1963 – A little known minor league infielder named Pete Rose plays in his first spring training game. The 22-year-old Rose, who goes 2 for 2 in his debut against the Chicago White Sox, will make the Cincinnati Reds’ Opening Day roster. As the team’s starting second baseman, Rose will win the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
The Orioles trade minor league outfielder Lou Piniella to the Indians for reserve catcher Camilo Carreon, who will play in only four games for his new team before retiring at the end of the season. The Tribe’s latest flycatcher will appear in more than 1,700 big league games, but only six games for Cleveland, all in 1968.
1982 – Shortstop Travis Jackson and former commissioner Happy Chandler are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Jackson played 15 years for the New York Giants, batting .291 for his career. Chandler served as baseball’s leader for six years and oversaw the end of the color line in 1947, when Jackie Robinson debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
1983 – The Special Veterans Committee announces the election of Walter Alston and George Kell to the Hall of Fame. Alston managed the Dodgers in Brooklyn and Los Angeles to four World Series championships, while always working under one-year contracts. Kell, a standout third baseman primarily for the Detroit Tigers, batted over .300 nine times, was a 10-time All-Star, and topped American League third basemen in fielding percentage seven times during a 15-season career.
The Pirates trade pitcher Neal Heaton (3-3, 4.33) to the Royals for outfielder Kirk Gibson (.236, 16 HR, 18 SB). After being released by the Bucs in May, the veteran fly catcher, who will turn down an offer to play for the Arena Football League’s Detroit Drive, will end his brief retirement, playing his last three years as a Tiger for his former manager Sparky Anderson.
When asked by Senator John McCain to renegotiate the major league baseball’s contract in regard to the use of controlled substances, Donald Fehr refuses to comply. Although the union boss condemns the use of steroids, he believes the players oppose random drug testing as a violation of privacy, an argument countered by the Arizona Republican as unacceptable, and he promised congressional action if the status quo remains in place.
2004 – When asked by Senator John McCain to renegotiate the Major League Baseball contract in regard to the use of controlled substances, Major League Players Association head Donald Fehr refuses to comply. Although the union boss condemns the use of steroids, he believes the players oppose random drug testing as a violation of privacy, an argument countered by the Arizona Republican as unacceptable; McCain promises congressional action if the status quo is maintained.
Shairon Martis throws the first-ever no-hitter in WBC history as the Netherlands routs Panama, 10-0. The 19 year-old Dutch hurler threw exactly 65 pitches, which is the Classic’s pitch limit, to accomplish the historic deed in a game which was called after seven innings because of the mercy rule, a 10 run lead after seven innings.
Four games are played today in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. At Scottsdale Stadium, Ken Griffey, Jr. and Roger Clemens lead the United States in a 17 – 0 rout of South Africa to advance to the second round. The U.S. squad finishes in a three-way tie with Mexico and Canada at 2-1, with Mexico finishing first and the Americans second based on runs allowed in games involving the three tied teams.
In the other games played today, Puerto Rico routs Cuba, 12 – 2, in a game that is strictly for pride, with both teams having secured spots in the second round, and rookie pitcher Francisco Liriano leads the Dominican Republic to a 6 – 4 victory over Australia to finish undefeated in the first round.
Shairon Martis pitches the first no-hitter in World Baseball Classic history, leading the Netherlands over Panama, 10 – 0, at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. The game is stopped after seven innings because of the tournament’s mercy rule. Martis ends the game with his 65th pitch – the limit for starting pitchers in the first round – when Cesar Quintero hits into a double play grounder. Martis walks one and strikes out none. The only other runner he allows is Adolfo Rivera, who reaches on an error by third baseman Ivanon Coffie leading off the 7th.
In the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament, Team Canada beats Taiwan in an exciting 10-inning game. Down 4 – 2 in the 6th, Taiwan rallies on a three-run homer from Kuo-Hui Lo. Canada almost ties it in the 8th but Jimmy Van Ostrand is thrown out at home; when catcher Chun-Chang Yeh throws the ball at Van Ostrand, a scene develops and police intervention is required to continue the game. In the 9th, Canada is one out from elimination when Stubby Clapp dives into first to get an infield hit and Mike Saunders singles him in. Matt Rogelstad opens the 10th with a single and scores on a double by Van Ostrand to give Canada the 6 – 5 lead. Taiwan gets two on in the bottom of the 10th but fails to score.
At Puerto Rico’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium, the Netherlands WBC team, made up of mostly unknown players, upsets a heavily-favored Dominican Republic club for the second time in four days to advance to the next round of the World Baseball Classic. The Dominicans, considered to be an odds-on favorite, with a roster filled with major league All-Stars including David Ortiz (Red Sox), Hanley Ramirez (Marlins), and Miguel Tejada (Astros), are eliminated in the first round of the 16-team tournament.
