New York Giants president Harry Hempstead rejects the International League's request for permission to put a team in the Bronx. The shift of the IL's Jersey City to the nearby borough, already the home to the Yankees, was conceived as a way to prop up the failing minor league franchise and perhaps as an opportunity to thwart the invasion of the Federal League into the Big Apple.
The first arbitration ruling in baseball history is decided in favor of Twins' hurler Dick Woodson. The right-hander, the first player to invoke the new free agency clause, is awarded the $29,000 he asked for rather than having to take Minnesota's offer which was six thousand dollars less.
The Cubs trade two-time NL batting champ Bill Madlock along with Rod Sperring to the Giants for Bobby Murcer, Steve Ontiveros, and a minor leaguer. During the 1979 season, San Francisco will trade the fiercely competitive 'Mad Dog' to the Pirates, where he will play a major role in the team's world championship that season, and will win two more batting crowns during his seven-year tenure in Pittsburgh.
Two months after the trade was announced, the Ozzie Smith agrees to go to the Cardinals to complete the December deal that finally sends Gary Templeton to the Padres. An outside arbitrator, Tom Roberts, will determine 'the Wizard of Oz's' Cardinal salary before the season starts, awarding the light-hitting Gold Glove shortstop $450,000 rather than the $750,000 he requested.
Kent Hrbek signs a new contract, making him the Twins' first million dollar player. The Minnesota first baseman was the runner-up for the American League Most Valuable Player last season, finishing second to Tiger closer Willie Hernandez, after batting .311 along with 27 homers and 107 RBIs for the second-place club.
After turning down the Mets' $800,000 one-year offer and being granted free agency by the team, World Series MVP Ray Knight signs a two-year deal with the Orioles for $600,000. The 34 year-old third baseman, who won the 1986 NL Comeback Player of the Year Award, will play one season in Baltimore before being traded to the Tigers for Mark Thurmond.
General Mills, the makers of Wheaties, unveils three new Jackie Robinson cereal boxes to be sold in stores nationwide. The Dodgers' Hall of Fame infielder will be the first athlete to be honored on all three varieties of Wheaties: Original Wheaties, Honey Frosted Wheaties, and Crispy Wheaties 'n' Raisins.
As thousands cheer, Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh's 30 year-old sports venue, is imploded when electricity surged through detonating cord connected to more than 4,800 pounds of dynamite in 2,500 spots in the former home of the Pirates and NFL's Steelers. Roberto Clemente's 3,000th hit as well as Mike Schmidt's 500th career home run are part of the historic park's legacy.
Jose Canseco’s controversial book, Juiced, is made available in certain markets in anticipation of his appearance on CBS’s Sixty Minutes. The self proclaimed godfather of the steroids in baseball alleges Mark McGwire, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, and Ivan Rodriguez all used illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
The Mets announce their former slugging All-Star Darryl Strawberry, will rejoin the team as a special outfield instructor during spring training. The often-troubled Rookie of the Year will also join former 1986 World Champion teammates Gary Carter, Lenny Dykstra, Howard Johnson, and Tim Teufel at Shea Stadium on Feb. 27 when single-game tickets go on sale.
Avoiding an arbitration hearing, starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano (14-6, 3.26) and the Cubs agree to a one-year deal worth $6.5 million. After earning $3.76 million last season, the emotional right-hander had asked for $7.2 million, with Chicago offering $6 million.
Avoiding salary arbitration, AL’s reigning batting champ Joe Mauer (.347, 13, 84) and the Twins come to terms on a $33 million, four-year contract. The hometown 23 year-old All-Star backstop is the first catcher to lead the majors in batting average and the first to win the batting title in the American League.
Craig Biggio, following in the footsteps of fan favorites Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, and Jeff Bagwell, agrees to a three-year personal services contract with the Astros. The 42 year-old retired ballplayer spent his entire 20-year career with Houston, leading the franchise in games, at-bats, hits, doubles, and total bases.
The Nationals sign slugger Adam Dunn to a two-year, $20 million deal. The 29 year-old left-handed free-agent, who played for Arizona last season, will bat cleanup for Washington, replacing Nick Johnson at first base.
Ernie Harwell, the long-time voice of the Tigers, will receive the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting during WFUV Radio’s Spring Gala at Fordham University. The 92 year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster is the third recipient of the VSLA, named for the former alum and Dodger broadcast icon, joining inaugural honoree Vin Scully (2008) and Dick Enberg (2009).