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Today in Baseball History
December 22nd

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19 Fact(s) Found
1899 The fledgling American League owners meet to map out a strategy against the established National League. They agree to place a team in Chicago with Charles Comiskey as the owner-manager of the franchise.
1953 Jack Dunn III officially turns over the name Orioles to the major league franchise. His family had successfully operated the International League Orioles franchise for years in Baltimore.
1959 The upstart Continental League awards its last franchise to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Denver, Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York City, and Toronto will also be represented in the new circuit.
1962 Voters in Harris County (TX) approve a bond issue to complete the financing of the world's first domed sports stadium, which will become home for the Houston Astros. The structure will become known as the Astrodome, and will be dubbed the 'Eighth Wonder of the World'.
1980 The Red Sox mail Fred Lynn and Carlton Fisk their new contracts two days after the Basic Agreement December 20 deadline, technically making their young All-Stars eligible for free agency. Fisk will leave Boston, signing a $3.5 million deal with the White Sox, beginning with the 1981 season.
1982 Lee Mazzilli is traded for the third time this season. The Yankees, who obtained the Brooklyn native from the Rangers in August for Bucky Dent, deal the first baseman/outfielder to the Pirates for Tim Burke and three minor leaguers.
1994 The Giants trade pitcher John Burkett to the Texas Rangers in exchange for minor league infielders Desi Wilson and Rich Aurilia. The latter will spend nine years in his first tenure in San Francisco, becoming an important offensive cog in the team's everyday lineup.
1995 After a Southwest Bank investment group promises to keep the franchise in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch agrees to sell the Cardinals to the financial establishment. The price tag of approximately $150 million is considered a bargain with Forbes Magazine estimating the club's value to be worth twice that amount.
1995 Bill DeWitt, Jr. and two investment partners, Frederick and Stephen Brauer, come to an agreement to purchase the Cardinals from Anheuser-Busch for a reported $150 million. The new owner of the Redbirds, whose dad started in baseball selling soda at Redbirds games in 1916, lent his uniform as the Browns' 9-year-old bat boy to Eddie Gaedel, the shortest player in the history of the game, who made a single plate appearance and was walked with four consecutive balls in a Bill Veeck stunt in 1951.
2000 The Mariners sign Bret Boone to a $3.25 million, one-year deal. The former Padres second baseman played in only 127 games during the season due to a bruised right knee which ended his season in late August.
2000 Hoping to fill the void created by the departure of Ellis Burks, the Giants sign veteran outfielder Eric Davis to a $1.5 million, one-year contract. The Players Choice Awards 'Man of the Year' had considered retirement, but the lure of more playing time changed his mind.
2001 Highly sought free agent Chan Ho Park (15-11, 3.50) signs a five-year, $65 million deal with the Rangers. The Korean right-hander led the Dodgers last year in wins, starts, innings pitched, strikeouts and opponents' batting average.
2005 After the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control denies the request to allow Cuba to participate in the World Baseball Classic due to the possibility of financial gain by the island country, MLB reapplies after Fidel Castro says his country will donate any money earned from its participation to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
2008 The Yankees avoid salary arbitration when Chien-Ming Wang (8-2, 4.07) agrees to a $5 million, one-year deal to pitch in the Bronx. The 28-year-old right-handed starter missed the rest of the season after injuring his foot while running the bases in an inter-league game against Houston in mid-June.
2009 The Yankees reacquired Javier Vazquez by trading outfielder Melky Cabrera to the Braves. The right-hander's last performance in pinstripes was less than stellar, allowing two home runs, including a grand slam, to Boston's Johnny Damon, which put Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS out of reach and completed New York's historic collapse after the team had won the first three games of the championship series.
2009 Colorado free-agent Jason Marquis (15-13, 4.04) signs a $15 million, two-year contract to become the anchor of the Nationals' rotation. The 31-year-old right-handed starter, considered a workhorse by his former teams, will be a veteran presence on the staff which featured four rookies and a sophomore last season.
2009 Garrett Atkins (.226, 9, 48) and the Orioles finalize a $4.5 million, one-year deal after the 30-year old infielder passes a physical. After his woeful performance last season, the Rockies, the only team he had ever played with during his seven years in the big leagues, failed to offer their former starting third baseman a contract for 2010.
2011 The Cardinals announce Carlos Beltran (.300, 22, 84) and the team have come to an agreement on a two-year deal, pending the results of a physical. The 34-year-old outfielder, who signed for a reported $26 million, will play right field, allowing Lance Berkman to shift to first base to fill the void created by the departure of Albert Pujols to free agency.
2012 Ryan Freel, who was a victim of numerous head traumas during his nine-year major league career with the Reds and four other teams due his aggressive style of play, is found dead from what appears to be a self-inflicted shotgun wound. Within a year, a study of the 36 year-old’s brain will reveal he suffered from a degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a condition believed to be triggered by repeated concussions that has been linked to suicide.

19 Fact(s) Found