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.
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.
Considered the first minor league circuit in baseball history, the Northwestern League was organized in Rockford, Illinois on January 2, 1879. The organization included the Davenport Brown Stockings, Omaha Green Stockings, Dubuque Red Stockings, and Rockford White Stockings. Unfortunately, the stocking league became defunct before the season even came to an end as a result of lacking a fixed schedule and financial mismanagement.
Team standings and league leaders are listed in the charts below, courtesy of Baseball Reference:
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.
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.
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.
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.
On November 24, 1953, Dodger owner Walter O’Malley announced that Walter Alston would be the new manager of the Brooklyn team, replacing Chuck Dressen. The announcement came as a shock to reporters, as the leading candidate for the job had been the fan-favorite Pee Wee Reese. Alston would go on to win seven pennants and four World Series during his 23 years with the team.
On November 17, 1960, ownership of the American League’s new expansion team was awarded to Elvin Quesada, a Washington native and head of the Federal Aviation Administration. The new expansion Senators replaced the old team, which had moved to Minnesota to become the Twins.
On November 4, 1980, Steve Carlton was awarded the Cy Young Award, joining Sandy Koufax, Tom Seaver, and Jim Palmer as pitchers who have won three Cy Young Awards. Carlton collected all but one of the 24 first-place votes to take National League honors. Carlton finished the 1980 season with a 24-9 record and a 2.34 ERA, and he also led the National League with 286 strikeouts.