Monte Irvin becomes the first African-American player, along with hurler Ford Smith, to sign with the Giants. Although the 29 year-old outfielder will play only five full seasons in the major leagues, the former Newark Eagles standout will be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973, primarily for his outstanding play in the Negro Leagues with the Newark Eagles.
Fred Saigh is found guilty of income tax evasion and is sentenced to a fifteen-month jail term, but will served only five months at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, before being given parole for good behavior. The embattled Cardinal owner, under pressure of his franchise being taken away by MLB, puts in place a lucrative deal with a consortium that plans to move the team to Houston, but is persuaded to sell the team for less ($3.5 million) to Gussie Busch, when the Anheuser-Busch president persuades him that civic pride was more important than financial gain.
Detroit trades infielder Jim Finigan and $25,000 to the Giants for first baseman Gail Harris and utility man Ozzie Virgil, who will become first non-white to play for the Tigers. The 26 year-old Dominican will make his debut at third base for the Motor City team at Griffith Stadium on June 6, doubling in the top of the eighth in the team's 11-2 victory over Washington.
Roy Campanella, driving home from his liquor store in Harlem, breaks his neck when his rented 1957 Chevrolet sedan hit a telephone pole in an early morning auto accident on Long Island. The 36 year-old Dodger catcher, who has won three MVP awards (1951, '53, '55) will be paralyzed for the remainder of his life.
The International League Board of Directors votes to move the Montreal franchise to Syracuse, New York, where the former Dodger farm club will play as the as the Chiefs. The Canadian city holds a unique place in baseball history for being the home of the first major-league affiliate to break the so-called 'color barrier,' signing Jackie Robinson in 1945 to play with the Royals the following season.
Goose Goslin, a former Senator and Tiger outfielder who retired with a career .316 batting average after playing in five World Series, and Kiki Cuyler, a .321 career hitter who won four stolen base crowns while running the bases for the Pirates and Cubs, are elected into the Hall of Fame by a unanimous vote of the Veterans Committee. Goslin believed his enshrinement in Cooperstown was helped by his interview that was shared in Lawrence Ritter's 1966 book, The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It.
The Orioles, in order to make room for Cal Ripken, Jr., trade third baseman Doug DeCinces along with minor league southpaw Jeff Schneider to the Angels for outfielder Dan Ford. The Halos' new infielder, who had succeeded future Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson in Baltimore, will win the Silver Slugger Award this season.
The Rangers sign 34 year-old free-agent catcher Darrell Porter to a one-year contract. The bespectacled backup backstop will hit .253 during his tenure in Texas, his last two years in the majors.
Recently traded first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who caught and kept the ball used to make the last out, giving the Red Sox their first World championship in 86 years, will lend his souvenir to his former club. The historic horsehide, which Boston claims belongs to the team, will be encased within a plaque and will become part of the victory tour which includes World Series trophy.
The Rays and James Shields (12-8, 3.85) finalize a $11.25 million, four-year deal which includes options that could make the contract worth nearly $38 million over the next seven years. The 26 year-old right-hander was second in the big leagues in strikeout-to-walk ratio - an impressive 184 to 36, trailing only CC Sabathia (209 to 37).
Avoiding salary arbitration, the Angels and 28 year-old infielder Maicer Izturis come to terms on a one-year deal worth $1.6 million. The Halos' opening-day shortstop missed 61 games last season after tearing a ligament in his left thumb in August and straining his lower back in May, necessitating the first of his two stints on the disabled list.
Aaron Heilman is traded for the second time this offseason when the Mariners swap the 30 year-old right hander to the Cubs for utility infielder Ronny Cedeno and southpaw Garrett Olson. Seven weeks ago, the Mets dealt the much-maligned reliever to Seattle as part of a three-team trade that included the Indians.
David Weathers decides to stay with Cincinnati after signing a one-year deal that guarantees the 39 year-old reliever $3.9 million. A member of the Reds pitching staff for the past four seasons, the right-hander compiled a 4-6 record, posting a 3.25 ERA in 72 appearances from the bullpen last season.
The Twins plan to remove the 14 pine trees located behind the center field wall that were planted last season to be the batter's eye at Target Field. The evergreens, which possibly will be relocated inside the newly opened ballpark, made it difficult for hitters to pick up the ball from the pitcher's hand due to the movement of the conifers in the wind and the shadows cast during afternoon contests.
In an Oklahoma City ceremony, Cy Young Award recipient Dallas Keuchel receives the Warren Spahn Award, an honor given baseball's top left-handed pitcher. The 28 year-old southpaw, who posted a 20-8 record along with an ERA of 2.48 for the Astros this season, is the first Oklahoman to collect the prestigious pitching prize named in honor of the crafty left-hander.