Kansas City receives a franchise in the Western League. The minor league team, which will fold after the 1888 season, will be known as the Cowboys, the same name used by the defunct teams representing the city in the National League and Union Association and the franchise that will play in the American Association beginning in 1889.
Grover Cleveland Alexander becomes the tenth and only player this year to be elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. Old Pete's 373 victories is the record for the most career wins in the National League, a mark he shares with Christy Mathewson.
Due to his misunderstanding of a photo taken in 1943, believing Hank Greenberg had posed in a Yankee jersey, Tiger owner Walter Briggs sells the 1946 American League home run leader (44) to the Pirates for $35,000 after ensuring that the other AL teams wouldn't put in a waiver claim. Pittsburgh dissuades the disgruntled Hammerin' Hank not to retire, and he will join and mentor the National League's young home run leader, 25-year-old Ralph Kiner, in the Steel City.
"You can call this a very drastic pay cut. Feller thinks it’s drastic, too. But he himself made the suggestion. In fact, he offered to take more than the 25 percent maximum pay cut allowed." - HANK GREENBERG, Indian GM explaining the reduction in Bob Feller's salary.
Bob Feller asks and gets his salary reduced to $45,000, a $20,000 cut, because he believes his sub-par record of 15-14 doesn't merit an increase. Right-handed' Rapid Robert' rebounds, posting a 16-11 record and an ERA of 3.43 for the Indians next season.
The White Sox board of directors accept the resignation of Charlie A. Comiskey, Jr., the team's Vice President and secretary, after turning down his request for a promotion and more money. The 25-year-old's dissatisfaction with the club was a complete surprise to his mother, Grace Comiskey, the Chicago ball club's president.
Willie O'Ree becomes the first black player in the National Hockey League when he plays left wing for the Bruins in their 3-0 victory over the Canadiens at the Montreal Forum. The 22-year-old's NHL debut for Boston occurs 18 months before Pumpsie Green breaks the color line of the Red Sox, the last major league team to integrate.
Ted Williams becomes the manager of the Senators, agreeing to a five-year deal for a reported salary of $75,000 per season. The team, which finished in last place in the previous campaign, will post an 86-76 record in Williams' first year at the helm, accounting for the only .500 season during their 11-year tenure in Washington.
Interior Secretary Stewart Udall announces the District of Columbia Stadium will now be known as the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, in memory of the former AG and NY Senator, assassinated last June while campaigning to be president. The renamed ballpark, better known as RFK Stadium, will continue to host the 'new' Washington Senators franchise result of a joint action taken by the Interior Department and the DC Armory Board, which operates the stadium under a contract with the National Park.
Former Giant first baseman Orlando Cepeda comes to terms with the Red Sox, making him the first player signed specifically to be a designated hitter. On Opening Day at Fenway Park, 'Cha-Cha' will miss an opportunity to make history when three hits and three walks give the Yankees' Ron Blomberg, batting sixth in the lineup, the distinction of being the first DH to bat in a major league game.
Nearing the end of his second term, President Reagan pardons George Steinbrenner for convictions connected with illegal contributions to the 1972 presidential campaign of Richard M. Nixon. The Yankee owner, who pleaded guilty in 1974 to conspiring to violate federal election laws, was fined $15,000 but did not spend time in jail.
The Mariners avoid arbitration with pitcher Freddy Garcia (18-6, 3.05) by signing him to a one-year, $3.8-million deal. The 25-year-old standout right-handed hurler led the American League in earned run average last season.
Kerry Wood (12-6, 3.36) avoids arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal with the Cubs believed to be worth between $3.5 and 4 million. The right-handed fireballer, who struck out 217 batters in 174.1 innings, is again eligible for arbitration after each of the next two seasons and can become a free agent following the 2004 season.
Scott Rolen (.289, 25, 107) avoids arbitration by agreeing to the largest annual salary in Phillies' history, an $8.6 million, one-year deal that includes bonuses. The 26-year-old Gold Glove third baseman turned down a 10-year contract worth up to $140 million, making it clear he planned to file for free agency after the season.
Eric Gagne and the Dodgers agree to a $19-million, two-year deal. The 2003 National League's Cy Young Award winner, who set a major league record with 84 consecutive saves from August (2002) to July (2004), made $5 million last year after arbitrators ruled in favor of the club's offer over the $8 million requested by the LA closer.
The removal of the iconic Jacobs Field sign on the front of the building begins, making room for the Progressive Field replacement sign to be scheduled for installation next month. The Progressive Corporation, a major insurance company located in Mayfield Village, secured the naming rights by agreeing to pay $57.6 million to rebrand the 13-year-old ballpark until 2024.
