This Day In Baseball January 6
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You Wish You Where Here Events for January 6
1914 – The National Commission grants some demands of the Players’ union: players are to be notified in writing of their transfer or release and to receive a copy of their contract; players with 10 years in the Major Leagues are eligible to become free agents; clubs will pay traveling expenses to spring training and furnish all uniforms, and outfield fences in major league ballparks should be painted green to provide a better hitting background for batters.
1942 – Cleveland Indians pitcher Bob Feller reports to Norfolk, Virginia for duty in the United States Navy. Feller, who led the American League in victories in three previous seasons, will miss this season, as well as the 1943 and 1944 seasons before returning for nine games in 1945. Despite missing the time due to the World War II effort, Feller will lead the league in winss in 1946, 1947 and 1951, amassing 266 victories during an 18-year major league career.
A’s owner Charlie Finley stuns Kansas City when he announces that he has signed a two-year deal to move the team to Louisville to play at the city’s Fairgrounds Stadium, having the state of Kentucky’s promise to spend a half-a-million dollars on enlarging the 20,628-seat facility by another 10,000 seats. The American League owners will veto the franchise shift, planned for this upcoming season, and the team stays put in the City of Fountains until after the 1967 campaign when permitted to move to Oakland.
1967 – Former major league manager Johnny Keane dies in Chicago, IL from a heart attack at the age of 55. Keane guided the St. Louis Cardinals to the 1964 World Series, but left to become the manager of the New York Yankees, whom the Cardinals had beaten in the World Series. After an unsuccessful stint with the Yankees, Keane became a scout with the California Angels.
The city council, by a vote of 6-2, approves changing the name of San Diego Stadium to San Diego – Jack Murphy Stadium. The Padres ballpark’s new moniker is in honor of the late sports editor of the San Diego Union, who is credited getting the facility built in the late 1960s and with bringing major league baseball and football to the Southern California city.
Former Atlanta Braves knuckleballer Phil Niekro is elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America, becoming the 227th member of the Hall. He receives 80.34% of the vote, as former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Don Sutton falls nine votes short of election. Niekro is only the 87th player to be elected by the BBWAA.
Nolan Ryan is the first passenger to board the Nolan Ryan Express, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737. Ryan autographs both sides of the aircraft’s nose on two specially designed decals each featuring a baseball with airplane wings and a Southwest colored tail. In July, Ryan will again board the NLE to fly to the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, New York.
Surgery makes the news as the New York Mets prize rookie outfielder Jay Payton undergoes arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. Also, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Paul Quantrill has surgery to repair a fractured right thigh and a metal rod is inserted in his leg. He was injured in a snowmobile accident at his home in Port Hope, ON.
Major League Baseball officials order Atlanta Braves reliever John Rocker is to undergo psychological testing following derogatory remarks he made in an interview with Sports Illustrated magazine. Commissioner Bud Selig says he will listen to what the doctors say before deciding what punishment – if any – will be handed down to the pitcher.
The Yankees, according to final figures released by the commissioner’s office, finished the year with a record payroll of $207.2 million, $90 million more than the Red Sox, who spent the second largest amount on playing personnel. The World Champion White Sox, by comparison, spent only $73.2 million, with the lowly Devil Rays writing checks for a mere $26.6 million, not much more than Alex Rodriguez makes as an individual playing third base for the Bronx Bombers.
The commissioner’s office informs the press of a letter which was faxed from the International Baseball Federation informing Major League Baseball of their intent to withdraw the sanctioning of the World Baseball Classic unless Cuba is allowed to participate. In mid-December, the Treasury Department had denied the necessary license for Castro’s countrymen to compete on American soil due to the U.S. law which restricts financial gain of the communist nation in the United States.
In his ninth year on the BBWAA’s ballot, Andre Dawson is the only player to receive 75 percent, or more of the writers’ votes (77.9) necessary for election to the Hall of Fame. The former National League Rookie of the Year (1977 – Montreal) and Most Valuable Player (1987 – Chicago), who spent 21 seasons patrolling the outfield for the Expos, Cubs, Red Sox, and Marlins, is one of only three players, that includes Mays and Barry Bonds, to exceed 400 homers and 300 stolen bases during his major league career.
Ken Griffey, Jr. is elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA with the highest percentage of votes ever – 99.3%. Joining him in this year’s class is Mike Piazza, who makes it on his fourth attempt. Griffey is the first #1 overall draft pick to make the Hall, while Piazza is the lowest pick (62nd round).
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