This day in baseball: FDR’s Green Light letter

On January 15, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt penned the famous “green light” letter to Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. In the letter, President Roosevelt addressed Commissioner Landis’s query about playing baseball in the wake of the Second World War. FDR believed that playing the sport would be good for Americans, and he encouraged baseball owners to hold more night games in order to allow workers to attend games.

FDR Green light letter - baseball almanac

Baseball Almanac


RIP Tommy Lasorda

Tommy Lasorda was born September 22, 1927. He was a hardcore baseball lifer, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954 and 1955 and for the Kansas City Athletics in 1956. After retiring from playing, Lasorda worked as a scout for the Dodgers and eventually worked his way into coaching. He coached for the Dodgers from 1973 through 1976 before taking over as manager of the club.  Lasorda led the Dodgers to four NL pennants and two World Series championships during his tenure. Upon retiring from the managerial position in 1996, he continued to work for the Dodgers in a variety of roles for the rest of his life.

Lasorda was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997 as a manager in his first year of eligibility. He died January 7, 2021 from a cardiopulmonary arrest in Fullerton, California at the age of 93.

Rest in peace.

Lasorda-Gnome

LA Dodgers


This day in baseball: No class of 1996

On January 8th, results for 1996 Hall of Fame voting revealed that for the first time since 1971, no one was elected by the BBWAA to enter the Hall of Fame. Phil Niekro came the closest to election with 68 percent of the writers’ votes, falling short of the 75 percent needed to be selected. Niekro was selected for the Hall of Fame the following year.

Phil Niekro ESPN

Phil Niekro (ESPN)


RIP Phil Niekro

Phil Niekro pitched for 24 seasons in Major League Baseball, spending 20 of those seasons with the Braves, both in Milwaukee and Atlanta. Niekro’s 318 career victories are the most by a knuckleball pitcher and rank 16th on MLB’s all-time wins list. He won the NL Gold Glove Award five times, was selected for five All-Star teams, and led the league in victories twice and in ERA once.

Niekro also earned the Lou Gehrig Award, the Roberto Clemente Award, and the Brian Piccolo Award for his humanitarian service off the field. He also served on the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors since 2009. Niekro was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.

Phil Niekro died December 26, 2020 after a battle with cancer. He was 81 years old.

phil_niekro - wikipedia

Wikipedia


Infographic: World Series Fun Facts

I’m not sure when this infographic was created, but it has a lot of fun information on it. It’s at least as recent as 2005, as it references the White Sox-Astros Series that year.

Edit: A friend pointed out the graphic must have been created in 2012, since it mentions it had been 104 years since the Cubs last won the Series.

infographic World Series fun facts


This day in baseball: Umpire vision requirements are instituted

During a session held on December 15, 1910 at the Hotel Breslin in New York, National League president Tom Lynch announced to owners that umpires would be required to take what he called a “severe” eye test before the start of the season. As a result of the decree, any arbitrator found to have defective eyesight would not be permitted to work.

To this day, MLB umpires are required to demonstrate 20/20 vision, either with or without corrective lenses.

See the source image

RIP Dick Allen

I am well behind on this one. Dick Allen passed away this past Monday, December 7, 2020 at the age of 78.

Richard Anthony Allen was born March 8, 1942 in Wampum, Pennsylvania. During his fifteen-season Major League Baseball career, he appeared primarily as a first baseman, third baseman, and outfielder, most notably for the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox. Allen was named to the All-Star team seven times. He won the 1964 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 1972 AL Most Valuable Player Award. He also led the AL in home runs for two seasons, led the NL in slugging percentage one season and the AL in two seasons, and led each major league in on-base percentage, one season each. He finished his career with a .292 batting average and a .534 slugging percentage.

The Philadelphia Phillies retired Dick Allen’s number 15 on September 3, 2020. He was also inducted into the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals in 2004.

Rest in peace.

Dick_Allen - Wikipedia

Dick Allen, c. 1965 (Wikipedia)


This day in baseball: World Series rotation set

On December 10, 1924, the American League and National League agreed to a rotation system for the World Series. According to the agreement, Games 1 and 2 would take place at one league’s park, the next three at the other team’s home field, with the final two games (if needed) back at the first venue. The NL was granted the inaugural advantage in following season’s Fall Classic.

1925 World Series booklet - milehighcardco

1925 World Series booklet (milehighcardco.com)


This day in baseball: World tour stop at Keio

As a part of their world tour, on December 6, 1913, the White Sox defeated the Giants, 9-4, at Keio University Stadium in Tokyo. The following day, a combined squad beat the Keio University team, 16-3, before the White Sox went on to best the Giants again, 12-3.

White Sox Giants Keio 1913 - Library of Congress

Members of the White Sox, Giants and Keio University baseball teams (Library of Congress)


This day in baseball: Warren Spahn wins Cy Young

The 1957 Cy Young award was accorded on November 28th to Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves. Spahn was voted the league’s best pitcher almost unanimously, as the only competition for the award that year was White Sox hurler Dick Donovan, who received one vote. Spahn finished the 1957 season with a 21-11 record and a 2.69 ERA.

Warren_Spahn_1953

Warren Spahn (Wikimedia Commons)