Phillies star infielder Napoleon Lajoie is rumored to have jumped to the new American League's Philadelphia franchise. The National League's leading hitter, clearly in violation of the reserve clause, does switch to the Junior Circuit, where he will win the Triple Crown, leading the league with a .426 batting average, 14 homers, and 125 RBIs.
At the Folsom Correctional facility in California, the annual game between big leaguers and the prison inmates is halted as the guards search for two convicts who have tried to escaped. The escapees are caught, but the game does not resume, with the visiting team ahead 24-5 at the end of seven innings.
In Philadelphia, former A's manager and owner Connie Mack, 93, dies of "old age and complications from his hip surgery." The 'Tall Tactician' set records for major league wins (3,731) and losses (3,948), compiling a .486 managerial mark during his 54 years as a skipper, including his three seasons with the Pirates before the turn of the century.
Commissioner Bowie Kuhn announces the Special Committee on the Negro League Hall of Fame selection of Buck Leonard and Josh Gibson, a power-hitting catcher who was called the "black Babe Ruth" during his playing day. Leonard, a teammate of Gibson on the Homestead Grays who once turned down a MLB contract believing he was too old to compete at that level, was ranked #47 on a 1999 Sporting News poll of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players
The owners announce 'Early Bird' spring training, which had been scheduled to begin next week, will be canceled until negotiations with the Players' Association are completed. The 23-day lockout, caused by a disagreement over salary arbitration, will not affect the start of the regular season.
The longest-playing infield foursome is broken up when the Dodgers trade Davey Lopes straight up for A's minor leaguer Lance Hudson, a middle infielder who will never appear in a major league game. The 36 year-old former LA second baseman had played with Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, and Bill Russell since 1974.
After rejecting an earlier proposal by an 8-5 margin just a few hours ago, the District of Columbia Council reverses itself and approves a revised lease for a new Washington, D.C. ballpark. At the urging of Mayor Anthony A. Williams, the council reconvenes and votes 9-4 to approve the deal after attaching legislation capping the district's total cost at a bit less than $611 million.
Wayne Krivsky, a leading candidate for the job in 2004, is finally selected as the Reds general manager. The 51 year-old former Twins executive replaces Dan O’Brien, who was fired by new owner Bob Castellini in an effort to select his own baseball people.
Johnny Damon, the former beloved Red Sox outfielder who signed as a free agent with the hated Yankees, takes out a full page ad in the Boston Globe, thanking fans for their loyalty and support. As one of the most popular players in franchise history, the long-hair self proclaimed ‘idiot’ incurred the wrath of the Fenway Faithful when he agreed to a $52 million, four-year deal to play in the Bronx.
In a long and drawn-out 5-for-1 deal, the Mariners finally land Erik Bedard (13-5, 3.16) from the Orioles. In exchange for their Opening Day pitcher last season, Baltimore receives center fielder Adam Jones, veteran southpaw reliever George Sherrill, and pitching prospects Chris Tillman, Tony Butler, and Kam Mickolio from the Emerald City.
The Brewers exercise Ned Yost's 2009 option, after the 53 year-old skipper led Milwaukee to its first winning season since 1992, finishing second in the NL Central with an 83-79 won-loss record. The skipper will never manage a game in his extended contracted year after he is dismissed with 12 games remaining this season, taking the blame for the under-achieving team's swoon in August and September.
In the softball championship game of the Leadoff Classic, Kylie Reynolds of Kent State strikes out 18 Stetson batters en route to throwing a nine-inning no-hitter. The Golden Flashes' junior sets a new school record for strikeouts in her 1-0 masterpiece at Patricia Wilson Field.
As a tribute to his fellow countryman, Omar Vizquel will wear the number 11 this season to honor Luis Aparicio. The White Sox will temporarily "unretire" the Hall of Famer's number for the Venezuelan shortstop, who was recently acquired by Chicago as a free agent.
The Brewers announce the club plans to erect a seven-foot statue of former owner Bud Selig that will be unveiled during a pre-game ceremony at Miller Park in August. Selig, the current baseball commissioner, led a group of investors that bought the Seattle Pilots in 1970 and moved the bankrupt franchise to Milwaukee.
Tony Malinosky, the oldest living major leaguer, dies at the age of 101 in Oxnard, California. The World War II veteran and survivor of the Battle of the Bulge, an infielder with the 1937 Brooklyn Dodgers, was honored by the team on his 100th birthday.