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The following are the events that happened world-wide throughout the sport of baseball.
- 1906 - John McGraw and jockey Tod Sloan open a billiard parlour at 34th Street and Broadway, which soon becomes a popular and profitable hangout for New York City's sporting life.
- The Federal League sues organized baseball, claiming it to be an illegal trust and asking that it be dissolved and all contracts voided. The case is filed in the U.S. Court of Illinois in Chicago, before Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis. He will stall his decision, and peace is declared at the end of the year. The FL shifts players to strength teams in key cities. Benny Kauff, the league answer to Ty Cobb, is moved from the Indianapolis Hoosiers to the Brooklyn Tip-Tops.
- Thirteen years after a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision effectively banned him from playing for the Philadelphia Athletics, Nap Lajoie rejoins the team. With Lajoie leaving the Cleveland Naps. Cleveland owner will ask several newspapermen for nickname suggestions to replace the Naps. He'll pick the name "Indians". A popular myth will be that a newspaper contest resulted in the winning nickname, after the late Louis Sockalexis, a Penobscot Indian American who was a popular Cleveland player in the late 1890s. The team doesn't correct the myth until 2000.
- 1916 - The National League, happy to be rid of fractious Chicago Cubs owner Charles W. Murphy, allows Charles H. Weeghman, owner of a restaurant chain and president of the Federal League Chicago Whales, to buy the Cubs for $500,000. By putting up $50,000, William Wrigley, Jr. becomes a minority stock holder. Whales manager Joe Tinker succeeds Roger Bresnahan, and the Cubs will play in the Federal League newly built park on the North Side, soon to become Wrigley Field.
- 1920 - Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee defends selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees for cash by calling his former player "one of the most selfish and inconsiderate men ever to put on a baseball uniform".
- 1925 - During the Chicago White Sox and New York Giants European tour, John McGraw, Charlie Comiskey and Hugh Jennings are honored with silver medals by the French Baseball Federation for their efforts of promoting the game in France.
- 1927 - Judge Landis begins a three-day public hearing to investigate the allegation the Detroit Tigers threw a four-game series to the 1917 Chicago White Sox. The White Sox, Swede Risberg contends, returned the favor for two games in 1919. Near the end of the 1917 season, some Chicago players contributed about $45 each to reward Detroit pitchers for winning the last series against the Boston Red Sox, helping Chicago clinch the pennant. No witnesses confirm any part of the story, although Tigers pitcher Bill James denies ever receiving any money, and the others named deny all charges. A week after the hearing opens, Landis clears all the accused, ruling lack of evidence of anything except the practice of players paying another team for winning.
- 1931 - Mrs. Lucille Thomas becomes the first woman to buy a professional baseball team, purchasing the Class-A Topeka franchise in the Western League.
- 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 Boston Red Sox go to Tufts University; the Brooklyn Dodgers will train at Bear Mountain, New York, and the New York Yankees try Atlantic City. In Chicago, the Cubs and White Sox agree to start the season later than usual and prepare to train in areas north of the so-called Eastman-Landis Line, named after Joseph Bartlett Eastman, head of the US Department of Transportation, and baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis –an area East of the Mississippi and North of the Ohio and Potomac rivers. Meanwhile, the Browns and Cardinals St. Louis teams are excluded, though they will train in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
- 1944 - Longtime American League third baseman Joe Dugan, hit by a car while crossing a Boston street, escapes with a slight concussion and a lacerated scalp.
- 1946 - The New York Giants buy catcher Walker Cooper from the St. Louis Cardinals for $175,000. It is the largest amount ever paid for a single player. The Joe Cronin transaction in 1934 and the Dizzy Dean sale in 1938 were larger deals but also involved other players. Cooper was considered the best catcher in the game before his 1945 induction into the Navy following a salary dispute with the team.
- 1957 - Jackie Robinson retires rather than move across New York City from the Dodgers to the Giants, voiding the December deal between both teams.
- 1960 - The Continental League, a proposed third major league, gets an assurance of congressional support from New York Senator Kenneth Keating.
- 1963 - Hall of Fame member Rogers Hornsby dies at age 66 of a heart ailment. His .358 career batting average is the second highest in major league history.
- 1965 - James M. Johnston and James H. Lemon purchase the remaining 40 percent of the Washington Senators stock to acquire complete control of the club.
- 1975 - Houston Astros pitcher Don Wilson is found dead of monoxide poisoning in his garage in Houston, a suicide victim at age 29. The Astros will retire his #40.
- 1983 - The Cincinnati Reds send pinch-hitter Mike Vail to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for pitcher Rich Gale.
- 1984 - The New York Yankees sign future Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro to a two-year contract. Niekro, who went 11-10 with a 3.97 ERA for the Atlanta Braves in 1983, will fill a void in New York rotation and allow the team to move Dave Righetti to the bullpen.
- 1989 - Three weeks after signing a record four-year, $1.1 billion network television contract with CBS, major league baseball signs a $400 million contract with ESPN. The deal will put 175 games per year on cable television beginning in 1990.
- Reggie Jackson is the lone player elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America to the Hall of Fame. Jackson, whose .262 lifetime batting average is the lowest of any outfielder in the Hall, receives 93.6 percent of the vote. His 563 career home runs make him a hit with voters in his first year of eligibility.
- The Houston Astros sign free agents Kevin Bass and José Uribe.
- 1994 - In an outfielders trade, the New York Mets send Vince Coleman to the Kansas City Royals for Kevin McReynolds. For McReynolds, it is his second stint with Mets.
