In a Chicago Tribune article detailing the business side of the team, the Cubs causally reveal Weeghman Park will now be known as Wrigley Field, reflecting the ownership of the club by William Wrigley, Jr. The north side ballpark was originally named after the previous owner of team, Charles H. Weeghman, who had built the steel-and-concrete ballpark for the Chicago Whales, but moved the Cubs to the new venue after the two teams were merged under his ownership when the Federal League team folded.
For the second time, Connie Mack begins to dismantle a dynasty he has built, deciding to sell Mickey Cochrane to the Tigers for $100,000. Although the A’s have won three American League pennants and two World Series titles, dating back to 1929, with the Great Depression looming, the Philadelphia owner needs cash in the face of a failing economy.
The Tigers once again trade pitcher Virgil Trucks along with Ned Garver, Gene Host, Wayne Belardi and $20,000 to the A's for Bill Harrington, Jack Crimian, Eddie Robinson and Jim Finigan. In 1952, Detroit sent their 11-year right-handed veteran, with Johnny Groth and Hal White, to the Browns for Owen Friend, Bob Nieman and Jay Porter.
The Indians deal outfielder Harvey Kuenn to the Giants for flycatcher Willie Kirkland and pitcher Johnny Antonelli. The 1958 American League batting champ, who hit .308 in his one year with the Tribe, came to Cleveland in the trade at the beginning of the season, which some fans believe started "the Curse of Rocky Colavito".
On behalf of 300 retired major leaguers who had not been included in this year's increases, former Yankees shortstop Frank Crosetti and reserve catcher John Schulte, who played with five teams in his brief career, bring suit to prevent any increase in pension benefits that fails to include players from the past. J. Norman Lewis, their attorney, has indicated that many former stars have also contributed their names and/or money to support the action.
The Braves trade catcher Del Crandell and hurlers Bob Shaw and Bob Hendley to the Giants in exchange for outfielder Felipe Alou, backstop Ed Bailey, and southpaw Billy Hoeft. After 40 years, Alou will return to San Francisco to become the club's manager.
It is a busy day for the Cardinals on the trading block with the team making deals with the Red Sox and Padres. The Redbirds send infielder Dick Schofield to Boston in exchange for right-hander Gary Waslewski and also trade third baseman Ed Spiezio, outfielder Ron Davis, backstop Dan Breeden, and pitching prospect Phil Knuckles to San Diego for right-hander Dave Giusti.
After the dominance of pitching last season, the major leagues adopt a series of rule changes with the hope of increasing the offensive output by the clubs. The MLB Rules Committee changes, which include decreasing the size of the strike zone and lowering the height of the pitcher's mound from 15 inches to 10 inches, will result in more run-scoring in both leagues during the upcoming campaign.
The Mets trade outfielder Amos Otis to the Royals for third baseman Joe Foy. Otis will go on to have an outstanding 14-year career with Kansas City and will become a member of the team's hall of fame while Foy will play just one season in New York, hitting a meager .236 in 99 games.
The Cubs trade 25 year-old right-hander Jim Colborn, along with Brock Davis and Earl Stephenson, to the Brewers for outfielder Jose Cardenal. Chicago's newest outfielder will have a productive stay in the Windy City, batting .296 during his six-year tenure with the team.
The White Sox obtain a player to be named later and cash from the Braves in exchange for Richie Allen. The 'Wampum Walloper' refuses to report to Atlanta and announces his retirement, but will be coaxed to play again by the Phillies.
In a six player deal, the Mets trade fan-favorite Tug 'Ya Gotta Believe' McGraw to the Phillies along with outfielders Don Hahn and Dave Schneck in exchange for outfielder Del Unser, pitcher Mac Scarce and catcher John Stearns.
The Phillies trade World Series goat, closer Mitch Williams, to the Astros for pitchers Doug Jones and Jeff Juden. The much-maligned closer, who posted a 20.25 ERA while losing 2 out of 3 his Fall Classic appearances, will be best remembered for giving up Joe Carter's dramatic walk-off home run that clinched the World Championship for Toronto.
Although Enron has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the corporation is current on its payments and plans to keep the company's name on the Astros' new ballpark. The downtown stadium will stay Enron Field as long as Enron continues to exist and makes regular payments on its 30-year, $100 million commitment according to team officials.
Mike Lowell signs a four-year, $32 million deal with the Marlins. The All-Star third baseman's contract, however, reverts to a one-year deal with a player option for 2005 if the teams fail to secure financing for a new ballpark by November 1, 2004.
