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This Day in Baseball History
February 17th

16 Fact(s) Found
1900 Instead of unpaid alimony, Mary H. Vanderbeck takes possession of the American League franchise in Detroit. Her ex-husband George Vanderbeck, who decided to build Bennett Park at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull Avenues, the Tigers' home the next 104 seasons, will later regain control of the team.
1916 During their annual meeting held at the Hotel Wolcott in New York, the American League owners endorse a new major league draft concept proposed initially by Dodger president Charles Ebbets. The approved plan will give second-division clubs the first pick of the available minor leaguers each season.
1937 The Yankees purchase Red Sox first baseman Babe Dahlgren, the player who replaces Lou Gehrig. During his four-year tenure with the Bronx Bombers, the California native will compile a .248 batting average before being bought by the Braves before the 1941 season.
1943 Without notifying the team, Joe DiMaggio enlists in the U.S. Army Air Forces and will not play for the Yankees again until 1946. Although the Bronx Bomber outfielder asked for no special treatment, he will spend most of his time out of harm's way by playing baseball in the United States.

"Realization that you now count your years at the four score mark reminds me, with something of a shock, that it was fifty years ago that I used to follow your batting average with the keenest of interest." - DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, 34th President of the U.S., congratulating Honus Wagner on his birthday.

Dwight Eisenhower sends a letter labeled "personal and confidential" to Honus Wagner, wishing the former Pirates' shortstop a happy 80th birthday. The Hall of Fame infielder was the president’s boyhood hero when he was growing up in Abilene, Kansas.

1964 White Sox shortstop Luke Appling, although he received only two Baseball Hall of Fame votes when he first appeared on the ballot in 1953, is elected to the Hall of Fame by BBWAA, named on 189 of the 201 ballots cast (94%) to defeat Red Ruffing a run-off election. This method of selection, used intermittently from 1947 to 1967, occurred when the writers did not select anyone on their initial ballot, and then listed the top 20-30 players on a second ballot, with only the top vote-getter chosen for induction.

View the entire results of the run-off election at Baseball_Reference.com


Future National League Cy Young Award winner Mike Scott pitches a perfect game for Pepperdine against California Lutheran University. The right-hander, who will throw a no-hitter as a major leaguer for the Astros, will be selected by the Mets in the second round in the June draft.

1987 Yankee first baseman Don Mattingly wins his $1.975 million arbitration case. The award breaks the record for the most substantial sum ever given to a player, which was established just four days ago by Jack Morris.
1990 Herb Raybourn, the Yankee director of Latin American operations, signs amateur free-agent Mariano Rivera, an athletic 20 year-old who has an effortless pitching motion, but a less than average fastball, to a modest $3,000 contract. The future all-time major league saves leader has no formal training as a pitcher, having hurled for just the first time two weeks before being scouted at the team's tryout camp in Panama City.
1995 1995 Unwilling to be part of an inferior product placed on the field and as a show of support for his players, Tigers skipper Sparky Anderson is suspended without pay when he refuses to manage replacement players in spring training during the 1995 work stoppage. The popular pilot will resume his duties when the strike ends, but will 'retire,' believed by some not to be voluntarily, at the end of the season.

Amazon Sparky Anderson: The Life of a Baseball Legend

2003 Avoiding arbitration, the Braves and 36 year-old righty Greg Maddux (16-6, 2.62) agree to the largest one-year contract in major league history. The $14.75 million deal for the four-time Cy Young Award winner eclipses the $12 million given to David Cone by the Yankees in 2000.

Amazon 2004 Topps Greg Maddux (#140)

2003 After his body temperature soars to 108 degrees, Orioles pitching prospect Steve Belcher dies of multi-organ failure following a spring training workout in Fort Lauderdale. The use of ephedrine, the dietary supplement linked to heatstroke and heart attacks, may have led to 23 year-old expectant father's death.
2006 White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen issues an apology for his comments published in Sports Illustrated that criticized Alex Rodriguez's indecision concerning which country the Yankee All-Star would represent in the World Baseball Classic. A-Rod, who was born in the United States, at first revealed he would play for the Dominican Republic due to his parents' heritage, then decided he was not going to play at all, before choosing to play for Team USA.
2007 In a poll conducted by his hometown newspaper, more than half of the respondents thought Carl Pavano would not bounce back with the Yankees this year. The reader poll, posted on myrecordjournal.com, revealed 54.5% believe the Yankee pitcher would not overcome his slow start with the team, while 45.5% stated he would have a comeback season.
2009 The Marlins announced a contract extension for manager Fredi Gonzalez through the end of 2011. The South Florida native, who became just the third skipper in franchise history to compile a winning campaign, guiding the club to an 84-77 record, was named The Sporting News Manager of the Year last season.
2011 Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays come to terms on a $64-million, five-year contract extension. The 30 year-old third baseman/outfielder, last season's major league leader with 54 home runs, set a record for the most significant increase in round-trippers for a single season in baseball history, hitting 41 more homers than his total of 13 in 2009.

16 Fact(s) Found