Kansas City receives a franchise in the Western League. The minor league team, which will fold after the 1888 season, will be known as the Cowboys, the same name used by the defunct teams that represented the city in the National League and Union Association, and the franchise that will play in the American Association beginning in 1889.
Grover Cleveland Alexander becomes the tenth and only player this year to be elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. 'Old Pete's 373 victories is the record for the most career wins in the National League, which he shares with Christy Mathewson.
Due to a misunderstanding of Walter Briggs, the Tigers' owner, who believed Hank Greenberg had posed in a Yankee jersey, the 1946 American League home run leader (44) is sold to the Pirates, after ensuring that the other AL teams wouldn't put in a waiver claim, for $35,000. The disgruntled Hammerin' Hank is dissuaded by Pittsburgh not to retire, and he will join and mentor the National League's young home run leader, Ralph Kiner (23) in the Steel City.
Bob Feller asks and gets his salary reduced to $45,000, a $20,000 cut, because he believes his sub-par record of 15-14 doesn't merit an increase. Right-handed 'Rapid Robert' will rebound, posting a 16-11 record along with an ERA of 3.43 for the Indians next season.
The White Sox board of directors accept the resignation of Charlie A. Comiskey, Jr., the team's vice president and secretary, after turning down his request for a promotion and more money. The 25 year-old's dissatisfaction with the club came as a complete surprise to his mother, Grace Comiskey, the president of Chicago ball club.
The U.S. Congress approves renaming D.C. Stadium to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium to honor the memory of the former Attorney General and N.Y. Senator, who was assassinated last June while campaigning to be president. The ballpark, which will become better known as RFK Stadium, will continue to host the ‘new’ Washington Senators franchise that replaced the original team that left after the 1960 season to play in Minnesota.
Ted Williams becomes the manager of the Senators, agreeing to a five-year deal for a reported salary of $75,000 per season. The team, which finished in last place in the previous campaign, will post an 86-76 record in Williams’ first year at the helm, accounting for the only .500 season during their 11-year tenure in Washington.
Former Giant first baseman Orlando Cepeda comes to terms with the Red Sox, making him the first player to be specifically signed by a team to be its designated hitter. 'Cha-Cha' will miss an opportunity to make history on Opening Day at Fenway Park when the top first inning features three hits and three walks, giving the Yankees' Ron Blomberg, who is batting sixth in the lineup, the distinction of being the first DH to bat in a major league game.
The Mariners avoid arbitration with pitcher Freddy Garcia (18-6, 3.05) by signing him to a one-year, $3.8-million deal. The twenty-five year-old standout right-handed hurler led the American League in earned run average last season.
Kerry Wood (12-6, 3.36) avoids arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal with the Cubs believed to be worth between $3.5 and 4 million. The right-handed fireballer, who struck out 217 batters in 174.1 innings, is again eligible for arbitration after each of the next two seasons and can become a free agent following the 2004 season.
Scott Rolen (.289. 25, 107) avoids arbitration signing the largest contract in team history, a $8.6 million, one-year deal with the Phillies. The Gold Glove third baseman resisted any attempts made by Philadelphia to enter into a multiyear contract.
Eric Gagne and the Dodgers agree to a $19-million, two-year deal. The 2003 National League’s Cy Young Award winner, who set a major league-record with 84 consecutive saves from August, 2002 to July, 2004, made $5 million last year, after arbitrators ruled in favor of the club’s offer over the $8 million request made by the L.A. closer.
Mark Teixeira signs a one-year contract worth $12.5 million to play for the Braves. The slugging first baseman, who was acquired from the Rangers at the trading deadline last season, added a much needed punch to the Atlanta lineup.
Avoiding arbitration, Justin Morneau (.271, 31, 111), a potential free agent after the 2010 season, comes to terms with the Twins on a $7.4 million one-year deal. The 26 year-old Canadian first baseman was the American League MVP in 2006.
The Tigers avoid arbitration with their new third baseman when Miguel Cabrera agrees to a $11.3 million, one-year deal. The All-Star infielder was acquired, along with southpaw Dontrelle Willis, from the Marlins in exchange for six highly touted prospects, who included Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller, in a blockbuster trade during the winter meetings last month.
The A's sign Joe Blanton (14-10, 3.95) to a $3.7 million, one-year deal, avoiding arbitration with the 27 year-old right-hander. The workhorse of the staff, throwing 230 innings, second most in American League, has been the subject of trade talks as Oakland continues to rebuild for the future.
The Rockies, still hoping to come to terms on a longer-term deal with their All-Star outfielder, sign Matt Holliday for two more years for $23 million. The agreement is reached just a few hours prior to the arbitration deadline when salary figures are exchanged between players and teams.
The Rays avoid arbitration with two of their key players when the club reaches agreements with southpaw Scott Kazmir (13-9, 3.48) and infielder Carlos Pena (.282, 42, 99). The left-hand hurler, who led the AL in strikeouts last season, inks a $3,785,000, one-year pact while the club's first baseman, the American League comeback player of the year, signs a $24+ million, three-year deal.
At their quarterly meetings, thirty major league owners voted unanimously to extend Bud Selig's contract by three years, retaining him as commissioner through 2012. In the post since 1992, the 73 year-old has championed change in baseball, supporting the wild card, interleague play, and the World Baseball Classic in a sport not known for innovation.
Cole Hamels agrees to a three-year deal with the Phillies valued to be worth $20.5 million. The 25 year-old southpaw posted a 4-0 record with a 1.80 ERA in five postseason starts for the World Champions.
Thinking two Hairstons must be bettter than one, the Padres obtain utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. (.251, 10, 39), the older brother of Scott, signed by the club three days ago. The siblings are sons of former major leaguer Jerry Hairston and the grandchildren of Sammy Hairston, who played in four games with the White Sox in 1951.
The Marlins, after agreeing to spend more money on their payroll this season, continue to keep their word to the players’ association when they sign second baseman Dan Uggla to a $7.8 million, one-year contract. Recently, the tight-fisted Fish also agreed to a $39 million, four-year deal with right-hander Josh Johnson.
Royals' starter Gil Meche, who signed a controversial five-year, $55 million free-agent contract prior to the 2007 season, announces his retirement from baseball due to ongoing troubles caused by a shoulder injury. With this decision, the 32 year-old right-hander forfeits the remaining $12 million on his contract, but he believes Kansas City has been fair to him and does not want to take the club's money when he is unable to pitch effectively.
The Yankees sign Rays' free-agent Rafael Soriano to a $35 million, three-year deal. The All-Star right-handed reliever, who led the AL in saves last year with 45, will be used by New York as a set-up man to the team's iconic closer, 41 year-old Mariano Rivera.
Just minutes before the signing deadline, the Rangers and right-hander Yu Darvish agree to a six-year, $60 million contract. The 25 year-old Japanese, who posted a 18-6 record along with an ERA of 1.44 superstar with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters last season, will cost Texas more than $111 million with the $51.7 million posting fee owed to his former team.
St. Louis officials reveal details about the team's new Hall of Fame that will be established this spring when their new museum is dedicated at the Cardinals Nation in the Ballpark Village. The team's initiative will immortalize the greatest players and other key figures in franchise history, starting with the inaugural class of twenty-two individuals, who have been selected due to their induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, or by virtue of having had their number retired by the team.
The Dodgers confirm Clayton Kershaw's record-breaking $215 million seven-year contract, the largest deal ever given to a pitcher. The two-time National League Cy Young Award, who will earn $30.7 million annually, requested and received an opt-out clause after five years, making the right-hander eligible to become a free agent at the of age 30.