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This Day in Baseball History
January 15th

21 Fact(s) Found
1936 Horace Stoneham becomes president of the New York Giants, succeeding his dad, Charles, who died nine days ago. The 32-year-old will hold the position for the next 40 years before selling the team to Bob Lurie and Bud Herseth in 1976.

"I honestly feel it would be best for the country to keep baseball going." - U.S. PRESIDENT FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, responding to Commissioner Landis' inquiry about the sport's future.

In his famous 'Green Light letter,' President Franklin D. Roosevelt answers Commissioner Landis's query about playing baseball in the wake of the Second World War. FDR responds that playing the sport would be suitable for Americans and encourages baseball owners to have more games at night to allow war workers to attend games.

Text of FDR's Green Light Letter

1957 The Kratter Corporation grants Walter O'Malley an additional two years on the three-year lease on Ebbets Field agreed to last year. The extension, perhaps prompted by the Dodgers owner's uncertainty about Los Angeles' ability to secure the land to build a stadium in the city if the team moved to the West Coast, means the ball club could stay in Brooklyn until 1961.
1958 The Yankees announce an unprecedented 140 games will be televised this season on WPIX in a package reportedly worth significantly more than a million dollars. The decision to telecast a large number of games, including 63 road contests, was prompted by the Dodgers and Giants' departure to California.
1959 The Texas League formally adopts the "automatic intentional walk," saving the pitcher from having to throw four consecutive balls outside the strike zone. In 2017, the major leagues will adopt the rule to speed up games, an innovation not supported by data as there was only an intentional walk every 2.6 games during the 2016 campaign.
1963 By an overwhelming 20–2 vote, the New York City Council named the new stadium in the Queens for William A. Shea, the attorney who brought the National League back to the Big Apple. The ballpark, known initially as Flushing Meadow Park Municipal Stadium, serves as the Mets' home for 44 seasons.

1964 Willie Mays, the highest-paid player in baseball, signs the $105,000 contract offered by the Giants. The perennial All-Star center fielder will have another outstanding season, batting .308, hitting 40 home runs, and driving in 123 runs for the Bay City team.
1964 Baseball's executives select New York City as the site of the game's inaugural free-agent draft, a controversial measure approved during the winter meetings that gives teams with the worst records the earlier picks to the talented amateur players. With the first pick in the draft's history, the A's will select ASU outfielder Rick Monday when the process begins on June 8 at the Hotel Commodore.
1967 Green Bay defensive back Tom Brown becomes the first major leaguer to play in the Super Bowl. The outfielder and first baseman for the Senators in 1963 is best remembered for his last-minute interception of Cowboy quarterback Don Meredith's Hail Mary pass in the NFL Championship game, making Green Bay a participant in the first-ever Super Bowl.

1981 Cardinal right-hander Bob Gibson, receiving 337 votes of the 401 BBWAA ballots cast (84%) in his first year of eligibility, is the only player elected to the Hall of Fame this year. Well-known Dodgers Don Drysdale and Gil Hodges, as well as Twins' slugger Harmon Killebrew, fall short of the votes needed for induction.

Amazon From Ghetto to Glory: the Story of Bob Gibson

1990 Free agent Cecil Fielder, returning from a stint in Japan where he hit 38 homers for the Hanshin Tigers, signs a one-year deal worth $1,250,000 with Detroit. 'Big Daddy,' father of future major leaguer Prince, will hit 245 home runs while driving in 758 runs during his seven seasons in the Motor City.
1994 During their winter fan festival, the Brewers unveil a new logo and different team colors, with navy, green, and metallic gold replacing royal blue and yellow. The changes, the first since the 1978 season, include Germanic lettering in place of the standard block and the first alternate uniform in the club's history, a navy jersey with the club's primary logo below the word Brewers across the chest.
2002 The Braves trade outfielder Brian Jordan (.295, 25, 97), pitcher Odalis Perez (7-8, 4.91), and a minor leaguer to the Dodgers to acquire All-Star outfielder Gary Sheffield (.311, 36, 100). The deal ends Sheffield's stormy four-year tenure with L.A., who, before spring training, insulted teammates, derided management, and became upset when the club refused to double the value of his contract.
2008 Representatives Henry Waxman and Tom Davis announce they have sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate if Miguel Tejada lied to House committee staff when questioned about Orioles teammate Rafael Palmeiro's use of steroids. The former American League MVP, traded to the Astros in the offseason, could face jail time if found guilty because making false statements to Congress is a felony.

2009 Derek Lowe signs a four-year deal with the Braves reportedly worth $60 million. The 35-year-old right-hander will be the ace of Atlanta's new-look rotation, which includes the recently acquired Javier Vazquez, Jair Jurrjens, and Kenshin Kawakami, who pitched in Japan last season for the Chunichi Dragons.
2009 The Brewers, avoiding arbitration, agree to a $4 million, one-year deal with Dave Bush, who finished the season strong, posting a 7-3 record with a 3.23 ERA in his final 18 regular season starts. The 29-year-old right-hander was the only Milwaukee pitcher to win a postseason game when the team beat Philadelphia at Miller Park, 4-1, in Game 3 of the ALDS.
2009 The Padres sign 33-year-old veteran infielder David Eckstein to a one-year contract worth $850,000 with an additional $150,000 available in incentives. The 2006 World Series MVP, who split last season, playing mostly shortstop in 94 games, with the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks, agreed to the discounted deal with San Diego on the condition that he would play primarily second base for the Friars.

Amazon Have Heart: David Eckstein

2009 The Dodgers, who had restructured Andruw Jones's contract earlier in the month, placed their expensive center fielder on waivers rather than pursuing a trade for the five-time All-Star. The highest-paid player in the franchise history, who signed a two-year, $36.2 million deal during the 2007 offseason, was a complete bust in his one season with the team, hitting a meager .158 with just three home runs and 14 RBIs in 209 at-bats.
2010 The Mets and John Maine (7-6, 4.43) come to terms on a one-year, $3.3 million deal just after the right-hander filed for arbitration. New York's projected number three starter was limited to 15 games last season due to the lingering weakness from a 2008 surgery that removed a bony growth from his right shoulder socket.
2010 Avoiding salary arbitration, Matt Kemp (.297, 26, 101) and the Dodgers agree to a rare multi-year offer that will pay the center fielder $10.95 million over the next two seasons. The 25-year-old Oklahoman, considered a core player in the team's future, won the Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger awards playing for the National League West champs last season.
2013 After watching their bullpen implode in the NLDS last season, the Nationals sign Rafael Soriano to a two-year, $28 million deal to be the club's closer. The 33-year-old right-handed reliever, who had a league-leading 45 saves for the Rays in 2011, filled in for the injured Mariano Rivera last season and saved 42 games for the Yankees.

21 Fact(s) Found