This Day In Baseball January 11
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1932 – Bill Terry sends his $13,500 contract back to the New York Giants, telling writers he is “thoroughly disgusted.” Terry, who just missed the National League batting title, led the league in runs (121) and triples (20), and collected a second-best 254 hits, was offered a $9,000 cut from his 1931 contract of $22,500. The Giants counter by saying that the combined salaries of Chick Hafey and Jim Bottomley, the two Cardinals who joined Terry in the batting race, is only $24,000. Hafey, the champion bat, finished with 0.34888 ahead Terry (0.34860) and Bottomley (.34816).
1948 – A DC6 plane carrying the Santiago Baseball Club crashes in Rio Verde de Yamasa, Monte Plata while returning from playing a doubleheader in Barahona. All 32 occupants are killed, including Dominican baseball legend Pedro Báez, the team’s manager, in what is considered the biggest tragedy in the country’s sports history.
Although the Milwaukee doesn’t have a major league franchise; the selection for the site for the city’s new County Stadium is the Story Stone Quarry, chosen over the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds because of its closer proximity to downtown. Construction will begin in October of next year in an attempt to attract a big league team, which will happen in 1953 when the Braves leave Boston to play in Brew Town.
Before an exhibition game in San Juan, Puerto Rico, San Francisco Giants outfielder Willie Mays and teammate pitcher Ruben Gómez get into a brawl. It starts when Gómez slips into the batting cage ahead of Mays, and batting practice pitcher Milt Ralat then refuses to throw. The sulking Gómez sits down on the plate, and Mays then steps to the side and directs the pitcher to throw to him there. Ralat then throws an insulting slow pitch which Mays barehands and fires back. Mays and Ralat exchange words and when Mays walks towards the mound, Gómez, brandishing a bat, attempts to interfere. Mays drops him with a right. The two later apologize to each other.
The Phillies send fan-favorite Richie Ashburn, the National League’s top hitter in 1958, to the Cubs in exchange for infielders Alvin Dark and Jim Woods along with right-hander John Buzhardt. ‘Whitey,’ a future Hall of Famer, will play center field and hit .291 batting leadoff for Chicago this season.
1965 – Wally Pipp, the predecessor of Lou Gehrig at first base for the New York Yankees, dies in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Pipp, who, as legend has it, had asked out of the Yankees lineup with a headache in 1925 (in fact he had been beaned in a previous game), was 71 years old. After giving way to Gehrig, Pipp never again played a game at first base for New York.
Ewing Kauffman becomes the owner of the new American League franchise in Kansas City to be eventually known as the Royals. The pharmaceutical magnate, encouraged by his wife Muriel, becomes an instrumental force in bringing a quality major league baseball experience to the Heart of America, after Charlie Finley’s stormy departure to Oakland with the unpopular A’s team.
Twenty-seven year-old Tiger pitcher John Hiller drives himself to the hospital after suffering a heart attack while relaxing at home. After missing the entire season this year, the Canadian native will make a great comeback with the team in 1973, establishing a new American League record with 38 saves en route to becoming Detroit’s all-time leader in saves with 125, before retiring at the end of the 1980 season.
Houston owner Judge Roy Hofheinz votes along with the rest of the National League to allow the American League to conduct a three-year experiment using the Designated Hitter. It will be the first time since the A.L. was formed in 1901 that the two major leagues would have a different set of rules. The gimmick has survived ever since and is now used by National League teams when involved in interleague play.
Major League owners approve one of the game’s most controversial rules: the designated hitter. The owners decide to allow American League teams to implement the rule on an experimental three-year basis, but the rule will become a permanent addition to the AL while the National League never adopts it.
At the owners’ meeting in Chicago, Bowie Kuhn, in addition to introducing the designated hitter and pinch runner concepts, shares with the press his idea of interleague play as a means for the American League to bridge the gap with its more popular NL rivals. The commissioner’s limited plan, if accepted, would only affect cities with multiple teams within one geographic area.
After the American League approves the new rule with a vote of 8-4, and the National League vetoes the idea, and all 24 owners approve the Junior Circuit’s three-year experiment to use a designated hitter. Although the DH was his idea, A’s owner Charlie Finley votes against the concept because of the lack of support for his other brainchild of implementing a designated runner.
1977 – The Chicago Cubs trade outfielder Rick Monday to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a five-man deal that brings Bill Buckner and Ivan DeJesus to the Windy City. In 1976, Monday gained national fame when he saved an American flag from being burned during a game in Los Angeles. The trade solidifies the Cubs infield for the next five years, and Buckner will hit .300 for the team over the next seven seasons, but the Dodgers will win three National League pennants in that span, with Monday a major contributor.
Bob Lemon dies at the age of 79. Lemon was a seven-time 20-game winner with the Cleveland Indians. He teamed with Bob Feller, Early Wynn and Mike Garcia to form one of the game’s greatest starting rotations. In 1954, Lemon went 23-7 and helped the Indians to a 111-win season. In 1970, Lemon became a major league manager for the first time when he assumed leadership of the Kansas City Royals. He later managed the Chicago White Sox before enjoying his greatest success with the New York Yankees. On July 25, 1978, Lemon replaced Billy Martin and helped the Yankees orchestrate a miraculous comeback. Under Lemon’s calming hand, the Yankees won their second straight World Championship that year. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1976.
2001 – David Cone agrees to a one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox. The former Cy Young Award winner could make between $4 million and $5 million with Boston, compared to a $500,000 guaranteed-offer made by the Yankees, if he makes the roster and pitches regularly during the season. He will win just 9 games in 25 starts.
After a one-year experiment, the Baltimore Orioles plan to return Camden Yards to its original dimensions by moving in the fences. The team, which hit only 58 homers at home – 44 less than in the previous season, said the fences are returning to their initial distances because the new configuration “adversely affected the viewing angle of the batter’s eye.”
