New York Yankees outfielder Joe DiMaggio runs his spring training record to 12 for 20, in an 11 – 2 Yankees victory over the newly-named Boston Bees. Before the next game is played, the prize rookie is left unattended with his foot in a diathermy machine. The resulting burn ends his spring training and delays his major league debut until May.
1954 – Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella injures his left hand in an exhibition game against the Yankees. Though he will hit two home runs on Opening Day, Campanella will have surgery in early May for the bone chips, returning on May 30th. The injury started earlier when he was hit on the hand in the 1953 World Series.
1968 – One of the two American League expansion teams announces its nickname. The Kansas City franchise, now known as the “Royals”, will begin play in 1969. Kansas City’s last major league franchise, the Athletics, moved to Oakland after the 1967 season. The name evokes the Negro League Kansas City Monarchs and the annual “American Royal” Horse Show, held in Kansas City.
1977 – Detroit Tigers pitching sensation Mark Fidrych tears cartilage in his left knee. The injury will require surgery, which will effectively end his promising career. Fidrych, who was elected the 1976 American League Rookie of the Year, gained national attention for his strange gyrations and mannerisms on the mound, which earned him the nickname “The Bird.”
1999 – In the 2nd inning of a Chicago White Sox/San Diego Padres game, country singer Garth Brooks earns his only hit of the spring; he had been hitless in his previous 10 at bats. Brooks’s pinch-hit single comes off Mike Sirotka. Sox first baseman Frank Thomas gives Brooks the ball and a bear hug as congratulations. Chicago goes on to win, 11 – 8.
The Phillies make public the one-day regular-season suspension of Larry Bowa handed down by Major League Baseball vice president for on-field operations Bob Watson. The action comes as a result of the Philadelphia’s manager’s “inappropriate conduct toward the umpire” when he became enraged with the home plate umpire over two close calls on checked swings during an exhibition game against the Indians on March 9.
2002 – The Philadelphia Phillies make public the one-day regular-season suspension of their manager, Larry Bowa, handed down by Major League Baseball vice president for on-field operations Bob Watson. The action was taken as a result of “inappropriate conduct toward the umpire” when Bowa became enraged with the home plate umpire over two close calls on March 9th.
Second baseman Alfonso Soriano refuses to play the outfield for the Washington Nationals in what was supposed to be his first exhibition game with the team. General manager Jim Bowden says his biggest offseason acquisition could go on the disqualified list if he doesn’t agree to switch positions this week.
2009 – In the semifinals of the 2009 World Baseball Classic, South Korea scores five runs in the 1st and goes on to a 10 – 2 romp over Venezuela. Suk-min Yoon and four relievers shut down the All-Star-loaded Venezuelans, while Hyun-soo Kim, who is 3 for 3 with a walk, and Tae-kyun Kim, who scores three runs, lead South Korea’s offense.
The Mets get rid of a second highly-paid player in less than a week, handing P Oliver Perez his release a few days after doing the same to 2B Luis Castillo. Perez is still owed $12 million on a three-year contract that turned out to be a colossal bust. He will be immediately picked up by the Nationals, while the Mets continue to pay the bulk of his salary.
The perjury trial of Barry Bonds, officially named “USA vs. Bonds”, begins in San Francisco, CA with jury selection. The past few weeks have been spent arguing over what evidence would be admissible as the prosecution seeks to demonstrate that Bonds lied to a grand jury in 2003 during the BALCO investigation when he stated that he had never knowingly used steroids. Bonds also faces a charge of obstruction of justice.
2012 – Cardinals World Series hero Chris Carpenter will not be ready for the start of the season, complaining of weakness in his throwing shoulder and stiffness in his neck. Veteran journeyman Kyle Lohse will be given the Opening Day starting assignment, while Lance Lynn will move to the starting rotation until Carpenter’s return.
2017 – In the second semi-final game of the 2017 World Baseball Classic, the United States defeats Japan, 2 – 1, to reach the finals for the first time, where they will face unbeaten Puerto Rico. In a game dominated by pitching, the U.S. goes ahead in the 4th as Andrew McCutchen singles in Christian Yelich, but that is all that they manage in six innings against Japanese starter Tomoyuki Sugano. Japan ties the score in the 6th on a homer by Ryosuke Kikuchi, but a bobble by 3B Nobuhiro Matsuda in the 8th allows Brandon Crawford to score the go-ahead run. Mark Melancon, Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson then get the final six outs to close out the win.
2019 – The Mariners complete a season-opening two-game sweep of their opening series against the Athletics at the Tokyo Dome with a 5 – 4 win in 12 innings in the second game. Domingo Santana, whose grand slam was the decisive blow in the first game yesterday, beats out a potential double play grounder to drive in the winning run. Ichiro Suzuki goes 0 for 4 as Seattle’s right fielder, then leaves after the 8th inning. He announces after the game that he will now retire from baseball for good.