Babe Didrikson, a renowned female athlete, gives up no hits and walks only one Dodger when she pitches the first inning of the Philadelphia A's spring training game at McCurdy Field in Frederick, Maryland. The founder of the LPGA and Olympic track and field Gold Medalist will also participate in exhibition contests with the Indians and Cardinals.
In one of the most significant trades in Negro League history, the Homestead Grays obtain catcher Josh Gibson and third baseman Judy Johnson from the Pittsburgh Crawfords in exchange for $2,500 and two journeymen; backstop Lloyd' Pepper' Bassett and infielder Henry 'Jake' Spearman. The Baseball Hall of Fame will induct both players, with Gibson becoming a member in 1972 and Johnson following three years later.
Although the Department of Justice outlawed this practice in 1949, U.S. Senator Edwin C. Johnson proposes a bill banning the broadcast of major league games in minor league territories. The lawmaker, baseball executive Bob Howsam's father-in-law, serves as the Class A Western League president and once played a significant role in constructing Mile High Stadium, once called Bears Stadium.
The Phillies purchase Joe Collins from the Yankees, but he decides to retire rather than report to the City of Brotherly Love. The 34-year-old first baseman, who spent his entire ten-year career with New York and appeared in seven World Series, finishes with a lifetime .256 batting average.
Four months after his death, the BBWAA selects (393-31 votes) the late Roberto Clemente to be a member of the Hall of Fame in a special election after its board of directors previously waived the mandatory five-year waiting period. The 37-year-old Pirates outfielder, the first Latin-American player chosen for induction at Cooperstown, died when a cargo plane crashed on New Year's Eve, bringing supplies to the Nicaraguan earthquake victims.
A rare spring training brawl occurs when Ranger second baseman Dave Nelson takes exception to the two brushback pitches thrown at him by Yankee southpaw Mike Wallace in the seventh inning of a Fort Lauderdale exhibition contest. The trouble begins early after Jim Bibby's first pitch plunks leadoff hitter Elliot Maddox, who had angered Texas skipper Billy Martin when he told the local press that his former manager "has a habit of lying to his players."
In Puerto Rico, Willie Mays, in the second game of an annual exhibition series to benefit a youth sports program started by the late Roberto Clemente, pilots a mini-squad of the Mets to an 8-3 win over the Pirates. Last night, after a 5-3 victory in Game 1, New York manager Joe Torre and many players returned to Florida to play the Dodgers in a Grapefruit League contest.
Outgoing baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth announces his office is investigating "serious allegations" concerning Pete Rose and gambling. Three days after his successor Bart Giamatti assumes the post on April 1, MLB retains John M. Dowd to investigate the charges against the Reds' manager.
The Commissioner's office announces MLB will continue the practice that began after the September 11 attacks of singing 'God Bless America' during the seventh-inning stretch in each team's first homestand. Also, an American flag patch will be worn on the jackets of 28 major league teams this season with distinctive logos for Opening Day, Memorial Day weekend, the Fourth of July, and Canadian versions designed for the Blue Jays and Expos.
At San Diego's Petco Park, Japan, managed by all-time international home-run king Sadaharu Oh, captures the first World Baseball Classic crown, beating Cuba, 10-6. The 16-team tournament, planned to occur again in 2009, ends with just two major leaguers still in the game.
In his first appearance in a Nationals uniform, Alfonso Soriano refuses to play the outfield in an exhibition game against the Dodgers. The All-Star second baseman, slated to start in left field, could be placed on the disqualified list for insubordination, preventing him from getting paid his $10 million salary and accruing service time used to determine a player's free-agent status.
Behind the strong pitching of Brad Penny, the Dodgers make their Cactus League debut, beating the White Sox in Phoenix, 8-2. On the mound where he made his professional debut, the right-hander's outing earns him the Opening Day start against the Giants.
The Angels trade first baseman Matt Scioscia, the son of manager Mike Scioscia, to the Cubs for outfielder Trevor Gretzky, the offspring of NHL's Hall of Fame center Wayne Gretzky. The name-worthy swap does not help either prospect, with each failing to make the big league club.