Rogers Hornsby was traded from the New York Giants to the Boston Braves on January 10, 1928. Giants owner Charles Stoneham had grown weary of Hornsby’s abrasive manner and gambling habits, and opted to trade Hornsby for catching prospect Shanty Hogan and outfielder Jimmy Welsh. During Hornsby’s season in Boston, he led the major leagues in hitting with a .387 batting average plus a .498 on-base-percentage, all while managing the club.
In the wake of the death of Charles H. Byrne, team secretary Charles Ebbets became president of the Bridegrooms (Dodgers) on January 4, 1898. The team’s future owner also managed the Brooklyn team for the last 110 games of the season, finishing tenth among the twelve teams of the National League.
On December 27, 2004, the San Francisco Giants signed free-agent outfielder Moises Alou to a one-year contract with an option for a second year. The Cubs refused to offer arbitration and let Alou go following the 2004 season, citing numerous fights with umpires. Alou’s signing with San Francisco marked the second time he would be managed by his father, Felipe, who was also his skipper when playing with the Expos from 1992-1996.
On December 21, 1926, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis dismissed a claim by Dutch Leonard alleging that Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker bet on a fixed game six years previous. The commissioner declared the matter closed, clearing both Speaker and Cobb of any wrongdoing when Leonard did not show up at a hearing to defend his accusations.
In an effort to speed up the game and add more offense, on December 11, 1928, National League president John Heydler proposed instituting a designated batter for the pitcher. The American League oppose the idea, however, and the NL withdrew the proposal before it could get to Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis to break the deadlock.
On November 30, 1961, Billy Williams of the Chicago Cubs was selected as the National League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The outfielder hit 25 home runs and drove in 86 runs that year, and was selected on 10 of the 16 ballots cast by the writers. The runner-up in the voting, Braves catcher Joe Torre, received five votes from the writers.
Joe Mauer was named Most Valuable Player for the American League on November 23, 2009. In spite of missing the first month of the season with a back injury, Mauer received 27 of 28 first place votes from the BBWAA to become the fifth Twin in history to earn MVP honors.
The Pittsburgh Alleghenys left the American Association on November 18, 1886 to join the National League as an expansion team. In 1891, the Pittsburgh team would become known as the Pirates, a name derived from an incident involving the franchise accused of being “piratical” for taking players from rival teams in other leagues.
Seventeen months after being shot in the chest with a rifle by an obsessed fan, Eddie Waitkus was named the Comeback Player of the Year by the Associated Press on November 10, 1950. The Phillies’ infielder hit .284 that season and led the team with 102 runs scored, as he continued to be one of the best fielding first basemen in the league.
Waitkus’s story would provide part of the inspiration for Bernard Malamud’s The Natural, published in 1952.