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This Day in Baseball History
January 31st

17 Fact(s) Found
1919 In Cario (GA), Mallie (McGriff) and Jerry Robinson give birth to Jack Roosevelt Robinson, the youngest of five children of the sharecroppers' family. On April 15, 1947, the former UCLA football and track standout will break baseball color line, starting at first base in the Brooklyn Dodgers' 5-3 victory over the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field.
1950 After purchasing his contract from movie producer Frederick Stephani, the Pirates sign Narbonne High School (Harbor City, CA) southpaw Paul Pettit to a record $100,000 deal. In 1951 and 1953, the 'Wizard of Whiff,' who once struck out 27 batters in a 12-inning high school baseball game, makes only 12 mound appearances for the Bucs, posting a 1-2 record and a 7.34 ERA .
1959 Joe Cronin signs a seven-year deal to become the American League president. The former Red Sox infielder remains in the post until succeeded by Lee MacPhail in 1971.
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, known as the world's eighth wonder, results from today's approval, serving as the Astros' home from 1965 to 1999.

Amazon Houston Astrodome Blueprint Print

1977 One-time Indian infielder Joe Sewell, former Giants hurler Amos Rusie, and Al Lopez, as the White Sox manager, are elected to the Hall of Fame. The Veterans Committee is responsible for their selection to the Cooperstown shrine.
1980 Free-agent second baseman Joe Morgan signs with Astros, rejoining his first major league team. The two-time MVP, traded to Cincinnati in 1971, became a vital cog in the Big Red Machine.
1983 Future Hall of Famer Tony Perez signs a one-year contract with the Phillies, joining his former Big Red Machine teammates Pete Rose and Joe Morgan. 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.

Amazon March 14, 1983 SI Magazine
(Phillies Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan)


"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 on his feelings about playing for a New York team in a Sports Illustrated article.

Commissioner Bud Selig suspends John Rocker for 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 public comments.

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┬Ż 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.

Amazon The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson,
Ralph Branca, and the Shot Heard Round the World (Audible)

2003 To secure funding for a significant 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 Southsiders' home used since 1910.
2007 At New York's Gracey Mansion, Major League Baseball announces Yankee Stadium as the venue for the 2008 All-Star Game, marking the fourth time in its history (1939, 1960, 1977) that the ballpark has served as the game's host. The annual Midsummer Classic will showcase the historic 'House that Ruth Built' in its final season as the Bronx Bombers' home.

All-Star Games Played at Yankee Stadium.

2008 Pedro Feliz (.253, 20, 72) and the Phillies come to terms on a two-year, $8.5 million 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 shore up its weakness at the hot corner.
2008 Brad Wilkerson (.234, 20, 62) signs a one-year, $3 million contract to roam the Mariners' outfield. The free-agent acquisition may indicate that the much-anticipated trade with the Orioles for southpaw Erik Bedard is close when Seattle includes outfielder Adam Jones to Baltimore as part of the deal.
2011 Rafael Betancourt becomes the fifth non-free agent to sign a multi-year 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 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 team obtains the 29-year-old All-Star, who can be used both in the outfield and the infield, to play third base, helping to fill the void created by Chris Johnson's departure, also sent to the Braves in the deal.
2018 Mookie Betts wins his arbitration case against the Red Sox, getting the highest one-year salary ever awarded to players in their first year of eligibility. The $10.5 million will be a bargain when the Boston Gold Glove right fielder easily cops the American League MVP award, leading the team to its fourth world championship since 2004.

"The impact he made, the adversity he faced, the success he had, and the roads he paved for so many people in this country, it's very inspiring." - STEVE KERR, NBA head coach, speaking of Jackie Robinson's legacy.

On Jackie Robinson's 100th birthday, NBA Warriors head coach Steve Kerr wears a tee-shirt honoring the baseball legend while addressing the media before Golden State's loss 113-104 to the 76er at Oracle Arena. The former point guard and avid fan of baseball history, known for his outspoken political views, believes the Dodgers legend probably represents Black History Month as well as any person possibly could.

17 Fact(s) Found