This Day In Baseball March 27
1897 – Cleveland Spiders president Frank DeHaas Robison proposes that National League clubs chip in to pay the 1896 salary of New York Giants stellar pitcher Amos Rusie, who refused to play due to a contract dispute. Robison and other NL officials want to avoid Rusie’s lawsuit, in which he seeks free agency. Although New York president Andrew Freedman vehemently opposes the plan, the $3,000 payment is made and Rusie rejoins the Giants.
1960 – Pittsburgh’s defensive wizards Roberto Clemente and Bill Mazeroski, future Hall of Famers both, strut their stuff in a spring scrimmage with Milwaukee. Red Thisted of the Milwaukee Sentinel reports: “Mazeroski, a slim-jim in comparison with the weight he was carrying around a year ago, made Danny Murtaugh look good in the 2nd inning when he skipped far out on the right field grass for a back-handed stab of Eddie Haas’ hopper and got his man… Roberto Clemente robbed Bill Bruton of a triple with a startling grab in right center in the 4th.”
The Cubs, in desperate need of a closer due to Tom Gordon’s muscle tear, trade righties Julian Tavarez (10-9, 4.52) and Jose Cueto as well as southpaw Dontrelle Willis and catcher Ryan Jorgensen to the Marlins for Antonio Alfonseca (4-4, 28 saves) and right-hander Matt Clement (9-10, 5.05). Willis, next season’s Rookie of the Year in the National League, will become a twenty-game winner for the Fish in 2005.
Jose Canseco is given his release by the Montreal Expos after being told he would not be an everyday player. Canseco, who needs 38 home runs to reach 500, batted .258 and hit 16 homers for the Chicago White Sox last season while appearing in 76 games, but he will not play in the major leagues again.
The Chicago Cubs send reliever Julian Tavarez and three minor league prospects to the Florida Marlins for reliever Antonio Alfonseca and starter Matt Clement. One of the prospects, Dontrelle Willis, is rated among the Cubs’ top 20 prospects. Alfonseca, nicknamed “El Pulpo” (octopus) because he was born with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, will replace the injured Tom Gordon.
At the start of spring training, Hideki Matsui, who already made plans for marriage in a few weeks, a fact not known to the team, makes a wager with some of his teammates about who would be the first to get married. A surprised Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu agree to pay off the bet after learning the Yankee slugger pulled a fast one on them by getting ‘hitched’ in New York on the club’s off day yesterday.
Minneapolis’ new Target Field is inaugurated with a college game between the University of Minnesota and Louisiana Tech, in front of 37,757 spectators, a game which also serves as an open house for fans and a dry run for the new facility. The ballpark’s main tenants, the Minnesota Twins will play two exhibition games against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 2-3, while the official home opener is set for April 12th.
Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka will make a $1 million contribution to the Red Sox Foundation for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in his native Japan. The team’s official charity has raised more than $1.3 million in response to the March 11th disaster, including personal donations from other Japanese players Hideki Okajima, Junichi Tazawa, and Itsuki Shoda.
2012 – The group led by former NBA star Magic Johnson and executive Stan Kasten emerges as the winner of the bidding process to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers from owner Frank McCourt under supervision of a bankruptcy court judge. The winning bid is estimated at $2 billion, the highest amount ever paid for a North American professional sports franchise; an additional payment of $150 million will secure the land around Dodger Stadium that McCourt originally wanted to keep for himself. The huge prize tag will allow McCourt to make hundreds of millions in profit, even after paying back the loans he took out to purchase the team for $430 million in 2004, and the $131 million owed his wife Jamie as part of a divorce settlement. The purchase must now be submitted to the bankruptcy court by April 6th, and the sale completed by April 30th.
2016 – In the second of two games played in Mexico City, the Padres take advantage of favorable hitting conditions at Fray Nano Stadium and explode for 5 homers and 21 runs in defeating the Astros, 21 – 6. Jabari Blash, Adam Rosales and Jon Jay all go deep off Astros starter Brady Rodgers in the 1st. The Padres also score 8 runs in the 7th, with Casey McElroy supplying a two-run blast, to seal the landslide win. For his part, Rodgers gives up 8 runs in only two-thirds of an inning and reliever Brendan McCurry is also lit up for 8 runs.
2017 – The announcement that the Oakland Raiders are moving to Las Vegas, NV puts an end to the last ballpark-sharing arrangement between a Major League Baseball team and an NFL franchise. The Oakland Athletics will now be the sole tenant at the O.co Coliseum, a situation that may make it easier to resolve the ballpark issues that have plagued the franchise for decades.
2018 – Playing for the first time in the old stomping grounds his father, newly-minted Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, at Stade Olympique in his birth city of Montréal, QC, top Blue Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. begins to build his own legend. He ends an exhibition game against the Cardinals by hitting a walk-off homer off Jack Flaherty with two outs in the 9th, breaking a scoreless tie, much to the delight of the 25,800 spectators present.
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