This Day In Baseball January 15
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US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sends his famed “Green Light Letter” to Commissioner Judge Landis, encouraging Major League Baseball to continue playing during World War II. President Roosevelt states that he believes playing the sport would be good for Americans and encourages the owners to have more games at night to give war workers an opportunity to attend games. Despite a loss of many star players to military service, all 16 teams will continue to play regular schedules for the duration of the war. Ironically, the Chicago Cubs, who had signed an agreement with a contractor to install lights at Wrigley Field, drop their plans because of the military’s need for the material. It will take 35 more years before lights are finally installed at the venerable ballpark.
“I honestly feel it would be best for the country to keep baseball going.” – FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, U.S. President responding to Commissioner Landis inquiry about the sport’s future.In his famous ‘Green Light letter’, President Franklin D. Roosevelt answers Commissioner Landis’s query about playing baseball in the wake of the Second World War. FDR responds he believes playing the sport would be good for Americans and encourages the owners to have more games at night to give war workers an opportunity to attend games.
The Kratter Corporation grants Walter O’Malley an additional two years on the three-year lease on Ebbets Field agreed to last year. The new timeline means the ball club has a home in Brooklyn until 1961, but the extension may have been prompted by the Dodgers owner’s uncertainty about L.A’s ability to secure the land needed to build a stadium if the team moved to the West Coast.
1958 – The New York Yankees announce that 140 games will be televised this season. The deal is worth over one million dollars. Six days later, the Philadelphia Phillies agree to televise 78 games into the New York City area, which is without National League baseball for the first time since the league’s inception in 1876.
Baseball’s executives select New York City as the site of the game’s first free-agent draft, a controversial measure approved during the winter meetings that gives teams with the worst records the first picks to the talented amateur players. With the first pick in the history of the draft, the A’s will select ASU outfielder Rick Monday when the draft begins on June 8 at the Hotel Commodore.
Tom Brown becomes the first major leaguer to play in the Super Bowl. The Green Bay defensive back, an outfielder and first baseman for the Senators in 1963, is best remembered for his last-minute interception of Cowboy quarterback Don Meredith’s Hail Mary pass in the NFL Championship game, making Green Bay a participant in the first-ever Super Bowl.
During their winter fan festival, the Brewers unveil a new logo and different team colors, with navy, green, and metallic gold replacing the current royal blue and yellow. The changes, the first since the start of the 1978 season, also include Germanic lettering in place of the standard block, and the addition of the first alternate uniform in the club’s history, a navy jersey with the club’s primary logo below the word Brewers across the chest.
At the Congressional hearing concerning the Mitchell Report, Representatives Henry Waxman and Tom Davis announce they have sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate if Miguel Tejada lied to House committee staff when questioned about Oriole teammate Rafael Palmeiro’s use of steroids. The former American League MVP, who was traded to the Astros in the offseason, could face jail time if found guilty, because making false statements to Congress is a felony.
Derek Lowe signs a four-year deal with the Braves reportedly worth $60 million. The 35 year-old right-hander will be the ace of Atlanta’s new-look rotation that includes the recently acquired Javier Vazquez, Jair Jurrjens, and Kenshin Kawakami, who pitched in Japan last season for the Chunichi Dragons.
The Dodgers, who had restructured Andruw Jones’s contract earlier in the month, put their expensive center fielder on waivers rather than pursuing a trade for the five-time All-Star. The highest-paid player in the franchise history, who signed a two-year, $36.2 million deal during the 2007 offseason, was a complete bust in his one season with the team, hitting a meager .158 with just three home runs and 14 RBIs in 209 at-bats.
Matt Dermody, a Norwalk (IA) High School senior, strikes out every South Tama High batter who steps to the plate in a game shortened to six innings due to the state’s mercy rule, invoked when a team leads by ten or more runs after five frames. The 6-foot-5 southpaw, recently drafted in the 26th round by the Pirates, will attend the University of Iowa, playing for the Hawkeyes, before signing with the Blue Jays in 2013.
The Mets and John Maine (7-6, 4.43) come to terms on a one-year, $3.3 million deal just after the right-hander filed for arbitration. New York’s projected number three starter was limited to 15 games last season, due to the lingering weakness from a 2008 surgery that removed a bony growth from the socket of his right shoulder.
Avoiding salary arbitration, Matt Kemp (.297, 26, 101) and the Dodgers agree to a rare multi-year offer that will pay the center fielder $10.95 million over the next two seasons. The 25 year-old Oklahoman, considered a core player in the team’s future, won the Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger awards playing for the National League West champs last season.
After watching their bullpen implode in the NLDS last season, the Nationals sign Rafael Soriano to a two-year, $28 million deal to be the club’s closer. The 33 year-old right-handed reliever, who had a league-leading 45 saves for the Rays in 2011, filled in for the injured Mariano Rivera last season and saved 42 games for the Yankees.
2014 – The Dodgers sign P Clayton Kershaw to the biggest deal in baseball history, as the seven-year, $215 million package averages to $30.7 million per season, making Kershaw the highest-paid player in baseball, a title held until now by Alex Rodriguez. The deal is also the largest ever for a pitcher in total value, although still below Rodriguez’s deal, which was for $275 million.
The Puerto Rican League issues its 2014-2015 awards. Gigantes de Carolina right fielder Anthony García is named MVP after leading the league in homers and RBI, while ERA record-setter Iván Maldonado is both Pitcher of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year. Infielder T.J. Rivera wins Rookie of the Year and Alex Cora is Manager of the Year.
2018 – For the second time this off-season, the Giants acquire an aging franchise player in the hope of extending the team’s window of contention. After 3B Evan Longoria, acquired from the Rays a month ago, it is now OF Andrew McCutchen who moves to the West Coast. The Giants send P Kyle Crick, OF Bryan Reynolds and $500,000 in international bonus allocation to the Pirates, who for their part have traded a second star player in three days, after ace pitcher Gerrit Cole.