This Day In Baseball January 8
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You Wish You Where Here Events for January 8
James E. Gaffney sells the Boston Braves for $500,000 to Percy Haughton, Harvard’s head baseball coach and businessman Arthur Chamberlin Wise, who will raise $600,000 to build Fenway Park. The former owner, a Tammany Hall alderman and construction contractor, who bought the team in 1913 for $187,000, recently gained notoriety as a target of Hennessy and Whitman investigations into political graft.
Veteran infielder Buck Herzog is traded by the New York Giants to the Boston Braves for second baseman Larry Doyle and pitcher Jesse Barnes. Barnes will go 6-1 this year and then win a league-high 25 games in 1919. Doyle, a former Giants and fan favorite, was acquired from the Chicago Cubs four days ago and his trade was rumored. He will play three years in New York before retiring.
1941 – In a poll in The Sporting News, the Baseball Writers Association of America names the 1940 All-Star team: Hank Greenberg (LF), Joe DiMaggio (CF), Ted Williams (RF), Frank McCormick (1B) Joe Gordon (2B), Luke Appling (SS), Stan Hack (3B) and Harry Danning (C) are the position players, and Bob Feller, Bucky Walters, and Paul Derringer the pitchers.
Due to the Bill Veeck’s refusal to share telecast receipts with visiting clubs, the Indians ban night games with the Browns. The St. Louis owner did not allow his opponents to broadcast away games played against his team after his proposal to share the other American League owners vetoed radio and television revenue.
1963 – Funeral services for Hall of Fame second baseman Rogers Hornsby are held in Chicago, Illinois. Hall of Fame director Sid Keener, American League president Will Harridge and Hall of Famers Lou Boudreau, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons and Ray Schalk attend the services for Hornsby, who died from a heart attack on January 5th.
With the signing of Larry Biittner, the Reds become the last big league team to sign a free agent. The team’s first attempt into free agency, which has been an option of signing major leaguers since 1976, does not go well when the 35 year-old first baseman/outfielder bats only .213 during his first year with Cincinnati.
Johnny Sylvester, the terminally ill young boy whom Babe Ruth promised to hit a home run for in the 1926 World Series, dies at the age of 74. Although the Yankee slugger homers against the Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis and the 11 year-old youngster recovers from his undetermined illness, the accounts of the incident, especially as shown in the movie, The Babe Ruth Story, have proven to be more romantic than accurate.
In a three-way deal, the Kansas City Royals obtain catcher A.J. Hinch, infielder Angel Berroa and cash from the Oakland Athletics, and pitcher Roberto Hernández from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays; Oakland receives P Cory Lidle from Tampa Bay, and outfielder Johnny Damon and infielder Mark Ellis from Kansas City, and Tampa Bay receives OF Ben Grieve from Oakland.
Needing only 145 hits to reach 3,000, Harold Baines agrees to a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox. The 21-season veteran, who will turn 42 during spring training, played with the Baltimore Orioles and White Sox last season. He will only get into 32 games with the club and add 11 hits before retiring.
The Royals, A’s, and Devil Rays participate in a nine-player trade that results with outfielders Johnny Damon and Ben Grieve and reliever Roberto Hernandez on new teams. The swap sends Damon from Kansas City to Oakland, and Grieve goes from Oakland to Tampa Bay, and Hernandez from Tampa Bay to Kansas City.
Ozzie Smith, a 15-time All-Star shortstop, is elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA in his first year of eligibility. Smith is named on 91.7 percent of the ballots. Dubbed the “Wizard of Oz” due to his remarkable defensive abilities, Smith won 13 Gold Glove Awards during his 19-year career with the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals.
Turning down a deal offered by the New York Mets worth a million dollars more with no deferred money, Juan Gonzalez agrees to a $24 million, two-year deal with the Texas Rangers that includes $10.5 million in deferred payments. The outfielder, who preferred to stay in the American League, established franchise records for home runs, RBI, total bases and extra base hits while playing for the Rangers from 1989 to 1999.
2003 – Eddie Murray, the only switch-hitter in major league history with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, is elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility by being chosen on 85 percent of the ballots cast by the BBWAA. Former All-Star C Gary Carter also is elected on his sixth try after falling 11 votes short last year.
With their 3-0 victory over Detroit at Comerica Park, the Mets begin a span of 18 games to become the first team in baseball history to play six consecutive series against six different clubs that all participated in the playoffs the previous season. New York will compile an 8-10 record during the stretch playing against the Tigers, Dodgers, Yankees, Twins, A’s, and the Cardinals.
Goose Gossage is voted into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA on his 9th try. Gossage had a 126 ERA+ and was a nine-time All-Star while saving over 300 games. He is the fifth reliever voted into the Hall, but the third in the past five years. He joins Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley and Bruce Sutter as relief pitchers enshrined in Cooperstown. Jim Rice falls 16 votes short in his 14th year on the ballot. Tim Raines leads the first-time candidates, with less than a third of the votes needed for election.
Goose Gossage is elected to the Hall of Fame in his ninth year on the BBWAA’s ballot when he is the only player to receive 75 percent or more of the writers’ votes (85.8) needed for induction. During the right-hander’s 22-year career, most notably with the Yankees, the reliever compiled a 124-107 record and saved 310 games, while posting a 3.01 ERA.
After piloting the Angels to 100 regular season victories last year and to its fourth AL West Division title in the past five years, Mike Scioscia agrees to a contract extension to manage the team through the 2018 season. During his nine-year tenure with the Halos, the former catcher has compiled an 803-655 record (.557) and captured the franchise’s lone World Championship in 2002.
Baseball is also in mourning after today’s shooting at a supermarket near Tucson, AZ, which leaves 6 persons dead and US representative Gabrielle Giffords among those seriously injured. 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, daughter of Los Angeles Dodgers scout John Green and grand-daughter of former player and executive Dallas Green, is one of the victims.
2014 – One year after failing to elect anyone, the BBWAA atones by giving three players their ticket to Cooperstown in this year’s Hall of Fame election. Ps Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, 300-game winners both, and 1B Frank Thomas are all elected on their first try, while 2B Craig Biggio falls only two votes short of enshrinement.
Craig Biggio, in his second year of eligibility, misses election into the Hall of Fame by two votes on the BBWAA’s ballots, tying a dubious record shared by Nellie Fox (1985) and Pie Traynor (1947) for missing enshrinement by the smallest margin (74.8%) needed to be selected. The candidacy of the former Astros’ standout, who collected more than 3,000 hits in his 15 year career while playing well in three different positions for the team, has been hurt by rumors that he may have used steroids, although he has never failed a test, and was not implicated in the Mitchell Report or in any other investigation.
President Obama, a diehard White Sox Fan, calls Frank Thomas to congratulate the slugger on his first-ballot election to the Hall of Fame. The ‘Big Hurt’ shares the news of his conversation with the Commander-in-Chief during an afternoon press conference at U.S. Cellular Field, after tweeting his fans, “What a day!! First HOF and Second Our Wonderful President Of The United States Called Me!!! #LifeMadeHOF2014” @TheBigHurt_35.
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