The first pitching machine, created by Princeton professor Charles E. Hinton, is demonstrated in the university's gymnasium. The mathematics instructor's device resembles a rifle which shoots the ball toward the batter.
The Giants trade Amos Rusie, a veteran pitcher who hasn't played since 1898, but won 20+ games in each season during his eight years with the team, to the Reds for Christy Mathewson. 'Matty', a future Hall of Famer, will post a 372-188 record and will become a legend during his 17-year tenure in New York.
During a five hour session at the Hotel Breslin in New York, National League president Tom Lynch informs the owners that umpires will be required to take a 'severe' eye test before the start of the season. As a result of the edict, any arbitrator found to have defective eyesight will not be allowed to work.
The Cubs trade Joe Tinker along with Harry Chapman and Grover Lowdermilk to the Reds for Red Corriden, Bert Humphries, Pete Knisely, Mike Mitchell, and Art Phelan. The former Chicago shortstop, immortalized in 1910 by Franklin Pierce Adams' baseball poem "Tinker to Evers to Chance", will serve as the player-manager for Cincinnati next season.
Brooklyn's Rube Marquard is traded to the Reds for Dutch Ruether. Marquard had been fined for scalping World Series tickets in Cleveland.
The Dodgers trade the much heralded, but injury prone Pete Reiser to the Braves for outfielder Myron McCormick. 'Pistol Pete' will play in only 137 games in his two years in Boston.
Frank Lane replaces Hank Greenberg as the Indians’ general manager. 'Trader Lane', who has made 60 separate deals since December 2, 1957, lives up to his well-deserved nickname when, just prior to Opening Day, he sends the Tribe's very popular Rocky Colavito to Detroit for batting AL champ Harvey Kuenn.
The Reds, who finished 20 games below .500, obtain two players in separate deals, who both will play key roles in the club's unexpected run to next season's National League pennant, when they send shortstop Roy McMillan to the Braves for Juan Pizarro and Joey Jay, who will win 21 games for his new team. Pizarro will be packaged by Cincinnati along with Cal McLish to obtain White Sox third baseman Gene Freese, who will hit 26 home runs and drive in 87 runs for the NL champs.
The Mets obtain Tommy Agee, the 1966 Rookie of the Year, and utility infielder Al Weis from the White Sox in exchange for Buddy Booker, Tommy Davis, Jack Fisher, and Billy Wynne. New York's newest additions will both play a pivotal role in the team's 1969 World Championship season.
Arbitrator Peter Seitz rules in favors of Cy Young winner Jim Hunter in a dispute with A's owner Charlie Finley, making 'Catfish' a very attractive unrestricted free agent.
Dave Winfield (.276, 20, 87) becomes the highest-paid player in the history of sports, when he agrees to a ten-year free-agent deal with the Yankees worth a record $16 million. After announcing the former Padres outfielder's deal, team owner George Steinbrenner tells 34 year-old Reggie Jackson (.300, 41, 111) who had been asked his opinion about the acquisition by The Boss and had heartily endorsed the signing, he will not be offered an extended contract when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season because of his age.
The Yankees and Ron Guidry agree to a four-year, $3.6 million deal keeping the free agent in New York. During the span of the contract, 'Gator' will average nearly 17 wins a season.
The Ted Williams Tunnel in Boston is opened as the Splendid Splinter leads the way.
In their third free agent signing in the last eight days, the Red Sox come to terms with pitcher Hideo Nomo. The 32 year-old right-hander, who will lead the league in strikeouts (220) and walks (96) in his only season with Boston, agrees to a one-year deal worth 4.5 million dollars.
The Mariners acquire 32 year-old two-time All-Star third baseman Jeff Cirillo (.312, 17, 83) from the Rockies in exchange for reliever Jose Paniagua and minor leaguers Dennis Stark and Brian Fuentes.
With the threat of losing their heavy-hitting second baseman, Jeff Kent, the Giants sign former All-Star free agent Edgardo Alfonzo (.308, 16, 56) to a four-year deal. The 29 year-old infielder, who was named the Mets All-time second baseman in August, was not tendered arbitration after turning down a number of contract proposals from the team.
Coming off an injury-shortened season with the Diamondbacks, Richie Sexson (.233, 9, 23) agrees to a $50 million, four-year deal with the Mariners. The 29 year-old free-agent first baseman will be reunited with Seattle’s new manager Mike Hargrove, his former skipper in Cleveland from 1997-2000.
After offering a four-year deal worth approximately $53 million, the Mets announce officially the club has come to terms with Pedro Martinez (16-9, 3.90 ERA). The former Red Sox ace, who posted a 117-37 record in seven seasons with Boston, criticizes his former team for not being more aggressive in retaining his services.
After the District of Columbia Council votes to require private financing for at least half of the construction costs of a Nationals’ new ballpark, major league baseball suspends all sales of the team’s merchandise and tickets. The decision may make any thing with the National League’s newest logo quite a collector’s item.
Buck O'Neil, who passed away in October, is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously by President George W. Bush for his "excellence and determination both on and off the baseball field." Accepting the country's highest civilian honor on behalf of the Negro league baseball legend is his 91 year-old brother, Warren.
Joining his close friend closer Takashi Saito, free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda agrees to a three-year, $35.2 million deal to pitch for the Dodgers. The 33 year-old native of Osaka complied a 103-89 record, posting a 3.69 ERA in the Japanese Central League during the past 11 seasons playing with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.
In possibly the richest contract ever offered to an older player, 46 year-old Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71) signs a $13 million, two-year contract to stay with the World Champion Phillies. In his last outing, the southpaw pitched six strong innings against Tampa Bay in Game 3 of the World Series.
The Tigers improve their infield defense, signing Adam Everett to a one-year contract reported worth $1 million to replace the departed Edgar Renteria, who signed a free-agent deal to play with San Francisco earlier in the month. The light-hitting infielder, formerly with Minnesota, is known to be one of the better defensive shortstops in baseball and will improve upon the 16 errors made at that position last season.
Adam Lind wins the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award. The Blue Jays outfielder batted .299 along with 21 homers and 74 RBIs, while appearing as a DH in 95 games for Toronto.
Bud Selig announces the establishment of a special committee, composed of managers and longtime executives who will explore "on-field matters", that the baseball commissioner will chair. The 15 panel members include four owner representatives - Paul Beeston (Blue Jays), Dave Montgomery (Phillies), Chuck Armstrong (Mariners), and Bill DeWitt (Cardinals), three current managers - Tony La Russa (Cardinals), Jim Leyland (Rockies), and Joe Torre (Dodgers) along with Mike Scioscia (Angels), Orioles president for baseball operations Andy MacPhail, Indians GM Mark Shapiro, Braves president John Schuerholz, former Twins GM Terry Ryan, political columnist George Will, and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson.
The Twins' signing of former Oakland left fielder Josh Willingham (.246, 29, 98) to a three-year deal worth $21 million makes it unlikely the team will try to ink their own free agent outfielders. Minnesota is expected to have fleet flycatchers Denard Span and Ben Revere filling in the vacancies created by the probable departure of Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel.