After spending five seasons in the American Association, the Pittsburgh Alleghenys leave the circuit, joining the National League as an expansion team. The team in 1891 will become known as the Pirates, a name derived from an incident involving the franchise accused of being "piratical" for taking a player from the defunct Players' League.
The Cubs hire future Hall of Fame catcher Roger Bresnahan to manage the team. The former Cardinal skipper stays for just one year, with Chicago finishing in fourth place with a 73-80 record.
In the second of two deals between the clubs on the two-day, 13-player transaction, St. Louis obtains Sam Dente, Clem Dreisewerd, Bill Sommers, and $65,000 from the Red Sox in exchange for Ellis Kinder and Billy Hitchcock. When the dust settles, Boston ends up with two top-of-the-rotation hurlers, Kinder and Jack Kramer, and an All-Star offensive shortstop to hit behind Ted Williams, Vern Stephens, and the cash-deprived Browns, in addition to its four new players, receive a total of $375,000.
Dodger second baseman Jackie Robinson (.342, 16, 124) becomes the first black player to win the MVP Award. Stan Musial, Ralph Kiner, and teammate Pee Wee Reese are the runners-up in the BBWAA balloting.
PCL's Los Angeles Angels infielder and future star of TV's The Rifleman, Chuck Connors, citing he wants to stay in California, becomes the first player to refuse to participate in the major league draft. The former Cub first baseman's desire not to leave the Pacific Coast League allows the minor leagues to ask for more money for big-league talent.
Lou Boudreau replaces A's skipper Eddie Joost, who was given his unconditional release as a player-manager. During his three-year tenure in Kansas City, the future Hall of Famer will pilot the second-division club to a 151-260 record.
Bob Elliott replaces Harry Craft as the A's manager. During his three-year stint in Kansas City, 'Wildfire' will compile a 162-196 (.453) record, finishing seventh each season in the eight-team circuit.
The BBWAA selects Brooks Robinson (.317, 28, 118) as the American League Most Valuable Player. The Orioles’ All-Star third baseman, who garnered 18 of the 20 first-place votes cast by the writers, easily outpoints Yankee outfielder Mickey Mantle, 269 to 171.
"I don't regret for one minute the twelve years I've spent in baseball, but I could regret one season too many. I've got a lot of years to live after baseball and I would like to live them with the complete use of my body." - SANDY KOUFAX, explaining his decision to retire early from baseball.
After finishing the Cy Young season with a 27-9 record and a league-leading 1.73 ERA, 30-year-old Sandy Koufax shocks the baseball world by announcing his retirement. The southpaw, who has thrown four no-hitters and set the single-season strikeout record last year with 382, cites his arthritic arm and the fear of permanent damage as the reason for placing himself on the voluntarily retired list.
The Mets name Wes Westrum as the team's second manager in the franchise's brief history, replacing the legendary Casey Stengel, who compiled a 175-404 (.302) record in his three-plus years with the expansion team. The team's pitching coach, who took over the club's reins after the 'Old Perfessor' had fractured his hip in July, doesn't fare much better but will keep the club out of the cellar next year in his only full season as the skipper of the team.
Royals' third baseman George Brett (.390, 24, 118), after batting nearly .400 all season, easily wins the American League's MVP Award. Reggie Jackson, Goose Gossage, and Willie Wilson also received first-place votes.
Dick Williams replaces Frank Howard as manager of the last-place Padres. The future Hall of Fame skipper, who has won three pennants and two World Series in the last 14 years as a major league pilot, will lead San Diego to a National League pennant in 1984.
(Ed. Note: Williams captured pennants with the 1967 Red Sox and the 1972-73 A's, winning two world championships with Oakland. LP)
Mike Schmidt (.316, 31, 91) becomes the third player in National League history to win consecutive Most Valuable Player Awards. The Phillies' slugging third baseman joins Ernie Banks (Cubs, 1958-59) and Joe Morgan (Reds, 1975-76) in winning the honor in back-to-back seasons.
