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This Day in Baseball History
March 29th

25 Fact(s) Found
1933 After missing half of last season when he broke his leg, Cubs outfielder Kiki Cuyler breaks his other leg and will miss nearly three months of this season. The 36 year-old future Hall of Famer has led the league in stolen bases four times and will finish with 328 career steals.

Kiki Cuyler (1925)
Library of Congress - George Grantham Bain Collection

1935 The reigning National League champion Cardinals release 44 year-old right-hander Dazzy Vance, who appeared in his first and only World Series this season. The future Hall of Fame hurler will return to the Dodgers, where he spent the most productive years of his career, finishing his major league 16-year tenure in the major leagues with a 197-140 (.585) record along with an ERA of 3.24.
1944 During a Pacific Coast League minor league exhibition game, Oakland lends L.A. five players after some of their opponents suffer an assortment of injuries in a car accident. The 'visiting' team beats the hometown Oaks, 6-2.
1948 Thirty-four players participate in an unusually long exhibition game when the Yankees and the Red Sox take 17 innings to play to a 2-2 tie. The four-hour, two-minute contest features the Bronx Bombers scoring runs in the bottom of the ninth and tenth innings to keep the score knotted, but the team fails to push in the winning run in the final frame when Frank Crosetti attempts a two-out bunt to squeeze in a runner from third.
1954 The Cubs fire skipper Phil Cavarretta after he tells reporters the team had little chance to finish in the first division. The 36 year-old player-manager, who compiled a 169-213 (.442) record during his three years at the helm, is the first to lose a managerial position during spring training.
1973 At the suggestion of A's owner Charlie Finley, orange-colored balls are used in an 11-5 exhibition game loss to the Indians. Major League Baseball drops the novel concept after Cleveland outfielder George Hendrick, who hit three home runs in the contest, claims he had difficulty picking up the ball due to the lack of red seams on a white sphere.
1975 Mel Stottlemyre, suffering from a torn rotator cuff, is given his unconditional release by the Yankees. The team's future pitching coach compiled a 164-139 record and a 2.97 ERA, tossing 152 complete games that include 40 shutouts.

Amazon Pride and Pinstripes: The Yankees, Mets, and Surviving Life's Challenges

2000 The Expos and Labatt announce the C$100M sponsorship deal, negotiated two years ago, will go forward as planned. The Brewery has committed to pay C$40M over the next twenty years for the naming rights to Montreal's proposed downtown ballpark and approximately another C$60M to be the team's primary sponsor, a role the company has played for the past 15 years.
2001 Todd Helton signs a nine-year, $141.5 million contract extension, making him the highest-paid player in Rockies' history. Last season, the Colorado first baseman batted .372, hit 42 homers, and knocked in 147 runs.
2002 After the team purchases Rickey Henderson's contract from Pawtucket, the Red Sox places future Hall of Fame outfielder on their Opening Day roster. The 'Man of Steal,' who joined the exclusive 3,000-hit club on the final day of last season, will begin his 24th year in the majors, appearing with his eighth different club.
2002 Major League Baseball announces there will be a minute of silence at 9:11 at every major league team's first-night game this season to remember September 11th's tragic events. The song God Bless America will continue to be sung during the seventh-inning stretch of all contests.
2002 The Brewers announce the Miller Park's retractable roof will be used only on a limited basis at the start of the season as engineers try to eliminate persistent noise coming from the year-old structure. According to the engineers who designed the building, the problem in the pivot system, located behind and above home plate in the so-called Uecker seats, is not a hazard.
2007 In a split-squad game between the Cubs and Diamondbacks at Mesa's HoHoKam Park, Ria Cortesio, serving alternately as the first and third base umpire, becomes the first female ump to work a major league exhibition game since Pam Postema in 1989. The thirty-year-old Davenport (IA) native, who is starting her ninth year overall as an arbitrator and fifth in Double-A minor league ball, hopes to be the first woman umpire in major league history.

