The Red Sox trade outfielder Albie Pearson and first baseman Norm Zauchin to the Senators for shortstop Pete Runnels. Boston's newest infielder, en route to capturing the American League's batting crown in 1960 and 1962, will compile a .320 BA during his five years with the team.
Four years removed from the playing field, Cardinal standout Stan Musial is named the general manager of the team, replacing Bob Howsam, who resigned to take a similar post with Cincinnati. Although his tenure will last only ten months, 'The Man', who turned down the position shortly after he retired in 1963, will become the first GM to win a world championship in his first season on the job.
Outfielder Joe Medwick, who captured the NL triple crown in 1937, is selected by the BBWAA to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. 'Ducky', best known for his years with the Cardinals as a member of the Gashouse Gang, ended his 17-year career with a .324 batting average.
Nineteenth century players Mickey Welch and Mike Kelly are selected by the Hall of Fame Special Veterans Committee for enshrinement in Cooperstown. 'Smiling Mickey', who posted a 307-210 (.594) during his 13 years in the National League, and 'King Kelly', baseball's first matinee idol, will be joined Billy Evans, nicknamed 'The Boy Umpire', who, at age 22, became the youngest arbitrator in major league history.
Ralph Kiner, by the slimmest of margins, is elected into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA, receiving 273 votes on the 362 ballots cast by the writers, just enough to reach the 75% needed to be selected. The former Pirates slugger led the National League in home runs for seven consecutive seasons during his brief ten-year major league career.
Willie Mays is selected by the BBWAA as a member of the Hall of Fame. The 'Say-Hey Kid' receiving 409 of the 432 votes cast. Twenty-three writers inexplicably leaving one of the top ball players of all time off their ballots.
The Red Sox, due to a front office mistake, are forced to trade Fred Lynn, along with Steve Renko, to the Angels, for Jim Dorsey, Joe Rudi and Frank Tanana. Boston had failed to mail their outfielder a new contract by the deadline, allowing the former Rookie of the Year to become a free agent.
The Rangers avoid salary arbitration with 29 year-old Jeff Zimmerman, who saved 28 games for the team last season after he replaced an injured Tim Crabtree, when their closer agrees to a $10 million, three-year contract. Unfortunately, the right-hander will never throw another pitch in a major league game, suffering an injury in spring training that leads to three major surgeries on his elbow, including a pair Tommy John surgeries.
Reds general manager Dan O'Brien is surprised when he fired with spring training schedule to begin in the next few weeks. Cincinnati's new owner Bob Castellini makes it clear performance is not the reason for the team's former GM's dismissal, but wanted to place his ‘own person’ in the position.
The Indians, avoiding salary arbitration, sign Rafael Betancourt (5-1, 1.47) to a $5.4 million, two-year deal. The 32 year-old right-handed reliever was used primarily last season as an eighth inning set-up man for Cleveland's closer, Joe Borowski.
Kevin Towers, the longest-tenured active major league general manager, gets a two-year contract extension from the Padres, which goes through the 2010 season. Although the club would not reveal financial details, it is believed the 46 year-old is one of the top five or six highest-paid GMs in the game.
Troy Tulowitzki (.291, 24, 99 ) and the Rockies agree on a $31 million, six-year deal which includes a club option for 2014. The second baseman of the National League champs was runner-up for Rookie of the Year award, narrowly outpointed (128-126) for the BBWAA honor by Milwaukee's Ryan Braun .
In an effort to add experience for an unseasoned rotation, the Marlins sign 33 year-old southpaw Mark Hendrickson (4-8, 5.21) to a $1.5 million, one-year deal which includes an additional $500,000 in performance bonuses. The 6-foot-9 former NBA player has pitched for the Blue Jays, Devil Rays and, last season, the Dodgers.
Major League Baseball announces the Dodgers, who in 1993 became the first big league club to play in Taiwan, will return to the island in March to play a pair of exhibition games against a team from the Chinese Professional Baseball League. During their first trip, L.A. played a squad of Chinese All-Stars.
Arbitration-eligible Hunter Pence (.282, 25, 72) signs a $3.5 million, one-year deal with the Astros. The 26 year-old All-Star outfielder with the rifle arm earned only $464,000 last year, his third season with Houston.