- 1995 - According to players' union chief Donald Fehr, all 835 unsigned major league players are free agents since the owners unilaterally changed the uniform contract.
- 1997 - Boston Red Sox knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield escapes serious injury when he is hit by a car while out jogging. He is released from the hospital after being treated for bruises.
- 1998 - Don Sutton gets into the Hall of Fame on his fifth try. With 324 wins, Sutton had the most victories of any eligible pitcher not in the Hall. He reached the postseason with three different clubs (Dodgers, Brewers and Angels), and struck out 3,574 batters in 23 seasons. Sutton receives 386 votes of the record 473 ballots cast for 81.6 percent. Tony Pérez falls short with 355 votes, and Ron Santo, on the ballot for the 15th and final time, gains 204 votes.
- In their first year of eligibility, George Brett, Nolan Ryan and Robin Yount are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Carlton Fisk finishes fourth in the voting, missing election by 43 votes. It is the only time since the first inductees were selected in 1939 that more than two first-timers have made it into Cooperstown in the same year.
- Yogi Berra received an apology from New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner about his dismissal as Yankees manager in 1985 after only 16 games. Berra says he will end his self-exile from Yankee Stadium and the organization. He is expected to participate in future Opening Day and old timer's ceremonies.
- The St. Louis Cardinals, needing help due the departures of infielder Shawon Dunston and outfielder Eric Davis, sign their first free agents of the off-season: outfielders Bobby Bonilla, Bernard Gilkey and John Mabry, and infielder Shane Andrews.
- Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who has won seven batting titles in Japan, is signed by the Seattle Mariners to a $14,088,000, three-year contract.
- The plan to name a new downtown Montreal ballpark Labatt Park dims as the Canadian Labatt Brewing Company announces ending its 15-year sponsorship of the Expos. The company cited the lack of a local television contract and stalled stadium plans as factors in the decision.
- Free agent signings include OF Reggie Sanders by the Diamondbacks; IF Greg Norton by the Rockies; OF Bobby Bonilla by the Cardinals (one-year contract each), and P Mark Guthrie by the Athletics (two-year).
- The Milwaukee Brewers and RP Dan Kolb agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract, a month after Milwaukee reacquired him from Atlanta.
- The Texas Rangers completed their six-player trade with the San Diego Padres to acquire SP Adam Eaton. Texas also got RP Akinori Otsuka and minor league C Billy Killian, sending RP Chris Young, 1B Adrián González and OF Terrmel Sledge to San Diego.
- Major League Baseball filed for mediation against the District of Columbia after the city failed to approve a lease for the Washington Nationals' new ballpark by the December 31 deadline.
- Valuable utility Jeff Conine and the Baltimore Orioles finalized a $1.7 million, one-year contract. Conine, who was with the Orioles from 1999-03, hit .304 and had a .374 on-base percentage in 131 games for Florida last season, batting .327 after the All-Star break.
- In a four pitchers trade, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Jae Seo and Tim Hamulack from the New York Mets in exchange for Duaner Sánchez and Steve Schmoll.
- The World Series champion Chicago White Sox agreed terms with utility Rob Mackowiak on a $5.3 million, two-year contract that avoided salary arbitration.
- The Seattle Mariners agreed to a one-year, $450,000 contract with RP Rafael Soriano, avoiding salary arbitration.
- Jeromy Burnitz finalized his $6.7 million, one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but only after the unhappy Baltimore Orioles said the outfielder's agent backed out of a two-year deal.
- 1864 - Bob Caruthers, pitcher (d. 1911)
- 1864 - Ban Johnson, Hall of Fame executive (d. 1931)
- 1870 - Bill Dahlen, infielder (d. 1950)
- 1885 - Art Fletcher, infielder (d. 1950)
- 1888 - Rube Foster, pitcher (d. 1976)
- 1890 - Benny Kauff, outfielder (d. 1961)
- 1898 - Riggs Stephenson, outfielder (d. 1985)
- 1899 - Bob Kinsella, outfielder (d. 1951)
- 1901 - Luke Sewell, All-Star player and manager (d. 1987)
- 1918 - Jack Kramer, All-Star pitcher (d. 1995)
- 1935 - Earl Battey, All-Star catcher (d. 2003)
- 1948 - Charlie Hough, All-Star pitcher
- 1953 - Jim Gantner, infielder
- 1957 - Bob Dernier, outfielder
- 1958 - Ron Kittle, All-Star outfielder/designated hitter
- 1959 - Milt Thompson, outfielder
- 1961 - Henry Cotto, outfielder
- 1961 - John Russell, catcher/outfielder
- 1962 - Danny Jackson, All-Star pitcher
- 1963 - Jeff Fassero, pitcher
- 1965 - Juan Nieves, pitcher
- 1967 - Chris Nabholz, pitcher
- 1974 - Mark Redman, pitcher
- 1979 - Rubén Quevedo, pitcher
- 1954 - Rabbit Maranville, Hall of Fame player and manager (b. 1891)
- 1961 - Fred Luderus, infielder (b. 1885)
- 1962 - Frank Snyder, catcher (b. 1894)
- 1963 - Rogers Hornsby, Hall of Fame player and manager (b. 1896)
- 1975 - Don Wilson, All-Star pitcher (b. 1945)
- 1987 - Dale Mitchell, All-Star outfielder (b. 1921)
- 2004 - Tug McGraw, All-Star pitcher (b. 1944)
- 2006 - Rod Dedeaux, amateur coach (b. 1914)