league history, the Baltimore Orioles send pitchers Curt Schilling and Pete Harnisch and outfielder Steve Finley to the Houston Astros for first baseman Glenn Davis. Davis, who averaged 27 home runs in six seasons playing in the Astrodome with Houston, will hit only 24 homers in three injury-filled years as Schilling becomes one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and Harnisch and Finley develop into solid major league players.
2000 – The Seattle Mariners sign free agent pitcher Aaron Sele to a two-year, $15 million contract after Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos nixes a negotiated four-year $29 million deal because of questions regarding Sele’s physical condition. Sele had been offered a four-year, $28 million deal by the Texas Rangers, but didn’t act on it. Sele will win 17 games this season, making him just one of seven pitchers to win 15 or more games in 1998, 1999 and 2000 – Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, David Wells, Dave Burba and Charles Nagy, are the others.
As part of their 100th Anniversary festivities, the Cleveland Indians present three-time All-Star Jim Thome with his very own bobblehead doll. The first baseman is one of seven current Cleveland players who will be part of the bobblehead doll promotional giveaways to celebrate the club’s centennial this season.
In an effort to authenticate autographed and game-used merchandise sold by its licensees, Major League Baseball hires Arthur Andersen, an accounting company, to assure the authenticity of approximately 40,000 items this season. The memorabilia will have a tamper-proof hologram and an ID number with a company official observing the removal of the item being physically taken from the player or event.
As part of its 100th Anniversary festivities, the Indians present three-time All-Star Jim Thome with his very own bobblehead doll. The first baseman is one of seven current Cleveland players who will be part of the bobblehead doll promotional giveaways to celebrate the club’s centennial this season.
“In light of this disclosure and your apparent unwillingness to reveal other financial information that you assert supports your decision to eliminate two baseball teams, I regret that I must call on you to resign as commissioner of major league baseball.” – JOHN CONYERS, JR., U.S. Representative (D-MI), citing a conflict of interest.Representative John Conyers Jr., the House Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat, said he would back off asking Bud Selig to resign if the commissioner dropped his threat to eliminate teams this season. Selig, in a two-page letter to the Michigan lawmaker, was unequivocal in his response, stating the suggestions made were wholly unacceptable.
Relief pitcher Bruce Sutter is elected to the Hall of Fame. With 75% of the votes cast by BBWAA members needed for election. Sutter receives 76.9%, slugger Jim Rice is second with 64.8%, followed by reliever Goose Gossage at 64.6%. Sutter, who is credited with perfecting the split-fingered fastball, which is a pitch many major leaguers use in some form today, joins Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers and Dennis Eckersley as the only relief pitchers in Cooperstown. In a special election, seventeen Negro Leagues figures are also elected: Ray Brown, Willard Brown, Andy Cooper, Frank Grant, Pete Hill, Biz Mackey, Effa Manley, Jose Mendez, Alex Pompez, Cum Posey, Louis Santop, Mule Suttles, Ben Taylor, Cristóbal Torriente, Sol White, J.L. Wilkinson, and Jud Wilson. Manley is the first woman ever elected to the Hall, and the 18 inductees are the largest class in the Hall’s history.
Bruce Sutter, joining Hoyt Wilhelm (1985), Rollie Fingers (1992), and Dennis Eckersley (2004), becomes the fourth relief pitcher to be voted into the Hall of Fame, and the first hurler elected without a career major league start. The split-fingered fastball, which will eventually lead to career-ending injuries, helped to establish the right-hander as one of the game’s dominant closers.
In other winter leagues action, the Naranjeros de Hermosillo clinch their Mexican Pacific League playoff series with a 3 – 0 win over Navojoa. Travis Blackley allows only one hit over 8 innings for the win. In the other series, Culiacán forces a seventh game with a 5 – 3 win over Mazatlán. Jose Mercedes is the winner.
In the Venezuelan League, Royals 1B prospect Ernesto Mejia is named MVP and Rookie of the Year after hitting .292 with 14 homers and 41 RBI in 57 regular-season games for Aguilas del Zulia. He is the first player to win both honors the same year. In the playoffs, Zulia loses, 10 – 6, to Magallanes on a grand slam by Alex Escobar and a 4-for-4 performance by Pablo Sandoval.
2011 – Edgar Renteria, the MVP of the last World Series, signs a one-year deal with the Reds. He states in an interview that he had to choose Cincinnati because the Giants’ offer of half the salary and a back-up role was “a total disrespect”. The Reds also sign OF Fred Lewis, who was the Blue Jays’ starting LF last year.
Major League Baseball announces changes to its drug testing program. Players will now be subject to unannounced in-season blood tests for human growth hormone and baseline testosterone readings will be taken for all players to make it easier to detect the use of synthetic testosterone. The new procedures, which have the support of the Players Association, go into effect immediately.
2018 – OF Jay Bruce agrees to a three-year contract worth $39 million to return to the Mets. Last year, Bruce played in the Big Apple until August, when he was dealt to Cleveland and helped the team achieve its record-setting 22-game winning streak. He hit 36 homers and drove in 101 runs between the two stops.
2019 – A number of second-tier free agents find homes today, the most prominent being IF Jed Lowrie, coming off the best two seasons of his career at 34, who signs with the Mets for two years and $20 million. OF Jon Jay joins the White Sox for one year at $4 million while 2B Brian Dozier inks a one-year deal with Washington.