In an exhibition game celebrating the club's 50th anniversary of their move west from Brooklyn, the Dodgers lose to the Red Sox in front of 115,300 fans at the LA Coliseum. The crowd is the largest ever to watch a baseball game, surpassing the previous record when approximately 114,000 patrons attended an exhibition contest between the Australian national team and an American services team during the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.

2009 The Yankees dedicate a permanent September 11th memorial at the entrance of George M. Steinbrenner Field, the team's Spring Training home in Tampa (FL). The tribute to the victims and their families of the terrorist attacks of 2001 features a foundation in the shape of the Pentagon, which supports two towers made from steel from the World Trade Center placed on a grassy spot representing the heroes of United Flight 93, who perished in a field in Pennsylvania.

9-11 Memorial at George M. Steinbrenner Field -- Tampa, FL, March 17, 2015

9-11 Memorial at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa (FL)
posted on Flickr by Baseballoogie

2009 John Franco throws out the ceremonial first pitch to a standing ovation from the crowd attending the collegiate matchup between St. John's and Georgetown in the first baseball game ever played at Citi Field. Before tossing his signature pitch, a breaking ball in the dirt, the former Mets reliever goes to the mound wearing a familiar blue and orange jacket, removes his coat to reveal his alma mater's colors, a Red Storm jersey with his number 45.

2009 On a damp and chilly afternoon, 22,397 patrons become the first fans to attend a baseball game at Citi Field, the Mets' new home, when St. John's University hosts Georgetown in a collegiate contest. The weather dampened the schools' hope of breaking the NCAA attendance record of 40,106, set during a game between San Diego State and Houston played at Petco Park in 2004.
2009 Dontrelle Willis is placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Tigers. D-Train, unsuccessful since winning 22 games with the Marlins in 2003, has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, believed by the doctors to be easily treatable, according to the southpaw.
2010 Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announces President Obama will throw out the first pitch before Washington's game against the Phillies at Nationals Park on Opening Day, continuing a century-old tradition. In 1910, William Howard Taft became the first Commander-in-Chief to toss the ceremonial first pitch to start the season.
2013 The Giants and Buster Posey, the National League's MVP, come to terms on an eight-year, $159 million extension that includes a full no-trade clause. The deal, which will keep the 26 year-old backstop in a Giants' uniform through 2021, is the second-richest contract ever given to a catcher, surpassed only by the Twins' signing of Joe Mauer two seasons ago to an eight-year, $184 million pact.

Amazon 2013 Buster Posey Baseball Card (Topps #128)

2013 Tiger right-hander Justin Verlander agrees to a seven-year, $180 million contract, the richest deal for a pitcher in baseball history. The 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner, already signed through 2014 under a previous $80 million, five-year deal, decides not to test free agency in two years, stating that "the pull of Detroit was too much."
2017 The Dodgers commemorate Kirk Gibson's historic pinch-hit, walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series by offering a special ticket package to sit in the right-field pavilion seat, recently painted blue and autographed by him, where the ball landed. The team is donating two-thirds of the $300 price of the ducats, including a companion seat, two commemorative T-shirts, and food and drink, to the Kirk Gibson Foundation to raise money and awareness for Parkinson's research, a neurological disease affecting the Fall Classic hero.

2018 Matt Davidson becomes the fourth major leaguer to hit three home runs on Opening Day, contributing to the White Sox’s 14-7 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. The White Sox slugging third baseman joins Dmitri Young (Tigers, 2005), Tuffy Rhodes (Cubs, 1994), and George Bell (Blue Jays, 1988) in accomplishing the feat on the first day of the season.

2018 Excluding international openers, this date marks the earliest start of the major league season in the history of the game. The schedule calls for all the teams to play on Opening Day for the first time since April 10th, 1968, the last season before divisional play started in the American and National Leagues.

On Opening Day, the late right-hander Roy Halladay’s number #32 is retired during an emotional on-field ceremony at Rogers Centre. In his 12 seasons with Toronto, the six-time American League All-Star, who died in a plane crash off the coast of Florida in November, compiled a 148-76 record along with a 3.43 ERA before his trade to the Phillies in 2009 for minor league prospects.

25 Fact(s) Found