Monty Stratton, having compiled a 36-23 record (.610) during his five-year major league career, has his right leg amputated as the result of a hunting accident in Greenville, Texas. The White Sox hurler's attempted comeback is chronicled in the 1949 movie The Stratton Story, starring Jimmy Stewart in the title role.
Hal Newhouser (29-9, 2.22, 187) edges his Tiger teammate Dizzy Trout (27-14, 2.12, 144) by four votes to be named the American League's MVP. The future Hall of Fame southpaw, who will also win the award next year, had posted only 34 victories in the past four seasons.
Having already relieved general manager Branch Rickey of his duties, Brooklyn owner Walter O'Malley continues his house cleaning when he names Pacific Coast League Oakland manager Chuck Dressen to replace the fired 65 year-old Burt Shotton, who compiled a 326-215 (.603) record during his four-year tenure as the Dodgers skipper.
Monte Irvin’s tenure with the Giants ends when the former Negro League standout is claimed in the Rule V draft by the Cubs. The future Hall of Fame outfielder will retire after playing one season in Chicago, finishing his brief eight-year major league career with a .293 batting average.
The Indians name Major Kerby Farrell as the team's new manager, replacing Al Lopez who resign on the last day of the season after finishing his six-year tenure with a franchise best 570-354 (.617) record. The Tribe's 43 year-old new skipper led the AA Indianapolis Indians to the Junior World Series title, sweeping the Rochester Red Wings (Cardinals) in four games at the end of September .
The American League announces Opening Day will be on April 9th, the earliest date the Junior Circuit has ever started the regular season. After President Eisenhower throws out the ceremonial first pitch, the Senators will go on to beat the Orioles, 9-2, in the traditional opener played in Washington D.C.'s Griffith Stadium.
Twins freshman outfielder Tony Olivia, named on 19 of the 20 ballots cast by a special committee of the BBWAA, is overwhelmingly selected as the American League's Rookie of the Year, with the lone dissenting vote going to 19 year-old Oriole right-hander Wally Bunker (19-5, 2.69). The Cuban native from Pinar del Rio won the AL's batting crown with a .323 average while hitting 32 home runs and driving in 94 runs for the sixth-place club.
The Phillies' slugging third baseman Dick Allen is chosen as the National League's Rookie of the Year, receiving 18 of the 20 votes cast by a special committee of the BBWAA. The 'Wampum Walloper' led the circuit in runs scored, triples, and total bases, batting .328, fifth best in the league, with 29 homers and 91 RBIs.
Future Red Sox owner Haywood Sullivan resigns as A's manager to become the Red Sox director of player personnel and vice president of the club. The Donalsonville, Georgia native is replaced by Alvin Dark, who will lead the club to a seventh-place finish in his only full season in Kansas City.
In a seven-player blockbuster deal between cross-town rivals, the Dodgers trade Bobby Valentine, Billy Grabarkewitz, Frank Robinson, Bill Singer, and Mike Strahler to the Angels for Ken McMullen and Andy Messersmith. Both Singer (1973) and Messersmith (1974) will become 20-game winners for their new teams.
After pleading guilty to making illegal contributions to the Re-elect Nixon campaign, and to a felony charge of obstruction of justice, Yankee owner George Steinbrenner is suspended from baseball for two years by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. The 'Boss' will have his suspension commuted to fifteen months, and in January of 1989, he will be pardoned by Ronald Reagan, just prior to the president ending his term of office.
Right-hander Rick Sutcliffe, who compiled a 17-10 record on a losing Dodger team, is named on 20 of 24 writers' ballots to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Outfielders Jeffrey Leonard of the Astros and Scot Thompson of the Cubs garner the remaining four votes.
Rich Gedman becomes the highest paid catcher in the American League, signing a one-year contract with the Red Sox for $1.2 million. The Boston backstop, who will appear in only 93 games, bats a meager .212 in his last full season with the team.
Curtis Leskanic (9-3, 2.56, 12 saves) agrees to a $7.2 million, three-year incentive-laden contract with the Brewers, which can almost double based on his performance. The 32 year-old closer converted 11 of 12 save chances after former Milwaukee closer Bob Wickman was traded to the Indians at the end of January.
Agreeing to a deal which pays him the highest average salary for a reliever in baseball history, Phillies left-handed free-agent Billy Wagner is offered a $43 million, four-year contract to close for the Mets. The 34 year-old ‘Billy the Kid’, who lead the NL in games finished with 70, will compile 101 saves in his 3+ seasons with New York.
Closer B.J. Ryan, who saved 36 games last season for the Orioles, agrees to a $47 million, five-year deal with the Blue Jays. The thirty year-old southpaw’s contract calls for the largest amount of money ever given to a reliever.
Due to the 15-year restriction, Pete Rose is no longer eligible for possible inclusion on the baseball writers' Hall of Fame ballot. The all-time hits leader, who was banned from baseball for life in 1989 for allegedly gambling on the game, has not been listed previously because the Hall of Fame Board of Directors decreed that anyone on the permanently ineligible list couldn't be considered by BBWAA.
Adam Kennedy ends his seven-year tenure with the Angels, signing a $10-million, three-year deal with the Cardinals. The former Redbird farmhand will be reunited with David Eckstein, the second baseman's double-play partner during the 2002 World Series championship year in Anaheim.
In a six-player trade, the Twins obtain outfielder Delmon Young, infielder Brendan Harris, and outfield prospect Jason Pridie from the Rays in exchange for right-handed starter Matt Garza, starting shortstop Jason Bartlett, and pitching prospect Eduardo Morlan. The acquisition of the 22 year-old turbulent Tampa Bay outfielder, who was admonished by his manager Joe Maddon last season for not hustling, will help Minnesota fill the void created by free agent Torii Hunter's departure to the Angels.
The White Sox sign free agent Scott Linebrink (5-6, 3.71) to a four-year, $19 million contract, which is considered by many to be a very lucrative deal for a middle-reliever. Chicago plans to use the former Padres/Brewers reliever in an eighth inning set-up role to get to their closer Bobby Jenks.
Less than a week after obtaining the Astros from Drayton McLane, new owner Jim Crane fires GM Ed Wade and team president Tal Smith. In a statement issued by new team president and chief executive officer George Postolos, Dave Gottfried, Houston's assistant GM, has been asked to serve as the club's interim general manager until a replacement can be found.
The Rays sign veteran backstop Jose Molina to a one-year, $1.5-million contract that includes a club option for the same amount for the 2013 season. The 36 year-old catcher, known for his outstanding defensive skills, hit a career-best .281 last season with Toronto.
In a blockbuster trade, the Blue Jays acquired Josh Donaldson from the A's in exchange for second baseman Brett Lawrie, pitching prospects Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin, as well as Franklin Barreto, a talented minor league infielder. The deal for the 28 year-old All-Star comes as a surprise because the Toronto third baseman was considered untouchable, in part for not being eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season.