On the same day its owner Charles Ebbets is elected to the National League Board of Directors, the Dodgers offer the Reds $35,000 for Joe Tinker. The 33 year-old shortstop will jump to the Federal League as a player-manager of the Chicago Whales for $12,000 when Brooklyn delays meeting his salary demands of being paid a ‘commission’ of $10,000 of his final sale price of $25,000.
Although having a 3-C draft deferment due to being the sole support of his family, Bob Feller, last year's American League leading pitcher with 27 victories for the Indians, becomes the first major leaguer to enlist after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The 23 year-old navy recruit has already won 107 major league games.
The White Sox deal right fielder Johnny Callison to the Phillies in exchange for infielder Gene Freese, who will play in Chicago for one year after the trade before returning to the South side team in 1965. Philadelphia's new outfielder will become the mainstay in the City of Brotherly Love, compiling a .271 average, 185 home runs (5th best in franchise history, at the time) while providing rock solid defense during his decade with the team.
The Reds deal Frank Robinson to the Orioles for Milt Pappas, Jack Baldschun and Dick Simpson. The trade, now considered among the worst in baseball history, was defended by Cincinnati's general manager Bill DeWitt who claimed the outfield slugger was "an old 30", prior to the future Hall of Famer winning the American League triple crown in his first year in Baltimore.
Eleven days shy of his 84th birthday, former Cardinals, Dodgers, and Pirates executive Wesley Branch Rickey, named by ESPN in 1999 as the most influential sports figure of the twentieth century, suffers a heart attack, falling over the podium while beginning his remarks to an audience during his induction into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. ‘The Mahatma’, who is responsible for breaking the color barrier in 1947 with the signing of Jackie Robinson and implementing the concept of farm systems for the major leagues, will die three weeks later while in intensive care at Boone County Memorial Hospital.
The Rangers trade Jeff Burroughs to the Braves in exchange for Adrian Devine, Ken Henderson, Dave May, Roger Moret, Carl Morton, and an estimated $250,000. The former American League MVP (1974) will hit 41 home runs in his first season with Atlanta.
The Mariners trade outfielder Dave Collins to the Reds for rookie left-hander Shane Rawley. The southpaw will post a 20-31 record during his four seasons in Seattle, and Cincinnati's new fly chaser will hit .284 in his seven years in the Queen City.
The A's announce a deal, which will send pitcher Vida Blue to Cincinnati for outfielder Dave Revering and $1.75 million in cash. Baseball commissioner Kuhn cancels the proposed deal stating the trade would be bad for baseball because it would benefit an already strong team without losing any significant talent in return.
The Cubs trade reliever Bruce Sutter to the Cardinals for outfielder Leon Durham and infielder Ken Reitz. The future Hall of Fame closer will lead the league in saves in three of the four seasons he is with St. Louis.
In a deal that is widely credited for starting a trend for more games being covered by a regional sports network than by over-the-air stations, the Yankees sign a twelve-year television contract with the Madison Square Garden Network. In 2002, the Yankees leave MSG to form a regional cable television channel, the Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network.
Free-agent Greg Maddux signs the richest guaranteed contract ever given to a pitcher, a five-year, $28 million contract with the Braves. The current Cy Young Award winner leaves the Cubs, his team for the previous seven seasons, after contract talks become contentious.
The Braves trade southpaws Charlie Leibrandt and Pat Gomez to the Rangers for infielder Jose Oliva. Leibrandt, a 15-game winner for Atlanta during the previous two seasons, becomes expendable with today's acquisition of Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux.
Randy Johnson (19-8, 3.24, 308) re-signs with the Mariners for $20.25 million over three years. The 29 year-old southpaw will post a 36-8 record during the term of the deal, with half of the victories coming in the Unit's 18-2 campaign in 1995.
The Rangers trade Jose Canseco (.282, 31, 90) to the Red Sox for outfielder Otis Nixon and infielder Luis Ortiz. During his two seasons with Boston, the 29 year-old slugger will compile a .298 batting average and will hit 52 of his 462 career home runs.
The Giants signed former Dodgers nemesis Orel Hershiser. The 39 year-old right-hander, who will post an 11-10 record with a 4.41 ERA in 202 innings, will spend only one season with San Francisco before moving on to the Mets the following season.
Prior to their inaugural season, the Devil Rays sign free agent third baseman Wade Boggs. The future Hall of Fame infielder will play the final two seasons of his career with Tampa Bay, collecting his 3,000th hit in 1999.
At a Coors Field press conference, the Rockies announce the signing of free-agent starting pitcher Mike Hampton to the richest contract in baseball history, a $121 million, eight-year deal. The southpaw will compile a 21-28 record during his two-year tenure with Colorado before going to the Braves in 2003.
Kazuo Matsui, a Japanese seven-time All-Star shortstop, agrees to a three-year $20.1-million deal with the Mets. Twenty-eight year-old 'Little' Matsui hit .305 with 33 home runs while driving in 84 runs last season with the Seibu Lions.
Milton Bradley reaches a preliminary agreement with the Rangers on a $5+ million, one-year contract. The former free-agent Padres outfielder will be used as a designated hitter when not chasing fly balls.
Tony Kubek becomes the first analyst to be a recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, an honor reserved for broadcasters by the Hall of Fame. Known for his outstanding work on the NBC Game of the Week telecasts, the former Yankee and Blue Jay broadcaster has not watched a single baseball game on television since he signed off the air in 1994.
Andy Pettitte (14-8, 4.16) agrees to a $11.75 million, one-year deal to return to the Yankees next season. The 37 year-old southpaw played a key role in the team capturing its 27th World Championship, going 4-0 in his five postseason starts, including victories in the clincher in all three postseason rounds against the Twins, Angels, and Phillies.
The Astros trade minor league prospects right-hander Robert Bono, infielder Luis Bryan, and and a player to be named later to the Marlins in exchange for Matt Lindstrom, who had 15 saves with 17 chances last season. Houston hopes the 29 year-old right-handed hard-throwing reliever, whose fastball has been clocked over a 100 mph, can help fill the role of a late-inning stopper in their bullpen.
The Rangers, in budget mode, deal $12-million starting pitcher Kevin Millwood (13-10, 3.67) and $3 million to the Orioles for reliever Chris Ray and a player to be named later. Then, in an effort to restock their rotation, Texas reaches a preliminary agreement for less money with free-agent Rich Harden, who posted a 9-9 record with the Cubs last season.
The Cubs sign free-agent Carlos Pena to a $10 million, one-year deal. The former Tampa Bay slugger, spurning several multi-year offers from other clubs, is optimistic of having a big season in Chicago, allowing his agent Scott Boras to negotiate a long-term contract for similar money being made by fellow first basemen Ryan Howard ($125 million/5 years) and Mark Teixeira ($180 million/8 years).
The Mets sign Curtis Granderson to a four-year, $60 million contract, the team's richest free-agent deal since Sandy Alderson became the GM in 2010. The 32 year-old outfielder, who hit 84 homers in two seasons for the Yankees before being limited to 61 games last year due to injuries, is expected to provide some much needed power for the team that ranked 25th in the long ball in 2013.
At the start of the annual Winter Meetings, Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark announces managers Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa will be inducted into Cooperstown next summer. The trio of skippers, who have accumulated 7,558 regular-season wins, 17 pennants and eight World Series titles among them, were elected unanimously by the 16-member Expansion Era Committee.