Olympic hero Jim Thorpe, turning down an offer from the last-place Browns, signs with the Giants, the defending NL champs. The Native American, who grew up in the Sac and Fox Nation in Oklahoma, will compile a lifetime .252 batting average during his six seasons in the major leagues, which also includes stints with the Reds and Braves.
In the very first game ever to take place in the Egyptian desert, the White Sox and Giants play to a 3-3 tie. The contest is part of a 56-game world tour, which also includes stops in Tokoyo, Paris, and London, organized by New York manager John McGraw and Chicago owner Charles Comiskey to promote the sport of baseball on a global scale.
In a six-player trade, the Braves deal a pair of southpaws, Johnny Antonelli and Don Liddle, catcher Ebba St. Claire as well as shortstop Billy Klaus to the Giants in exchange for playoff hero Bobby Thomson and backstop Sammy Calderone. Milwaukee's new outfielder will break his ankle in an exhibition game and will appear in only 43 games, while Johnny Antonelli posts a 21-7 record, leading the league with an ERA of 2.30 for his new team in New York.
The National League adopts a disaster plan in the event a team's plane crashes or is involved in another type of catastrophic accident. The Senior Circuit's Emergency Crisis Rule allows the affected club to draft from a pool of two or three replacement players from each team, following a similar concept adopted in 1962 by the American League.
Earle Combs, a southpaw-swinging outfielder who spent his entire career with the Yankees, compilng a lifetime .325 batting average during his 12 years with New York, and Jesse Haines, a right-hander who posted a 210-158 (.571) record during his 18 years with the Cardinals, are selected by the Special Veterans Committee to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The group also elects former commissioner Ford Frick, who campaigned for a Hall of Fame that would honor baseball’s greatest baseball players when he became the National League president in 1934.
Commissioner Bowie Kuhn announces the Special Committee on the Negro Leagues' selection of Monte Irvin to the Hall of Fame. The outfielder, who hit .293 during his eight seasons in the major leagues, played a pivotal role in the Giants' 1951 World Championship, hitting .312 with 24 homers and a league-leading 121 RBIs.
Mike Marshall is arrested by the East Lansing police for taking batting practice on the campus of Michigan State University. MSU officials had asked the Dodger reliever not to hit baseballs near the tennis courts, fearing for the students' safety.
The Giants trade first baseman Jack Clark to the Cardinals for David Green, Jose Uribe, Dave LaPoint, and Gary Rajsich. The Silver Slugger Award recipient will play a pivotal role in the Redbirds winning the National League pennant this season.
The Yankees trade highly touted third base prospect Mike Lowell to the Marlins for minor league pitchers Eddie Yarnall, Todd Noel, and Mark Johnson. Scott Brosius' outstanding 1998 performance made the former minor league player-of-the-year expendable.
Postseason hero Jim Leyritz signs a $500,000, one-year minor league contract with the Mets. The former Yankee has hit one home run per every 7.6 postseason at-bats, making it the third best performance for players with five or more postseason round trippers.
Six-time All-Star Kenny Lofton (.261, 14, 66) agrees to a $1.25 million, one-year contract with the White Sox. The 34 year-old centerfielder, who has played with the Indians, Braves, and Astros during his 11-year major league career, has a .302 lifetime batting average.
Red Sox president Larry Lucchino announces four senators, Edward M. Kennedy D-MA, John F. Kerry D-MA, John McCain, R-AZ, and Tom Daschle, D-SD, will file legislation nominating Jackie Robinson for the Congressional Gold Medal. Other recipients of the medal have included statesman George Washington, boxer Joe Louis, and poet Robert Frost.
Yogi Berra has filed a $10 million lawsuit with the New York supreme court against Turner Broadcaster System due to a ‘Sex and the City' ad which used the Hall of Famer’s name as a possible answer concerning the definition of yogasm. The choices included (a) a type of yo-yo trick, (b) sex with Yogi Berra, and (c) what Samantha has with a guy from yoga class.
At a luncheon at Safeco Field, Astros second baseman Craig Biggio becomes the 41st recipient of the Hutch Award. The prestigious award, named in honor of Seattle's Fred Hutchinson, a major league pitcher and manager who died of cancer in 1964, is given annually to a Major League Baseball player who best exemplifies Hutch's fighting spirit and competitive desire.
In the richest contract ever given to a pitcher, southpaw Johan Santana agrees to a $137.5 million, six-year deal, completing the blockbuster trade between the Twins and the Mets. In exchange for the two-time Cy Young award winner, who would be lost to free agency after the season, Minnesota gets four of New York's highly touted minor leaguers, including three top pitching prospects, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra as well as fleet-footed outfielder Carlos Gomez.
Avoiding arbitration, the Indians sign Casey Blake (.270, 18, 78) to a $6.1 million, one-year deal. The 34 year-old third baseman moved to Cleveland's hot corner, replacing Andy Marte, who was injured and then sent back to the minors last season.
The Hall of Fame announces Jon Miller is the recipient of this year's Ford C. Frick Award, an honor given for excellence in baseball broadcasting. The 58 year-old veteran broadcaster, who started his career with the A's in 1974 and has called games for the Rangers, Red Sox, and Orioles, is the current play-by-play voice of the Giants and ESPN's Sunday Baseball telecast.
The Reds trade center fielder Willy Taveras and infielder Adam Rosales to the A's in exchange for infielder Aaron Miles and a player to be named. Cincinnati, using the money they saved in the deal, agrees to a $3.02 million, one-year contract with Orlando Cabrera to become the team's starting shortstop
Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon sign one-year deals with the Rays. The free-agent outfielders, former Red Sox teammates who won two world championships during their tenure in Boston, will help Tampa Bay fill the void created by the departure of Gold Glover Carl Crawford to their old team.
Wandy Rodriguez and the Astros avoid arbitration by coming to terms on a $34 million, three-year deal. The 32 year-old outhpaw, who has compiled a 62-64 record in his six years in the majors, all with Houston, won eight of his last 10 decisions, posting a 2.03 ERA over his final 18 starts last season.