On January 24, 1973, Warren Spahn was elected to the Hall of Fame, making him only the sixth player elected in his first year of eligibility. He received more than 82% of the votes cast by the BBWAA. Warren Spahn recorded thirteen 20-win seasons with the Braves, making him the winningest left-handed pitcher in big league history with 363 victories.
On January 12, 1988, Pirates slugger Willie Stargell was the only player elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. Stargell helped bring two world championships to Pittsburgh and was the National League’s co-MVP in 1979, as well as the World Series MVP that same year. Stargell was the 17th player to be elected to the Hall in his first year of eligibility.
Charles Stoneham, the owner of the New York Giants baseball team, passed away on January 6, 1936. Stoneham was the last remaining owner of the trio (along with John McGraw and Frank McQuade) that purchased the team in 1919. He passed the team on to his son, Horace Stoneham, upon his death. During his time as owner, Stoneham saw the Giants win the World Series in 1921, 1922 and 1933.
On December 26, 1934, Matsutaro Shoriki, the head of Yomiuri Newspapers in Japan, announced the formation of Japan’s first professional team, the Tokyo-based Yomiuri Giants. The team consisted of players signed to compete against the American all-star team (originally called the Great Japan Tokyo Baseball Club). However, professional league play, with six teams, would not begin until 1936 with the formation of the Japanese Baseball League.
Today, the Yomiuri Giants are considered “The New York Yankees of Japan” due to their widespread popularity, historical dominance of the league, and their polarizing effect on fans.
Yankees submarine pitcher Carl Mays was sold to the Reds for $85,000 on December 23, 1923. Mays had a personality that tended to clash with most people, and he never really got along with manager Miller Huggins in New York. Mays would go 49-34 in Cincinnati before ending his career with the New York Giants.
On December 15, 1912, the Chicago Cubs traded Joe Tinker, as well as Harry Chapman and Grover Lowdermilk, to the Cincinnati Reds for Red Corriden, Bert Humphries, Pete Knisely, Mike Mitchell, and Art Phelan. Tinker, who had been canonized in Franklin Pierce Adams’ baseball poem “Tinker to Evers to Chance,” went on to serve as the player-manager for Cincinnati.
Free agent Nolan Ryan signed with the Texas Rangers on December 7, 1988, making him the first major leaguer to play for all four original expansion teams. (The Rangers organization had played their first 11 seasons as the Senators in Washington, D.C.) Ryan first broke into the big leagues with the Mets in 1966, then went to the Angels in a trade in 1972 before signing with the Astros, who were originally known as the Colt .45s.