This Day In Baseball March 2
Baseball history on March 2 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.
1886 – The American Association meets and overrules president Denny McKnight (also owner of the Pittsburgh Alleghenys club) and suspends second baseman Sam Barkley for signing with Pittsburgh before the dispute over his sale is settled. The AA adopts new rules. The number of balls needed for a walk is reduced from seven to six; the pitcher’s box is one foot deeper, giving the pitcher seven feet behind the 50-foot front line in which to execute his delivery; stolen bases are adopted as an official statistic, although the definition is rather vague initially.
1888 – The National League meets in New York and abolishes all discounts from the 50-cent minimum admission price. Despite the demands of the Brotherhood and the fact that the rule is practically a dead letter, the NL refuses to drop its $2,000 salary limit rule. The schedule committee recommends that the season go to 140 games from the current 126.
Babe Ruth becomes the highest paid player in major league history when the Yankees announce the Bambino will earn $70,000 per season for the next three years. The ‘Sultan of Swat,’ who had asked for $100,000, meets Colonel Jacob Ruppert at the owner’s brewery in the Yorkville section of Manhattan to finalize the historic deal.
Commissioner William Eckert, citing a rule that prohibits clubs from signing players during their collegiate season, voids the Braves’ contract with USC standout Tom Seaver, who had signed with Atlanta for a $50,000 bonus a week earlier. The Mets will be awarded the future Hall of Famer’s signing rights in a lottery that includes the Phillies and Indians, who also were willing to match the Braves’ terms.
1966 – Commissioner William Eckert voids the contract recently signed by collegiate star Tom Seaver. The Atlanta Braves had signed Seaver to a $50,000 bonus a week earlier, but Eckert cites a rule prohibiting teams from signing players while their college seasons are ongoing. A special draft will be held after the collegiate season to reassign Seaver’s rights.
1976 – The Los Angeles Dodgers re-acquire second baseman Ted Sizemore from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Willie Crawford. Sizemore had started his major league career with the Dodgers in 1969, when he won the NL Rookie of the Year Award, and was later traded to the Cardinals as part of a package for slugger Richie Allen.
“When he punched Keith Hernandez in spring training last season, it was the only time that Darryl Strawberry hit the cutoff man.” – STEVE WULF, Sports Illustrated journalist.At a photo session, Mets’ outfielder Darryl Strawberry throws a punch at Keith Hernandez, the team’s no-nonsense All-Star first baseman. The spring training scuffle started over comments about salaries and results with the Straw walking out of camp.
1996 – At St. Petersburg’s Al Lang Field, two Japanese umpires work a game with two U.S. umpires. Osamu Ino is behind the plate as the Pirates whip the Cardinals, 11 – 2. “I thought they (the Japanese) did a good job,” comments Pirates manager Jim Leyland. “And even if they didn’t, you couldn’t argue with them.” In Dunedin, fellow Central League umpires Samio Murakoshi and Toshio Azuma are part of a four-man crew that works the Phillies’ 12 – 2 victory over the Blue Jays. Meanwhile, four umpires from the majors are on a nine-day tour of Nippon Pro Baseball.
In a Capitol Rotunda ceremony, with legislators from both the House and Senate and baseball commissioner Bud Selig in attendance, President George W. Bush awards the nation’s highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, posthumously to Jackie Robinson’s widow. Rachel, the widow of the courageous ball player, accepts the award for her late husband, who died in 1972.
With hundreds of Red Sox Nation citizens in attendance on the south lawn, President George W. Bush praises the team spirit and winning style of the 2004 World Champions during a White House ceremony. Fall Classic hero and Bush supporter Curt Schilling gives the former owner of the Texas Rangers a white baseball jersey emblazoned with the forty-third Chief Executive’s name and the number 43.
