To help the players pick up the ball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand, baseball decrees all big league parks must have a center field wall which is green and blank. The safety measure will become known as the batter’s eye.
The Giants purchase the services of Tommy Thevenow from the Reds. The shortstop will never see action for New York, when the team trades the 33 year-old to the Bees (Braves) for infielder Billy Urbanski, who will also never play a game for the club.
Indians right-hander Bob Feller reports to Norfolk to begin his World War II enlistment in the Navy. Rapid Robert, a 20-game winner for the Tribe for the last three seasons, was the first major leaguer to enlist in the armed forces after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Charlie Grimm, uncomfortable with front office duties, leaves the Cubs as a vice president to manage the Dallas Eagles. 'Jolly Cholly', had who led the team to National League pennants in 1932, 1935, and 1945, signs for a record salary of $90,000 to be the skipper of the Texas League team
A's owner Charlie Finley stuns Kansas City when he announces that he has signed a two-year deal to move the team to Louisville to play at the city's Fairgrounds Stadium, having the state of Kentucky's promise to spend a half-a-million dollars to enlarge the 20,628-seat facility by another 10,000 seats. The American League owners will veto the franchise shift, planned for this upcoming season, and the team stays put in the City of Fountains until after the 1967 campaign, when it is granted permission to move to Oakland.
The city council, by a vote of 6-2, approves changing the name of San Diego Stadium to San Diego - Jack Murphy Stadium. The Padres ballpark's new moniker is in honor of the late sports editor of the San Diego Union, who is credited getting the facility built in the late 1960s and with bringing major league baseball and football to the Southern California city.
The Padres, outbidding a dozen teams, come to terms with Yankee free-agent Rich Gossage, agreeing to five-year deal with the 32 year-old right-handed reliever reportedly worth more than $5.5 million. During his four seasons in San Diego as the team's closer, Goose will average close to 21 saves per season while winning 25 games, helping the Friars reach their first-ever World Series this year.
Knuckleballer Phil Niekro, who compiled a 318-274 record during his 24 major league career, becomes 227th player elected to the Hall of Fame. 'Knucksie', who spent two-plus decades with the Braves, also had short stints with the Indians, Yankees, and Blue Jays.
The Dodgers are for sale, according to Peter O'Malley, who with his sister, Terry Seidler, owns virtually 100 percent of the club. The franchise will be purchased by the Fox Entertainment Group, giving media mogul Rupert Murdoch control of the last family-owned major league team.
With the largest signing bonus in a minor-league contract for a drafted player, who is not a free agent, the Diamondbacks come to terms with Justin Upton, the number one pick in the 2005 major league amateur draft. The 18 year-old Great Bridge HS (Chesapeake, VA) shortstop, selected as the best five-tool player in the nation by Baseball America, will get $6.1 million over the next five years just for agreeing to play with Arizona.
The Yankees, according to final figures released by the commissioner's office, finished the year with a record payroll of $207.2 million, $90 million more than the Red Sox, who spent the second largest amount on playing personnel. The World Champion White Sox, by comparison, spent only $73.2 million, with the lowly Devil Rays writing checks for a mere $26.6 million, not much more than Alex Rodriguez makes as an individual playing third base for the Bronx Bombers.
Corey Koskie, who became expendable when to the Blue Jays acquired Troy Glaus from the Diamondbacks, is traded to the Brewers for minor league pitching prospect Brian Wolfe. The 32 year-old third baseman brings experience to a young Milwaukee infield which includes first baseman Prince Fielder (21), second baseman Rickie Weeks (23), and shortstop J.J. Hardy (23).
The commissioner's office informs the press of a letter which was faxed from the International Baseball Federation informing Major League Baseball of their intent to withdraw the sanctioning of the World Baseball Classic unless Cuba is allowed to participate. In mid-December, the Treasury Department had denied the necessary license for Castro’s countrymen to compete on American soil due to the U.S. law which restricts financial gain of the communist nation in the United States.
The Cubs acquire right-handed reliever Luis Vizcaino from the Rockies in exchange for starting pitcher Jason Marquis and cash. The deal, which frees up $9 million from Chicago's payroll in 2009 , gives the club more financial flexibility to sign free-agent outfielder Milton Bradley.
The Indians sign the injury-plagued right-hander Carl Pavano to a one-year, $1.5 million deal. The 32 year-old free-agent made only 26 starts for the Yankees after signing a four-year contract worth nearly $40 million prior to the start of the 2005 season.
In his ninth year on the BBWAA's ballot, Andre Dawson is the only player to receive 75 percent or more of the writers' votes (77.9) needed to be elected to the Hall of Fame. The former National League Rookie of the Year (1977 - Montreal) and Most Valuable Player (1987 - Chicago), who spent 21 seasons patrolling the outfield for the Expos, Cubs, Red Sox, and Marlins, is one of only three players, that includes Mays and Barry Bonds, to exceed 400 homers and 300 stolen bases during his major league career.
Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, and John Smoltz are elected into the Hall of Fame, marking the first time since 1955 that four players have been selected in the same year. Martinez (91.1%) and Johnson (97.3%) received the mandatory seventy-five percent of the writers' votes to qualify for induction in their first year on the ballot.
Alex Gordon agrees to a $72 million four-year deal to continue to patrol the outfield for the World Champion Royals. The contract is the richest in franchise history, surpassing the five-year, $55 million identical pacts signed by Gil Meche and Mike Sweeney.