The Norwich Reds, winners of the Connecticut State League championship, have all of its assets sold at a public auction to Dennis Morrissey, a local banker who buys the club with a $25 bid. The circuit had seized the franchise when the Class B team fell behind on its ballpark mortgage and owed $1,500 in unpaid player salaries.
In a deal that owner Clark Griffith will recall as one of the worst he ever made, the Senators sell All-Star Bob Johnson to the Red Sox. The outfield slugger will enjoy two solid seasons with Boston, hitting .302 for the Fenway Faithful, before retiring at 39.
Based on testimony given by former manager Bucky Harris, who was fired during the season by the Phillies, and other evidence, MLB suspends Philadelphia owner William Cox for life for betting on games played by the team he owned. The ruling, made at an appeal hearing, makes the youngest owner in the league the first non-player to be banned from baseball by Commissioner Landis, renowned for his zero tolerance for gambling in the sport.
The BBWAA selects Alvin Dark, who hit .322 for the pennant-winning Braves, the major league rookie of the year, casting 27 of their possible 48 votes for the Boston infielder. The 25-year-old shortstop easily outdistances his closest rivals, southpaw Gene Bearden, a twenty-game winner for the World Champion Indians, and outfielder Richie Ashburn, a .333 batter in 117 games for the Phillies before breaking his hand in August.
The Browns trade utility man Jay Porter, second baseman Owen Friend, and outfielder Bob Nieman to the Tigers for outfielder Johnny Groth and pitchers Hal White and Virgil Trucks, the author of two no-hitters last season. Porter, called J.W. by his teammates, signed as an 18-year-old "bonus baby" in 1951, missing the next two seasons due to military service before continuing his brief major league career.
The major league owners eliminate the bonus rule, a mandate that required 'bonus babies,' who signed a contract for more than $4,000, to stay on the major league roster for two full seasons. The four-year-old regulation created much resentment among teammates, delaying the development of talented players in many instances.
The Dodgers trade Gino Cimoli to the Cardinals for former Rookie of the Year Wally Moon and right-hander Phil Paine. The club's new outfielder will quickly become known for his 'Moon Shots,' 250+ foot high fly balls to left field at LA's Memorial Coliseum, which clear the 40-foot-high screen for home runs.
The Tigers trade pitcher Jim Bunning to the Phillies for catcher Gus Triandos, starter Jack Hamilton, and outfielder Don Demeter. The 33-year-old right-hander and future US senator (R-KY) will become the first pitcher since Cy Young to win a hundred games in both leagues.
The owners vote to use a free-agent draft with clubs selecting in the inverse order of the previous year's standings to choose players every four months. The new system, scheduled to begin next month, is designed to level the playing field by preventing rich clubs, like the Yankees, from using their wealth to lock up all talented players.
The Orioles deal minor league prospect John Mason and veteran outfielder Curt Blefary to the Astros for Elijah Johnson, Enzo Hernandez, and hurler Mike Cuellar. The right-hander from Cuba will spend eight years with Baltimore, averaging nearly 18 wins a season.
The Giants sign Yankee free agent Dave Righetti (1-1, 3.57, 36 saves) to a four-year deal worth nearly $10 million. After the South Bay native's playing days are over, the left-handed reliever will become the club's longtime pitching coach.
Michael Stirn, a 32-year-old carpenter who caught Cal Ripken's home run ball on the night Baltimore infielder tied Lou Gehrig's consecutive-game record, sells the historic horsehide to a Maryland businessman at an auction for $41,736. The lucky Orioles fan had offered the ball back to the Baltimore third baseman through the club but never received a reply.
The Red Sox announce the signing of Terry Francona to a three-year deal, with an option for a fourth, to be the team's manager. The 44-year-old former Phillies' skipper replaces Grady Little, who became the scourge of Red Sox Nation after failing to remove Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the ALCS.
Reaching a preliminary deal with the Dodgers a day before baseball's winter meetings, Rafael Furcal agrees to a $39-million, three-year contract to play shortstop in the City of Angels. The Braves, his former team for the past six seasons, and the Cubs vigorously pursued the 28-year-old Dominican infielder.
