In an effort to speed up the game and add more offense, National League president John Heydler proposes the concept of a designated batter for the pitcher. The American League opposes the idea and the NL withdraws the proposal before Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis is asked to break the deadlock.
The Giants trade hurler Bill Lohrman, catcher James O'Dea, first baseman Johnny McCarthy and $50,000 to the Cardinals to obtain first baseman Johnny Mize. The Giants' new infielder, despite missing three years due to WWII, will spend five productive seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the team, hitting .299 and averaging more than 100 RBIs per season.
Receiving only 9 of the 12 owners' votes needed, A. B. 'Happy' Chandler's contract as commissioner is not to be renewed for a second term. The former Senator from Kentucky, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982 due to his contribution to the game, is given credit for helping to integrate the majors, putting six umps on the field during the World Series, and establishing the players’ pension fund in 1947, with the $475,000 made by selling the rights to broadcast the World Series on the radio.
“I can no longer produce for my ballclub, my manager, my teammates, and my fans the sort of baseball their loyalty to me deserves.” - Joe DiMaggio
At the Yankees' Fifth Avenue suite in the Squibb Tower, a tearful Joe DiMaggio, two weeks after his 37th birthday, announces to the press his decision to retire from baseball. The Bronx Bomber outfielder, claiming he "no longer has it" due to age and injuries, ends his thirteen year career with a lifetime .325 BA and 361 home runs, rejecting owner Dan Topping’s $100,000 offer to play next season.
The Pirates name Fred Haney to be the team's manager, replacing Billy Meyer. The Bucs will finish in last place each season, compiling a dismal 163-299 (.353) record during their new skipper's three-year tenure in Pittsburgh.
The Phillies purchase Connie Mack Stadium for $1,675,000 from Arnold Johnson, the A's new owner who acquired the ballpark as part of his purchase of the American League team. The Phils, who had been paying a minimal amount of rent to share the park with their Junior Circuit rivals, are now the sole occupants with the relocation of the Athletics to Kansas City, and will play in the downtown facility for another 15 years before they move to Veterans Stadium in 1971.
A major league player association is formed with Bob Feller, a future Hall of Fame hurler with the Indians, being named its first president. The labor organization, one of many attempts by the players to form a union, will prove to be very successful a decade later when Marvin Miller is hired to be the MLBPA's first executive director in 1966.
After their offer to deal Roger Maris for Dick Groat is rejected by the Pirates, the A's, who had been prohibited by the league from trading the slugging outfielder to the Yankees for 18 months after obtaining him from the Indians on June, 15, 1958, send the right-fielder and two other players to New York in exchange for Hank Bauer, Don Larsen, Norm Siebern and Marv Throneberry. The year and a half moratorium on the potential trade was put into place to alleviate the perception that Kansas City was serving as a 'big league' farm club for the Bronx Bombers.
The Red Sox trade Tracy Stallard, Pumpsie Green and a player to be named later (Al Moran) to the Mets in exchange for Felix Mantilla. Stallard, best known for throwing the pitch to Roger Maris for the record-breaking 61st home run, will become a twenty-game loser for New York in 1964.
The Angels trade two catchers, Ed Kirkpatrick and Dennis Paepke, to the Kansas City A's for Hoyt Wilhelm. The right-handed knuckleballer, who will be traded to Atlanta in September, will post a 5-7 record along with 10 saves while compiling a respectable ERA of 2.47 during his five months with the Halos.
After being the first player to invoke the new 10 and 5 rule to avoid being dealt to the Angels, Ron Santo agrees to be traded to the southside of Chicago to play for the rival White Sox. In return for the 33-year old infielder, who will play just one season with the Pale Hose before retiring, the Cubs receive Jim Kremmel (the player to be named later), Ken Frailing, Steve Stone and Steve Swisher.
In a busy day of trading, the Yankees acquire pitchers Dock Ellis and Ken Brett, and second baseman Willie Randolph from the Pirates for hurler Doc Medich. In a separate deal with the Angels, the club trades Bobby Bonds for outfielder Mickey Rivers and pitcher Ed Figueroa.
Despite having mediocre results with the team last season, 37-year old Joe Morgan is re-signed by the Giants. The veteran second baseman will win the Silver Slugger award next season, compiling a .289 batting average.
The Mets trade Kevin Mitchell‚ a rookie who played six positions for the eventual world champs, along with prospects Stan Jefferson and Shawn Abner‚ and two additional minor leaguers to the Padres for outfielder Kevin McReynolds‚ southpaw Gene Walter‚ and a minor leaguer. Mitchell will be traded to San Francisco during the season, and in two years, the San Diego native will become the National League's Most Valuable Player playing for the Giants.
The A's obtain Jesse Orosco from the Mets and then trades the southpaw reliever along with shortstop Alfredo Griffin and right-hander Jay Howell to the Dodgers for pitchers Matt Young, Bob Welch and Jack Savage. New York gets Savage as well as right-hand hurlers Wally Whitehurst and Kevin Tapini from Oakland to complete the three-team, eight player deal.
The Royals deal right-hander Bret Saberhagen and utility player Bill Pecota to the Mets for Gregg Jefferies, Kevin McReynolds and Keith Miller. The two-time Cy Young Award winner will post only a 3-5 record in his first season with New York and will compile a 29-27 record during his 3+ seasons with the team.
The Astros and Tigers complete a six-player trade with outfielder Roger Cedeno, catcher Mitch Meluskey and right-hander Chris Holt going to Detroit and catcher Brad Ausmus, relievers Doug Brocail and Nelson Cruz headed for Houston.
The Mets trade southpaw Billy Traber and outfielders Matt Lawton and Alex Escobar to the Indians for superstar second baseman Roberto Alomar along with prospect Danny Peoples and left-hander Mike Bacsik. The Gold Glove infielder, the centerpiece of the deal, will be a major bust in Flushing, hitting just .265 and playing uninspired defense for New York before being shipped to the White Sox in the middle of the 2003 season.
After declining offers from the Yomiuri Giants and his former team, the Chunichi Dragons, Kosuke Fukudome comes to terms with the Cubs on a four-year deal reported to be worth $48 million. The 30-year old Japanese outfielder, also sought by the Padres, White Sox, Giants and Rangers, compiled a .305 batting average during his 13-year tenure in Japan’s Central League.
The Red Sox unveil their new, but familiar “Hanging Sox” logo. Originally sewn on uniforms in 1931, the pair of red socks will now appear on most of the club's letterhead and signs, diminishing the use of the circular trademark which contain the words "Boston Red Sox".
The Rays obtain Rafael Soriano (27 saves, 2.97) from Atlanta, agreeing to a $7.25 million, one-year deal with the reliever to complete the transaction. The Braves, who get right-hander Jesse Chavez from Tampa Bay in the trade, recently bolstered their bullpen with Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito, making the 29-year old right-hander expendable.
Clearly stating he wants to be an everyday player on a winning team, Ivan Rodriguez agrees to a $6 million, two-year deal with the Nationals, the worst team in baseball last season. The 38-year old catcher will share playing time and his experience with Jesus Flores, Washington's young up-and coming backstop.
Free-agent Jason Kendall signs a $6 million, two-year deal to become the Royals' everyday catcher. The 35-year-old savvy backstop, a lifetime .290 hitter, batted only .241 with only two home runs and 43 RBIs with Milwaukee last season.
Rays free-agent Carl Crawford agrees to a seven-year, $142-million deal with the Red Sox. The 29 year-old outfielder's tenure in Boston will be brief when he plays only two disappointing injury-plagued seasons with the team before being traded to the Dodgers as part of a block-buster trade.