The Pittsburgh Alleghenys leave the American Association to join the National League. After a few name changes, including the Innocents, the team will become known as the Pirates in 1891.
The Cubs hire future Hall of Famer Roger Bresnahan to manage the team. The former Cardinal skipper will stay for just a year as Chicago finishes the season in fourth place with a 73-80 record.
In the second of two deals between the clubs on consecutive days, St. Louis obtains Sam Dente, Clem Dreisewerd, Bill Sommers, and $65,000 from the Red Sox in exchange for Ellis Kinder and Billy Hitchcock. When the dust settles on the two-day, 13-player transaction, Boston ends up with two top-of-the rotation hurlers, Kinder and Jack Kramer, and an All-Star offensive shortstop to hit behind Ted Williams, Vern Stephens, and the cash-deprived Browns, in addition to its four new players, receive a total of $375,000.
Dodger second baseman Jackie Robinson (.342, 16, 124) becomes the first black player to win the MVP Award. Stan Musial, Ralph Kiner, and teammate Pee Wee Reese are the runners-ups in the BBWAA balloting.
PCL's Los Angeles Angels infielder and future star of TV's The Rifleman, Chuck Connors, citing he wants to stay in California, becomes the first player to refuse to participate in the major league draft. The former Cub first baseman's refusal to leave the Pacific Coast League allows the minor leagues to ask for more money for big league talent.
The A's hire Lou Boudreau to replace skipper Eddie Joost, who is given his unconditional release as a player-manager. During his three-year tenure in Kansas City, the future Hall of Famer will pilot the second-division club to a 151-260 record.
Harry Craft is replaced by Bob Elliott as the A's manager. During his three-year stint in Kansas City, 'Wildfire' compiled a 162-196 (.453) record, finishing in seventh place each season.
After finishing the Cy Young season with a 27-9 record and a league-leading 1.73 ERA, Sandy Koufax shocks the baseball world by announcing his retirement at the age of 30. The southpaw, who has thrown four no-hitters and set the single season strikeout record last year with 382, cites his arthritic arm and the fear of permanent damage as the reason for placing himself on the voluntarily retired list.
Replacing the legendary Casey Stengel (175-404, .302) , the Mets name Wes Westrum as the team's second manager in the franchise's brief history. The former Giant catcher had taken over the club reins after the 'Old Perfessor' had fractured his hip in July.
After batting nearly .400 all season, Royal third baseman George Brett (.390, 24, 118) easily wins the American League's MVP Award. Reggie Jackson, Goose Gossage, and Willie Wilson also receive first-place votes.
Dick Williams replaces Frank Howard as manager of the last-place Padres. The future Hall of Fame skipper, who has won three pennants and two World Series in the last 14 years as a major league pilot, will lead San Diego to a National League pennant in 1984.
Mike Schmidt (.316, 31, 91) becomes the third player in National League history to win consecutive Most Valuable Payer Awards. The Phillies slugging third baseman joins Ernie Banks (Cubs, 1958-59) and Joe Morgan (Reds, 1975-76) in winning the honor in back-to-back seasons.
Dwight Gooden becomes the second consecutive Met player to be named the National League’s Rookie of Year. The 19 year-old right-hander, who compiled a 17-9 record along with a 1.53 ERA and a league-leading 268 strikeouts, joins his teammate and close friend Darryl Strawberry to be honored the coveted freshman award.
Pitching phenoms 20 year-old Dwight Gooden (Mets - NL) and 21 year-old Bret Saberhagen (Royals - AL) win the Cy Young Award. The right-handers become the youngest players in their respective leagues to win the coveted pitching honor.
Red Sox Roger Clemens is selected the American League's MVP, becoming the first pitcher to accomplish the feat since Vida Blue won the honor in 1971. The 'Rocket' receives 19 of the 28 first place votes, and Yankee first baseman Don Mattingly is the runner-up.
Andre Dawson (.287, 49, 137) becomes the first major leaguer to win the MVP award playing for a last place club. The Cubs outfielder easily outdistances runners-up shortstop Ozzie Smith and first baseman Jack Clark, both members of the Cardinals.
George Bell (.308. 47, 134) is selected as the American League's Most Valuable Player, making the San Pedro de Macoris native the first Dominican to win the prestigious award. The Blue Jays' All-Star left fielder narrowly beat out Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell, who received 12 of the 28 first-place votes cast by the writers.
President George H. W. Bush presents Red Sox legend Ted Williams, along with former First Lady Betty Ford and former House Speaker Thomas ''Tip'' O'Neill, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Yankee Clipper Joe DiMaggio (1977) and Dodger great Jackie Robinson (1984, posthumously) have also been honored with the highest civilian award in the United States.
In the expansion draft, the Devil Rays select Tony Saunders from the Marlins as their first player. Tampa Bay also drafts Bobby Abreu, but quickly trades the future star to the Phillies for Kevin Stocker, who will struggle with the new franchise.
In a close race, Juan Gonzalez wins the American League's Most Valuable Player award when he barely outpoints Mariners shortstop Alex Rodriguez, 290-287. The Rangers outfielder, who was also selected as the AL's MVP in 1996, becomes the first Latin American native to win the prestigious prize multiple times.