Three years after one of the most famous games in Dutch national team history (the Shairon Martis no-hitter in the 2006 World Baseball Classic), the Netherlands strike again. They beat the All-Star-laden Dominican Republic for the second game in a row, eliminating them from the tournament. Tom Stuifbergen, Alexander Smit, Rob Cordemans, Dennis Neuman, Diegomar Markwell and Leon Boyd combine for 10 scoreless innings but are matched by Ubaldo Jimenez, Pedro Martinez, Tony Pena, Rafael Perez and Damaso Marte. In the top of the 11th, a two-out error by Dutch veteran Eugene Kingsale lets a run in. The club rallies against Carlos Marmol, with a leadoff pinch-hit double by Sidney de Jong, a RBI single by Kingsale, a throwing error on a Marmol pick-off attempt and a Willy Aybar error, to win the game.
Justin Upton (.300, 26, 86) and the Diamondbacks come to terms on a $51.25 million, six-year contract, the second-largest deal in franchise history being slightly less than Randy Johnson’s $52.4 million pact in 1999. The 22 year-old outfielder, who was the team’s No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft, was selected to last season’s National League All-Star squad.
2012 – The Dodgers sign National Football League player Jarrad Page, a defensive back with the Minnesota Vikings, to a minor league contract after he impresses scouts at an open tryout camp in Arizona. The 27-year-old OF last played baseball while attending college at UCLA and was drafted three times but never signed, prefering to concentrate on football.
In first-round action in Pools C and D of the 2013 World Baseball Classic, the United States clinches a spot in the next round with a 9 – 4 win over Canada, not getting its first lead until Adam Jones’ two-run double in the 8th inning. Venezuela beats Spain, 11 – 6, thanks to a six-run 4th inning, in a battle of winless squads, while the Dominican Republic finishes with a perfect 3-0 record after beating Puerto Rico, 4 – 2, with both teams already assured of moving on.
In second round action at the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Japan crushes the Netherlands, 16 – 4. Takashi Toritani leads off the game with a homer off Rob Cordemans, and his teammates add five more before the game is ended by the mercy rule after seven innings. With the win, Japan moves to the final round, while the Dutch will face Cuba to determine the other team that will reach the Final Four from the group.
After losing OF Michael Saunders in one of the first workouts of the spring, the Blue Jays are hit with another blow when P Marcus Stroman tears a knee ligament during fielding drills, seemingly putting him out for the season. Stroman is coming off an excellent rookie year and was counted on as the team’s third starter behind veterans R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle. He will make a remarkable comeback however, getting back on the mound for the Jays in September and pitching for them in their first postseason appearance in two decades.
For the first time, a “Team Europe” is put together. The team nearly stuns the Japanese national team as Rob Cordemans (Netherlands) and Alessandro Maestri (Italy) hold Japan to one run in five innings while Alessandro Vaglio (Italy) doubles in two and Kalian Sams (Netherlands) scores another for a 3-1 European lead. Former major leaguer Shairon Martis (Netherlands citizen, though not born in Europe) and former NPB hurler Loek van Mil (Netherlands) blow it in the 8th, though, giving up 3 runs to lose the game. Former pitcher Yuhei Takai drives in the winner, while Katsuki Matayoshi gets the win after Daichi Osera and Kazuhisa Makita struggle early.
In a Cactus League game, three of the Cubs bright young prospects give fans what they hope is a glimpse of the future when they connect for back-to-to-back-to-back homers in the 4th inning against the Indians. OF Jorge Soler starts things off with a monster shot to left field off Trevor Bauer, and two pitches later, 2B Javier Baez drives the ball to the same spot. The next man up, 3B Kris Bryant, completes the trifecta with a huge blast to the opposite field. Of the trio, Baez has the most big league experience with half a season under his belt.
2016 – Fans attending a Cactus League game between the White Sox and Royals at Camelback Ranch are treated to two rare occurrences, and both involve Sox LF Jason Coats. In the 5th inning, Kansas City’s Tony Cruz lines a ball to Coats, who catches it and throws to SS Jimmy Rollins to double off Reymond Fuentes for the second out; Rollins in turn relays to 1B Mike Olt before Dusty Coleman can return to the bag for a rare 7-6-3 triple play. Then, in the 7th, Drew Butera hits a line drive to left, but this time, the ball tips off Coats’s glove and the play ends as an inside-the-park homer.
In the North American games played in the WBC, the USA gets started with a 3 – 2 win over Colombia, although it takes 10 innings before Adam Jones drive in the winning run with a single off Guillermo Moscoso. Colombian starter Jose Quintana muzzles the U.S. by keeping them hitless until the 6th inning. The other game is less dramatic, as Puerto Rico routs Venezuela, 11 – 0, needing only 7 innings before the mercy rule kicks in. Carlos Correa, Yadier Molina and T.J. Rivera all homer for the 2013 finalists.
In the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Cuba advances to the second round thanks to a 4 – 3 win over Australia in a Pool B game at the Tokyo Dome. All four Cuban runs are the result of a grand slam by Alfredo Despaigne off Lachlan Wells. The other game sees Japan defeat China, 7 – 1, to finish unbeaten on top of the pool standings. Seiji Kobayashi and Sho Nakata homer for Japan as Shota Takeda is the winner. China’s lone run is its only one in three lop-sided losses in the tournament.