On Thanksgiving Day, New York City baseball enthusiasts enjoy the official closing of the season with all the available fields packed with players on this day of gratitude. The New York York Times reports if the weather is good, "the ball tossers will have a great deal of exciting sport."
The American Association expands to a dozen teams, admitting the Brooklyn Atlantics, Indianapolis Hoosiers, Toledo Blue Stockings, and the Washington Nationals. The new clubs join existing franchises in New York (Metropolitans), Columbus (Buckeyes), Louisville (Eclipse), St. Louis (Browns), Cincinnati (Red Stockings), Baltimore (Orioles), Richmond (Virginians), and Pittsburgh (Alleghenys).
At a gathering of stunned reporters in his office on Montague Street, team owner Walter O'Malley announces Chuck Dressen will be replaced as Dodger manager by Walter Alston, who will remain skipper of the club for the next 23 years, winning seven pennants and four World Series. The leading candidate for the position was Pee Wee Reese, Brooklyn's popular shortstop.
Bill Veeck, along with his son Mike and a nephew, is among the 250,000 people who pay their respect to John F Kennedy, laying in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. The former major league owner of the Phillies, Indians, Browns, and White Sox is encouraged by representatives of the slain president’s family to move to the front, but he insists he is just an ordinary citizen and keeps his place in the extreme cold as blood from his amputated leg begins to soak his trousers during the 15 hours of standing in line.
Ken Boyer (.295, 24, 119) is selected as the National League's MVP. The World Champion Cardinal third basemen easily outdistances Johnny Callison and Bill White for the honor.
Atlanta's slugger Earl Williams receives 18 of 24 first place votes cast by the BBWAA to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award. The Braves' 23 year-old catcher-infielder hit 33 home runs and drove in 87 runs for the third-place team this season.
The Twins name Gene Mauch to replace the team's popular skipper Frank Quilici. The respected National League strategist will compile a 378-394 (.490) record during his five-year tenure with Minnesota.
Orioles infielder Cal Ripken (.264, 28, 93) wins the American League Rookie of the Year Award. The Maryland native's consecutive game streak is in its infancy at 118 games.
The Twins announce interim manager Tom Kelly will be the club's skipper next season. The Minnesota native, who replaced Ray Miller at the end of the season, will compile a losing record (1140-1244) but wins two World Championships during his 16-year tenure as skipper.
The Mets' one-time closer John Franco signs a three-year pact as a set-up man to stay with his hometown team, foregoing an opportunity to close for the Phillies. The 40 year-old Staten Island resident, who needs 59 saves to break Lee Smith's career record of 478, lost his closing job to Armando Benitez during the 1998 season .
The Phillies, in an effort to fill the void created when Scott Rolen was traded to the Cardinals last July, sign third baseman David Bell to a four-year, $17 million free agent deal. The 30 year-old infielder, whose father (Buddy) and grandfather (Gus) were also major leaguers, played for the National League champion Giants last season after being traded by the Mariners during the spring.
After guiding the Dodgers to their first title since 1995, the club signs Jim Tracy (356-292) to a two-year extension to manage the team. The 48 year-old skipper, who led Los Angeles to a 93-69 record last season, has had four consecutive winning seasons in the City of Angels.
The Marlins cut their payroll when the team sends last season’s premiere free agent Carlos Delgado (.301, 33, 115) and $7 million to the Mets for Mike Jacobs (10 homers in 100 at bats), minor league infielder Grant Psomas and Yusmeiro Petit, a highly touted pitching prospect. In January, the free-agent first baseman left Toronto after 12 years of service to sign a four-year deal worth a reported $52 million to play for Florida.
On Thanksgiving night, the Marlins begin carving away at their payroll by completing the trade with the Red Sox which sends 2003 World Series MVP hurler Josh Beckett, Gold Glove third baseman Mike Lowell, and set-up man Guillermo Mota to Beantown. This deal, in which the Fish receives four minor leaguers, including top shortstop prospect Hanley Ramirez, and the Delgado trade with the Mets will save the club $27 million next season.
Carlos Lee, who turned down a four-year, $48 million offer from the Brewers, signs the richest contract in franchise history, agreeing to a six-year deal with the Astros worth $100 million. El Caballo, who split last season playing left field and DHing for the Brewers and Rangers, becomes the second player this off-season and the 12th overall in baseball history to sign a contract which reaches one-tenth of a billion dollars.
New Mexico governor Bill Richardson admits that the part of his bio which reports he had been picked by the Kansas City A's in the 1966 amateur baseball draft is untrue. The claim of the potential presidential candidate, who pitched in college for Tufts University, is debunked by an Albuquerque Journal investigation which found no evidence of the Guv ever being selected by any major league team.
As a result of being among the top finishers in an Indian reality TV show called the “Million Dollar Arm”, which drew approximately 30,000 contestants, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel sign free-agent deals to pitch for the Pirates, although they have never had thrown a baseball until earlier this year. The pair of 20 year-old cricket players, the first two players from India to sign a contract with a major league organization, will have a Disney movie made about their experience.
Albert Pujols (.327, 47, 135), the unanimous choice of the writers, wins his third National League MVP award, copping the honor for the second consecutive year. The Cardinals' first baseman joins Stan Musial, Roy Campanella, Mike Schmidt, and Barry Bonds, who won the award seven times, as the fifth player to be selected three times in the Senior Circuit for the prestigious prize.
The commissioner's office announces the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award has been given to Vladimir Guerrero. The Rangers' DH, who hit .306, with 25 homers, along with 106 RBI for the American League Champions, beat out Boston's David Ortiz and Minnesota's Jim Thome for the honor.
After designating him for assignment last week, the Pirates trade left-hander Zach Duke to the Diamondbacks for a player to be named later, who will be right-hander Cesar Valdez. The 27 year-old southpaw, who burst onto the scene with an 8-2 record along with a 1.81 ERA, has compiled a 37-68 record since his impressive debut with the Bucs in 2005.