At Palmar de Junco, a Havanan team plays Matanzas in the first documented baseball game to take place in Cuba. The contest is called after seven innings due to darkness with Havana leading, 51-9.
Levi Walker, the third person to play Chief Noc-A-Homa, a role he will perform from 1969 through 1985, is born. Dressed in Native American costume, the Georgia native will come out of his tepee, located in the bleachers, to set off smoke signals and do a celebration dance whenever a Braves player homers at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
Former Yankee infielder Roy White is born in Los Angeles. The two-time All-Star will play 15 years in the majors, compiling a lifetime .271 batting average for the Bronx Bombers.
Johnny Murphy becomes the Mets' third general manager in franchise history when he replaces Bing Devine. During his tenure, the team begins to benefit from their talented farm system, especially its young pitching prospects which include Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, and Gary Gentry, all who will play a major role in the club's World Championship in 1969.
Ed Whitson, 14-8 with the NL champion Padres, signs a five-year $4.4 million contract with the Yankees. The free-agent deal becomes a nightmare for both the pitcher and the team when the right-hander lasts only a season and half, compiling a 15-10 record along with an ERA of 5.38 in 44 games with the Bronx Bombers.
After 21 years being heard on WABC, the Yankees will broadcast its spring training, regular-season, and postseason games on all-news station WCBS-AM, which is owned by Infinity Broadcasting. The five-year deal with the Yankees' YES Network, created earlier this year, is worth approximately $50 million.
The Mets continue to stay busy this off season, acquiring first baseman Mo Vaughn for 13-year veteran right hander Kevin Appier (11-10, 3.57) and cash. The 1995 American League MVP will join Roberto Alomar, Roger Cedeno, and Shawn Estes as the newest members of the Shea Squad.
In his hometown of Loíza, Puerto Rico, former major league All-Star outfielder Ivan Calderon is shot and killed at a bar in which several murders have already been reported in the past year. During his ten-year major league career, the 41 year-old played with the Mariners (1984–1986), White Sox (1986–1990), Expos (1991–1992), Red Sox (1993), and the White Sox (1993).
After the Cubs decline Moises Alou's (.293, 39, 106) contract option, the Giants ink the free agent outfielder to a one-year contract with an option for a second year. The signing marks the second time the All-Star will be managed by his dad Felipe, as he did playing with the Expos from 1992-96.
Hoping he will continue to be a hot hitter at Kauffman Stadium (.415), the Royals sign free-agent Miguel Olivo (.237, 16, 60) to a one-year contract with a mutual option for the following season. The 29 year-old backstop was the Marlins' starting catcher for the past two seasons, but was not tendered a contract after Florida acquired catching prospect Mike Rabelo in the blockbuster trade with the Tigers during the Winter Meetings.
Adding speed at the top of their order and a superior glove in centerfield, the Reds sign Willy Taveras (.251, 1, 26) to a two-year contract. The 27 year-old speedster, who led the major leagues with 68 stolen bases last season, became a free agent earlier in the month when the Rockies declined to offer him a contract after the oft-injured outfielder spent two seasons with the team.
The Rangers come to terms on a seven-year, $130 million deal with free-agent Shin-Soo Choo, who will join the recently acquired power-hitting first baseman Prince Fielder to provide more offense for the club. The 31 year-old outfielder, who compiled a .423 on-base percentage, hit .285 with 21 home runs and drove in 54 runs for the Reds last season.