Nick Young, president of the National League, announces the more experienced umpire will stay behind the plate when the new two-umpire system is instituted. Previously, the lone arbitrator would move away from home and stand behind the pitcher when a base was occupied.
Frank Chance becomes the manager of a very weak Highlander (Yankees) team. The veteran skipper will finish next to last (57-94) and will compile a 117-168 record during his two-year stint in New York.
James E. Gaffney sells the Boston Braves to Percy Haughton, the Harvard football team and a business associate for $500,000. The New York contractor, who recently gained notoriety as a target of Hennessy and Whitman investigations into political graft, had bought the team in 1913 for $187,000.
Bill Terry announces his retirement from baseball and shares his plans to start a cotton business. The former Giants star and skipper, who will turn down an offer to manage the Dodgers in 1953, citing the loss of personal income, will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame the following season.
Due to the St. Louis owner's refusal to share telecast receipts with visiting clubs, the Indians ban night games with the Browns. Bill Veeck did not allow the Browns' opponents to broadcast games played against his team on the road after his proposal to share radio and television revenue was vetoed by the other American League owners.
Dodger second baseman Jackie Robinson is awarded the prestigious Spingarn Medal by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for his strong support of civil rights initiatives. Last year the NAACP gave the honor to Martin Luther King Jr., who was best known for his role in promoting the use of nonviolent civil disobedience to secure equal rights for all Americans.
With the signing of Larry Biittner, the Reds become the last big league team to sign a free agent. The team's first attempt into free agency, which has been an option of signing major leaguers since 1976, does not go well as the 35-year old first baseman/outfielder bats only .213 during his first year with Cincinnati.
Willie McCovey becomes the 16th player elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The slugging first baseman, who smashed 521 home runs and collected 1,555 RBIs, spent most of his 22-year major league career with the Giants.
Johnny Sylvester, the terminally ill young boy whom Babe Ruth promised to hit a home run for in the 1926 World Series, dies at the age of 74. Although the Yankee slugger homers against the Cardinals at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis and the 11-year old youngster recovers from his undetermined illness, the accounts of the incident, especially as shown in the movie, The Babe Ruth Story, have proven to be more romantic than accurate.
Right-handers Gaylord Perry and Fergie Jenkins as well as Rod Carew, the 16th member of the 3,000-hit club, are elected into the Hall of Fame. None of the three players selected by the baseball writers have ever appeared in a World Series.
Mike Schmidt, a power-hitting third baseman with a total of 548 homers, is elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. The two-time Most Valuable Player spent his entire 18-year major league career with the Phillies.
For the first time since 1971, no one is elected by the BBWAA to enter the Hall of Fame. Phil Niekro, a knuckleballer who spent most of his career with the Braves, comes the closest with 68 percent of the writers' votes, but falls short of the 75 percent needed to be selected.
Harold Baines, only 145 hits shy of reaching 3,000, agrees to a minor league contract with the White Sox. The 41-year old outfielder, a veteran of 21 seasons, will fall short of his goal, collecting only 11 hits in 94 at-bats with the Pale Hose before calling it a career.
The Royals, A's, and Devil Rays participate in a nine-player trade that results with outfielders Johnny Damon and Ben Grieve and reliever Roberto Hernandez on new teams. The swap sends Damon from Kansas City to Oakland, Grieve goes from Oakland to Tampa Bay and Hernandez from Tampa Bay to Kansas City.
Turning down the Mets offer, which is worth a million dollars more with no money deferred, Juan Gonzalez agrees to a $24 million, two-year deal with the Rangers which includes $10.5 million in deferred payments. The outfielder, who prefers to stay in the American League, established franchise records in Texas for home runs, RBIs, total bases and extra-base hits while playing for the club from 1989-1999.
Ozzie Smith, a 15-time All-Star shortstop, becomes the 32nd player to be elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Dubbed the 'Wizard of Oz' due to his remarkable defensive abilities, Osborne Earl Smith won 13 Gold Glove Awards during his 19-year career with the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals.
Chosen on 85 percent of the ballots cast by the BBWAA, Eddie Murray, the only switch-hitter with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, becomes just the 38th player to be elected in his first year of eligibility. Former All-Star catcher Gary Carter, best known for his years with the Expos and Mets, is also elected on his sixth try after falling eleven votes short last year.
Don Zimmer, who recently resigned as the Yankees’ bench coach, is named as a Senior Baseball Advisor for the Devil Rays. In addition to assisting the team in community affairs, the 50-year veteran of the game will be in uniform as a coach during Spring Training and for pregame practices at all regular season home games and for most road games.
Free-agent hurler Kevin Millwood (9-6, 4.85) signs a one-year contract with the Indians. The 30-year old starter missed most of the last two months of the season with the Phillies due to acute tendonitis in his right elbow.
After ending a 17-year Fall Classic drought, the Cardinals and skipper Tony La Russa agree to a three-year contract extension. The 60 year-old manager, who piloted the team to 105 wins this season and has been in the postseason five of the nine seasons with St. Louis, is now signed through 2007.
In his ninth year on the BBWAA's ballot, Rich Gossage is the only player to receive 75 percent or more of the writers' votes (85.8) needed to be elected to the Hall of Fame. During 'Goose's' 22-year career, most notably with the Yankees, the reliever compiled a 124-107 record and saved 310 games, while posting a 3.01 ERA.
Marcus Giles (.229, 4, 39), after a disappointing season with the Padres, agrees to a minor league deal with the Rockies. The 29-year old second baseman was selected as an All-Star playing with the Braves in 2003.
After piloting the team to 100 regular season victories last year and to its fourth AL West Division title in the past five years, Mike Scioscia agrees to a contract extension to manage the Angels through the 2018 season. During his nine-year tenure with the club, the former catcher has compiled an 803-655 record (.557) and captured the franchise's lone World Championship in 2002.
After a solid debut season in Seattle, Franklin Gutierrez (.283, 18, 70) finalizes a $20.5 million, four-year deal to stay with the Mariners. The 26 year-old Venezuelan center fielder is considered by many as one of the best defensive outfielders in the American League.
Scott Podsednik comes to terms with the Royals on a $1.75 million, one-year incentive-laden contract with the Royals. The 33 year-old fleet outfielder batted .304 and stole 30 bases for the White Sox last season, after being released by the Rockies at the end of spring training.
In his second year of eligibility, Craig Biggio misses election into the Hall of Fame by two votes on the BBWAA’s ballots, tying a dubious record shared by Nellie Fox (1985) and Pie Traynor (1947) for smallest margin (74.8%) not to be selected for enshrinement at Cooperstown. The candidacy of the former Astros' standout, who collected more than 3,000 hits in his 15 year career while playing well in three different positions for the team, has been hurt by rumors that he may have used steroids, although he has never failed a test, and was not implicated in the Mitchell Report or in any other investigation.
President Obama, a diehard White Sox Fan, calls Frank Thomas to congratulate the slugger on his first-ballot election to the Hall of Fame. The 'Big Hurt’ shares the news of his conversation with the Commander-in-Chief during an afternoon press conference at U.S. Cellular Field, after tweeting his fans, "What a day!! First HOF and Second Our Wonderful President Of The United States Called Me!!! #LifeMadeHOF2014” @TheBigHurt_35.
Hurlers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, best remembered for their dominance with the Braves, and White Sox slugging first baseman Frank Thomas are elected to the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. It is first time the BBWAA has voted in three players since 1999 when Nolan Ryan, George Brett, and Robin Yount got their nod for Cooperstown.