In a deal that owner Clark Griffith will recall as one of the worst he ever made, the Senators sell All-Star Bob Johnson to the Red Sox. The outfield slugger will enjoy two solid seasons with Boston, hitting .302 for the Fenway Faithful, before retiring at the age of 39.
On the basis of testimony given by former manager Bucky Harris, who was fired during the season by the Phillies, and other evidence, Philadelphia owner William Cox is suspended for life for betting on games played by the team that he owned. The ruling, made at an appeal hearing, makes the youngest owner in the league the first non-player to be banned from baseball by Commissioner Landis, renown for his zero tolerance for gambling in the sport.
Alvin Dark, who hit .322 for the pennant-winning Braves, receives 27 of the possible 48 votes cast by the BBWAA to be named the major league rookie of the year. The 25 year-old shortstop easily outdistances his closest rivals, southpaw Gene Bearden, a twenty-game for the World Champion Indians, and outfielder Richie Ashburn, a .333 batter in 117 games for Phillies before breaking his hand in August.
The Browns trade utility man Jay Porter along with second baseman Owen Friend and outfielder Bob Nieman to the Tigers for outfielder Johnny Groth and pitchers Hal White and Virgil Trucks, author of two no-hitters last season. Porter, who is called J.W by his teammates, signed as an 18 year-old "bonus baby" in 1951, and will miss the next two seasons due to military service before continuing his brief major league career.
The major league owners eliminate the bonus rule, which was implemented in 1953. The edict required 'bonus babies', who signed a contract for more than $4,000, to stay on the major league roster for two full seasons, which created much resentment with teammates and in many instances delayed the development of talented players.
The Dodgers trade Gino Cimoli to the Cardinals in exchange for former Rookie of the Year Wally Moon and right-hander Phil Paine. The club's new outfielder will quickly become known for his 'Moon Shots', 250+ foot high fly balls to left field at the LA's Memorial Coliseum which clear the 40-foot-high screen for home runs.
The Tigers trade pitcher Jim Bunning to the Phillies for catcher Gus Triandos, pitcher Jack Hamilton and outfielder Don Demeter. The right-hander will become the first pitcher since Cy Young to win a hundred games in both leagues.
The owners vote to use a free-agent draft with clubs selecting in the inverse order of the previous year's standings to choose players every four months. The new system, scheduled to begin next month, is designed to level the playing field by preventing rich clubs, like the Yankees, from using their wealth to lock up all of the talented players.
The Orioles deal minor league prospect John Mason and veteran outfielder Curt Blefary to the Astros for Elijah Johnson, Enzo Hernandez and hurler Mike Cuellar. The right-hander from Cuba will spend eight years with Baltimore, averaging nearly 18 wins a season.
The Giants sign Yankee free agent Dave Righetti (1-1, 3.57, 36 saves) to a four-year deal worth nearly $10 million. After the South Bay native's playing days are over, the left-handed reliever will become the club's long-time pitching coach.
The home run ball Cal Ripken hit on the night he tied Lou Gehrig's record is sold by Michael Stirn, a 32 year-old carpenter who caught the historic horsehide, to a Maryland businessman at an auction for $41,736. The lucky Oriole fan had offered the ball back to the Baltimore third baseman through the club, but never received a reply.
The Red Sox announce the signing of Terry Francona to a three-year deal, with an option for a fourth, to be the team's manager. The 44 year-old former Phillies' skipper replaces Grady Little, who became the scourge of Red Sox Nation after failing to remove Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the ALCS.
Reaching a preliminary deal with the Dodgers a day before baseball's winter meetings, Rafael Furcal agrees to a $39 million, three-year contract to play shortstop in the City of Angels. The 28 year-old Dominican infielder was also strongly pursued by the Braves, his former team for the past six seasons, and the Cubs.
In an unexpected blockbuster trade at the winter meetings, the Tigers acquire Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from the Marlins in exchange for six prospects. To get the highly touted Fish, Detroit trades southpaw Andrew Miller, outfielder Cameron Maybin, and four other highly regarded minor leaguers.
The Royals sign heavy-hitting Jose Guillen (.290, 23, 99) to a three-year, $36 million deal. The 31 year-old outfielder, who played with the Mariners last season, which chose to decline its $9 million option for him, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, allegedly purchased nearly $20,000 worth of banned substances from 2003-05.
Needing nine votes from the 12-member executives/pioneers committee, Bowie Kuhn receives 10 and is voted into the Hall of Fame. The former Commissioner of Baseball, who served in the post from 1969 through 1984, bests his nemesis, Marvin Miller, the executive director of the players' union from 1966 to 1983, who garnered only three votes in his bid for Cooperstown.
Jack Zduriencik, the Brewers' Special Assistant to the General Manager/Director of Amateur Scouting, becomes the first non-general manager to be named Baseball America Executive of the Year, an award which was inaugurated by the national periodical in 1998. The future general manager of the Mariners has been with the Milwaukee front office for the past eight seasons.
The Brewers sign free-agent Gregg Zaun (.260, 8, 27) to a $2.15 million, one-year deal. The 38 year-old, who played with Baltimore and Tampa Bay last season, will replace Jason Kendall behind the plate for Milwaukee.
"Oh, my!", Dick Enberg is signed to a three-year contract by the Padres to do play-by-play for between 110 to 120 televised games per season. The soon-to-be seventy-five year old, known as a great story teller, hasn't called a game in more than two decades.
San Diego names Jason McLeod as the team's assistant general manager. The former Red Sox director of amateur scouting is hired by the team's new GM Jed Hoyer, who also comes from Boston and served in the same capacity working as Theo Epstein's assistant before joining the club
Eight months after leaving the sport rather than face a 100-game ban due to failing a drug test, Manny Ramirez applies for reinstatement from baseball's retired list. In a statement released by MLB, the 39 year-old veteran would have to serve a 50-game suspension that would begin with the first game he is eligible to play as a condition of resuming his big league career.
Longtime Philadelphia scribe Paul Hagen is selected by the Baseball Writers' Association of America as the recipient of the annual J.G. Taylor Spink Award, an honor that recognizes a lifetime of excellence in baseball writing. The MLB.com reporter was nominated along with retirees Jim Hawkins of the Detroit Free Press and Russell Schneider of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
At a Safeco Field news conference, the Mariners announce that the team has signed free-agent Nelson Cruz to a four-year, $58 million deal. Seattle acquired the right-handed slugging outfielder, who lead the big leagues with 40 home runs last season while playing for the Orioles, to bat behind Robinson Cano, giving the switch-hitting second baseman more protection in the lineup.