The Mariners sign Orix Blue Wave's Ichiro Suzuki to a three-year deal making him the first Japanese position player in major league history. Although terms of the contract were not disclosed, Seattle agrees to pay $13 million to his former team for the right to negotiate with Japan's best hitter.
The Braves, Marlins, and Rockies complete a three-team trade which sends starting pitcher Mike Hampton and outfielder Juan Pierre to Florida with backstop Charles Johnson, outfielder Preston Wilson, southpaw reliever Vic Darensbourg, and infield prospect Pablo Ozuna to the Colorado. The Marlins then sent Hampton to the Braves in exchange for righty reliever Tim Spooneybarger and pitching prospect Ryan Baker.
Although the Expos may not know where they are playing next season (the final MLB approval for Washington, DC has been postponed) or the team’s new name, the former Montreal franchise will know who is the club’s manager. Frank Robinson, after compiling a 233-253 record despite many restrictions and hardships, will return to the helm for his fourth year as the skipper of this nomad ship.
Joining Cal Ripken Jr. (Orioles - 1983) and Ryan Howard (Phillies - 2006), Dustin Pedroia (.326, 17, 83) becomes the third player in major league history to win the Most Valuable Player award a season after being selected as the Rookie of the Year. The scrappy Gold Glove second baseman, the 10th Red Sox player to earn the American League honor, received 16 of the 28 first-place votes to easily outdistance heavy-hitting Twins first baseman Justin Morneau (.300, 23, 129).
Ryan Dempster (17-6, 2.96) and the Cubs agree to a $52 million, four-year deal. The 31 year-old right-handed starter had been the club's closer, saving 87 games in 102 chances during the 2005-07 seasons.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice introduces Ken Griffey, Jr. as an American Public Diplomacy Envoy, a position in which the future Hall of Famer will represent the “values of the United States, not the government of the United States". The free-agent outfielder, who played for the Reds and White Sox last season, joins Cal Ripken Jr. as a major leaguer serving his country in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Jim Tracy is named the National League Manager of the Year, becoming the just the second person to cop the honor after taking over a team during the season, joining Jack McKeon for the 2003 Marlins. The 53 year-old skipper, who piloted the Rockies to the NL Wild Card from a 14.5 game deficit on May 29, is rewarded by Colorado with a three-year contract.
Mike Scioscia is named the AL Manager of the Year for the second time. The 50 year-old Angels skipper, who piloted the club to its third consecutive division title and sixth postseason appearance in the last eight years, guided Los Angeles past a myriad of injuries to key players and helped to ease the team's deep sorrow caused by the sudden death of starter Nick Adenhart in a fatal car accident in April just hours after the 22 year-old had earned a victory for the team.
A day after he is selected as the American League Manager of the Year, Ron Gardenhire accepts a two-year extension through the 2013 season from the Twins. The 53 year-old skipper, who has won six division titles in his nine years with the team, has compiled a record of 803-656 (.550) during his tenure in Minnesota.
Free-agent backstop John Buck signs a three-year, $18 million contract to catch for the Marlins, the team that sought his services a minute after free agency opened. The signing of the 30 year-old catcher, who enjoyed a career year with the Blue Jays, hitting .281 with 20 home runs, continues Florida's active participation in the early off-season, that also includes the acquisition of four relievers and an infielder.
Despite an unspectacular 13-12 record, Felix Hernandez is named the American League Cy Young Award winner ahead of Tampa Bay's David Price (19-6) and New York's CC Sabathia (21-7). King Felix's league-leading 2.27 ERA and the lack of run support provided by the last-place Mariners made the Seattle ace an easy choice for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, who placed him first on 21 of the 28 ballots cast.
The Cubs introduce Dale Sveum as the fifth-place team's new manager, replacing Mike Quade, who was fired at the end of the season by Chicago's new GM Theo Epstein. The 52nd manager in franchise history, whose managerial experience consists of sixteen games as Milwaukee's interim skipper in 2008, is considered a no-nonsense baseball lifer who will stress the game's fundamentals while implementing “high standards of accountability” for the players.
Tim Hudson agrees to a two-year deal, reportedly worth $23 million, to pitch for the Giants, joining a stellar rotation that includes Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, and Tim Lincecum. The 38 year-old right-hander compiled an 8-7 record with a 3.97 ERA last season for the Braves, before sustaining a season-ending ankle injury.
The Mets announce the team is moving in sections of the Citi Field outfield wall, adjusting the distances from home plate to center and right field from three to 11 feet. According to New York's General Manager Sandy Alderson, the modifications are a refinement of previous changes made at the ballpark and will continue to be fair to both pitchers and hitters.
Three-time All-Star backstop Russell Martin and the Blue Jays finalize a five-year, $82-million contract, the second-largest free-agent deal in franchise history. The acquisition of the 31 year-old Canadian-born catcher, who led the Pirates to playoff appearances for the past two seasons, signals Toronto intention of being a contender in the AL East next year.