The National League is officially formed with franchises located in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Hartford, Louisville, New York, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. The Hartford Dark Blues will play its second season in Brooklyn, being renamed the Hartfords, before the charter team is disbanded in 1877.
Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, and Christy Mathewson are the first five men elected into baseball's new Hall Fame, which is scheduled to be open in 1939 as part of the game's celebration of its centennial. A claim made by the former 1905 Mills Commission, that proves to be erroneous, suggests that the national pastime was invented by Civil War hero Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, making the small village in upstate New York the perfect place for the induction of the legendary ballplayers.
At a Boston sports writers dinner, infielder Bobby Doerr receives the Fred Hoey Award, given by the scribes in memory of the first full-time broadcaster for both the Red Sox and the Braves. The scrappy second baseman's friend and Boston teammate, Ted Williams, surprises the gathering by attending the event wearing a tie.
Lefty Gomez, a southpaw best known for his four 20-win seasons with the Yankees, and Ross Youngs, a popular outfieder for the Giants who compiled a lifetime .322 batting average before succumbing to kidney disease at the age of 30, are selected by the Special Veterans Committee to be enshrined in Cooperstown. The group also gives the nod to former American League president William Harridge, initially hired to fill to a three-year term as an interim, but will hold the position for the next 27 years.
With his election into Cooperstown, umpire Cal Hubbard becomes the only person to be elected to both the baseball and football Halls of Fame. The big man from Keytesville, Missouri, who was named the all-time NFL’s offensive tackle, played with the Giants, Packers, and Pirates (Steelers) during his ten-year career in the National Football League, and was inducted into pro gridiron Hall of Fame in 1966.
Along with veteran umpire Cal Hubbard and Fred Lindstrom, one-time career home run champion Roger Connor is elected to the Hall of Fame. The Waterbury Republican-American, the slugger’s home town newspaper, had heavily lobbied for their native son after Hank Aaron passed Babe Ruth’s record in 1974.
After returning from a three year absence due to a knee injury, Dennis Leonard announces his retirement. The 35 year-old right-hander, who won twenty-games in 1977, 1978, and 1980, was 8-13 with an ERA of 4.44 in his comeback attempt with the Royals.
The Braves trade right-handed Craig McMurtry to the Blue Jays for second baseman Damaso Garcia and pitcher Luis Leal. The right-handers will never pitch for the team to which they are dealt, and Garcia will hit .117 in 21 games before being released by Atlanta.
Padres' outfielder Greg Vaughn becomes the first player in major league history to hit 50 home runs in a season and then be traded. The slugger is dealt to the Reds, along with Mark Sweeney for Reggie Sanders, Damian Jackson, and Josh Harris.
It will take approximately seven more feet to hit a home run at Camden Yards this season as a result of the Orioles moving home plate. The new alignment of the field will also cut down the amount of foul territory available with the foul poles being almost flush against the left- and right-field corners.
Red Sox Manager Grady Little, knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, and first-base coach Dallas Williams appear at the Atrium Mall in Newton modeling the team's new look, including solid red socks. The Red Sox socks have had very little red in recent years and haven't been totally red for over fifty years.
The much-heralded Sammy Sosa trade to the Orioles is finalized as commissioner Bud Selig approves the deal and the 36 year-old slugger passes a physical. The Cubs exchange ‘Slammin’ Sammy’ for second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. and two minor-leaguers, and agree to pay Baltimore $16.15 million of the remaining $25 million left on a $72 million, four-year contract signed in 2003.
Filling a tall order, the Nationals avoid arbitration with Jon Rauch, signing the 6' 11" pitcher to a $3.2 million, two-year deal. The right-handed reliever, who led the big leagues with 88 appearances, compiled an 8-4 record with four saves while posting a 3.61 ERA in 87 1-3 innings of work.
According to a report in The Sports Business Journal, MLB tax documents for the fiscal year ending October 31, 2007 show Bud Selig receiving a salary of $18.35 million. The compensation package, if correctly stated, would make the commissioner better paid than most of the superstars in the game at the time, with the exception of Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Roger Clemens, all of whom were on the Yankees' payroll.
Alexei Ramirez and the White Sox agree to a four-year, $32.5 million contract extension and a $10 million team option for an additional year. Earlier in the off-season, the Pale Hose picked up his option for 2011, coming to terms with the 29 year-old good-hitting shortstop with a base salary of $2.75 million.