A Havanan team plays Matanzas in Cuba's first documented baseball game. The contest, played at Palmar de Junco, ends with Havana leading, 51-9, with the game called after seven innings due to darkness.
Levi Walker, the third person to play Chief Noc-A-Homa, a role he will perform from 1969 through 1985, is born. Dressed in Native American costume, the Georgia native will come out of his tepee, located in the bleachers, setting off smoke signals and doing a celebration dance whenever a Braves player homers at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
Future Yankee infielder Roy White, a two-time All-Star, is born in Los Angeles. The switch-hitting left fielder will play 15 years with New York, helping the team win two World Series (1977-78) against his hometown while compiling a lifetime .271 batting average for the Bronx Bombers.
Former Yankee reliever Johnny Murphy becomes the Mets' third general manager in franchise history when he replaces Bing Devine. During his tenure, the team benefits from a talented farm system, especially its young pitching prospects, including Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, and Gary Gentry, who will play a major role in the club's World Championship in 1969.
Ed Whitson, 14-8 with the NL champion Padres, signs a five-year $4.4 million ill-fated contract with the Yankees. The free-agent deal becomes a nightmare when the right-hander lasts only a season and a half, compiling a 15-10 record and an ERA of 5.38 in 44 games with the Bronx Bombers.
After 21 years on WABC, the Yankees will broadcast its spring training, regular-season, and postseason games on all-news station WCBS-AM, which Infinity Broadcasting owns. The five-year deal with the Yankees' YES Network, created earlier this year, is worth approximately $50 million.
The Mets stay busy this offseason, acquiring first baseman Mo Vaughn for 13-year veteran right-hander Kevin Appier (11-10, 3.57) and cash. The 1995 American League MVP will join Roberto Alomar, Roger Cedeno, and Shawn Estes as the Shea Squad's newest members.
In his hometown of Loza, Puerto Rico, former major league All-Star outfielder Ivan Calderon is shot and killed at a bar reportedly known where several other murders have occurred in the past year. During his ten-year major league career, the 41-year-old played with the Mariners (1984-86), White Sox (1986-1990, 1993), Expos (1991-92), and Red Sox (1993).
After the Cubs decline Moises Alou's (.293, 39, 106) option, the Giants ink the free-agent outfielder to a one-year contract reportedly worth $13.25 million, with an opportunity for a second year for the career .300 hitter. The signing marks the 38-year-old All-Star's second time he will call his dad skipper, with Felipe managing him while he played with the Expos from 1992-96.
Hoping he will continue to be a hot hitter at Kauffman Stadium (.415), the Royals sign free-agent Miguel Olivo (.237, 16, 60) to a one-year deal with a mutual option for the following season. The Marlins did not tender a contract to the 29-year-old backstop, the team's starting catcher for the past two seasons, after acquiring catching prospect Mike Rabelo in the blockbuster trade with the Tigers during the Winter Meetings.
Adding speed at the top of their order and a superior glove in centerfield, the Reds sign Willy Taveras (.251, 1, 26) to a two-year contract. The 27-year-old speedster, who led the major leagues with 68 stolen bases last season, became a free agent earlier in the month when the Rockies declined to offer him a contract after the oft-injured outfielder spent two seasons with the team.
The Rangers come to terms on a seven-year, $130 million deal with free-agent Shin-Soo Choo, who will join the recently acquired power-hitting first baseman Prince Fielder to provide the club more offense. The 31-year-old outfielder, who compiled a .423 on-base percentage, hit .285 with 21 home runs and drove in 54 runs for the Reds last season.
In a seven-player trade, the Cubs deal 34-year-old Yu Darvish and his personal catcher Victor Caratini to the Padres for right-handed starter Zach Davies and four minor league prospects: Reginald Preciado, Yeison Santana, Owen Caissie, and Ismael Mena. San Diego's addition of Darvish, last season's NL Cy Young runner-up, comes less than a day after the team obtains southpaw Blake Snell, another top of the rotation hurler from the Rays.