This Day In Baseball January 18
On January 18 on this day in baseball history, there were over 75 notable events, 49 Birthdays and 24 Deaths all on January 18 on this Day In Baseball history.
Pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander is elected to the Hall of Fame, as the only player to get the required 75 percent of the Baseball Writers Association of America votes. In a 20-season major league career, Alexander posted a 373-208 record with 2198 strikeouts and a 2.56 ERA, including 30 or more wins in three seasons.
The White Sox board of directors accept the resignation of Charlie A. Comiskey, Jr., the team’s vice president and secretary, after turning down his request for a promotion and more money. The 25 year-old’s dissatisfaction with the club came as a complete surprise to his mother, Grace Comiskey, the president of Chicago ball club.
Willie O’Ree becomes the first black player in the National Hockey League when he plays left wing for the Bruins in their 3-0 victory over the Canadiens at the Montreal Forum. The 22 year-old’s NHL debut for Boston occurs 18 months before Pumpsie Green breaks the color line of the Red Sox, the last team to integrate in the major leagues.
1961 – Harris County officials and members of the Houston Sports Association stump for votes in favor of the upcoming bond election to be held on January 31st. The bonds would allow the County to begin building the first indoor baseball arena, a condition National League owners gave Judge Hofheinz while approving Houston for an expansion franchise.
The last-place Washington Senators name former Boston Red Sox star Ted Williams as their new manager. Williams signs a five-year contract worth a reported salary of $75,000 per season. Under his leadership, the Senators will finish with a record of 86-76, the best mark in the franchise’s history in Washington.
The U.S. Congress approves renaming D.C. Stadium to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium to honor the memory of the former Attorney General and N.Y. Senator, who was assassinated last June while campaigning to be president. The ballpark, which will become better known as RFK Stadium, will continue to host the ‘new’ Washington Senators franchise that replaced the original team that left after the 1960 season to play in Minnesota.
1985 – In a four-team trade, the Milwaukee Brewers send catcher Jim Sundberg to the Kansas City Royals and receive pitchers Danny Darwin from the Texas Rangers and Tim Leary from the New York Mets. The Mets receive pitcher Frank Wills from Kansas City, who also sends catcher Don Slaught to Texas, who sends catcher Bill Hance to Milwaukee.
1995 – Former major league umpire Ron Luciano dies at the age of 57, victim of an apparent suicide. An American League umpire for 11 seasons, Luciano gained fame as one of the most colorful and flamboyant arbiters in the game’s history, and as the author of four best-selling books of anecdotes about the game.
2001 – US President George W. Bush, in an interview with the Associated Press, says he is worried about baseball’s labor contract, which expires on October 31st. Bush, once managing partner of the Texas Rangers, left the job to run for governor of Texas in 1994. He suggests, “Get rid of arbitration if possible and have, maybe, free agency occur at an earlier time, and if there’s three shortstops and two bidders the price goes down, and vice versa, it goes up.”
Eric Gagne and the Dodgers agree to a $19-million, two-year deal. The 2003 National League’s Cy Young Award winner, who set a major league record with 84 consecutive saves from August, 2002 to July, 2004, made $5 million last year, after arbitrators ruled in favor of the club’s offer over the $8 million request made by the L.A. closer.
The Rays avoid arbitration with two of their key players when the club reaches agreements with southpaw Scott Kazmir (13-9, 3.48) and infielder Carlos Pena (.282, 42, 99). The left-hand hurler, who led the AL in strikeouts last season, inks a $3,785,000, one-year pact while the club’s first baseman, the American League comeback player of the year, signs a $24+ million, three-year deal.
At their quarterly meetings, thirty major league owners voted unanimously to extend Bud Selig’s contract by three years, retaining him as commissioner through 2012. In the post since 1992, the 73 year-old has championed change in baseball, supporting the wild card, interleague play, and the World Baseball Classic in a sport not known for innovation.
P Gil Meche of the Royals, whose career has been derailed by numerous injuries and who is facing another shoulder surgery, announces his retirement in spite of having one season left on his contract at a salary of $12 million. The Royals had been trying to trade him for prospects earlier this off-season.
With the deadline for settling cases headed for salary arbitration looming, teams strike deals with most of their unsigned players. Most notable among these is the Brewers signing 1B Prince Fielder to a one-year, $15.5 million contract, the highest single-season contract ever for an arbitration-eligible player. Josh Hamilton and Jose Bautista are the two biggest names who remain unsigned.
