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This Day in Baseball History
December 29th

13 Fact(s) Found
1878 In Havana, the first game is played in the Professional Baseball League of Cuba, later to be known as the Cuban League, when hometown Habana edges its rivals from suburban Almendares, 21-20. The winning team is led by player-manager Esteban Enrique Bellan, who will become the first Latino to appear in the major leagues, playing for the Troy Haymakers and the New York Mutuals of the National Association from 1871 to 1873.
1932 The Boston Braves reacquire Shanty Hogan when they purchase the catcher they traded away four years ago to the Giants for $25,000. The slow-footed, but gifted defensive backstop lost his spot in the New York lineup at the end of the season when new player-manager Bill Terry, who replaced the legendary John McGraw in early June, elected to build the team around speed and pitching.
1933 Babe Ruth loses an opportunity to manage the Reds when Jacob Ruppert refuses to release his 38 year-old outfielder. The Yankee owner still viewed the aging superstar, who batted .301 with 34 home runs and 103 RBIs last season, as an asset to the team.
1969 The New York Times reports Curt Flood will challenge the reserve clause by suing major league baseball. The Cardinals' outfielder's case, which will ultimately be appealed unsuccessfully in the U.S. Supreme Court, will pave the way for the players to overturn baseball's reserve clause in their attempt to gain free agency.
1973 Philip G. Epstein, an American screenwriter best known, along with his identical twin, Julius, and Howard Koch, for writing the 1942 Academy Award-winning screenplay for Casablanca, welcomes his fraternal twin grandsons into the world. In twenty-eight years, the 60-second younger brother of Paul, Theo, will become the youngest GM in the history of major league baseball, when the Red Sox hired him in 2002.

1977 Melissa Ludtke, female Sports Illustrated sports writer, files suit against major league baseball, the Yankees, and New York City officials for denying her access to the locker room to interview players during the World Series. In September, a federal judge will rule that the Bronx Bombers can no longer enforce an MLB policy that bans female reporters the locker rooms on the grounds it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, by giving an unfair advantage to males.
2002 Sending a huge dust cloud down the Ohio River, Cinergy Field, formerly known as Riverfront Stadium, is imploded with 1,275 pounds of explosives. The former home of the Reds was the site where Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth's career home run record on Opening Day in 1974, and Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb's all-time hits record in 1985.
2003 The Angels announced their ballpark will now be known as Angel Stadium of Anaheim. In 1997, their 41 year-old home originally known Anaheim Stadium was renamed Edison International Field.
2005 Agreeing to a $60 million, five-year contract, Indians free agent Kevin Millwood (9-11, 2.86) joins the Rangers' new and improved rotation as the ace the team has been seeking. The 31 year-old right-hander, who had the lowest ERA in the American League last season, will anchor a staff which also includes newcomers Vicente Padilla (9-12, 4.71) and Adam Eaton (11-5, 4.27), acquired from the Phillies and Padres, respectively.
2005 In an attempt to permit Cuba to participate in the 16-team World Baseball Classic, Venezuela offers to host the Group C teams in place of the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and suggests the finals be played in Canada, rather than in San Diego's Petco Park. The changes in venue would mean Castro's charges would avoid playing on U.S. soil, and not be subject to the U.S. Treasury Department regulations which ban the team due to American trade and financial embargoes.
2009 Mark DeRosa, a veteran .275 hitter, signs a $12 million, two-year deal with the Giants. The 34 year-old versatile infielder, who was traded by Cleveland to the Cardinals at the end of June, will most likely play first or third base and hit fifth behind cleanup batter Pablo Sandoval.
2009 The Mets and Jason Bay, a former farmhand, agree to a four-year deal worth approximately $66 million that includes a vesting option for a fifth year for an additional $14 million. The 31 year-old outfielder joined the organization as a minor leaguer in 2002 when Omar Minaya, then the general manager of the Expos, traded the Class A pull hitter to New York, who shipped him four months later to San Diego as part of an undistinguished deal.
2012 Ruth Ann Steinhagen, the Chicago woman whose near-fatal 1949 shooting as a 19 year-old of former Cubs first baseman Eddie Waitkus, dies anonymously at the age of 83. Her crime, the inspiration for the book and movie The Natural, put a spotlight on 'baseball Annies', young, hero-worshipping females who relentlessly pursued major league ballplayers.

13 Fact(s) Found