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This Day in Baseball History
January 31st

13 Fact(s) Found
1959 Joe Cronin signs a seven-year deal to become the American League president. The former Red Sox infielder will remain in the post until 1973, when he will be succeeded by Lee MacPhail.
1961 Houston voters approve financing for a domed stadium, removing the last hurdle to gaining a major league franchise for the Texas city. The Astrodome, the eighth wonder of the world, will be the result of today's approval and will serve as the Astros' home from 1965-1999.

Amazon Houston Astrodome Blueprint Print

1977 One-time Indian infielder Joe Sewell, former Giants hurler Amos Rusie, and Al Lopez, as a manager of the White Sox, are elected to the Hall of Fame. Their selection to the Cooperstown shrine is made by the Veterans Committee.
1980 The Astros sign free-agent second baseman Joe Morgan. Houston was the first major league team the two-time MVP played with before he was traded to Cincinnati, where he will become a cog in the Big Red Machine.
1983 Future Hall of Famer Tony Perez signs a one-year contract with the Phillies. The veteran first baseman will hit .241, appearing in 91 games in his only season with Philadelphia, before returning to his first team, the Reds, for the final three years of his 23-year tenure in the major leagues.

"I would retire first. It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you're [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing." - JOHN ROCKER, commenting in a Sports Illustrated article on his feelings about playing for a New York team.

Commissioner Bud Selig suspends John Rocker until May 1, a span of 73 days, due to the Braves closer's racial and ethnic insensitive remarks reported in a Sports Illustrated article written by Jeff Pearlman. The 25 year-old reliever from Georgia, who is also fined $20,000 and ordered to attend sensitivity training, becomes the first player to be disciplined for comments made publicly.

2001 A Wall Street Journal article quotes former players Monte Irvin, Sal Yvars, and Al Gettel, admitting the team stole catchers' signs during the 1951 pennant race when the Giants overcame the Dodgers' 13.5 game lead. According to the WSJ story written by Joshua Prager, Bobby Thomson, whose three-run, ninth-inning walk-off homer in Game 3 of the National League playoffs won the pennant for New York, did not steal a sign before hitting his historic home run.

Was the '51 Giants Comeback a Miracle,
Or Did They Simply Steal the Pennant?

by Joshua Prager, Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal

2003 In an effort to secure funding for a major re-design of the 12 year-old 'new' Comiskey Park, the White Sox announce the ballpark will now be known as U.S. Cellular Field. The 23-year deal with the wireless service provider, which will pay the White Sox $68 million, changes the name of the home used by the Southsiders since 1910.
2007 At New York's Gracey Mansion, Major League Baseball announces the 2008 All-Star Game will be played at Yankee Stadium for the fourth time (1939, 1960, 1977) in the ballpark's history. The annual Midsummer Classic will showcase the historic 'House that Ruth Built' in its final season as the home of the Bronx Bombers.
2008 Pedro Feliz (.253, 20, 72) and the Phillies come to terms on an $8.5 million, two-year contract which could be worth up to $15 million over three years with an option and various performance bonuses. The versatile free-agent third baseman helps the club to shore up its weakness at the hot corner.
2008 Brad Wilkerson (.234, 20, 62) signs a one-year, $3 million contract to roam the outfield for the Mariners. The acquisition of the free-agent flycatcher may be an indication that the much-anticipated trade with the Orioles for southpaw Erik Bedard is close, as Seattle includes outfielder Adam Jones to Baltimore as part of the deal.
2011 Rafael Betancourt becomes the fifth non-free agent to sign a multiyear deal with the Rockies when he agrees to a new contract that calls for $4 million in 2012 and includes a $4.25 million mutual option for the following season. The 35 year-old right-handed reliever joins shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, and hurlers Matt Lindstrom and Jason Hammel to be offered an extended deal from Colorado this offseason.
2013 Martin Prado, acquired by the Diamondbacks in the Justin Upton trade with Atlanta, agrees to a $40 million, four-year contract with his new team. The 29 year-old All-Star, who plays both in the outfield and the infield, is slated to play third base to help fill the void created by the departure of Chris Johnson, who was also sent to the Braves in the deal.

13 Fact(s) Found