Dwight Gooden becomes the second consecutive Met player named the National League's Rookie of the Year. The 19-year-old right-hander, who compiled a 17-9 record, a 2.60 ERA, and a league-leading 276 strikeouts, joins his teammate and close friend Darryl Strawberry to be honored with the coveted freshman award.
Pitching phenoms 20-year-old Dwight Gooden (24-4, Mets), who garners all 24 first-place votes to become the writers' seventh unanimous choice, and 21-year-old Bret Saberhagen (20-6, Royals) win the Cy Young Award. The right-handers become the youngest players in their respective leagues to win the coveted pitching prize.
Roger Clemens is selected as the American League's MVP, becoming the first pitcher to accomplish the feat since Vida Blue won the honor in 1971. The Red Sox right-hander, who also won this season's AL Cy Young Award, received 19 of the 28 first-place votes, with Yankee first baseman Don Mattingly and teammate Jim Rice listed on the top of the remaining nine ballots.
Andre Dawson (.287, 49, 137) becomes the first major leaguer to win the MVP award playing for a last-place club. The Cubs outfielder easily outdistances runners-up shortstop Ozzie Smith and first baseman Jack Clark, teammates on the Cardinals.
George Bell (.308. 47, 134) is selected as the American League's Most Valuable Player, making the San Pedro de Macoris native the first Dominican to win the prestigious award. The Blue Jays' All-Star left fielder narrowly beat out Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell, who received 12 of the 28 first-place votes cast by the writers.
"An author wrote of his retirement from baseball, 'And now Boston knows how England felt when it lost India.' (Laughter) Ted, congratulations." - President George H. W. Bush, speaking of Ted Williams at the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award ceremony.
President George H. W. Bush presents Red Sox legend Ted Williams with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, with former First Lady Betty Ford and former House Speaker Thomas "Tip" O'Neill in attendance as honorees. Yankee Clipper Joe DiMaggio (1977) and Dodger great Jackie Robinson (1984, posthumously) also were recipients of the nation's highest civilian award.
The Expos trade Pedro Martinez to the Red Sox for minor league pitcher Carl Pavano and a player to be named later (Tony Armas). The future Hall of Fame right-hander will post an astonishing 117-37 (.760) record during his seven seasons with Boston.
The Devil Rays select southpaw Tony Saunders from the Marlins as their first player in the expansion draft. Tampa Bay also drafts right fielder Bobby Abreu but quickly trades the future star to the Phillies for shortstop Kevin Stocker, who will struggle with the new franchise.
In a close race, Juan Gonzalez wins the American League's Most Valuable Player award when he barely outpoints Mariners shortstop Alex Rodriguez, 290-287. The Rangers outfielder, also selected as the AL's MVP in 1996, becomes the first Latin American native to win the prestigious prize multiple times.
The Mariners sign Orix Blue Wave's Ichiro Suzuki to a three-year deal, making him the first Japanese position player in major league history. Seattle agrees to pay $13 million to his former team for the right to negotiate with Japan's best hitter.
The Braves, Marlins, and the Rockies complete a three-team trade, which sends starting pitcher Mike Hampton and outfielder Juan Pierre to Florida with backstop Charles Johnson, outfielder Preston Wilson, southpaw reliever Vic Darensbourg, and infield prospect Pablo Ozuna to Colorado. The Marlins then sent Hampton to the Braves in exchange for righty reliever Tim Spooneybarger and pitching prospect Ryan Baker.
Although the Expos may be unsure where the team plays next season (until the MLB approves the franchise shifting to Washington, DC) or the team's new name, the former Montreal franchise will know its manager. Frank Robinson will return to the helm for his fourth year as the skipper of this nomad ship after compiling a 233-253 record despite many restrictions and hardships.
Joining Cal Ripken Jr. (Orioles - 1983) and Ryan Howard (Phillies - 2006), Dustin Pedroia (.326, 17, 83) becomes the third player in major league history to win the Most Valuable Player award a season after being selected as the Rookie of the Year. The scrappy Gold Glove second baseman, the tenth Red Sox player to earn the American League honor, received 16 of the 28 first-place votes to easily outdistance heavy-hitting Twins first baseman Justin Morneau (.300, 23, 129).
