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In 1996, the players approved interleague play on this date. And, in 1951, it marked the passing of a controversial baseball legend. Keep up on your baseball history at YourSportsFix.com.
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On this date in 1955 – In an effort to speed up the game, major league baseball announces a new rule which requires a pitcher to deliver the ball within 20 seconds after taking a pitching position.
This just goes to show that there’s nothing new under the sun. They’ve been trying to speed the game up for 50 years. This is not something the hyper active, attention deficit, Nintendo generation came up with. Baseball has always been and I hope, always will be a slower game. It’s a thinking man’s game and if you try to artificially speed it up, the quality of the product on the field will suffer. I mean, would you like to see the National Anthem sung quicker, or the Pledge of Allegiance edited into a condenced version? Some things just take time to do right, and a baseball game is one of them.
1973 After the American League approves the new rule 8-4 and the National League vetoes the idea, all 24 owners approve the junior circuit’s three-year experiment to use a designated hitter. Although the DH was his idea, A’s owner Charley Finely votes against the concept because his brainchild of implementing a designated runner is nixed.
The American League has used a designated hitter, or DH, ever since. The use of the DH has been one of the most debated issues in baseball. Opponents argue it changes the game and inflates stats. Supporters counter that it makes the games more exciting, increases scoring, and puts a better product on the field. Players such as Edgar Martinez and David Ortiz have made careers out being a DH. Pitchers throughout the game have had their ERA’s suffer due to it’s use. This year, the Hall of Fame voters got to weigh in on the issue through the person of Herold Bains, who played over 1600 games as a designated hitter. Whether you agree with the use of a DH or not, today was certainly an important Date in Baseball History.
In 1920, on this date, the secret deal made on December 26 to sell Babe Ruth to New York for $125,000 (twice the amount ever paid previously for a player) is announced publicly. Harry Frazee, the cash-strapped owner of the Red Sox, also secures a $300,000 loan from the Yankees as part of the deal.
The rest as they say is history. The Red Sox had to wait for another 84 years after that ill-fated deal to win another World Series, and if I recall Ruth did alright for the "Bombers". Having hit a total of 49 home runs for the Red Sox over the course of 6 years with the Red Sox, the Babe hit 54 in his first year ALONE with the Yankees. Of course Ruth would go on to hit another 605 home runs with the Yankees over the course of his career, setting records for both the most home runs hit in a single season as well as the most career home runs.
But hey, I’m sure that $125,000 was well worth it…
In 1912 Charles Ebbets announces the purchase of 4.5 acres to build an 18,000-seat concrete and steel stadium in Pigtown section of Brooklyn. The ballpark will become known as Ebbets Field.
Ebbets Field opened April 9th, 1913 and was the famous home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The famous park was host to many historical events over the years, none more important than Jackie Robinson breaking MLB’s color barrier on April 15th, 1947. In 1949, the park was the site of the All Star Game and in 1955 the Dodgers won the World Series while calling Ebbets Field their home.
Also on this date:
- In 1918 The Dodgers trade outfielder Casey Stengel and infielder George Cutshaw to the Pirates for pitchers Burleigh Grimes, Al Mamaux and infielder Chuck Ward.
- In 1977 Braves’ owner Ted Turner is suspended for one year by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn due to tampering charges in the free-agency signing of Gary Matthews.
Well, with the launch of The Journal of Sports History earlier this week, I’ve decided to impliment a new feature for The Rumor Mill. As you can see, its called This Date in Baseball History. Every day I’ll pick out the event that I think had the biggest affect on our beloved game and talk about it. In the near future, I hope to have a list of several events in sports history located over at The Journal, however, I’ll be highlighting one specific event each day in this space.
1969 The New York Times reports Curt Flood will challenge the reserve clause by suing major league baseball.
On October 7th, 1969, the Cardinals traded Flood, Tim McCarver, Byron Browne, and Joe Hoerner to the Philadelphia Phillies for first baseman **** Allen, Cookie Rojas, and Jerry Johnson. (Is it me or does that seem like the Cardinals got fleeced on that one?)
Anyway, Flood refused to report to the Phils. He didn’t like the stadium, the owner, or the fans. So, after consulting with his union representative, Flood made a move that would forever change baseball. He challenged the reserve clause.
In a letter to the commissioner, Flood wrote:
- December 24, 1969
- After twelve years in the major leagues, I do not feel I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes. I believe that any system which produces that result violates my basic rights as a citizen and is inconsistent with the laws of the United States and of the several States.
- It is my desire to play baseball in 1970, and I am capable of playing. I have received a contract offer from the Philadelphia club, but I believe I have the right to consider offers from other clubs before making any decision. I, therefore, request that you make known to all Major League clubs my feelings in this matter, and advise them of my availability for the 1970 season. (from Wikipedia.org)
When Flood’s request was denied, he sued Major League Baseball. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court and featured players such as Jackie Robinson testifying, however, Flood lost the case on a 5-3 decision.
Despite the loss, Flood’s case had set the ball in motion and in 1975, an arbitrator struck down the reserve clause, ushering baseball into the age of free agency.
So, that’s what happened This Date in Baseball History. I hope you all will enjoy the new feature. Please feel free to offer your thoughts and input in the comments below.