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Today in Baseball History – February 27

February 27, 1901

The N.L. Rules Committee decides that all fouls are to be counted as strikes, except after two strikes.

A few other changes that are made were that catchers must play within ten feet of the hitter. Also a ball will be called if a pitcher is not ready to throw to a ready hitter after 20 seconds. A ball will also be called if a player is hit by a pitch.

February 27, 1908

The sacrifice fly is adopted. A batter will not be charged an at-bat if a runs scores on a caught fly ball. The rule was repealed in 1931, but later reinstated gaining final acceptance in 1954.

Born on this day:

1953 Ron Hassey

 

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Today in Baseball History – February 26

February 26, 1935

Babe Ruth is released by the New York Yankees. He signs with the Boston Braves for $20,000 and will earn a share of the profits. He will only play the 1935 season with Boston before retiring from baseball.

February 26, 1991

Bill Veeck and Tony Lazzeri are elected to the Hall of Fame.

Veeck was the colorful owner of the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns, and Chicago White Sox. In 1947, Veeck successfully integrated the American League when he signed Larry Doby to the Cleveland Indians. He was known for his publicity stunts such as having the little person Eddie Gaedel bat in a game in 1951 for the St. Louis Browns.

Lazzeri was a part of the legendary “Murderers’ Row” with the New York Yankees in the 1920s. He won five World Series titles while with the Yankees and is one of only 14 players to hits for the natural cycle (hitting a single, double, triple, and home run in sequence). He is also the only person in history to finish his natural cycle with a grand slam.

Born on this day:

1887 Grover Cleveland Alexander

1968 J.T. Snow

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Today in Baseball History – February 25

February 25, 1957

The US Supreme Court decides, by a vote of 6-3, that the only professional sport exempt from antitrust laws is baseball. The issue arose once again when football was seeking antitrust protection as well.

February 25, 1957

The St. Louis Cardinals trade pitcher Steve Carlton to the Phillies for pitcher Rick Wise.

Wise would spend two seasons with the Cardinals winning 32 games before moving onto Boston. On the other hand, Carlton would go on to win 241 games for the Phillies and four Cy Young Awards.

In his first year with the Phillies, Carlton would go 27-10 with an ERA of 1.97 winning his first Cy Young Award.

Born on this day:

1919 Monte Irvin

1940 Ron Santo

1951 Cesar Cedeno

1954 Bob Brenly

1963 Paul O’Neill

Died on this day:

1934 John McGraw

 

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Today in Baseball History – February 24

February 24, 1943

The Texas League announces it will cease play for the duration of World War II.  The league resumes play in 1946 with the Dallas Rebels claiming the title once again.

Born on this day:

1874 Honus Wagner

1956 Eddie Murray

1960 Nick Esasky

1974 Mike Lowell

1977 Bronson Arroyo

Died on this day:

1990 Tony Conigliaro

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Today in Baseball History – February 23

February 23, 1934

Casey Stengel replaces Max Carey as the manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

He would go on to manage 25 years in the Major Leagues for four different teams. In 12 years with the New York Yankees he will go on to win 10 pennants and 7 World Series Titles.

February 23, 1960

Ebbets Field, the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1913-1957, sees its last days as demolition of the stadium begins. The stadium would see nine NL pennants and one World Series title in 1955.

Born on this day:

1963 Bobby Bonilla

1972 Rondell White

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Today in Baseball History – February 22

February 22, 1980

The Oakland Athletics sign Billy Martin to manage the club. He would spend three seasons at the helm of the A’s taking them to the ALCS in 1981 only to lose to his former team the Yankees.

Born on this day:

1934 Sparky Anderson

 

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Today in Baseball History – February 21

February 21, 1951

The South Carolina House issues a resolution to have Shoeless Joe Jackson reinstated after being banned as part of the BlackSox Sandal of 1919. He still hasn’t been reinstated.

February 21, 1969

After retiring at the end of the 1960 season, Ted Williams returns full-time to baseball as the manager of the Washington Senators. In his first year at the helm, Williams leads the Senators to an 86-76 record finishing fourth. It would be his only winning season.

He led the Senators for three seasons before becoming the first manager in Texas Rangers history in 1972 after the team moved to Arlington. He retired after the 1972 season.

Born on this day:

1958 Alan Trammell

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Today in Baseball History – February 20

February 20, 1943

Chewing gum mogul Philip K. Wrigley creates the All-American Girls Softball League which was quickly turned into the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

The league would run from 1943 until 1954 and served in the early years to keep the game of baseball in the public eye while the majority of men were away during World War II.

