This Day In Baseball January 11
Baseball history on January 11 includes Major League baseball players born that day of the year, Major League baseball players who died on that date, baseball players who made their Major League debut on that date, and Major League baseball players who appeared in their final game that date.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.