This Day In Baseball January 16
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Benjamin Douglas is hired as the manager of the Providence Grays, and Tom Carey is signed as the team’s captain. The skipper of the new National League franchise in Rhode Island will be fired for insubordination before the season begins, being replaced by left fielder Tom York, who led the team to a third-place finish with a 33-27 (.550) record.
The Washington Nationals, also to be known as the Statesmen, are admitted to the National League. The new franchise, which will play its home games at the Swampoodle Grounds, will win only 28 games of the 120 games played, finishing 60 games behind the first-place Chicago White Stockings in their first season of the team’s four-year existence in the nation’s capital.
1905 – It seems simple enough on paper: the Boston Americans buy outfielder George Stone from the Washington Senators; the St. Louis Browns reclaim Frank Huelsman from Washington, where he had been on loan, and send him along with Jesse Burkett to Boston for Stone. Boston then sends Huelsman back to Washington in payment for Stone. This is Huelsman’s fourth trade in eight months and his playing for four American League teams in one season in 1904 will not be matched until Paul Lehner does it in 1951.
1952 – The U.S. Standardization Board clears the way for Stan Musial to get a salary increase to $85,000. Prior to this relaxation of the rules, there was a wage freeze in effect due to the Korean War. Under the new rules, a team is free to raise individual salaries, as long as they do not exceed a complicated formula, based on total team salaries for any one year, from 1946 to 1950, plus 10 percent.
The NFL Steelers beat the Pirates, 22-20 in a benefit basketball game played at the Field House for the Children’s Hospital. The Bucs’ very competitive shortstop Dick Groat, a Duke University hoop standout, scores 14 points, but takes exception to the foul called on him by Bob Prince, the team’s broadcaster refereeing the game, that allows their football rivals to tie the score in the final few seconds of the contest and eventually win the scheduled 15-minute exhibition in overtime.
The American League owners, by a 9-1 vote, nix Charlie Finley’s proposal to move the A’s to Louisville, and the maverick owner is given an ultimatum to sign a lease in Kansas City by February 1 or lose his franchise. Ten days ago, Finley had announced he had signed a two-year deal with Louisville and had plans to shift the franchise there to start playing for the upcoming season.
1970 – Gold Glove outfielder Curt Flood files a lawsuit challenging the reserve clause, which binds major league players to teams perpetually. Flood had been traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies on October 7, 1969, but has refused to report to the Phillies. Flood contends that the reserve clause violates antitrust laws. He will lose the suit but the judge will suggest changes to the reserve system, opening the door for salary arbitration and free agency.
Steve Carlton becomes the highest paid pitcher when he signs a contract with the Phillies for a reported $165,000. The 28 year-old southpaw, last season’s unanimous Cy Young Award winner, will lose a league-leading 20 games this season after posting a 27-10 record in the previous campaign for the last place team.
1974 – The Baseball Writers Association of America elects former New York Yankees teammates Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford to the Hall of Fame. Mantle becomes only the seventh player to make it in his first try. His 536 home runs with the Yankees rank second only to Babe Ruth, and he played in more games (2,401) than any other pinstriper, including Lou Gehrig. Ford was arguably the greatest Yankees pitcher of all time, retiring with more wins (236), innings pitched (3,171), strikeouts (1,956), and shutouts (45) than anyone in club history.
1986 – The Minnesota Twins trade Tim Teufel and Pat Crosby to the New York Mets in exchange for Billy Beane, Bill Latham, and Joe Klink. Minnesota also trades Dave Engle to the Tigers for Chris Pittaro and Alejandro Sanchez. Teufel will platoon with Wally Backman during the Mets’ championship run this season.
Major League Baseball’s executive council approves a history-making first: interleague play for the 1997 season. The Players’ Association will also give its approval, enabling geographic rivals like New York’s Mets and Yankees, Chicago’s Cubs and White Sox, and Los Angeles’ Angels and Dodgers to play each other during the regular season.
The Hall of Fame announces that Gary Carter will become the first player to wear a Montreal Expos cap on his plaque when he is inducted next July at Cooperstown. Although the former Montreal catcher had expressed his desire to go in with a Mets logo, for whom he won a Championship in 1986, the Hall of Fame makes the final decision.
Trying to restore a competitive edge to the All-Star Game, the owners unanimously approve that the winning league of the Mid-Summer classic will have home field advantage during the World Series. Approval is needed by the players to change the current rotation between the two leagues, which was put in place since the inception of the World Series in 1903.
