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This Day in Baseball History
February 20th

12 Fact(s) Found
1923 Giants attorney Emil Fuchs and Christy Mathewson, who becomes the principal owner and team president, put together a syndicate that buys the Boston Braves for $300,000. The future Hall of Famer right-hander's deteriorating health reduces him no more than a figurehead, turning over the presidency to Fuchs at the end of the season.

Christy Mathewson (1913)
Library of Congress - BIOG File

1929 The Red Sox announce the team will play its newly allowed Sunday games at Braves Field, the home of their National League rivals located on Commonwealth Avenue at Babcock Street. The team will not play Sunday contests at Fenway Park until 1932 because the blue laws restrict the venue's use due to its proximity to churches.
1953 August A. Busch, seeing the purchase as a marketing tool, convinces the Board of Directors of Anheuser-Busch to buy the Cardinals from Fred Saigh for $3.75 million. As a matter of civic pride, the former owner, convicted of tax evasion, becomes convinced by the beer baron to take less money than the offer from an ownership group that would move the Redbirds to Houston.
1963 The Cubs officially end their radical approach of using multiple field bosses when the team hires Bob Kennedy as their only manager. With the "College of Coaches" system disbanded, the club will post an 82-80 record under their lone skipper.
1963 After leading the Giants to the pennant, Willie Mays becomes the game's presently highest-paid player, signing a $100,000 contract, a ten-thousand-dollar increase. The 31-year-old outfielder, who slugged a major league-leading 49 home runs last year, joins Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio, and Ted Williams in inking a six-figure deal.
1984 Pedro Guerrero becomes the highest-paid Dodger when he signs a five-year, seven-million dollar contract to play in Los Angeles. The 27-year-old Dominican Republic native, a .305 lifetime hitter who paced the team last season with 32 homers and 103 RBIs, made it clear he would not accept anything less than $1.2 million for the upcoming campaign.
1992 After Homer Simpson's team qualifies for the league final, power plant owner Montgomery Burns hires nine major league players to win a $1 million bet with rival Shelbyville. Darryl Strawberry, the only big-leaguer to play due to a series of bizarre pregame accidents, hits nine home runs, but Burns replaces the southpaw slugger with Homer in the last inning because he wants a righty to face the opponent's left-hander.

(Ed. Note: The original lineup included Darryl Strawberry, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr., Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, Jose Canseco, Don Mattingly, and Mike Scioscia. - LP)

1996 The Yankees officially sign Dwight Gooden, who didn't play last season due to being suspended for drugs, to a one-year deal with two option years. The complicated contract, necessitated by the hurler's past addictions, calls for a salary of $1M in 1996, then $2M in 1997 and $3M in 1998, and requires the 31-year-old right-hander to be tested for drugs three times a week while participating in a 12-step program.

Amazon Dwight Gooden Yankee's 8X10 sports Action photo

2008 "My, oh my," Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus enters the Baseball Hall of Fame. On his 73rd birthday, the veteran announcer, the team's lead play-by-play announcer from their inaugural season in 1977 until his death after the 2010 season, learns he is the recipient of the 2008 Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence.

2009 With the most wins among active pitchers, Tom Glavine agrees to a one-year, $1 million deal to stay with the Braves. The 42-year-old southpaw, who underwent surgery for a torn ligament in his left elbow, posted a 2-4 record with a 5.54 ERA in 13 starts for Atlanta before being shut down last August.
2009 Baltimore inks Brian Roberts to a four-year contract extension reportedly worth $40 million. Along with Nick Markakis, who recently signed a six-year, $66 million deal, the 31-year-old talented second baseman becomes the second home-grown Oriole player within a month to agree to a long-term pact to stay with the last-place club.
2009 The Nationals and Ryan Zimmerman (.283, 14, 51) avoid arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $3.3 million contract. The 24-year-old third baseman is Washington's all-time leader in almost every offensive category, including homers, RBI, runs, hits, and games since the franchise relocated from Montreal four seasons ago.

12 Fact(s) Found