This Day In Baseball March 5
Baseball history on March 5 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.
1942 – Variety, the weekly entertainment magazine, wades in against “droopy drawers”. “Joe DiMaggio and Carl Hubbell are the silliest looking pair we’ve seen. Way back in the days when the speed boys were stealing 40 to 90 bases a year, you’ll remember they used to roll their pants just below the knee. Now they’ve got ’em almost to their shoes. The theory here is that the constriction inherent in the new style can slow a player a full stride getting to first.”
With war-time travel restrictions still in effect, the Dodgers open spring training at Bear Mountain, New York with 15 players in camp. Seven teams – the Browns, Tigers, Reds, Indians, Cubs, Pirates and White Sox – are training in Indiana, the most of any state. The Red Sox are at Tufts College in Massachusetts, while the Braves are prepping at the Choate School in Connecticut.
Gene Freese suffers a severely fractured ankle in the team’s first intrasquad game, keeping the Reds’ third baseman out of action until mid-August. The 28 year-old infielder, who played an important role in Cincinnati’s National League championship last season, will never regain the form he displayed during the pennant drive.
1966 – United Steelworkers union official Marvin Miller is named the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. Under Miller’s guidance, the players’ union will make major gains such as salary increases, improvements in pension benefits, and the advent of free agency and salary arbitration.
1969 – A prodigious pre-season poke promises great things from Pittsburgh’s Roberto Clemente, seemingly recovered from last season’s right shoulder injury. “Clemente, who didn’t put on a uniform until last Monday,” writes Bill Christine in the Pittsburgh Press, “hit a 400-foot home run on his second plate appearance in the final intrasquad game.” Clemente drives a 3-and-2 pitch over the left field wall to lead his team to a 2 – 1 victory. “I’m glad to see his shoulder isn’t bothering him this spring,’ says manager Larry Shepard of Clemente’s 400-foot drive.” But on March 14th, after his dramatic display of right shoulder recuperation, shoulder number two will fall prey to Clemente’s relentless pursuit of a Boston batter’s foul pop in a meaningless exhibition contest.
1996 – The Veterans Committee elects four new members for the Hall of Fame, and just misses naming a fifth. The group elected includes fiery manager Earl Weaver, who had a .583 winning percentage in 17 seasons managing the Baltimore Orioles; pitcher Jim Bunning, who won 100 games in both leagues, including no-hitters in each circuit, one of them a perfect game; 19th-century manager Ned Hanlon, who won five National League pennants with the Baltimore Orioles (3) and Brooklyn (2), and Bill Foster, the top left-handed pitcher in the Negro Leagues. Nellie Fox receives the necessary 75% of the Committee’s votes, but the rules allow just one modern player elected, and Bunning has more votes.
Red Sox skipper Joe Kerrigan becomes the fourth manager to be fired during spring training. The team’s former pitching coach, who guided the club to a 17-26 record after taking over for Jimy Williams last August, had signed a multi-year contract to be Boston’s field boss with then-GM Dan Duquette, but was not favored by the new ownership that took control last month.
2003 – Although not agreeing to ban ephedra, a memo is sent to all major leaguers by the players’ union strongly recommending players “be extremely reluctant to use any products” containing the substance. The diet supplement, which is available without a prescription, has been linked to the spring training death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler.
A new ownership group, headed by real estate tycoon Lewis N. Wolff and businessman John J. Fisher, takes control of the A’s, after purchasing the franchise from Steve Schott and Ken Hoffman. Oakland’s four-year playoff streak, fueled by Billy Beane’s “Moneyball” approach, had come to an end in 2004, and the former owners were anxious to sell the club they bought from the estate of Walter A. Haas, Jr. in 1995.
At Tokyo Dome, South Korea upsets fierce rivals Japan, 3 – 2, on a towering home run from slugger Seung Yeop Lee to sweep the Asian Pool A of the World Baseball Classic. As final-out duels go, between the most famous pitcher in Korean history versus Japan’s most successful export, the San Diego Padres’ Chan Ho Park secures a memorable victory for South Korea by retiring Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners on a pop-up fly. It matters little that both South Korea (3-0) and Japan (2-1) have already qualified for the next round of the 16-team tournament. Japan and South Korea will face the top two teams from a pool of the United States, Canada, Mexico and South Africa in the quarter-finals.
2011 – Top Phillies OF prospect Domonic Brown breaks a hand in an exhibition game against the Pirates. Looking to succeed Jayson Werth as the Phils’ starting rightfielder, Brown had started the Grapefruit League season 0 for 15. Ironically, he singles in the at-bat that follows the injury, but then comes out of the game. He will require surgery and will miss Opening Day.
2012 – Former OF Lenny Dykstra is sentenced to three years in a California state prison after pleading no contest to charges of grand theft auto and providing a false financial statement. Dykstra ran a scheme that involved leasing automobiles from high-end dealerships on the basis of false financial information.
In the only game in Pool A, China tops Brazil, 5 – 2, in a matchup of 0-2 teams. The lone Chinese-American on China’s team, Ray Chang, goes 3 for 4 with two RBI, and China gets all its runs in the 8th, thanks in large part to 5 walks and a hit batsman. Murilo Gouvea takes the loss, while Jiangang Lu gets the win.
The Dutch national team gets a crucial win at the 2013 World Baseball Classic, eliminating Australia, 4 – 1; they advance to the second round for the second consecutive Classic. Rob Cordemans tosses five shutout innings while the Netherlands have a field day with Hoofdklasse veteran Dushan Ruzic. Jonathan Schoop’s two-run homer is the big blow.
1993 – The first game in the Florida Marlins’ history is a 12-8 pasting of the Astros in the Cocoa, FL park that was the spring home to the Astros for 21 years. Five-run outbursts in the second and fifth innings get the expansion franchise off in style. Phil Nevin belts two triples in his first game as an Astro.