Royals’ starter Gil Meche, who signed a controversial five-year, $55 million free-agent contract prior to the 2007 season, announces his retirement from baseball due to ongoing troubles caused by a shoulder injury. With this decision, the 32 year-old right-hander forfeits the remaining $12 million on his contract, but he believes Kansas City has been fair to him and does not want to take the club’s money when he is unable to pitch effectively.
The Dodgers confirm Clayton Kershaw’s record-breaking $215 million seven-year contract, the largest deal ever given to a pitcher. The two-time National League Cy Young Award, who will earn $30.7 million annually, requested and received an opt-out clause after five years, making the right-hander eligible to become a free agent at the of age 30.
Game 7 of the Mexican Pacific League semi-finals between the Águilas de Mexicali and Mayos de Navojoa ends in thrilling fashion, on a 16th-inning squeeze bunt dropped by C.J. Retherford on a full count, scoring Chris Roberson from third base. Mexicali wins the game and will face Mazatlan in the finals.
The 2015-2016 Venezuelan League awards are given out. Tiburones de La Guaira slugger Alex Cabrera becomes the league’s first three-time MVP when the 44-year-old leads in homers and ties for the RBI lead. Cabrera is tied for the league’s all-time home run lead at year’s end. Bravos de Margarita youngster Jose Osuna (.330/.395/.519) wins Rookie of the Year while Raul Rivero (7-4, 2.03 for the Cardenales de Lara) is Pitcher of the Year. Navegantes del Magallanes fireman Hassan Pena becomes the first player to win three straight Closer of the Year awards after setting a new save mark.
The Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame elects five members, its biggest class in ten years. Kimiyasu Kudoh, a eight-time Japan Series champion and four-time ERA leader, goes in on his first ballot. The sportswriter committee also picks Masaaki Saito, a three-time Sawamura Award winner and one-time MVP. The Expert Division picks the late Kihachi Enomoto, a 12-time All-Star and two-time batting champion. The Special Selection Committee names Takizo Matsumoto, who helped revive Japanese baseball after World War II, and Masatake Yamanaka,who set the Tokyo Big Six University League record for wins and managed Japan in the 1992 Olympics.
The Puerto Rican League also issues its seasonal awards. The MVP goes to Kennys Vargas of the Indios de Mayagüez, who led the loop in homers, slugging, total bases and OPS. Rookie of the Year is Joe Jiménez of the Gigantes de Carolina (0-2, 6 Sv, 2.80) while Adalberto Flores (5-2, 2.04) of the Santurce Crabbers is Pitcher of the Year. Other awards go to Jonathan Sánchez (Comeback Player of the Year) and Pat Kelly (Manager of the Year) while the All-Stars are C Johnny Monell Jr., 1B Vargas, 2B Jesmuel Valentin, SS Elmer Reyes, 3B T.J. Rivera, RF Anthony Garcia, CF Reymond Fuentes, LF Ruben Sosa, RHP Adalberto Flores, LHP Sánchez, RP Fernando Cabrera and DH Randy Ruiz.
2017 – The Baseball Writers Association of America elects three players to the Hall of Fame: former Houston Astros 1B Jeff Bagwell receives 86.2% of the vote to make it on his seventh try, while lead-off man Tim Raines is just behind him with 86% in his 10th and final year of eligibility. C Ivan Rodriguez also makes it, on his first attempt, clearing the 75% threshold by four votes. Falling just short are RP Trevor Hoffman and OF Vladimir Guerrero, who miss by 5 and 15 votes, respectively.
2018 – Ignoring resistance from the Players Association, Commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally announces two measures to speed up the pace of play: the introduction of a 20-second pitch clock with no runners on base, and a change to the definition of mound visits to include those made by the catcher or by an infielder. Previously, only visits by a manager or coach would count, with the second resulting in the automatic replacement of the pitcher by a reliever. The players’ reluctance is seen as a reaction to the slow free agent market this off-season that has resulted in a number of top-notch players still being unsigned a month before the opening of spring training. On February 19th, the Commissioner will come to an agreement with the MLBPA not to introduce the clock, but to go ahead with other measures to speed up the pace of play.
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