The Cincinnati Red Stockings become the sport's first professional team when the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) permits compensated players to participate this season. English-born Harry Wright puts together a ten-man team, all on salary through November, that posts a 57–0 record, marking the only perfect season in professional baseball history.
Former minor leaguer Bert Shepard, who had his right leg amputated after the Germans gunned down his fighter plane east of Hamburg on his 34th mission as a WW II P-38 fighter pilot, begins a successful tryout with the Senators. Although the southpaw will pitch in only one game for Washington, the retired Army Air Force pilot will hurl an impressive 5⅓ innings of one-run ball against the Red Sox in August, striking out the first batter he faces and giving up just three hits.
The floundering Southern Association announces the New Orleans Pelicans, for the first time since 1901, will not be part of the Double-A circuit. After a two-year absence, the Little Rock Travelers rejoins the league, replacing the Crescent City club, playing two seasons before the loop disbands after completing the 1961 campaign.
Bernice Gera files a civil rights suit against MLB when her contract to umpire in the New York-Penn League becomes void after six days without an explanation. In an eventual landmark 5-2 decision, the New York Court of Appeals will uphold a previous court's ruling, agreeing with the 39-year-old housewife's contention that she had been discriminated against unlawfully.
In Yuma (AZ), Ron Bryant, a 24-game winner for the Giants last year, is hurt in a pool accident during spring training. The promising southpaw's record will drop to 3-15 this season, and the Redlands, California native's career will end in 1975 after a brief 0-1 stint with St. Louis.
The Dodgers sign their once arch-nemesis Juan Marichal as a free agent. After two-regular season starts, lasting six innings and giving up nine runs, the former Giants' superstar and future Hall of Famer will retire in mid-April.
The A's send Phil Garner, Chris Batton, and Tommy Helms to the Pirates for Tony Armas, Mitchell Page, and four pitchers, including Doc Medich and Dave Giusti. Pittsburgh's acquisition of infielder Phil Garner, the key player in the nine-player spring training swap, will move a very disappointed Bill Robinson back into a utility role after working diligently to get ready to be the team's everyday third baseman.
The Yankees name Don Zimmer as the club's interim manager while Joe Torre receives prostate cancer treatments. During his managerial stints with San Diego, Boston, Texas, and Chicago, the bench coach compiled an 885-858 (.508) record.
Six Red Sox pitchers combine for a perfect game in a spring training contest, beating the Blue Jays in Fort Myers, 5-0. Boston starter Pedro Martinez pitched the first three innings, and Fernando De La Cruz tossed the next two frames, with Dan Smith, Rheal Cormier, Rich Garces, and Rod Beck all going one inning apiece.
🇨🇳 In front of 12,224 fans, a near-sellout at the new Olympic venue in Beijing, the Dodgers and the Padres played to a 3-3 tie in the first major league game ever played in mainland China. In the seventh inning, the crowd hears "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," but not knowing the lyrics, listens without singing.
Five days after unilaterally renewing his contract for the upcoming season, the Pirates sign Ian Snell (9-12, 3.76) to a three-year deal reported to be worth $8 million. The 26-year-old right-hander, eligible for salary arbitration after the 2009 season, has compiled a 24-26 record with the struggling ball club over the past three seasons.
Baseball-Reference.com leaves a blank space next to 2011 on its National League MVP list instead of identifying Ryan Braun as the award's winner. The Brewers outfielder, who received a 50-game suspension scheduled for the start of the 2012 season, became the first player to successfully challenge a drug test result when an arbitration panel overturned the ruling due to the improper handling of the specimen taken last Fall.
(Ed. Note: Baseball-Reference.com now lists Ryan Braun as the National League's MVP for 2011. -LP)
🇵🇦 The Yankees begin a two-game spring training series against the Marlins at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama to honor Mariano Rivera's legacy, a native of the nearby fishing village of Puerto Caimito. The contests are the first to be played in the isthmus nation by major league teams since the Bronx Bombers faced the Dodgers in exhibition games in 1947.