Uncertain of re-signing Kevin Millwood, the Phillies trade righthanded reliever Carlos Silva, infielder Nick Punto, and a player to be named to the Twins for southpaw starter Eric Milton. The lefty, who missed most of last season after knee surgery, should join the starting rotation, which will include Randy Wolf, Vicente Padilla and Brett Myers.
In an effort to replace Billy Wagner, who joined the Mets as a free agent earlier in the week, the Phillies sign right-hander Tom Gordon as the team’s closer. The 38-year-old former Yankee set up man agrees to an $18 million, three-year deal to hurl for the City of Brotherly Love.
The Nationals add another young outfield prospect with considerable potential, but a troubled past as the team acquires Elijah Dukes from the Rays in exchange for pitching prospect Glenn Gibson. Four days ago the team traded for Lastings Milledge, who had a tenuous tenure with the Mets.
Dick Williams, who managed in Boston, Oakland, California, Montreal, San Diego and Seattle, is elected into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Along with Bill McKechnie, another Hall of Famer, the fiery skipper is the only other manager to appear in the World Series with three different teams (1967 Red Sox, 1972-73 A’s, and 1984 Padres).
Billy Southworth, who managed the Cardinals (1929, 1940-45) and the Braves (1946-51) is elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. ‘Billy the Kid’ compiled a managerial record of 1,044-704 (.597), including four World Series appearances and two World Championships during his 13 years in the dugout.
Baseball pioneer Walter O'Malley is elected to the Hall of Fame by the veterans committee in the class of executives and managers. The Dodger owner was vilified in Brooklyn when he moved the beloved 'Bums' to LA after failing to reach a deal with city officials to keep the franchise in the borough.
Barney Dreyfuss, owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1900 until his death in 1932, is elected by the Veterans Committee to the Hall of Fame. A German immigrant, who built Forbes Field, helped to establish the structure for the first modern World Series in 1903 and played a pivotal role in defusing the animosity which existed between the American and National Leagues.
Reflecting the worldwide economic crisis, Rogers Communications, owner of the Blue Jays, announces plans of planned layoffs, which includes employees from the team’s sales staff. A decline in advertising revenue is cited as the reason for the staffing cuts.
After being declined salary arbitration by the Cubs earlier in the week, Bobby Howry agrees to a $2.75M, one-year deal with the Giants. The right-handed reliever will be used as the club’s primary setup man.
Dustin Pedroia agrees to a $40.5 million, six-year contract extension which could keep him in a Red Sox uniform through the 2014 season. The 25-year old second baseman, who earned only $457,000 last season, has already won the Rookie of the Year award, an MVP, a Gold Glove, and a Silver Slugger and a World Championship in his first two years in the major leagues.
Placido Polanco agrees to an $18 million, three-year deal with the Phillies, the club that traded him to Detroit in 2005 to make room for a rookie named Chase Utley. The 34 year-old Gold Glove second baseman will play third base, filling the position vacated by Pedro Feliz, who became a free agent after Philadelphia did not pick up his $5.5 million option.
The A's trade right-handed pitcher Jeff Gray, and minor league prospects Matt Spencer and Ronny Morla to the Cubs in exchange for infielders Jake Fox and Aaron Miles along with cash considerations. With Fox added to their lineup, Oakland gets a much-needed power boost from the right side of the plate.
Former major league third baseman Ron Santo dies in an Arizona hospital from complications of bladder cancer and diabetes. The 70-year old, considered one of the best players in Cubs history, rejoined the team in 1990 as the team's WGN radio announcer, enamoring his listeners with his devotion to the lovable losers and gaining their admiration for his failure to gain induction into the Hall of Fame.
Hoping to fill the void created when Jose Molina left as a free-agent to join the Rays, the Blue Jays acquire veteran backstop Jeff Mathis from the Angels in exchange for left-hander Brad Mills. Mathis, known for his defensive skills and for his ability to work with young pitchers, will back up starting catcher J.P. Arencibia.
At the Winter Meetings in Nashville, MLB announces former Yankee owner Jacob Ruppert, longtime umpire Hank O'Day, and Deacon White, who made his debut in 1871 as a barehanded catcher, have been elected into the Hall of Fame by the pre-integration panel. The selection of the trio gives the Cooperstown shrine exactly 300 members, a number that will not change when the BBWAA does not select any players next month to be inducted during the ceremonies in July.
Brian McCann agrees to a five-year deal with the Yankees worth $85 million, the richest contract ever for a catcher acquired in free agency. The 29 year-old All-Star backstop spent his first nine years with the Braves, providing consistent offense and leadership for the very successful franchise.