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This Day in Baseball History
March 1st

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19 Fact(s) Found
1903 The rules committee sets the height of the pitcher mound (box) to a maximum of fifteen inches. In 1969, the maximum elevation will drop to ten inches due to last season's dominating pitching, which saw batting averages plummet to all-time lows.
1909 The Pirates begin constructing a new ballpark near Schenley Park near the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. The spacious state-of-the-art venue, named a Forbes Field in honor of a pre-Revolutionary British general, will never have a no-hitter thrown in its spacious confines during the sixty-one years the Bucs call the ballpark home, a span of more than 4,700 games.

Amazon Forbes Field: Essays and Memories of the
Pirates' Historic Ballpark, 1909-1971

1947 Father Vincent Powell announces the diocese's Catholic Youth Organization will no longer participate in the Dodgers' Knothole Club, stating the church cannot continue to have their youngsters associated with the team's manager, Leo Durocher. The monsignor, who has been the director of the local CYO since 1940, believes the Brooklyn skipper "represents an example in complete contradiction" to the faith's moral teachings.
1949 As a ploy to increase their rental income, the Browns move to evict the Cardinals, their Sportsman's Park tenants. The Redbirds accuse the owners of breaking the lease, and as the season approaches, it is uncertain where the St. Louis National League team will play its home games.
1954 After surviving two plane crashes serving in Korea, Red Sox outfielder Ted Williams breaks his collarbone on the first day of spring training when he stumbles in the outfield fielding a line drive during batting practice. The Boston superstar, who hit .407 in 37 games at the end of the season after flying thirty-nine combat missions as a Marine pilot, will miss the first four weeks of the season.
1961 After leaving the Oval Office six weeks ago, former President Dwight Eisenhower jokes with the Angel players before an intra-squad game. Ike will sit in the dugout with the newly established expansion team during the five-inning scrimmage.


Dwight D. Eisenhower autographs glove for Steve Bilko (left) while Ted Kluszewski and skipper Bill Rigney (right) look on.
Herald Examiner Collection

1967 Commissioner William Eckert approves the BBWAA's plan to select a Cy Young Award recipient from the National League and American League. The honor, initiated in 1956, had been given to just one pitcher in the major leagues each season, a position strongly supported by former commissioner Ford Frick.
1969 Citing "I can't hit when I need to," Mickey Mantle announces his retirement, thus ending his fabled Hall of Fame career. The oft-injured Yankee slugger ranks third, behind Babe Ruth and Willie Mays, on the all-time home run list with 536 round-trippers, and finishes his 18-year stay in the majors with a .298 batting average.
1987 Charlie Kerfeld and the Astros finally agree on a one-year contract worth $110,037.37 and 37 boxes of orange Jello, planned to be used future pranks. The Houston reliever, who wears number 37, insisted he earned more than right-hander Jim Deshaies, and the reliever's new deal pays him $37.37 more than his teammate.

1993 Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, two and half years after accepting a life-long ban from being involved in the team's day-to-day operation, is reinstated by major league baseball. 'The Boss' had been exiled from baseball by commissioner Fay Vincent in 1990 for hiring Howie Spira, a known gambler, to snoop into the life of star outfielder Dave Winfield.
1994 Leonard Coleman, MLB's executive director of market development, is elected the National League president, replacing the retiring Bill White. The position will be eliminated in 1999, making the former banker the last person to hold the position.
1995 In an evening exhibition game, the Angels, using replacement players, beat the Arizona State University Sun Devils squad, 13-5. The Tempe (AZ) contest marks the first time since 1912 that replacement players participate in a major league game and the only time the team has worn big league uniforms.
1999 In the episode "Big Shots" of the Everybody Loves Raymond show, security kicks out fictional Newsday sports writer Ray Barone, played by Ray Romano, from an event honoring the Mets' 1969 World Series championship team. The guards at Hall Fame lose their patience when the title character, who insists on using his journalist's credentials to avoid the wait, refuses to get in line with the fans waiting to meet their heroes, including Tug McGraw and Art Shamsky.

2005 Deciding not to file as a free agent at the end of the season, Tim Hudson (12-6, 3.53) agrees to a four-year, $47-million contract extension with his new team, the Braves. The 29-year-old right-hander, acquired in a trade with Oakland in the off-season, grew up near Atlanta and rooted for the local team as a youngster.
2005 The Cubs announce construction for an additional 1,790 bleacher seats at Wrigley Field will begin at the end of the season and be ready for Opening Day next year. A deal is reached for the expansion when the team agrees to pay the city $3.1 million before starting the project, contributing the funds for a local school park and a $400,000 traffic signal system near the ballpark.

Amazon Wrigley Field: 100 Stories for 100 Years

2009 Insisting there was no wrongdoing on his part, Jim Bowden resigns as the Nationals' general manager. The Washington GM is part of a federal probe investigating scouts and executives that accepted kickbacks from baseball bonuses intended for players signed in Latin America.
2012 After spending 15 seasons, including serving as the team captain for the past seven, Red Sox backstop Jason Varitek announces his retirement, leaving only Carl Yastrzemski (23), Ted Williams (19), and Jim Rice (16) with longer tenures with the team without playing for another franchise. The venerable catcher, ninth on the all-time franchise list with 1,546 games, is the only major leaguer to have played in the Little League World Series, the College World Series, the World Series, the Olympics, and the World Baseball Classic.
2012 Yadier Molina signs a five-year extension with the Cardinals worth $75 million, an agreement that will keep the Gold Glove catcher with the world champions through 2017. This new contract, which takes effect next season, includes a mutual $15 million option that could add another year to the deal.
2019 Bryce Harper reaches a free-agent deal with the Phillies for 13 years and $330 million, the largest guaranteed contract for a baseball player. The 26-year-old six-time All-Star's historic agreement eclipses the 13-year, $325 million contract extension Giancarlo Stanton signed with the Marlins in November of 2014 but will be far surpassed in a few weeks when the Angels give Mike Trout $426.5 million over 12 years.

19 Fact(s) Found