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This Day in Baseball History
February 4th

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26 Fact(s) Found
1861 In front of a reported crowd of over 10,000 spectators, the champion Atlantics defeat the Charter Oak Club, 36-27, in a game played on frozen Litchfield Pond in South Brooklyn. The players, wearing ice skates, are allowed to glide past the bases painted on the icy surface.
1893 The first recorded version (Columbia Graphophone Grand, #9649) of the poem Casey at the Bat, vocalized by recording pioneer Russell Hunting, is released. The more well-known rendition of Earnest Thayer's work, the one popularized by DeWolfe Hopper, will not be heard by the public until 1906.
1909 Hall of Fame hurler John Clarkson, a 326-game winner, dies from pneumonia at 47. The right-hander pitched for the Worcester Ruby Legs (1882), Chicago White Stockings (1884-1887), Boston Beaneaters (1888-1892), and the Cleveland Spiders (1892-1894).


John Clarkson (1887)
Library of Congress - Benjamin K. Edwards Collection

1956 Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick introduces the Cy Young Memorial Award in memory of the Hall of Fame hurler who died last year, honoring the outstanding major league pitcher of the year. The first recipient will be Don Newcombe, who will post a 27-7 record and a 3.06 ERA for the Dodgers next season.
1956 The American League announces its plans to test automatic intentional walks during spring training. The major leagues will not implement the concept until 2017, but some youth leagues and academic teams use the concept before then.
1963 Mayor Robert Wagner signs a bill that officially changes the stadium's name under construction in Queens to William A. Shea Municipal Stadium, honoring the New York lawyer who was instrumental in obtaining a National League team for the Big Apple. The ballpark, formerly known as Flushing Meadows Stadium, will serve as the Mets' home from 1964 to 2008.

1969 Bowie Kuhn, a compromise candidate filing an interim one-year term, becomes baseball's fifth commissioner when the owners cannot resolve the stalemate between the Giants vice president Chub Feeney and the Yankee president Michael Burke. The 42-year-old former National League attorney, who will hold the position until 1984, replaces the unpopular William Eckert, who resigned after serving only three years of his seven-year term.
1969 Bob Gibson, appearing as a guest of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, shares with the nationwide audience, using carefully chosen words, that the Major League Baseball Players' Association has suggested that the union members consider striking before the start of the regular season. The Cardinals' ace also reveals, in addition to seeking increased contributions by the owners to the players' pension and insurance funds, the MLBPA is seeking maintenance of the same and an ongoing percentage of the growing television revenues.
1971 After Commissioner Bowie Kuhn announces former Negro League players will have a separate wing in the Hall of Fame, the outpouring of negative public opinion causes the concept's quick abandonment. The inclusion of the former black players into the regular Hall of Fame will continue to be a more fitting honor.
1976 Federal judge John W. Oliver of the United States district court for Western Missouri upholds Peter Seitz's arbitration ruling, making Dodger right-hander Andy Messersmith and Expo southpaw Dave McNally free agents. The pitchers challenged the reserve clause by playing but not signing their contracts, contending they are now free to sign with another team for next season, negating the owners' belief that the one-year contracts renew perpetually without a player's consent.
1984 The Yankees obtain third baseman Toby Harrah and minor leaguer Rick Brown from the Indians for Dan Boitano, rookie outfielder Otis Nixon, and minor leaguer Guy Elston. The team's new third baseman will hit just .217 in the one season he plays for the Bronx Bombers, but Nixon will go on to have a solid 17-year major league career, leaving the game in 1999 with a lifetime batting average of .270.
1990 Bobby Tolan's St. Petersburg Pelicans defeat the Palm Beach Tropics to win the first and only championship of the Senior Professional Baseball Association, 12-4, played in Fort Myers when the Tropics could not host the game at West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium. The eight-team Florida winter circuit for 35-and-older professional baseball players and a minimum age of 32 for catchers, the brainchild of 32-year-old of former University of Arizona ballplayer and Colorado property developer Jim Morley, will shutdown less than halfway through next season.