Dontrelle Willis (22-10, 2.63), signing a record-setting one-year deal with the Marlins, avoids arbitration by agreeing to a $4.35 million one-year deal which could be worth $4.55 million if certain performance-based incentives are reached. The All-Star southpaw’s deal surpasses those for Roy Halladay and Andy Pettitte, who both inked $3.8 million contracts, for the highest amount ever given to a starting pitcher in his first year of arbitration eligibility.
2008 – Great Britain withdraws from the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament due to financial limitations; the British Baseball Federation is unable to raise the 40,000 pounds needed to take part and has stopped receiving funding from UK Sport in 2005. The IBAF claims the reason is due to player availability, contrary to the above explanation provided by Britain. Germany takes its spot. Great Britain was not expected to have much chance of advancing to the Olympics.
The Red Sox sign another infielder to a long-term contract when Kevin Youkilis agrees to a four-year deal reportedly worth $41 million. The 29 year-old Gold Glove first baseman will join Dustin Pedroia, who inked a six-year contract extension in December, on the right side of Boston’s infield for the foreseeable future.
2010 – Manager Jose Offerman of the Tigres del Licey is ejected and escorted from the stadium by police after punching umpire Daniel Reyburn in a Dominican Winter League playoff loss to the Gigantes del Cibao, 6 – 0. He faces disciplinary measures and possible criminal charges. Offerman loses his cool after home plate umpire Jason Bradley ejects catcher Ronny Paulino for arguing balls and strikes. The incident is reminiscent of one in the Atlantic League on August 14, 2007, when Offerman, playing for the Long Island Ducks, attacked pitcher Matt Beech of the Bridgeport Bluefish with a bat after being hit by a pitch, and also injured catcher John Nathans in the process.
The Marlins deal Dan Uggla to the Braves for infielder Omar Infante and left-hander Mike Dunn. Atlanta’s acquisition of the two-time All-Star second baseman, who hit .287 with 33 homers and 105 RBIs last season, could be a signal the team is uncertain about Chipper Jones’ status for next year after having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left knee.
The Mariners acquire Michael Morse from the Nationals in a three-way trade that sends catcher John Jaso to the A’s, who deal minor league pitchers A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen, and a player to be named later to Washington. The 30 year-old outfielder/first baseman, obtained to provide additional punch to Seattle’s middle-of-the-order, spent the first four years of his big league career playing for the Northwest team.
2014 – At their quarterly meeting, MLB owners agree to the proposed expansion of instant replay; as the Players Association and Umpires Association have also agreed to the changes, they will be effective at the start of this season. A manager will be able to challenge up to two decisions per game, and the umpiring crew can decide on its own to review a call from the 7th inning on. Almost all calls will be subject to review, except for balls and strikes, obstruction and interference.
The Australian Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2015 is announced. The new inductees are Trent Durrington and John Galloway. Durrington was the third Australian position player to make the majors and spent over 1,000 games in the US pro ranks. Galloway was MVP of the 1980 Claxton Shield and later managed two national champions, while also spending several years with the Australian national team.
In one of his last gestures as President, Barack Obama receives the World Champion Cubs at the White House. Reporters note it’s the first time the team visits the hallowed mansion since 1888, while the President, known to be a fan of the rival White Sox, states: “I can’t claim that I have the same just visceral joy of some in this White House,” alluding to first lady Michelle Obama, who does root for the Cubbies.
The Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame announces its 2017 class. Tsutomu Itoh, a ten-time Best Nine pick at catcher noted for his defense, is the only selection by the Sportswriters. The Expert Committee picks 8-time All-Star pitcher Masaji Hiramatsu, winner of over 200 games and Senichi Hoshino, who won 146 games as a pitcher and 1,181 as a manager (among the top 10 all-time). The Special Committee picks amateur umpire Hiroshi Goshi and rules codifier Mirei Suzuki.
2018 – The Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame announces the class of 2018. The Players Division picks Hideki Matsui, a three-time Central League MVP and 2009 World Series MVP and Tomoaki Kanemoto, the 2005 CL MVP who set the Nippon Pro Baseball record for consecutive games without missing an inning. Another former CL MVP, Tatsunori Hara, winner in 1983, is picked by the Expert Division; Hara later managed three Japan Series winners and the Japanese national team to the 2009 World Baseball Classic title. The fourth inductee, college coach Masao Taki, is picked by the Special Committee; he guided Chukyo University to 28 Aichi University Baseball League championships.