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. Next month, the upstart league's year-old suit charging organized baseball of antitrust violations will be dismissed by mutual consent in the U.S. District Court by Judge Kenesaw M. Landis, who will become the game's first commissioner in 1920.
The Robins, under the terms of a new agreement with Pacific Coast League, purchase the contract of Ernie Lombardi from the Oakland Oaks 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 Kenesaw Mountain Landis. The White Sox outfielder, banned for life for his alleged involvement in fixing the 1919 World Series known as the Black Sox scandal, will continue to proclaim his innocence for the remainder of his life.
Cy Young, Nap Lajoie, and Tris Speaker are the only players to be named on 75% of the of 201 ballots cast by the BBWAA, and will join last year's inaugural selection of Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson as inductees of baseball's new Hall of Fame, scheduled to be opened in two years. The Centennial Commission, a small group of the game's executives charged with the task of picking individuals overlooked by the 1936 Veterans election, which failed to name any 19th-century players, selects Connie Mack, John McGraw, Morgan Bulkeley, Ban Johnson, and George Wright to be included Cooperstown ceremony.
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 that gives him complete control of the franchise.
Don Newcombe is released by the Indians, ending his ten-year major league career with a .623 winning percentage with a 149 victories 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.
Danny O’Connell and Hobie Landrith surprise the Senators’ front office when they both resign to pursue different business opportunities. The pair of coaches will be replaced by Rube Walker and Joe Pignatano, former major league catchers who played for the Dodgers with the team’s manager, Gil Hodges.
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, avoiding salary arbitration, agrees to a contract worth $6.65 million to catch for the Rangers. 'Pudge' set the record for most doubles by a catcher with 44 last season, and the All-Star receiver also set the major league mark for at-bats by a backstop, with 639, surpassing Johnny Bench's 621, established in 1970.
During his State of the Union address, President Bill Clinton introduces Sammy Sosa, who is sitting with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, a big Cubs fan, in the House of Representatives chamber balcony, calling the Dominican outfielder "a hero in two countries". The Chicago 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 baseball's oldest franchise, believed to be valued at an estimated $270 million.
Theo Epstein, after an eighty-day departure, 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 disguised in a gorilla costume 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, Reds, and Giants, became the first player to appear in a televised game when he batted leadoff for Cincinnati 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 batting average during his four seasons with Arizona.
Jonathan Papelbon inks a deal with the Red Sox for the largest salary ever given to a relief pitcher with just four years of major league service. The 29 year-old reliever, who has 151 career saves for Boston, agrees to a $9.35 million, one-year contract to continue 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 season, 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.
The Twins resign free-agent Carl Pavano to a $16.5 million deal, keeping the right-hander in Minnesota for the next two-years. The 35 year-old Southington, CT native posted a 17-11 record last season, that included a league-leading seven complete games.
After removing six and half liters of blood from his chest cavity, doctors perform life-saving surgery on veteran starting pitcher Carl Pavano, removing his spleen, which had been lacerated five days ago when he slipped on ice and fell onto a handle of a snow shovel while clearing snow at his Vermont home. The 37 year-old right-hander, who had been amping up his free-agent negotiations with several teams after being recently released by the Twins, says he is determined to pitch again.
The Reds announce that Pete Rose will become the 86th member of the team's Hall of Fame when he is inducted in June. The Cincinnati native, who is banned from baseball for gambling on the sport, will be additionally honored by having his #14 uniform, which he wore from 1963-78 and from 1984-86, retired, and will have a statue of him dedicated at Great American Ball Park.