February 20, 1953

August A. Busch buys the Cardinals and promises not to move them from St. Louis.

Busch oversaw the team until his death in 1989. During that time the Cardinals won six NL Championships and three World Series titles.

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Today in Baseball History – February 19

February 19, 1953

While serving in the Korean War, Ted Williams’ plane, a F9F Panther, was hit by flak during a raid in Pyongyang, North Korea. He and his plane limped back to a nearby Air Force airfield close to the front line where he safely landed.

Williams flew 39 missions in Korea and was finally withdrawn from fight status in June 1953 after they discovered an inner ear infection when he was hospitalized for pneumonia.

 

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Today in Baseball History – February 18th

February 18, 1943

In an effort to keep the fledgling Philadelphia Phillies out of the hands of Bill Veeck, the league orchestrates a sale of the team to William D. Cox.

Ironically, in less than a year Cox would be banned for life by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis for betting on his own team. He became the first non-player, and the last manager, to be banned for life from the game.

Born on this day:

1938 Manny Mota

Died on this day:

2001 Eddie Mathews

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Today in Baseball History – February 17th

February 17, 1964

Former Chicago White Sox shortstop Luke Appling is elected into the Hall of Fame.

Appling was a seven-time All-Star who collected 2,749 hits over his career. His career was interrupted by World War II in 1944-45.

He won two batting titles (1936 & 1943) and was a good leadoff hitter for many years topping the .400 mark in OBP eight times.

Born on this day:

1893 Wally Pipp

1915 Rod Dedeaux

1944 Dick Bosman

Died on this day:

1986 Red Ruffing

1989 Lefty Gomez

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Today in Baseball History – February 16th

February 16, 1989

Orel Hershiser becomes the first player to sign a contract calling for a$3 million annual salary. He signs a three-year, $7.9 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Hershiser was coming off an incredible 1988 season where he won the Cy Young Award going 23-8 with an ERA of 2.26. He tossed 15 complete games that year including 8 shutouts en route to taking the Dodgers to the World Series.

He would go on to pitch 12 more seasons in the Major Leagues including four more after the end of this three-year contract.

Hershiser would finish his career with 204 wins and a lifetime 3.48 ERA.

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Today in Baseball History – February 15th

February 15, 1916

The New York Yankees purchase “Home Run” Frank Baker from the Philadelphia Athletics for $37,500.

Baker sat out the 1915 season after a contract dispute with Connie Mack. He won four consecutive home run titles from 1911 to 1914 and was considered the best pre-war era third baseman.

He went on to be named to the Hall of Fame in 1955.

February 15, 1990

The owners refuse to open spring training camps without a new Basic Agreement with the Player’s Association. The lockout wiped out all of spring training lasting 32 days.

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Today in Baseball History – February 14th

February 14, 1976

The Atlanta Braves sent Valentine’s Day cards to the media and its season ticket holders.

The cards read:

Rose is a Red
Morgan’s one, too
They finished first
Like we wanted to

But last year’s behind us
We’re happy to say
Now we’re tied for first
Happy Valentine’s Day

The Braves finished the 1975 season in last place, 40.5 games behind the Reds. They would finish 1976 in last again, 32 games behind Cincinnati.

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Today in Baseball History – February 13th

February 13, 1953

The Philadelphia Athletics changed the name of Shibe Park to Connie Mack Stadium. This was in honor of their longtime manager and owner Connie Mack.

February 13, 1974

The Hall of Fame Special Committee on the Negro Leagues names Cool Papa Bell to the Hall.

Bell had a lifetime batting average of .337 in the Negro Leagues and is considered one of the fastest players to ever play the game.

Satchel Paige once described Bell as  “so fast you can turn off the light and be under the covers. before the room gets dark!”

Photo courtesy BallparksofBaseball.com

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Today in Baseball History – February 12th

February 12, 1981

An arbitrator supports the Player’s Association declaring Carlton Fisk a free agent after the Red Sox mailed his contract two days after the December 20 deadline. Fisk would go on to sign with the Chicago White Sox where he would play another 13 seasons.

Fisk would win 3 Silver Slugger Awards and become a 4-time All-Star with the White Sox to complete his Hall of Fame career. He would go on to have his #72 retired in Chicago, along with his #27 retired in Boston.

