The Braves trade catcher Ray Mueller to the Pirates for Al Todd, who will be dealt to Brooklyn in March, and Johnny Dickshot, who will be shipped to the Giants in April. Mueller will play in only 90 games over two seasons for Pittsburgh.
In an 11-player trade, the Yankees trade top prospect Vic Power to the Philadelphia A's. The powerful first baseman, who had hoped to be the first black to play for the Yankees, enjoyed three outstanding seasons in the minors, including batting .331 and driving 109 runs for the Newark Bears last season, the team's top farm club.
Willie Mays becomes the first player to win the Most Valuable Player Award in his first full year in the majors when he easily outdistances Reds first baseman Ted Kluszewski for the honor. The 23-year-old Giants center fielder made his big league debut at the end of May in 1951, but missed the last two seasons due to his military service in the U.S. Army.
Bill Veeck gets back into baseball by heading a group which buys eighty percent of the White Sox from John Allyn. The former owner of the Indians and the Browns will see his new team win their first pennant in 40 years, with 1.4 million fans turning the turnstiles to establish an attendance record for home games.
Reds' first baseman Tony Perez and pitcher Will McEnaney are traded to the Expos for pitchers Woody Fryman and Dale Murray.
Tom Seaver's trade back to New York from the Reds is completed when 'Tom Terrific' comes to contract terms with the Mets. Cincinnati obtains pitcher Charlie Puleo and two minor leaguers, Lloyd McClendon and Jason Felice, in exchange for the 'Franchise'.
Replacing Billy Martin (91-71, third place), Yogi Berra is hired for the second time to manage the Yankees. The Hall of Famer's self-exile from Yankee Stadium will last for nearly 15 seasons, after he is dismissed 16 games into the 1985 season despite receiving assurances from owner George Steinbrenner that he would not be fired.
Clemente Nuñez becomes the first player in Marlins history. The 16-year-old Dominican right-hander, signed by Florida scout Edmundo Borrome, is assigned to the Gulf Coast Rookie League.
Dusty Baker, 44, is selected to replace Roger Craig in the dugout as manager of the Giants. During his ten-year tenure, the former hitting coach will compile an 840-715 (.540) record and will be named the National League Manager of the Year three times.
Unable to come to terms with the Yankees, World Series MVP John Wetteland signs a four-year free-agent deal worth $23 million to close games for Texas. The 29 year-old right-handed reliever, who saved all four victories in the Fall Classic against Atlanta, became expendable in New York with the emergence of Mariano Rivera, the team's nearly-perfect setup man.
The Giants obtain their first Japanese player since 1964 when Masanori Murakami became the first ballplayer from Japan to appear in a major league game. San Francisco trades starting pitcher Shawn Estes (9-8, 4.02) to the Mets in exchange for outfielder outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo (.267, 10, 56) and infielder Desi Relaford (.302, 8, 36), who will be traded the Mariners for David Bell.
After being invited to the Dominican Republic by President Hipolito Mejia, Japanese home run king Sadaharu Oh meets one of his favorite players, island resident Sammy Sosa. The Dominican outfielder, who is one homer shy of the coveted 500, will have to hit several hundred more to reach the mark of 868 set by the 62-year old during his 22 seasons playing for the Yomiuri Giants.
After declining the $4.6 million two-year December 7 contract offer by the Yankees, which he had only 15 minutes to consider, Mike Stanton (7-1, 3.00, 6 saves) still decides to stay in town by agreeing to a $9 million, three-year, no trade contract with the cross-town rival Mets. The All-Star reliever wasn't offered salary arbitration by the Bronx Bombers after he failed to respond to their ultimatum.
Miguel Tejada agrees to a six-year $72 million contract with the Orioles, making it the largest deal in the history of the franchise. The shortstop batted .287 with 27 home runs while driving in 106 runs last season for the Western Division champions Oakland A's.
The Phillies finalize their $31.5 million, three-year deal with free-agent Raul Ibanez (.293, 23, 110). The 36 year-old former Seattle outfielder, who will replace the departing Pat Burrell, provides another left-handed bat in an already potent Phillies lineup which includes lefties Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
The Orioles sign former Cardinal infielder Cesar Izturis to a $6 million two-year deal to fill the team’s void at shortstop. The 28 year-old free agent, considered an outstanding defensive player, won a Gold Glove playing with the Dodgers in 2004.
In a complicated blockbuster deal, involving four teams and nine players, and resulting in two Cy Young winners being traded on the same day for the first time in baseball history, the Phillies send three top minor leaguers, catcher Travis d’Arnaud, right-hander Kyle Drabek (son of former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek), and outfielder Michael Taylor, who will be traded to get A's third baseman Brett Wallace, to the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay. After securing their new ace, Philadelphia sends their former ace, Cliff Lee, to the Mariners to restock their minor league system by getting prospects outfielder Tyson Gillies and righthanders Phillippe Aumont and Juan Ramirez from Seattle.
Yankee free-agent Hideki Matsui signs a one-year deal with the Angels worth $6.5 million. This year's World Series MVP decided to take LA's offer rather than wait to see if the uninterested Bronx Bombers planned to bring him back as the DH, the role he is expected to play with his new club.
The Red Sox and 36 year-old Mike Cameron (.250, 24, 70) finalize a $15.5 million, two-year contract. The three-time Gold Glove winner will help fill the void in the outfield with the anticipated departure of free agent left fielder Jason Bay.
John Lackey and the Red Sox come to terms on an $82.5 million, five-year deal. The 31-year old right-hander, who compiled a 102-71 record along with a 3.81 ERA in eight seasons in the major leagues, all with the Angels, adds depth to a strong rotation, which includes Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Jon Lester.
A federal judge sentences former Giants' super-star Barry Bonds to 30 days of house arrest, 2 years of probation, 250 hours of community service, and a $4,000 fine. The all-time home run champion, who is appealing his guilty verdict for the obstruction of justice, could have faced 15 months of jail time, as recommended by the prosecution.
Torii Hunter signs a two-year, $26 million contract with the Tigers, the team the free-agent clearly wanted to play for after leaving the Angels. The deal, which was completed in less than an hour, brings the well-respected Gold Glove outfielder to the Motor City in the pursuit of a World Championship, a prize yet to be realized in the All-Star's 16-year major league career.