1933 Four days after turning thirty years old and acquiring a very generous inheritance from his step-father, Tom Yawkey purchases the Red Sox from Robert Quinn for $1.2 million. The acquisition of the Boston American League franchise, which lasts for 44 years, the longest by a sole owner in baseball history, is prompted by former school classmate and Hall of Fame infielder Eddie Collins, who will serve as the team’s general manager until 1947.
1934 At the age of 60, John McGraw dies at New Rochelle Hospital, two weeks after entering the facility with optimistic reports about his recovery. The renowned Giants skipper, known as ‘Little Napoleon’ due to his style and stature, won ten pennants and three world championships during his 30 years as the team’s manager.
1965 The MLB owners refuse to raise the minimum salary requested by the players to $7,000 from the current $6,000, a level that is only $500 more since the first minimum salary was established 18 years ago. In 1968, thanks to the first-ever collective bargaining agreement in professional sport, the amount will be raised to $10,000, setting the tone for more rapid increases in the coming years.
1969 Baseball avoids the first work stoppage in its history when the owners agree to increase their contribution to the newly revised pension plan, which changes the players’ ability to qualify from five years to four with the minimum age being lowered from fifty to forty-five to receive benefits. Other improvements include the players agreeing to collect $5.45 million per year, retroactive to 1959, as well as a percentage of the revenue generated by televised games.
1972 Due to a salary impasse, the Cardinals trade 20-game winner Steve Carlton (20-9) to the last place Phillies for Rick Wise (17-14), who learns of the trade when Eddie Ferenz, the team’s traveling secretary, knocks on the all-star hurler’s condo door in Clearwater Beach early in the morning to inform the stunned pitcher of the spring training transaction. ‘Lefty’ will post a 27-10 record for Philadelphia and will win the National League Cy Young Award.
1973 The spring training lockout ends when the players’ union and the owners reach a three-year agreement. The new collective bargaining agreement establishes salary arbitration for players with two or more years of major league service, raises the minimum salary to $15‚000 and includes the new “10 and 5″ trade rule‚ that allows a player with ten years in the major leagues‚ in which the last five are with his current team‚ to block any trade involving him.
1981 At the White House, Ronald Reagan is presented with a season pass to all major league games by commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who expresses his hope the president will be able to attend a few games during the upcoming year. Ironically, the Executive Board of the Major League Baseball Players Association will vote unanimously in Tampa today to strike on May 29, if necessary, surprising the owners who thought the well-paid players wouldn’t risk a costly work stoppage.
1987 Commissioner Ueberroth bans former Cy Young Award winner LaMarr Hoyt from major league baseball for the 1987 season due to multiple drug-related incidents during the past year. The penalty will be reduced to sixty days, and the Padres will be ordered to reinstate the right-hander by an arbitrator.
1993 Resembling a marlin with arms and legs, ‘Billy’ is introduced as the mascot of the new National League franchise in Miami. Owner Wayne Huizenga selects the name partly because a dolphin is from the species of fish known as “billfish”, and it was different from typical baseball mascot names like Smasher.
1994 After a long campaign by Yankee fans, including owner George Steinbrenner, the Veterans Committee elects Phil Rizzuto to the Hall of Fame, along with the posthumous selection of Leo Durocher. The former infielder and current television broadcaster’s enshrinement, that causes much debate given the borderline career stats, became especially important to his supporters when Pee Wee Reese, a similar-styled shortstop of the rival crosstown Brooklyn Dodgers, was inducted in 1984.
2002 Diamondbacks’ third baseman Matt Williams breaks a bone in his left leg during a workout in spring training. Arizona will not issue a timetable for the return of their injured infielder, but the 36 year-old veteran will resume his duties at the hot corner after the All-Star break on July 11.
2002 The 84 year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster, Ernie Harwell, announces this season will be his last as the Tigers’ radio play-by-play announcer. During his 62-year career behind the mike, the winner of the 1981 Ford Frick Award for baseball broadcasting excellence had worked for the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants and Baltimore Orioles before moving to Detroit.
2003 Blue Jays’ World Series hero Joe Carter is selected for a June induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. Pete Rose, who played 95 games for the Expos and collected his 4000th hit with Montreal, was one of the 46 nominees considered, but was not chosen by 75 per cent of the voters
2005 After winning an auction for its one-day naming rights, Kerry Konrad originally planned to change the Fleet Center’s name to honor Yankee captain Derek Jeter, but agrees to rename the Boston arena as the ‘Jimmy Fund Center’. The New York fan’s change of heart is prompted by a friend’s offer of an additional $6,275 for the childhood cancer charity, bringing the total amount to $8,600, reflecting the 86 years between Red Sox World Championships.
2008 Terry Francona signs a three-year contract extension that runs through 2011, and includes team options for 2012 and 2013, to continue as manager of the Red Sox. After an eighty-six year drought, the BoSox skipper has led the club to a pair of World Series titles in four seasons at the helm.
2010 The Rangers void Khalil Greene’s contract, announcing the reason for the action is a private matter, and is being done in the best interest of the ballplayer. The 30 year-old utility infielder, who missed 49 games with the Cardinals last season because of social anxiety, was unable to report to spring training last week as a result of his unidentified problem.
2012 On their Twitter account, the Mets send out an image of the patch the team will wear this season in memory of Gary Carter, who died earlier in the month of brain cancer at the age of 57. The black oval will feature the nickname of the former New York catcher, Kid, and his number 8.