Born on this day:

1917 Dom DiMaggio

1926 Joe Garagiola

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Today in Baseball History – February 11th

February 11, 1982

The St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres trade finally goes through. St. Louis sends Gary Templeton to San Diego for Ozzie Smith. The trade took nearly two months to go through.

In the end, Smith would go on to win another 11 Gold Gloves after winning 2 in San Diego. He would also be a 14-time All-Star with St. Louis giving him 15 for his career. Smith would go on to be named to the Hall of Fame in 2002 after becoming arguably the greatest defensive shortstop in MLB history.

Templeton did well in San Diego as a solid shortstop, but didn’t quite have the career that Smith did.

Born on this day:

1949 Ben Oglivie

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Today in Baseball History – February 10th

February 10, 1925

A plan is adopted to alternate future World Series by league rather than by a coin toss. Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 are to be held in one city with 3, 4, and 5 in the other city.

This format lasted until 2003 when the home field advantage was given to the league that won the All-Star game. This was a result of the All-Star game tie in 2002.

Born on this day:

1963 Lenny Dykstra

1980 Cesar Izturis

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Today in Baseball History – February 9th

February 9, 1920

The Joint Rules Committee decides to ban all foreign substances and alterations to the ball by pitchers. This includes banning resin, saliva, paraffin, talcum powder, and the emery and shine balls.

Any pitcher caught cheating will be banned for 10 days. The A.L. allows each team to name two pitchers who can use the pitch for one more season in 1920. It would be completely banned in 1921.

The N.L. allows the teams to name all spitball pitchers. Only those designated can use the pitch in 1920. Nobody can use it in 1921.

February 9, 1951

The St. Louis Browns sign Satchel Paige who hadn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since 1949 with Cleveland. Paige would go on to pitch in three seasons for the Browns winning 18 games and saving 26 becoming an All-Star twice.

Born on this day:

1925 Vic Wertz

1956 Mookie Wilson

1958 Pete O’Brien

1961 John Kruk

1976 Vladimir Guerrero

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Today in Baseball History – February 8th

February 8, 1956

Legendary coach Connie Mack passes away at the age of 93.

Mack was the manager of the Philadelphia Athletics for their first 50 years of existence. During those 50 years he won five World Series titles, including back-to-back titles in 1910 and 1911. He holds the record for most wins, most loses, and most games managed in MLB history. He has won almost 1,000 more games than any other manager.

In addition to managing, Mack was part owner, and then full owner of the Athletics from 1901-1954.

He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1937.

Died on this day:

1956 Connie Mack

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Today in Baseball History – February 7th

February 7, 1949

The New York Yankees sign Joe DiMaggio for $100,000. It is the first six-figure contract in MLB history.

DiMaggio only played 76 games in 1949 hitting .346. However, the next year he would play 139, hit .301, and 32 home runs.

February 7, 1958

The Dodgers officially become the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The move west had the Dodgers playing their first four season in the LA Coliseum until Dodger Stadium is built in 1962.

Born on this day:

1950 Burt Hooton

1953 Dan Quisenberry

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Today in Baseball History – February 6th

February 6, 1958

The Boston Red Sox sign Ted Williams to a contract for $135,000 making him the highest paid player in MLB history.

At age 40, Williams would hit .328 in 1958. He would play two more seasons following the ’58 season.

Born on this day:

1895 Babe Ruth

1969 Bob Wickman

Died on this day:

2007 Lew Burdette

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Today in Baseball History – February 5th

February 5, 1942

The Boston Braves trade Buddy Hassett and Gene Moore to the New York Yankees for Tommy Holmes.

The trade would work out great for the Braves as Holmes played 10 seasons with Boston. He was a lifetime .302 hitter with over 1,500 hits and a two-time All-Star.

Hassett played one season for the Yankees, then joined the Navy and never made it back to the Major Leagues.

Moore was traded to the Washington Senators less than a month later.

Born on this day:

1934 Hank Aaron

 

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Today in Baseball History: February 4th

February 4, 1976

Federal Judge upholds Peter Seitz’s decision in the Andy Messersmith free-agency case.

February 4, 1990

The St. Petersburg Pelicans defeat the West Palm Beach Tropics 12-4 in the first ever Senior Professional Baseball Association Championship.

The league started in the winter of 1989/1990 with 8 teams playing a 72 game schedule. Four of the original eight teams folded after one season. The league would fold completely midway through its second season in December 1990.

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