January in Baseball History

Published by Evan Wagner
Dec 22, 2022
Interesting Baseball History for the month of January:

1871 - The Boston Red Stockings incorporate, and the future National League Atlanta Braves are born. Three months later the franchise is officially recognized by the National Association of Professional Baseball Players.

1903 - The defunct Baltimore franchise is purchased by Frank Farrell and Bill Devery for $18,000 and moved to Manhattan where they will become the New York Highlanders (Yankees).

1919 - The Reds hire Pat Moran as manager when no word is received from manager Christy Mathewson, who is still in France with the U.S. Army.

1920 - The New York Yankees purchase the contract of pitcher Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox for $125,000 and a $350,000 loan against the mortgage on Fenway Park. The "official" annoucement of the sale is delayed until January 5 due to Ruth's contractual demands.

1929 - The Yankees announce they will put numbers on the backs of their uniforms, becoming the first baseball team to engage in continuous use of numbers. The first numbers are based on positions in the batting order thus, Ruth will wear number 3 and Gehrig 4. By 1931 all A.L. teams will use them; it will be 1933 before all N.L. players are numbered.

1934 - Babe Ruth accepts a cut of $17,000 and signs a 1934 contract with the Yankees for $35,000.

1943 - Teams agree to start the season later than usual and prepare to train in northern areas because of World War II. Resorts, armories, and university facilities are chosen for training sites. The Dodgers will train at Bear Mountain, New York; the Cardinals hop to Cape Girardeau, Missouri; the Yankees try Atlantic City.

1948 - Commissioner Happy Chandler fines the Yankees, Cubs, and Phillies $500 each for signing high school players.

1950 - Indians pitcher Bob Feller, coming off a lackluster 15-14 season, takes a $20,000 salary cut to $45,000. The pay cut is Feller's own suggestion.

1952 - As the Korean War drags on, the Marines give notice that they will recall Ted Williams to active duty.

1953 - New York, Cleveland, and Boston retaliate at Bill Veeck, forcing the St. Louis Browns to play afternoon games due to Bill Veeck's refusal to share receipts of game telecasts.

1954 - Baseball and Hollywood are officially linked as former Yankees great Joe DiMaggio marries actress Marilyn Monroe

1957 - Commissioner Ford Frick rules that singer Bing Crosby can keep his small stock holding in the Detroit Tigers, even though he owns part of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1957 - Jackie Robinson retires rather than move across town from the Dodgers to the Giants, to whom he had been traded in December.

1958 - Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella suffers a broken neck in an early morning auto accident on Long Island. His spinal column is nearly severed, and his legs are permanently paralyzed.

1963 - Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby dies at age 66 of a heart ailment. Hornsby's .358 career batting average is the second highest in major league history.

1966 - Wisconsin State Circuit Court Judge Elmer W. Roller rules that the Braves must stay in Milwaukee or else the National League must promise Wisconsin an expansion team for the 1966 season.

1970 - The Sporting News names Willie Mays as Player of the Decade for the 1960s.

1972 - Former umpire, now housewife, Bernice Gera wins her suit against baseball, initiated on March 15, 1971. Gera is slated to umpire in the New York-Pennsylvania League starting in June.

1974 - Ray Kroc, fast-food entrepreneur (McDonald's), buys the San Diego Padres for $12 million.

1976 - Charles Ruppert, Giants vice president, announces the sale of the team to a Toronto group for $13.3 million. Outrage by the fans prompts San Francisco mayor George Moscone to get a preliminary injunction preventing the move.

1979 - Willie Mays receives 409 of 432 votes in the BBWAA election to earn enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. Mays, a one-of-a-kind mix of speed, power, and glove wizardry, is the first player to finish his career with 300 home runs and 300 steals. (Have to wonder who didn't vote for him?)

1982 - Free agent Reggie Jackson ends his tumultuous five seasons with the Yankees by signing a reported four-year contract with the California Angels for nearly $1 million per year.

1983 - For the third time in eight years, George Steinbrenner hires Billy Martin as Yankee manager. Martin replaces Clyde King, who will move to the front office.