The A's sell Lave Cross to the Senators. The thirty-eight year old third baseman will appear in 171 games for Washington over the next two seasons before ending his 21-year career in the big leagues.
Jim 'Junior' Gilliam (.278, 6, 63) wins the National League Rookie of the Year Award. The Dodger second baseman, who hit a circuit-best 17 triples while leading the league with 710 plate appearances, easily beats out Harvey Haddix and Ray Jablonski for the freshman honor.
The Dodgers trade George Lee Anderson to the Phillies for outfielder Rip Repulski and two minor league pitching prospects, Jim Goldeni and Gene Snyder. 'Sparky', better known as a major league manager than for being a 'good field, no-hit' infielder, becomes the first skipper to win a World Series in both the American (1984 Tigers) and National League (1975-76 Reds).
Former major league first baseman Ripper Collins, who played with the Cardinals' Gashouse Gang, joins the Cubs' college of coaches, a group of interim skippers that will manage the team for part of the season. The original 'faculty' will include El Tappe, Goldie Holt, Bobby Adams, Harry Craft, Verlon Walker, Vedie Himsl and Charlie Grimm.
A landmark decision by Peter Seitz begins a new era in major league baseball as the arbitrator's judgment makes pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally the first true free-agents in baseball history. After each played for their team, the Dodgers and Expos respectively, without signing a contract during their option year, they challenged the owners' assumption that the reserve clause meant one-year contracts were automatically renewed.
On the day he delivers his now-historic ruling making Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally free agents, Peter Seitz is dismissed by John Gaherin, the owners' representative in labor matters. The fired arbitrator, hired by baseball to settle player disputes, is asked by management to refrain from discussing or writing about the landmark decision.
Thousands of fans, including former President Richard Nixon and Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, attend a memorial mass conducted by John Cardinal O'Connor at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral held for Roger Maris. The moving service for the recently deceased ballplayer is arranged by Yankee owner George Steinbrenner.
Major league owners implement a salary cap and revenue sharing on striking players. The new provisions never take effect because a ruling by a judge, which ends the protracted labor dispute, orders that the next two seasons must be played under previously existing labor conditions.
The Cubs trade outfielder Doug Glanville to the Phillies for second baseman Mickey Morandini. Chicago's new infielder will spend two years with the team, hitting a respectable .272 in 298 games, and Glanville, who will become a clubhouse leader, will play the next six seasons in Philadelphia, enjoying his most productive years in the majors as a fine defensive outfielder who can handle a bat and steal bases.
The Giants sign 38-year old Eric Davis as a free agent. The veteran outfielder, who played with the Cardinals for the past two years, will end his 17-year career with San Francisco at the end of the season.
Free-agent J.D. Drew (.305, 31, 118), former flycatcher of the Braves, signs a five-year, $55 million deal with the Dodgers. After being traded by the Cardinals to Atlanta last season, the left-hand hitting outfielder, known to be injury prone, played in a career-high 145 games.
The Cardinals ink former Angel infielder David Eckstein (.276, 2, 35) to a three-year contract. The 29-year old free agent shortstop will replace Gold Glover Edgar Renteria, who signed with the Red Sox, making the Boston shortstop, Orlando Cabrera, available to Anaheim, the team Eckstein is leaving.
After giving Jason Varitek a $40 million, four-year deal, the Red Sox surprise their veteran catcher by naming him the captain of the team. The 32-year old backstop, who joined the club in 1997, learns of the honor when he is presented with home and road jerseys bearing a red "C" during the press conference announcing his contract.
The Yankees introduce their new 32-year-old clean shaven outfielder to the media. Johnny Damon, one of the shaggy hair heroes of the 2004 Boston World Championship, signs a $52 million, four-year deal to play center and bat lead-off with his former arch rivals, much to the chagrin of the Red Sox nation.
The Phillies sign 38-year old outfielder So Taguchi (.290, 3, 30) to one-year, $1 million deal which also includes performance bonuses and a 2009 club option. The 'So Man', a Hyogo Prefecture, Japan native, batted .406 (13-32) as a pinch-hitter for the Cardinals to lead the National League last season.
The Yankees reach a preliminary agreement on a $180 million, eight-year contract with Mark Teixeira (.308, 33, 121). The 28 year-old first baseman joins CC Sabathia ($161 million, seven-years) and A.J. Burnett ($82.5 million, five-years), becoming the third free-agent to be signed to a big contract by the Bronx Bombers this month.
The Yankees announce prices for some of the seats at their new stadium for the exhibition games against the Cubs on April 3 and 4 will match the prices for the opener of the original Yankee Stadium against Boston in 1923. Bleacher seats can be purchased for 25 cents and grandstand tickets will go for $1.10.
Nick Johnson, finalizing a $5.75 million, one-year deal, returns to the Yankees to become the team's designated hitter, a void created by the departure of Hideki Matsui. Prior to the start of the 2004 season, the Bronx Bombers dealt the 31-year old first baseman to the Expos in exchange for right-handed starter Javier Vazquez, who was recently reacquired by the club in a trade with Atlanta.
Versatile outfielder Coco Crisp (.228, 3, 14), who can play all three spots in the outfield, signs a $5.25 million, one-year contract with the A's. The 30-year-old flychaser underwent surgery on both shoulders last season, limiting his playing time to only 49 games with the Royals, who declined an $8 million option on the speedy switch-hitter from California.
Darren Oliver inks a $3.5 million, one-year pact that includes a 2011 option, making the 39-year-old southpaw a Ranger for the third time in his 16-year major league career. The left-handed reliever retired in 2005, but resurrected his career with the Mets the following year, before becoming a fixture in the Angels bullpen the past three seasons.
The Cubs trade lefty reliever Sean Marshall to the Reds for southpaw starter Travis Wood, outfielder Dave Sappelt and minor league infielder Ronald Torreyes. In February, Chicago's former set-up man will sign a three-year, $18 million extension with his new team that runs through 2015.