(Ed. Note: The moniker Progressive Park was considered before discovering a picnic facility in Council Bluffs (IA) presently used the name. -LP).
Mark Teixeira signs a one-year contract worth $12.5 million to play for the Braves. The slugging first baseman, acquired from the Rangers at the trading deadline last season, added a much-needed punch to the Atlanta lineup.
Avoiding arbitration, Justin Morneau (.271, 31, 111), a potential free agent after the 2010 season, comes to terms with the Twins on a $7.4 million one-year deal. The 26-year-old Canadian first baseman was the American League MVP in 2006.
The Tigers avoid arbitration with their new third baseman when Miguel Cabrera agrees to an $11.3 million, one-year deal. The All-Star infielder was acquired, along with southpaw Dontrelle Willis, from the Marlins in exchange for six highly-touted prospects, including Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller, as part of a blockbuster trade during the winter meetings last month.
The A's sign Joe Blanton (14-10, 3.95) to a $3.7 million, one-year deal, avoiding arbitration with the 27-year-old right-hander. The Oakland workhorse, throwing the second-most innings in American League with 230, has been the subject of trade talks as Oakland continues to rebuild for the future.
The Rockies, still hoping to come to terms on a longer-term deal with their All-Star outfielder, sign Matt Holliday for two more years for $23 million. The agreement is reached just a few hours before the arbitration deadline for exchanging salary figures between players and teams.
The Rays avoid arbitration with two key players when the club reaches agreements with southpaw Scott Kazmir (13-9, 3.48) and infielder Carlos Pena (.282, 42, 99). The left-hand hurler, who led the AL in strikeouts last season, inks a $3,785,000, one-year pact while the club's first baseman, the American League comeback player of the year, signs a $24+ million, three-year deal.
Thirty major league owners voted unanimously to extend Bud Selig's contract by three years at their quarterly meetings, retaining him as commissioner through 2012. In the post since 1992, the 73-year-old has championed change in baseball, supporting the wild card, interleague play, and the World Baseball Classic in a sport not known for innovation.
Cole Hamels agrees to a three-year contract with the Phillies valued at $20.5 million. The 25-year-old southpaw, who posted a 4-0 record with a 1.80 ERA in five postseason starts for the World Champions, pitches poorly in the first year but rebounds by compiling an overall 36-31 (.537) record with a 3.36 ERA during the three seasons of the deal.
Thinking two Hairstons must be better than one, the Padres obtain utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. (.251, 10, 39), the older brother of Scott, signed by the club three days ago. The siblings are sons of former major leaguer Jerry Hairston and Sammy Hairston's grandchildren, who played in four games with the White Sox in 1951.
After agreeing to spend more money on their payroll this season, the Marlins keep their word to the players' association when they sign second baseman Dan Uggla to a $7.8 million, one-year contract. Recently, the tight-fisted Fish also agreed to a $39 million, four-year deal with right-hander Josh Johnson.
Royals' starter Gil Meche, who signed a controversial five-year, $55 million free-agent contract before the 2007 season, announces his retirement from baseball due to ongoing troubles caused by a shoulder injury. With this decision, the 32-year-old right-hander forfeits the remaining $12 million on his contract, but he believes Kansas City has been fair to him and does not want to take the club's money when he cannot pitch effectively.
The Yankees sign Rays' free-agent Rafael Soriano to a $35 million, three-year deal. The All-Star right-handed reliever, who led the AL in saves last year with 45, will be used by New York as a set-up man to Mariano Rivera, the team's 41-year-old iconic closer.
Just minutes before the signing deadline, the Rangers and right-hander Yu Darvish agree to a six-year, $60 million contract. The 25-year-old Japanese, who posted an 18-6 record along with an ERA of 1.44 superstar with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters last season, will cost Texas more than $111 million with the $51.7 million posting fee owed to his former team.
St. Louis officials reveal details about the team's new Hall of Fame that will be established this spring at the dedication of their new museum at the Cardinals Nation in the Ballpark Village. The team's initiative will immortalize the greatest players and other key figures in franchise history, starting with the twenty-two individuals selected due to their previous induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame or having their number retired by the club.
The Dodgers confirm Clayton Kershaw's record-breaking $215 million seven-year contract, the largest deal ever given to a pitcher. The two-time National League Cy Young Award, who will earn $30.7 million annually, requested and received an opt-out clause after five years, making the right-hander eligible to become a free agent at the of age 30.