Reportedly depressed by his son's death in 1898, Boston Beaneater catcher Marty Bergen, 28, allegedly kills his family with an axe and then commits suicide in Brookfield, Massachusetts. Billy Hamilton is the only Boston player to attend the backstop's funeral. (Thanks to Bill - baseball fan in Virginia for suggesting this entry)
Under the terms of the peace agreement, a list of 123 Federal League free agents is released by the National Association.
Under the terms of a new agreement with Pacific Coast League, the Robins purchase the contract of Ernie Lombardi from the Oakland club for $50,000. The 23-year old 'Schnozz', who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986, plays well for Brooklyn, but will be traded to the Reds after his rookie season because the team has a plethora of catchers.
Shoeless Joe Jackson's appeal for reinstatement is denied by Commissioner Judge Landis.
Cy Young, Nap Lajoie and Tris Speaker are elected into the Hall of Fame.
After resigning as the Reds' general manager at the end of the 1936 season, Larry MacPhail is coaxed back into baseball by the Dodgers. The Brooklyn Board of Directors, anxious to improve the club's poor performance on the field and to reverse its financial woes, sign the fiery innovator to a contract giving him complete control of the franchise.
Don Newcombe is released by the Indians, ending his 10-year major league career with 149 wins and only 90 losses. The one-time hard throwing right-hander, best known for his playing days with the Dodgers, won the Rookie of the Year (1949), Cy Young (1956) and Most Valuable Player (1956) awards while with Brooklyn.
At the age of 36 years and 20 days, former Dodger southpaw Sandy Koufax, who placed himself on the voluntarily retired list because of an arthritic left arm in 1966, becomes the youngest player to be elected into the Hall of Fame. Also getting the nod from the baseball writers are Yankee legend Yogi Berra and Early Wynn, a 300-game winner.
Ozzie Smith becomes the game's first $1 million shortstop when the infielder inks a three-year pact with the World Champion Cardinals. The 'Wizard of Ahs', best known for his outstanding defense, won his third consecutive Gold Glove in the offseason.
Ivan Rodriguez signs the richest one-year deal in baseball history. Avoiding salary arbitration, the All-Star backstop agrees to a contract worth $6.65 million to catch for the Rangers.
During his State of the Union address, President Bill Clinton introduces Sammy Sosa, who is sitting with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in the House of Representatives chamber balcony, calling the Dominican outfielder "a hero in two countries". The Cubs' slugger is saluted by the Commander-in-Chief for his relief efforts in the Dominican Republic after the island country was devastated from recent hurricanes.
Major league owners unanimously give the commissioner's office sweeping new powers. Bud Selig, in order to restore competitive balance in baseball, will be allowed to block trades and redistribute the wealth and under the adopted new constitution will also be able to fine teams up to two million dollars.
Esteban Loaiza (10-7, 5.70) and the Nationals agree to a one-year, $2.9 million pact. The 33-year old free-agent pitcher, who was traded by the White Sox to the Yankees last season, was unable to return to form after an outstanding 2003 season (21-9, 2.90).
Major league baseball owners unanimously approve the November transaction in which Bob Castellini and two other Cincinnati businessmen bought control of the Reds from previous owner Carl Lindner. It is reported the trio, which includes investors Thomas Williams and William Williams Jr., acquired approximately 70 percent ownership of the oldest franchise in baseball history believed to be valued at an estimated $270 million.
After an 80-day departure, Theo Epstein returns to the Red Sox in a yet-to-be named capacity. The youngest general manager in baseball history, who assembled a World Champion team in 2004, left Boston on Halloween Day citing the position was not “the right fit”.
Bill Werber, the oldest ex-major leaguer and last living teammate of Babe Ruth, dies at the age of 100. The former infielder, who played for the Yankees, Red Sox, A's, Cincinnati and the Giants, became the first player to appear in a televised game when he batted leadoff for the Reds in a contest played against the Dodgers at Ebbets Field on August 26, 1939.
Stephen Drew and the Diamondbacks avoid arbitration by coming to terms on a $3.4 million, one-year deal. The 26-year old shortstop, selected as the team's 15th pick in the 2004 amateur draft, has compiled a .270 average during his four seasons with Arizona.
Jonathan Papelbon inks a deal with Boston for the largest salary ever given to a reliever with just four years of major league service. The 29-year old closer, who has 151 career saves for the Red Sox, agrees to a $9.35 million, one-year contract to be the team's closer.
Avoiding arbitration, Luke Scott and the Orioles come to terms on a $4.05 million, one-year deal. The 31-year-old outfielder, who was obtained in a 2007 trade with Houston, hit just .258 last seaon, but had career highs with 25 homers and 77 RBIs.
Avoiding arbitration for the second consecutive season, Ryan Ludwick (.265, 22, 97) and the Cardinals agree to a $5.45 million, one-year deal. The 31-year-old outfielder, who had nine assists while committing only one error, was named to the National League All-Star squad last season.