This Date in Baseball History

The Cubs exchange second basemen with the Braves, sending future Hall of Famer Johnny Evers to Boston for Bill Sweeeny. Boston gets the better of the deal when their new middle infielder plays a pivotal role in the club’s World Championship this season, garnering the Chalmers Award as the Most Valuable Player of the league.

A group of eight midwestern team owners meets at the Kansas City YMCA to organize the Negro National League, which will become one of the most successful ventures of its kind. Rube Foster, the owner and manager of the American Giants, will become president of the new circuit, leading to accusations of favoritism, which appear especially true when the schedule had Chicago play a disproportionate number of games at home.

Former major league journeyman Gus Dugas, a French-Canadian obtained from by the Montreal Royals from Albany of the International League in November, signs his contract while visiting relatives in his native province of Quebec. The contract is totally written in French, a first in the history of professional baseball.

In honor of their longtime owner and manager, the A’s rename their Philadelphia ballpark from Shibe Park to Connie Mack Stadium. During his 50-year tenure as Athletics skipper, the ‘Tall Tactician’ guided the team to nine American League pennants and appeared in eight World Series, winning five of the Fall Classics.
At the age of twenty-two, Cubs’ second baseman Ken Hubbs dies when the red and white Cessna 172 plane he is piloting crashes in Provo, Utah during a winter storm. The 1962 National League Rookie of the Year took flying lessons in the past two off-seasons, obtaining his license last month, to overcome his fear of flying.

The Dodgers trade infielders Ron Hunt and Nate Oliver to the Giants in exchange for backstop Tom Haller. The 30 year-old All-Star catcher will compile a very respectable .276 batting average during his four years behind the plate for L.A.

A day after his 27th birthday, Paul Edmondson and his girlfriend are killed in an automobile accident in San Barbara, California when his automobile skids on a rain-slicked U.S. Route 101 and crashes into oncoming traffic. The White Sox had hoped their sophomore right-hander would become the fourth starter in the team’s rotation, after compiling a misleading 1-6 record last season.

Ron Hassey, whom the White Sox acquired two months ago from the Yankees, is traded back to the Bronx Bombers, along with three minor-leaguers for Neil Allen, Scott Bradley and a minor leaguer. In December, the 32 year-old catcher was sent to the Windy City, along with Joe Cowley for Britt Burns and two minor leaguers.

Jack Morris is awarded the highest salary ever given to a pitcher by arbitration when the Tigers must pay the hurler $1.85 million for his services next season. The 31 year-old right-hander will not disappoint, posting an 18-11 record along with an ERA of 3.38 for the AL East Division champions.

The Dodgers sign five-time Japanese all-star pitcher, Hideo Nomo. ‘Tornado Boy’ is the first player to move directly from the majors in Japan to the North American majors.

The Red Sox sign 43 year-old Rickey Henderson to a minor-league contract. Last season with the Padres, the future Hall of Famer got his 3000th career hit and broke the all-time records for walks and runs.

The Mets sign 40 year-old David Cone to a minor league contract. The right-hander, who compiled an 80-48 record with the team from 1987-1992, is coming out of retirement hoping to win the fifth spot in the rotation.

Avoiding an arbitration hearing, Ben Sheets (12-14, 2.70) and the Brewers agree to a one-year contract valued at $5.5 million. The All-Star right hander, who made $2.5 million last season, established a team record last May, striking out 18 batters in a game.

After 19 years at shortstop for the Reds, Barry Larkin announces his retirement as an active player to become special assistant to Nationals’ general manager Jim Bowden, who had served as the team’s GM from 1992 to 2001. The 40 year-old former Gold Glove infielder spent his entire career in his hometown of Cincinnati.

Avoiding an arbitration hearing, Adam Dunn (.247, 40, 101) and the Reds agreed to a $18.5 million two-year deal and gives the team a 2008 option for $13 million with a buyout for $500,000. The 26 year-old outfielder/first baseman, who led the big leagues for the second consecutive season in strikeouts, had asked for $8.95 million, with the club countering with $7.1 million.

Takashi Saito (2-1, 1.40), who signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers two years ago after playing 14 seasons in the Japanese Central League with the Yokohama Bay Stars, agrees to a $2 million, one-year contract to stay with Los Angeles. The 37 year-old All Star closer had 39 saves in 43 chances last season.

In a much anticipated congressional hearing, Roger Clemens and his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, testify for 4 1/2 hours concerning the allegations of the Rocket’s use of performance-enhancing drugs. Although no definitive conclusions are reached, Republicans appear to believe the seven-time Cy Young Award winner while Democrats seem to favor his chief accuser’s account of events.

In an effort to avoid arbitration for the remainder of his career, Ryan Howard agrees to a three-year, $54 million deal with Philadelphia. The Phillies slugger, who led the major leagues in home runs (48) and RBI (146), was unable reach a contract settlement in less than friendly negotiations with the team and was awarded $10 million by arbitrators during the 2008 off-season, tying the highest sum ever given to a player in the process.

In a deal confirmed by his agent, Yoenis Cespedes has reached a four-year, $36 million agreement with the A’s, pending the results of a physical. The Cuban defector, who is slotted to play center field, moving Coco Crisp to left, hit .458 with a double, three triples, two home runs, and five RBIs in the six games he played in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.