In an unexpected blockbuster trade at the winter meetings, the Tigers acquire Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from the Marlins in exchange for six prospects. Detroit trades southpaw Andrew Miller and outfielder Cameron Maybin to get the highly touted Fish and four other highly regarded minor leaguers.
The Royals sign heavy-hitting Jose Guillen (.290, 23, 99) to a three-year, $36 million deal. The 31-year-old outfielder, who played with the Mariners last season, which chose to decline its $9 million option for him, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, allegedly purchased nearly $20,000 worth of banned substances from 2003-05.
Needing nine votes from the 12-member executives/pioneers committee, Bowie Kuhn collects ten to get the nod for induction into the Hall of Fame. The former Commissioner of Baseball, who served in the post from 1969 through 1984, bests his nemesis, Marvin Miller, the executive director of the players' union from 1966 to 1983, who garnered only three votes in his bid for Cooperstown.
Jack Zduriencik, the Brewers' special assistant to the general manager/director of amateur scouting, becomes the first non-general manager named Baseball America Executive of the Year, an award inaugurated by the national periodical in 1998. The Mariners' future general manager has been with the Milwaukee front office for eight seasons.
The Brewers sign free-agent Gregg Zaun (.260, 8, 27) to a $2.15 million, one-year deal. The 38-year-old, who played with Baltimore and Tampa Bay last season, will replace Jason Kendall behind the plate for Milwaukee.
The Padres hire Jason McLeod as the team's assistant general manager. Jed Hoyer, San Diego's new GM, who worked in the same capacity as Theo Epstein's assistant before joining the club, hired the former Red Sox director of amateur scouting.
Outside of Target Field, the Twins unveil a statue of Harmon Killebrew, one of three sculptures, along with the larger-than-life likenesses of Kirby Puckett and Rod Carew, that the team commissioned Bill Mack to create depicting Minnesota's three Hall of Fame inductees. The 750-pound bronze Bunyanesque work of art replicates the slugger getting full extension on the swing that sent a Jim Maloney fifth-inning pitch into the bleachers at Minnesota's Metropolitan Stadium, tying the 1965 All-Star Game at 5-5.
Eight months after leaving the sport, Manny Ramirez applies for reinstatement from baseball's retired list rather than face a 100-game ban due to failing a drug test. In a statement released by MLB, the 39-year-old veteran would have to serve a 50-game suspension that would begin with the first game he is eligible to play as a condition of resuming his big league career.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America selects longtime Philadelphia scribe Paul Hagen as the annual J.G. Taylor Spink Award recipient, an honor recognizing a lifetime of excellence in baseball writing. The BBWAA nominated the MLB.com reporter and retirees Jim Hawkins of the Detroit Free Press and Russell Schneider of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
At a Safeco Field news conference, the Mariners announce that the team has signed free agent Nelson Cruz to a four-year, $58 million deal. Seattle acquired the right-handed slugging outfielder, who led the big leagues with 40 home runs last season while playing for the Orioles, to bat behind Robinson Cano, giving the switch-hitting second baseman more protection in the lineup.
The Diamondbacks and Zach Greinke come to terms, much to the chagrin of the Dodgers and Giants, who had sought to sign the highly-touted free agent. The 32-year-old right-hander agrees to a reported $206.5 million, six-year deal, making his annual average salary ($34.4 million) the richest in the sport's history.
The Marlins hire the former steroids-tainted superstar Barry Bonds, who joins newly hired manager Don Mattingly's staff as the team's hitting coach. Some of the 51-year-old all-time home king return to baseball to enhance his Hall of Fame chances, but his presence may also benefit a 71-91 team that finished next to last in runs, homers, and the fewest walks in the majors.
The Red Sox announce the team has signed southpaw David Price to a seven-year, $217 million contract, the richest deal ever given to a pitcher. The 29-year-old left-hander, who posted an 18-5 record hurling for the Tigers and Blue Jays last season, is projected to be the ace of a talented rotation that includes Wade Miley, Clay Buchholz, and Rick Porcello.
The Rangers name former big-league pitcher Chris Young, who broke in with the organization in 2004, as the team's general manager. The 41-year-old right-hander posted a 79-67 record with a 3.95 ERA during 13 seasons in the majors, including stops with the Padres, Mets, Mariners, and Royals.