Ryan Dempster (17-6, 2.96) and the Cubs agree to a $52 million, four-year deal. The 31-year-old right-handed starter had been the club's closer, saving 87 games in 102 chances during the 2005-07 seasons.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice introduces Ken Griffey, Jr. as an American Public Diplomacy Envoy, a position in which the future Hall of Famer will represent the "values of the United States, not the government of the United States." The free-agent outfielder, who played for the Reds and White Sox last season, joins Cal Ripken Jr. as a major leaguer serving his country in the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
After he pilots the Rockies to the NL Wild Card from a 14.5 game deficit at the end of May, the BBWAA names Jim Tracy the National League's Manager of the Year, making him just the second person to cop the honor after taking over a team during the season. The 53-year-old skipper joins Jack McKeon, who also accomplished the feat with the 2003 Marlins.
Mike Scioscia, who piloted the Angels to its third consecutive division title and sixth postseason appearance in the last eight years and guided Los Angeles past many injuries to key players, is named the AL Manager of the Year for the second time. The 50-year-old skipper helped ease the team's deep sorrow caused by the sudden death of 22-year-old starter Nick Adenhart, who died in a hit-and-run car accident just hours after pitching six shutout innings against Oakland for the Halos.
After being selected as the American League Manager of the Year, Ron Gardenhire accepts a two-year extension through the 2013 season from the Twins. The 53-year-old skipper has compiled an 803-656 (.550) record en route to winning six divisional titles during his nine-year tenure in Minnesota.
Free-agent backstop John Buck signs a three-year, $18 million contract to catch for the Marlins, the team that sought his services a minute after free agency opened. The signing of the 30-year-old catcher, who enjoyed a career year with the Blue Jays, hitting .281 with 20 home runs, continues Florida's active participation in the early off-season, including the acquisition of four relievers and an infielder.
Despite an unspectacular 13-12 record, the Baseball Writers' Association of America names Felix Hernandez the American League Cy Young Award winner ahead of Tampa Bay's David Price (19-6) and New York's CC Sabathia (21-7). King Felix's league-leading 2.27 ERA and the lack of run support from the last-place Mariners made the Seattle ace an easy choice for BBWAA, who placed him first on 21 of the 28 ballots cast.
The Cubs introduce Dale Sveum as the fifth-place team's new manager, replacing Mike Quade, the former skipper fired by Chicago's new GM Theo Epstein at the end of the season. The 52nd manager in franchise history, whose managerial experience consists of sixteen games as Milwaukee's interim skipper in 2008, is considered a no-nonsense baseball lifer who will stress the game's fundamentals while implementing "high standards of accountability" for the players.
Tim Hudson agrees to a two-year deal worth $23 million to pitch for the Giants, joining a stellar rotation that includes Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, and Tim Lincecum. The 38-year-old right-hander compiled an 8-7 record with a 3.97 ERA last season for the Braves before sustaining a season-ending ankle injury.
The Mets announce the team is moving in sections of the Citi Field outfield wall, adjusting the distances from home plate to center and right field from three to 11 feet. According to New York's General Manager Sandy Alderson, the modifications refine previous changes made at the ballpark considered fair to pitchers and hitters.
Three-time All-Star backstop Russell Martin and the Blue Jays finalize a five-year, $82-million contract, the second-largest free-agent deal in franchise history. The acquisition of the 31-year-old Canadian-born catcher, who led the Pirates to playoff appearances for the past two seasons, signals Toronto's intention to be a contender in the AL East next year.
The BBWAA unanimously selects 26-year-old Shohei Ohtani as the American League Most Valuable Player after the Angels' superstar completes a season for hitting and pitching not accomplished since Babe Ruth played for the Red Sox and Yankees. The Oshu, Japanese native slugged 46 home runs while compiling a 9-2 record for the fourth-place team.
Bryce Harper (.309, 35, 84) wins the National League MVP for the second time, having won the honor in 2015 with the Nationals. The Phillies outfielder garners 83% of the vote, receiving 17 of the possible 30 first-place votes cast by the writers, easily outdistancing runner-up Juan Soto.