This Day In Baseball January 29
Baseball history on January 29 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.
Commissioner Ford Frick announces the fans will no longer have a vote in the selection of participants for the All-Star Game, with teams now to be chosen by major league players and coaches. The change was made to avoid the stuffing of the ballot box by hometown fans, as was the case when eight Reds were elected to start last season’s Mid-Summer Classic by enthusiastic Cincinnati fans.
1962 – Manager Harry Craft and General Manager Paul Richards begin the first winter publicity caravan in team history, starting in Victoria. The team has had one every year since then, touring cities throughout Texas and Louisiana. Among the other travelers are infielders Norm Larker, Bob Aspromonte, Don Buddin and Joey Amalfitano and broadcaster Gene Elston. This year’s tour also makes a stop in Monterrey, Mexico.
1967 – Former Brooklyn Dodgers executive Branch Rickey and Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Lloyd Waner are elected to the Hall of Fame by a unanimous vote of the Special Veterans Committee. In 1947, Rickey promoted Jackie Robinson to the Dodgers, effectively breaking the color line in the major leagues.
In accepting the Tris Speaker Award from Houston sportswriters, Roberto Clemente gives a speech which, apart from being called by many of those in attendance “the best talk any baseball player ever made,” is the source of Clemente’s most famous – if oft misquoted – assertion: “If you have an opportunity to accomplish something that will make things better for someone coming behind you, and you don’t do that, you are wasting your time on this earth.”
1988 – The Los Angeles Dodgers sign free agent outfielder Kirk Gibson to a three-year contract worth $4.5 million. Thanks in large part to Gibson’s fiery leadership, the Dodgers will win the National League pennant this season. In Game 1 of the World Series against the Oakland Athletics, Gibson, too hobbled to play the field, will hit a dramatic, game-winning pinch-hit home run off Dennis Eckersley.
2008 – The Tigres de Aragua win their fourth Venezuelan Winter League title in the past five seasons under manager Buddy Bailey. Catcher Alex Delgado appears on his record 8th Venezuelan titlist. In game 5 of the finals, the Tigres rout the Cardenales de Lara, 9 – 2, behind 3 RBI apiece from Martin Prado and Ronny Cedeño and 3 hits from Edgardo Alfonzo. Jesus Silva tops Geremi Gonzalez.
2009 – At Estadio Latinoamericano, Jorge Alberto Martínez Roque of Matanzas faces the minimum 27 batters in shutting down the host Industriales. The right-hander entered the game with a career record of 10-20 but throws a no-hitter with no walks. The only baserunner, Serguei Pérez, is plunked and promptly erased on a double play. A three-run homer by Matanzas 1B Lázaro Herrera provides the game’s offense. It is the 50th Cuban no-hitter of the Castro era.
Members of the Florida Marlins are experiencing a different side of life as they visit troops in the field in Iraq. GM Larry Beinfest, manager Fredi Gonzalez, players Chris Coghlan and John Baker and four members of the team’s cheerleading squad make up the touring party which travels by Black Hawk helicopters between bases in Iraq and Kuwait, bringing some cheer to soldiers deployed there.
The Tigres de Aragua tie up the finals of the Venezuelan League at three games apiece with a 4 – 1 win over the Caribes de Anzoátegui. Luis Maza is the hero with a 1st-inning homer, hit after P Manny Ayala starts the game by walking lead-off batter Hernan Iribarren. Aragua knots the series for the second time, having trailed 2 games to none, and 3 to 2.
The Tigres de Aragua win their 9th Venezuelan League championship with a 3 – 1 victory over La Guaira, taking the finals, 4 games to 2. The team was rocked by the kidnapping of C Wilson Ramos and the tragic death of P Rosman Garcia in a car crash, but overcame these events. In the deciding contest, Yorman Bazardo gives up only 2 hits in 5 scoreless ininngs, while Hector Gimenez, Edgardo Alfonzo and Ramos drive in the three runs.
The Miami New Times reports that the names of at least seven major leaguers have turned up in an investigation of a recently closed clinic in Coral Gables, FL, Biogenesis Laboratories, which is suspected to have dealt in performance-enhancing drugs. Most prominent among those named is Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez. Three of those named – Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal – were suspended by Major League Baseball for testing positive for banned substances during the past year, lending additional credence to the report.
The Naranjeros de Hermosillo take Game 7 of the Mexican Pacific League championship series to win it all over the Mayos de Navojoa. Luis Fonseca hits a two-run homer in the 3rd off Nathan Reed for Navojoa, but Hermosillo rallies for 7 runs in the bottom of the 6th. Zelous Wheeler’s three-run dinger off Hugo Gutierrez is the big blow in an 8 – 3 win. Jerry Owens gets 3 hits for Hermosillo and Jason Urquidez gets the win, while Salvador Robles is the losing hurler.
2015: The Cangrejeros de Santurce win their first Puerto Rican League title in 15 years. They beat the Indios de Mayagüez 4 games to 2 in the finals. In game 6, Santurce trails 3-1 entering the 8th but tie it off Jonathan Albaladejo. Fernando Cabrera relieves but serves up a two-run double to Jorge Padilla. Ricardo Gomez gets the win and Ruben Sosa is named finals MVP.
The Cangrejeros de Santurce repeat as Puerto Rican League champions; it is their 14th title but their first successful title defense. As with last year, they top the Indios de Mayagüez 4 games to 2. Game 6 is a pitching duel between Jorge Martínez (Santurce) and Hiram Burgos (Mayagüez) with neither team scoring through five innings. In the 6th, Santuce gets two runs, as Jose Constanza drives in Ruben Sosa and is later driven in by Neftali Soto. Frank Del Valle (W), Luis Santos and Ricardo Gomez toss shutout ball for the next four frames.
Anger over the slow pace of free agent signings is boiling over. Today, Agent Scott Boras accuses the current system of threatening the sport’s integrity, as many teams have seemingly decided not to attempt being competitive. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto adds that certain team would rather “win the top draft pick [in the amateur draft] than the World Series”. A day earlier, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen vented that players should consider going on strike even though a new collective bargaining agreement was just signed. The reason for this frustration is that a month before the opening of spring training, 130 free agents remain unsigned, including some of the highest-profile players on the market.
The Cleveland Indians announce that they will stop using the image of “Chief Wahoo” on their uniforms starting in 2019. The caricatural Indian mascot, deemed offensive by most Native Americans and by many others, has been used by the team since 1947, but has drawn increasing criticism in the last two decades, prompting Commissioner Rob Manfred to formally ask the team to phase it out.
2019 – The 2019 Pan American Games Qualifier begins, but only one of the four originally-slated games is played to completion due to the late withdrawal of Venezuela due to economic troubles, the late arrival of the Dominicans due to travel issues and a rain delay of Brazil-Nicaragua. In the lone finished game today, defending Pan American Games Gold Medalist Canada trails Panama 1-0 after 5 but rallies for 4 in the 6th en route to victory. Wes Darvill and Kellin Deglan homer for Canada, while Ryan Kellogg gets the win in relief of Scott Richmond.