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.
Uncomfortable with front office duties, Charlie Grimm leaves the Cubs as a vice president to manage the Dallas Eagles in the Texas League for a record salary of $90,000. As the Chicago skipper, 'Jolly Cholly' had led the team to National League pennants in 1932, 1935 and 1945.
Owner Charlie Finley stuns Kansas City when he announces he has signed a two-year deal to move the A's to Louisville, where the team would play this upcoming season at the Fairgrounds Stadium with the state of Kentucky promising 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, and the team stays put in the City of Fountains until after the 1967 season, when it is granted permission to move to Oakland.
The city council approves changing the name of San Diego Stadium to San Diego - Jack Murphy Stadium by a vote of 6-2. 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 city.
Phil Niekro becomes the 227th member of the Hall of Fame. The Blaine, Ohio native is only the 87th player to be elected by the BBWAA.
Peter O'Malley, owner of the Dodgers, announces the team is for sale. The franchise has been owned by the family since 1951.
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 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.
According to final figures released by the commissioner's office, the Yankees 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. By comparison, the World Champion White Sox 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.
Becoming expendable due to the Blue Jays acquiring Troy Glaus from the Diamondbacks, Corey Koskie 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 Red Sox sign Giants free-agent J.T. Snow to a $2 million, one-year contract. The six-time Gold Glove winner will share playing time at first base with Kevin Youkilis.
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 the Chicago 2009 payroll, gives the club more flexibility in signing 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 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.