The Orioles, after a one-year experiment, plan to return Camden Yards to its original dimensions by moving in the fences. The team, which hit only 58 homers at home, 44 less than in the previous season, said the fences are returning to their initial distances because the new configuration “adversely affected the viewing angle of the batter’s eye.”
2005 – The Arizona Diamondbacks trade five-time Cy Young Award winner Randy Johnson to the New York Yankees in a three-team deal that includes the Los Angeles Dodgers. Shawn Green, Javier Vazquez and Dioner Navarro also move in the transaction. Arizona receives Vazquez, Navarro and Brad Halsey from the Yankees, and later sends Navarro and three minor league prospects to Los Angeles for Green.
The Diamondbacks trade recently acquired catcher Dioner Navarro and hurlers William Juarez, Danny Muegge, and Beltran Perez to the Dodgers for 32 year-old outfielder Shawn Green (.266, 28, 86). In an effort to rebound from last season’s 51-111 record, Arizona has also signed free-agent third baseman Troy Glaus and starting pitcher Russ Ortiz during the offseason.
The Devil Rays make their first agreement with a Japanese player when 31 year-old right-handed relief pitcher Shinji Mori signs a $1.4 million, two-year contract to play in Tampa Bay. The former Seibu Lion reliever was 44-44 with 50 saves and a 3.39 ERA, playing in 431 games during his tenure in Japan’s Pacific League.
21-year-old Cuban lefthanded pitching star Aroldis Chapman signs a 6-year, $30.25 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds after weeks of auditioning for a number of interested teams. Chapman defected in July, before taking part in the 2009 World Port Tournament and established residency in Andorra, making him a free agent. The package offered by the Reds is comparable to that given by the Washington Nationals to Stephen Strasburg, the top pick in the 2009 amateur draft.
After years of rumors and speculation which have stalled his candidacy for the Hall of Fame, retired slugger Mark McGwire comes clean in an interview, confirming that he was a user of steroids and human growth hormone starting in 1990, including during his record-setting 1998 season. He had refused to broach the subject when called before a Congressional committee hearing in March, 2005, but decides to speak to the media a few months after accepting a position as hitting coach with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Former pitching great Greg Maddux, who started his major league career with the Cubs in 1986, is returning to the team as an assistant to general manager Jim Hendry. A sure first-ballot Hall of Famer, the 355-game winner’s duties will include assisting the major league and minor league coaching staffs at spring training, evaluating talent, and developing minor league players.
Ryne Sandberg, with aspirations of being the Cubs manager someday, agrees to be the skipper of the team’s Triple-A Iowa farm club, replacing Bobby Dickerson who left for a position with Baltimore. The 50 year-old Hall of Fame infielder has been managing in the Chicago farm system for the past three seasons, two with the Single-A Peoria Chiefs and one year with the Double-A Tennessee Smokies.
Trevor Hoffman, who staked his claim as the all-time saves leader in the majors thanks to an outstanding change-up, announces his retirement after 18 seasons. He recorded his 600th save with the Brewers last season, and retires with 601, but had a tough year overall and found little interest in his services for next season. He will not hold the saves record for long, however, as Mariano Rivera has 559 and will pass him before the end of the coming season.
Three new members are picked for the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame. Yutaka Ono, a 10-time All-Star and the Sawamura Award winner in 1988, is selected, as is Yoshiro Sotokoba, a five-time All-Star who was 131-138 on mostly bad teams. Sotokoba shared the Nippon Pro Baseball record for career no-hitters (3). The final selection is 1940s high school star Kazuo Fukushima.
Wearing a Cubs jersey and a backward blue baseball cap, Clark, the Cubs’ new mascot makes his debut at Chicago’s Advocate Illinois Masonic’s Pediatric Developmental Center. Clark the Cub, named after the street located behind Wrigley Field’s home plate, is being touted as the great-grandson of franchise’s first mascot, Joa, a live bear used as a good luck charm in 1916, nine years after the franchise officially adopted Cubs as the team’s name.
2014 – Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz issues his ruling on Alex Rodriguez’s appeal of his 211-game suspension for PED use, originally issued on August 5th, reducing it to 162 games, or the entire 2014 season and postseason, costing him $25 million in salary. Rodriguez says he will appeal the decision in federal court. For its part, the Players Association says it disagrees with the decision, but will respect it as it was reached through due process.
Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, upon hearing Alex Rodriguez’s doping suspension appeal, reduces baseball’s highest-paid player’s expulsion from 211 games to the 162 games scheduled in the 2014 regular season, and any resulting postseason contests. The ruling, which still keeps the suspension the longest in baseball history for using performance-enhancing substances, may mark the end of the 38 year-old Yankee third baseman’s career.
2017 – The Mariners, who have been quite active this off-season, continue to make trades, first sending pitching prospects Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows to Atlanta for P Shae Simmons and OF Mallex Smith, and then flipping Smith to Tampa Bay, along with IF Carlos Vargas and P Ryan Yarbrough, to acquire SP Drew Smyly. Smyly is expected to become a key member of the Mariners’ starting rotation this year.
Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom reaches a one-year deal with the Mets for $17 million. The $9.6 million raise is the largest ever for a player eligible for salary arbitration. In the same vein, the Red Sox come to an agreement with reigning MVP Mookie Betts, signing him for $20 million, the most ever given to a player in his second year of arbitration eligibility; in fact the amount beats that given to any player in his third year of eligibility. Meanwhile, 3B Nolan Arenado has filed a claim for a $30 million salary, with the Rockies countering by offering $24 million; whatever the arbitration panel decides, the amount will be a record-setting one, topping the $23 million obtained by Josh Donaldson from the Blue Jays last year.