A reported eight million bats are sold in the United States. With a population estimated at approximately 48 million, an average of one out of every six Americans owns a bat.
At the age of 38, Charles H. Ebbets gains a controlling interest of eighty-percent of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Under his ownership, which will last until his death in 1925, the team will post a mediocre 1914-2088 (.478) record, but will win four National League Championships during the ensuing 27 seasons.
Pirates rookie Roberto Clemente has three spinal discs jarred when he is broadsided by a drunk driver, who runs a red light traveling at 60-mph. The car accident will cause the 21 year-old outfielder to have recurrent lower back pain for the remainder of his career.
The State of Ohio drops its suit against the Reds' change in ownership when Bill DeWitt declares in writing the team will stay in Cincinnati for ten years. The new owner claims to never have plans on moving the team, but legal measures were taken when suspicions abounded after he obtained the team from the Crosley Foundation for below market value.
After fifteen years with the Braves, Eddie Mathews along with Sandy Alomar, Sr. and Arnie Umbach, is traded to the Astros in exchange for outfielder Dave Nicholson and RHP Bob Bruce. The future Hall of Fame third baseman is the only person to play for the Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta Braves.
Roberto Clemente is tragically killed when the four-engine DC-7 plane he chartered to bring much needed supplies to the victims of the Nicaraguan earthquake crashes in the Atlantic Ocean after taking off from the coast of Isla Verde. Manny Sanguillen will be the only Pirates player not to attend the memorial service, travelling to Puerto Rico to dive into the waters in an effort to recover his teammate's body, which is never found.
Free-agent Catfish Hunter signs with the Yankees, ending an unprecedented bidding war. The former A's ace inks a five-year, $3.75 million dollar contract (three times more than any other players) to pitch for the Bronx Bombers.
A's third baseman Carney Lansford is seriously injured in a snowmobile accident near his ranch in Baker, Oregon. The 33 year-old All-Star infielder, who suffered severe ligament damage in his left knee as a result of the mishap, will appear in only five games next season.
After the Devil Rays decline his 2005 $8 million contract option, Tino Martinez (.262, 23, 76) signs a one-year, $3 million contract to rejoin the Yankees. The popular 37 year-old first baseman, acquired as insurance in the event Jason Giambi’s (the player who replaced him) health continues to fail, played in the Bronx from 1996-2001.
The Angels agree to a two-year, $17.5 million deal with free-agent Brian Fuentes. The 33 year-old left-handed reliever, who had 30 saves for the Rockies last season, will replace Francisco Rodriguez as the closer for the American League West champions.
Deciding not to shift shortstop Jhonny Peralta to third with Asdrubal Cabrera moving from second to short, the Indians acquire Mark DeRosa from the Cubs to be their everyday third baseman. To get the 33 year-old infielder, the Tribe sends minor league pitching prospects Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer, and John Gaub to Chicago.
The Cubs agree to a $15 million, three-year deal with Texas free-agent Marlon Byrd (.283, 20, 89) to fill the void in the outfield created when an agitated Milton Bradley was traded to Seattle. Chicago's new outfielder will patrol centerfield, replacing Kosuke Fukudome, who will move over to right field.
The Red Sox, a team which has tried seven regular shortstops since trading Nomar Garciaparra to Chicago in 2004, sign Marco Scutaro to a deal that guarantees the 34 year-old infielder to a $12.5 million, two-year deal to fill the void. The former utility player with the Mets and A's had a career year last season for the Blue Jays after becoming their everyday shortstop with Toronto in 2008.