1991 The twelve Hall of Fame board of directors vote unanimously to accept the proposal presented last month by a select committee that excludes any player placed on the permanently ineligible list from consideration for enshrinement. The decision will prevent Pete Rose's name from being placed on the HOF ballot.
2002 The Minnesota Supreme Court refuses to consider an appeal of an injunction that forces the Twins to fulfill their Metrodome lease in 2002. The decision puts an end to any possibility of contraction in major league baseball for this season.
2004 The Cardinals and Albert Pujols, avoiding an arbitration hearing, agree to a $100 million, seven-year deal. The 24-year-old slugging first baseman/outfielder (.359, 43, 124) was the runner-up to Barry Bonds of the Giants in the National League's MVP voting.

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2005 The Cubs, needing to fill the void created by Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou's departure, sign an arbitration-eligible Aramis Ramirez (.318, 36, 103) to an $8.95 million, one-year contract. All-Star manager Clint Hurdle selects the 26-year-old Dominican as a reserve for the National League squad this season.
2005 A dentist, who became partially blind after being struck attempting to catch a foul ball, is appealing his case in which he alleges the Phillies need to do more to protect fans. The case, dismissed by a Philadelphia Common Pleas judge citing the club made multiple warnings, including public address announcements, text on the back of the ticket, and posted signs in the ballpark, will now be heard in the state's Commonwealth Court.
2008 Curtis Granderson (.302, 23, 74) and the Tigers come to terms on a five-year contract, including a club option for 2013 worth $30.25 million. The 26-year-old outfielder last season became the third player in major league history, joining Willie Mays and Frank Schulte to swipe 20 bases, and hit at least 20 homers, 20 triples, and 20 doubles.

(Ed. Note: On the last day of the same season, Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins hits a triple to become the fourth member of this elite group - LP)

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2009 Brian Bannister and the Royals avoid salary arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal valued at $1,737,500. The right-hander, who was 9-16 with a 5.76 ERA in 32 starts for Kansas City in his sophomore season, placed third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2007 after being obtained from the Mets for Ambiorix Burgos.
2010 Justin Verlander and the Tigers finalized an $80 million, five-year deal that keeps the talented hurler in the Motor City until 2014. The 26-year-old right-hander compiled a 65-43 record and a 3.92 ERA during his first four years in the major leagues, all with Detroit.
2010 Minnesota unveils a bronze statue of Rod Carew outside of Target Field, the team's new home beginning this season. The bigger-than-life sculpture, created by Twins fan Bill Mack, depicts the Panamanian infielder's unorthodox batting stance, used to bat .334 during the dozen seasons played for the team, beginning in 1968.

2011 In an SRO news conference at Yankee Stadium, 38-year-old southpaw Andy Pettitte becomes the first 'Core of Four' teammate, a group which includes shortstop Derek Jeter, catcher Jorge Posada, and closer Mariano Rivera, to announce his retirement. The five-time World Champion, who compiled a 240-138 record and won the most postseasons games (19) in history during his sixteen years in the major leagues, tells the reporters, "my body would get to where it needs to be, but my heart's not where it needs to be."

2014 The Diamondbacks announce the contracts of general manager Kevin Towers and skipper Kirk Gibson have been extended but do not disclose the length and financial terms of their new deals. The extensions prevent the club's brain trust from becoming lame ducks with just a year remaining on their current agreement with Arizona, which they signed after its 2011 National League West championship season.
2015 Former major leaguer John Hudek's daughter, Sarah, announces she has signed a letter of intent with Louisiana's Bossier Parish Community College, making her one of the first females to compete in baseball at the collegiate level. The 5-foot-10, 150-pound teenage southpaw, whose fastball clocks in at 82 mph, is as good as, or even better than, some of the males on the team, according to BPCC coach Aaron Vorachek.
2015

Carlos Delgado, who enjoyed eight consecutive 30-homer seasons with the Blue Jays while becoming the team's all-time leader in home runs (336), RBIs (1,058), and runs (889), will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in June. The Class of 2015 will also feature former Canadian players Corey Koskie and Matt Stairs, longtime Montreal Expos skipper Felipe Alou, along with Toronto Sun columnist Bob Elliott, the recipient of the 2012 Spink Award given by the National Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

2020 The Phillies announced the team plan to posthumously retire Roy Halladay No. 34 in a pregame ceremony at Citizens Bank Park on May 29, marking the 10th anniversary of his perfect game. 'Doc,' who died in a 2017 plane crash, posted a 55-29 (.655) record during his four seasons with the team, winning the National League Cy Young Award in 2010.

26 Fact(s) Found