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Today in Baseball History
February 20th

12 Fact(s) Found
1923 Christy Mathewson, who becomes the principal owner and team president, and Giants attorney Emil Fuchs put together a syndicate that buys the Boston Braves for $300,000. The future Hall of Famer right-hander's deteriorating health reduces him no more than a figurehead, turning over the presidency to Fuchs at the end of the season.
1929 The Red Sox announce the team will play its newly allowed Sunday games at Braves Field, the home of their National League rivals located on Commonwealth Avenue at Babcock Street. The team will not be able to play Sunday contests at Fenway Park until 1932 because of the blue laws that restrict the use of the venue due to its proximity to churches.
1953 August A. Busch, seeing the purchase as a marketing tool, convinces the Board of Directors of Anheuser-Busch to buy the Cardinals from Fred Saigh for $3.75 million. The beer baron convinces the former owner, who has been convicted of tax evasion, as a matter of civic pride to take less money than the offer from an ownership group that would move the Redbirds to Houston.
1963 The Cubs officially put an end to their radical approach in using multiple field bosses during the season when they hire Bob Kennedy as their only manager. With the "College of Coaches" system disbanded, the club will post an 82-80 record under their lone skipper.
1963 After leading the Giants to the pennant, Willie Mays becomes the game's presently highest paid player, signing a $100,000 contract, a ten-thousand dollar increase from last season. The 31 year-old outfielder, who slugged a major league-leading 49 home runs last year, joins Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio, and Ted Williams in inking a six-figure deal.
1984 Pedro Guerrero becomes the highest-paid Dodger when he signs a five-year, seven million dollar contract to play in Los Angeles. The 27 year-old Dominican Republic native, a .305 lifetime hitter who paced the team last season with 32 homers and 103 RBIs, made it clear he would not accept anything less than $1.2 million for the upcoming campaign.
1992 After Homer's Springfield Nuclear Power Plant's team qualifies for the league final, Darryl Strawberry, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr., Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, Jose Canseco, Don Mattingly, and Mike Scioscia are hired by owner Montgomery Burns to win a $1 million bet with his Shelbyville rival. Although Strawberry, the only major leaguer to play due to a series of bizarre pregame accidents, has hit nine home runs in the game, the the southpaw slugger is replaced by Homer in the last inning because Burns wants a righty to face the opponent's left-hander.

1996 The Yankees officially sign Dwight Gooden, who didn't play last season as a result of being suspended for drugs, to a one-year deal with two option years. The complicated contract, necessitated by the hurler's past addictions, calls for a salary of $1M in 1996, then $2M in 1997 and $3M in 1998, and requires the 31 year-old right-hander to be tested for drugs three times a week while participating in a 12-step program.

Amazon Dwight Gooden Yankee's 8X10 sports Action photo

2008 "My, oh my," Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus is going into the Baseball Hall of Fame. On his 73rd birthday, the veteran announcer learns he is the recipient of the 2008 Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence.

2009 Tom Glavine, with the most wins among active pitchers, agrees to a one-year, $1 million deal to stay with the Braves. The 42 year-old southpaw, who underwent surgery for a torn ligament in his left elbow, posted a 2-4 record with a 5.54 ERA in 13 starts for Atlanta before being shut down for the season last August.
2009 Baltimore inks Brian Roberts to a four-year contract extension reported to be worth $40 million. Along with Nick Markakis, who recently signed a six-year, $66 million deal, the 31 year-old talented second baseman becomes the second home-grown Oriole player within a month to agree to a long-term pact to stay with the last-place club.
2009 Avoiding arbitration, the Nationals and Ryan Zimmerman (.283, 14, 51) agree to a one-year, $3.3 million contract. The 24 year-old third baseman is Washington's all-time leader in almost every offensive category, including homers, RBI, runs, and hits, as well as games, since the franchise relocated from Montreal four seasons ago.

12 Fact(s) Found