In the Washington Nationals’ first game since moving from Montreal, pitcher Tony Armas, Jr. tosses two hitless innings and Jose Guillen hits a two-run home run as the Nationals post a 5 – 3 triumph over the Mets in the Grapefruit League opener for both teams. The Expos played their first regular-season game against the Mets in 1969 and their last game against the Mets on October 3, 2004. In the first regular-season game between these franchises, Tom Seaver started for the Mets at Shea Stadium and Coco Laboy powered the Expos to an 11 – 10 victory. In their last meeting, Tom Glavine started for the Mets at Shea Stadium and Todd Zeile hit a home run to deal the Expos an 8 – 1 defeat. Wearing their regular-season home uniforms instead of the traditional batting practice spring training jerseys, the Nationals defeat Glavine this time.
Thirty-two years after his death, Jackie Robinson receives the Congressional Gold Medal in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, the highest honor Congress can bestow. The medal is accepted by Rachel Robinson, his widow. Baseball is represented in a way by former Texas Rangers executive George W. Bush. Robinson joins Roberto Clemente, Joe Louis and Jesse Owens as the only athletes among about 300 Gold Medal recipients. Following the ceremony, the Boston Red Sox are honored at the White House for winning the 2004 World Series.
At the Red Sox’s spring training in Fort Myers, FL, knuckleballer Tim Wakefield meets one of his greatest fans, 18-year-old Eri Yoshida of Japan. The 5′ 1″ righthander taught herself to throw the knuckleball by mimicking Wakefield in her backyard and is on a quest to become the first female player in Nippon Pro Baseball. She is still undecided as to whether she will pitch this season in the Japanese minor leagues, or accept a contract offer from the Chico Outlaws of the independent Golden Baseball League.
OF Rocco Baldelli is back with the Tampa Bay Rays, not as a player but as a special assistant to general manager Andrew Friedman. He is unable to play this season because of a shoulder injury, the latest in a long string of physical ailments that have derailed what once was a very promising career. At 28, he is not yet ready to call it quits, but is preparing a fall-back in case he cannot return to the playing field. He will retire definitely after playing in only a handful of games at the end of this season.
A fight breaks out in the Cubs dugout between P Carlos Silva and 3B Aramis Ramirez after a dreadful performance in the 1st inning of a Cactus League game against the Brewers, when the Cubs commit a slew of mistakes and fall behind 6 – 0. The fight reminds everyone of a similar occurrence in June of last season, when P Carlos Zambrano and 1B Derrek Lee came to blows in the dugout.
Major League Baseball confirms that starting this year, the postseason will be expanded from 8 to 10 teams, with an extra wild card team in each league. The two wild card teams in each league will play one game to determine which one will then face the team with the league’s best record in the Division Series.
In the other Pool B game, the Netherlands upset 2009 finalists South Korea with a 5 – 0 shutout. Ps Diegomar Markwell and Orlando Yntema combine for 7 scoreless frames, while the Dutch hitters scratch a handful of runs with singles and some good fundamental baseball. OF Roger Bernadina drives in a pair of runs.
Japan survives a scare in the Pool A opener at home, overcoming a 3 – 2 deficit against upstarts Brazil, who are playing in the World Baseball Classic for the first time, with a three-run outburst in the 8th to win, 5 – 3. Injured Japanese captain Shinnosuke Abe, pinch-hitting with the bases loaded and the score tied, drives a bullet up the middle on which 2B Felipe Burin makes a diving stop, but he is only able to get the runner at second base, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Leonardo Reginatto goes 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs to lead Brazil’s attack.
The 2013 World Baseball Classic gets under way with three games played in the Far East. In the opener, Taiwan exceeds its performance in the 2009 tournament with a 4 – 1 win over Australia, thanks to 6 scoreless innings by starting P Chien-Ming Wang and a homer by Cheng-Min Peng. Taiwan had to win a qualifying pool to enter this year’s event after exiting without a single win four years ago.
2018 – One of the biggest stories in spring training this year has been the presence of NFL quarterback Russell Wilson at the Yankees’ camp. Today, he gets to play in a game for the first time since he was a minor league infielder in 2011 as he pinch-hits for Aaron Judge in a Grapefruit League game against the Atlanta Braves. He strikes out against Max Fried, but does not look out of place as he takes a good cut to foul off a hard fastball and works the count to 2-2 before a swing and miss ends his lone at-bat. He will now return to his normal occupations.