Baltimore's defunct American League franchise is sold to Frank Farrell and Bill Devery for $18,000 and will be relocated to New York to begin the season. The Manhattan team, who will play at Hilltop Park located in the northern part of the island borough, will be first known as the Highlanders before being officially renamed the Yankees in 1913.
The Marines announce their plan to recall Red Sox outfielder Ted Williams, who missed three years in the majors due to serving in WW II, back to active duty. The bomber pilot, who will fly 39 missions over Korea and survive a crash-landing after being shot down by the enemy, will play briefly at the start of the season, but will not return to the Boston lineup on a full-time basis until late in the 1953 season.
In the first episode of Home Run Derby ever aired, Mickey Mantle overcomes an 8–2 deficit to beat Giants superstar Willie Mays, 9-8, when he goes deep in the bottom of the ninth at LA’s Wrigley Field. The ‘Say Hey Kid’, who had hit four homers before the Yankee slugger stepped up to the plate, agrees to double their $500 side bet when he is ahead by five runs in the seventh, enabling his opponent to walk away with both the winning and losing share of the contest.
Ending two months of negotiations, the Twins of the American League agree on a $500,000 indemnity payment to the American Association for entering the minor league's territory in Minnesota. The settlement paves the way for the team, formerly known as the Senators, to move from Washington, D.C., and play their home games in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
The Giants announce the team has been sold to a group in Toronto for $13.3 million. San Francisco mayor George Moscone, reacting to the outrage of his constituents, secures a preliminary injunction to prevent the impending move.
In his native Dominican Republic, Pascual Perez is arrested for possession of cocaine and will remain in jail, missing the start of the season. The Braves' pitcher maintains his innocence, claiming he was given the package by an unknown woman.
Reds catcher Johnny Bench and Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski, foes in the classic 1975 World Series, are elected to the Hall of Fame. The perennial All-Star backstop is named on 96.4% of the BBWAA ballots, making Ty Cobb and Hank Aaron the only players to receive a higher percentage of the writers' votes.
In their first year of eligibility, Jim Palmer (three-time AL Cy Young Winner) and Joe Morgan (two-time NL MVP) are elected to the Hall of Fame. The Orioles' right-hander compiled a 268-152 (.638) record while spending his entire 19-year career in Baltimore, and the diminutive second baseman, best known for his years with the Big Red Machine, finished his 22-year tenure in the big leagues with a batting average of .271 playing with five dfferent teams.
A spring training lockout of major league players will begin February 15 unless there is a new agreement, according to an announcement made by the owners. The work stoppage will last 32 days.
The Expos agree to a one-year contract with RDS and TSN to telecast 55 games (46 on RDS, 12 on TSN and 3 on both) this year. The approximately $2 million pact with French-language Reseau des Sports ends the year-long local television blackout which resulted in the departure of Dave Van Horne, a respected play-by-play announcer, and the loss of the team's main sponsor, Labatt Brewery, which cited the lack of local TV rights as a factor in ending its 15-year relationship with the club.
Hoping to fill the void created by Manny Ramirez's departure to Boston, the Indians sign Juan Gonzalez to a one-year, $10-million deal. After turning down a $143 million, eight-year extension with the Tigers last year, the two-time American League MVP leaves Detroit after hitting .289 with only 67 RBIs in a disappointing injury-plagued season.
Billy Wagner, signing a $27 million deal with the Astros, becomes one of baseball's highest-paid relievers. The 30 year-old will get $8 million in each of the next three seasons with a $9 million club option for 2005 with a $3 million buyout.
Postseason spark plug Craig Counsell (.275, 4, 38) signs a three-year, $7.25 million deal with the Diamondbacks. Cut by the Dodgers in 2000, the NLCS MVP played the infield in 141 games for the World Series champion Diamondbacks last season.
Carlos Beltran (.267, 38, 104) becomes the tenth $100 million player in major league history when the 27-year old native of Puerto Rico agrees to a seven-year deal for $119 million with the Mets. The five-tool outfielder, who had his market value increase in the postseason by helping the Astros come within a win of their first World Series appearance in franchise history, goes to New York after Houston refuses to include a no-trade clause in their very attractive monetary offer to keep him on the club.
The Mayo Smith Society names Magglio Ordonez as the winner of its annual King Tiger Award for his contributions on and off the field. The international organization for Detroit fans revived the honor in 2004, a tradition which was started and maintained by various fan clubs from 1961 to 1980.
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America elects former Reds' infielder Barry Larkin as its only player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in July. The Cincinnati shortstop, who received 86.4 percent of the scribes' votes, will be joined by Ron Santo, who was selected posthumously last month by the Golden Era committee.