The National League elects their secretary, John Heydler, to be the president of the circuit. The former umpire had briefly served in the post after Harry Pulliam's unexpected death in 1909.
John Heydler prior to becoming NL President.
Library of Congress - George Grantham Bain Collection
The National League, spearheaded by the leadership of Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss, approves the banning of the spitball, allowing just the current spitballers presently throwing the pitch to use it under a "grandfather" clause. A year later, the American League adopts the same rule.
The American and National League agree to a permanent rotation system for the World Series. The new arrangement calls for the first two games at one league's park, the next three at the other team's home field, and the final two games (if necessary) played at the first venue. The Senior Circuit is granted the inaugural advantage in next season's Fall Classic.
The Philadelphia A's trade Jimmie Foxx and Johnny Marcum to the Red Sox for Gordon Rhodes, prospect George Savino, and $150,000. The future Hall of Fame slugger will play six years with Boston, including his third MVP season in 1938, in which he hit .349, slugged 50 home runs, and drove in 175 runs.
In case of a tie at the season's end, the American League opts for a three-game playoff, replacing the one-game winner-take-all format. The National League has always used the best-of-three series to break deadlocks.
The Indians trade Luis Tiant and Stan Williams to the Twins for Dean Chance, Bob Miller, Graig Nettles, and Ted Uhlaender. None of the players in the deal will stay with their new clubs for more than two seasons, except for Nettles, who spends three seasons with the Tribe before being traded to New York.
In one of the worst deals in franchise history, the Mets trade 24-year-old Nolan Ryan and three prospects to the Angels for six-time All-Star third baseman Jim Fregosi. The Texan fireballer will set the all-time strikeout record (5,714) and become a Hall of Fame member, while their new 30-year-old infielder (.232, 5, 32) plays less than two full seasons in New York, providing little help for the team.
The American League owners agree to let Bill Veeck back into baseball by allowing him to reacquire the White Sox when the maverick purchases the team from John Allyn for nearly $10 million. The Pale Hose new owner's second tenure in the Windy City will include the infamous Disco Demolition Night promotion in 1979, which results in a riot and a forfeit to Detroit at Comiskey Park.
The Cardinals and Padres swap shortstops when Garry Templeton goes to San Diego along with outfielder Sixto Lezcano as Ozzie Smith and right-hander Steve Mura head for St. Louis. The teams will not finalize the trade for two months until an outside arbitrator determines Smith's salary with his new club.
The Mets trade starter Mike Scott, who compiled a 14-27 record during his four years with the team, to the Astros in exchange for Danny Heep. After learning how to throw the split-finger fastball from Roger Craig, the right-hander becomes the staff's ace, leading Houston to the post-season, throwing a no-hitter, and winning 110 out 191 decisions during his nine-year tenure with the club.
The Expos trade catcher Gary Carter to the Mets for backstop Mike Fitzgerald, flycatcher Herm Winningham, third baseman Hubie Brooks, and right-hander Floyd Youmans. The perennial All-Star plays a key role in New York's success over the rest of the decade.
Maniford Harper, known to his friends as Hack, is true to his word when he is buried in a Cub uniform, keeping to the arrangements that made him a central Illinois celebrity in 1980. The 75-year-old Washburn (IL) native's devotion to the team began when, as a polio-stricken 11-year-old, Chicago legend Hack Wilson, among several players visiting the local Shriners Hospital, put his hand on the boy's shoulder and correctly predicted, 'Kid, stick it out. Someday you're gonna walk'.
The Giants send outfielder Kevin Mitchell and right-hander Mike Remlinger to the Mariners for hurlers Bill Swift, Mike Jackson, and Dave Burba. Mitchell won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1989.
After 24 years and 1,071 appearances, 44-year-old Dennis Eckersley, who has pitched in more games than any other major leaguer, retires as an active player. 'Eck' is the first hurler to have both a 20-win season and a 50-save season in a career, a feat John Smoltz will also accomplish in 2002.
Tampa Bay signs Blue Jays free-agent Jose Canseco to a one-year deal to play left field and as a designated hitter. The 34-year-old slugger will have a productive year, going deep 34 times and driving in 95 runs, but his performance doesn't enhance the Devil Rays' last-place finish in the AL East.
Nick Peters becomes the 60th winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, named for its first recipient and given annually by the BBWAA "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing." The San Francisco native covered the Giants for 47 years, a span (1961-2007) in which he reported on more Giants games than anyone in franchise history.
The Mets complete a $37 million, three-year contract with free-agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez. The former Angels' closer, who fills a big void in the New York bullpen due to Billy Wagner's injury, set a major league record last season, recording 62 saves.
In a 12-player, three-team trade, the Indians send outfield prospect Franklin Gutierrez to Seattle to get Mets side-slinging reliever Joe Smith and second baseman Luis Valbuena from the Mariners. New York's Aaron Heilman, Endy Chavez, southpaw Jason Vargas, and three minor leaguers go to the Mariners for closer JJ Putz, who be the setup man for recently acquired Francisco Rodriguez, center fielder Jeremy Reed, and reliever Sean Green.
With the fourth richest deal in major league history, the most ever offered to a pitcher, the Yankees and free-agent CC Sabathia agree on a $161 million, seven-year contract, with an opt-out clause after three years. The 28-year-old right-hander's $23 million average annual salary eclipses the Mets' February agreement with Johan Santana.
The Pirates sign Bobby Crosby (.231, 22, 64), the 2004 American League Rookie of the Year, to a $1 million, one-year contract. Last season, the 29-year-old versatile infielder played multiple games for the A's at all four infield positions.