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This Day in Baseball History
March 18th

20 Fact(s) Found
1937 Ending his holdout, Lou Gehrig, who had initially asked for $50,000, agrees to sign with the Yankees for $36,000 and a $750 signing bonus. The new deal for the Bronx Bombers' first baseman, last season's American League MVP, makes him baseball's highest-paid player.
1942 During spring training, Jackie Robinson and Nate Moreland work out with the White Sox in Pasadena, California. Manager Jimmie Dykes, who reluctantly granted their request for a walk-on tryout, dismisses the black players without making an offer for their services.
1943 Spring training camps began opening in northern locations due to wartime travel restrictions. Some of the locales include Bear Mountain, NY (Dodgers); French Lick Springs, IN (Cubs and White Sox); Asbury Park, NJ (Yankees); Medford, MA (Red Sox); and Wallingford, CT (Braves).

"Braves Win Last Game for Boston, Milwaukee Loses It." - BOSTON GLOBE, headline lamenting the city’s National League franchise move to Milwaukee.

When the National League owners officially approve the Braves' move from Boston, the team is on the field, beating the Yankees in the fifth inning, 3–0. The club now representing Milwaukee, as of 2:33 PM, blows the lead, dropping a 5-3 decision to the Yankees in the Bradenton (FL) exhibition game.

1953 The Braves end their 77-year-old association with Boston, becoming the first major league club to move since Baltimore shifted to New York in 1903. After listening to Lou Perini's hour-long impassioned plea, the National League owners unanimously approved the franchise's change of venue to Milwaukee, where the club will stay for a dozen seasons, setting attendance records before moving again in 1966 to Atlanta.
1957 Indian general manager Hank Greenberg turns down the Red Sox's million-dollar offer for pitcher Herb Score. The former slugger says the Tribe is building for the future and not into selling its premier players.
1958 The Dodgers, playing their first season in LA, do not renew the contract of Emmett Kelly, the team's resident 'tramp' in Brooklyn. The veteran circus performer believes the size of the Coliseum, the club's new venue on the West Coast, is just "too big for one clown."

Brooklyn Dodger pennant

1974 Country singer Charley Pride, best known for the songs I'm Just Me and Kiss An Angel Good Mornin', plays for the Texas Rangers in an exhibition game at the team's Pompano Beach training camp. The former Negro League right-hander grounds out and singles in two at-bats in the team's 14-2 loss to Jim Palmer and the Orioles.

Charley Pride wearing a Memphis Red Sox uniform
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Gift of Charley Pride

1981 After being declared a free agent because the Red Sox mailed his contract one day past the contractual deadline, Carlton Fisk signs a $3.5 million deal with the White Sox. On Opening Day, the 33-year-old catcher will hit an eighth-inning three-run home run to tie the score, 3-3, which proves to be the difference in Chicago's eventual 5-3 victory over his old team at Fenway Park.
1985 Commissioner Peter Ueberroth reinstates Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. Major League Baseball banned the two Hall of Famers from associating due to their employment with Atlantic City casinos.
1990 The players and owners agree on a four-year contract after a 32-day lockout, the sport's seventh work stoppage and its second-longest since 1972. Although the season will start a week later, teams plan to play a complete schedule, including the 78 games canceled by the work stoppage.

(Ed. Note: The settlement includes raising the minimum major league salary from $68,000 to $100,000 and establishing a committee to study revenue sharing. -LP)

2000 Construction workers install a 15-foot-high and 56-foot-long replica of an 1862 steam locomotive ninety feet above the field onto the rails that run alongside the moveable roof at Enron Field, Houston's new downtown ballpark, partially located on the former home of the city's Union Station. The 60,000-pound train, with its cargo of oranges, makes a 40-second trip back and forth on its track every time an Astro player hits a home run.

Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros (Major League Baseball - Houston, Texas - July 19, 2017)

Minute Maid Park's Replica 1862 Steam Locomotive
posted on Flickr by Corey Seemen.

2000 After reacquiring Jesse Orosco from the Orioles in December, the Mets send the veteran left-hander to the Cardinals for utility player Joe McEwing. In 1978, the eventual four-decade hurler (1979-2003) was the player to be named later in the trade when New York dealt veteran southpaw Jerry Koosman to Minnesota.
2005 After Mark McGwire, who had previously denied using steroids, refuses to answer the questions concerning his involvement during the congressional hearings, U.S. Representative William Lacy Clay (D-MO) wants to remove the slugger's name given to a stretch of highway in his state. The legislators officially renamed a five-mile segment, a distance approximately as long traveled by the 70 home runs, of Interstate-70 the Mark McGwire Highway as a tribute to 'Big Mac' hitting a record 70 home runs in 1998.

(Ed. Note: In May 2010, the Missouri Legislature passed a bill to change the name of Mark McGwire Highway to the Mark Twain Highway. -LP)

2008 The Players Association will examine the possibility of collusion by the major league owners against Barry Bonds, who has pleaded innocent to four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. The San Francisco slugger, who hit .276 last year with 28 home runs, has not been offered a contract by any major league team.

In an attempt to be part of a healing process on the campus where 32 students and staff became victims of a deadly shooting spree last April, the Yankees play the Hokies at Virginia Tech's English Field. George Steinbrenner, moved by coverage of the massacre, donated $1 million to a memorial fund and arranged for his team to participate in an exhibition game at the school.

2009 The Cubs announce that the team will retire its fifth number when 31 will be set aside on May 3, honoring both Fergie Jenkins (1966-73, 1982-83) and Greg Maddux (1986-92, 2004-06). The hurlers will join Ron Santo (#10), Ernie Banks (#14), Ryne Sandberg (#23), and Billy Williams (#26) as honorees chosen by the Chicago club.
2010 Free-swinging slugger Mark Reynolds (.260, 44, 102) and the Diamondbacks agree to a new three-year, $14.5 million contract. The deal covers the 26-year-old third baseman's first two arbitration years.
2011 The Mets make a symbolic but expensive roster move when they release their second baseman, Luis Castillo. The oft-injured, embattled 35-year-old, best remembered by New York fans for the dropped popup in a 2009 Subway Series game at Yankee Stadium, is still owed the remaining $6 million on the four-year, $25 million contract he signed before the 2008 season.
2014 In a Cactus League game, all nine batters Jose Quintana faces reach base and eventually score in the White Sox's 16-6 loss to the A's at Camelback Ranch. The southpaw starter gives up seven hits, including a homer by Jed Lowrie and a triple by Sam Fuld, and issues two walks before exiting the game without retiring a batter.

20 Fact(s) Found