Twenty-two-year-old Bob Feller signed a deal with the Indians on January 21, 1941 reportedly worth $30,000. This made Feller the highest paid pitcher in baseball history. The previous high salary for a single season of pitching had been $27,500 to Dazzy Vance and Lefty Grove.
The Kansas City Cowboys were admitted to the American Association on January 17, 1888, after the New York Metropolitans folded. The Brooklyn Dodgers purchased what remained of the Mets, hoping to obtain the services of the now-unemployed New York players. The Cowboys, meanwhile, would have a rough inaugural season, finishing with a 43-89 record, putting them in last place in the AA.
On January 13, 1922, Buck Weaver applied for reinstatement to professional baseball. Weaver had been a member of the infamous 1919 Black Sox and one of eight players banned from baseball for his alleged involvement in the throwing of the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. This was one of six attempts by Weaver to get back into baseball, but he would remain banned from the sport for life.
In trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee referred to the Babe as “one of the most selfish and inconsiderate men ever to put on a baseball uniform.” In response to this, on January 7, 1920, Ruth commented to the Boston Evening Standard, “Frazee is not good enough to own any ball club, especially one in Boston.”
In an attempt to make the team more appealing to a broader market, on January 3, 2005, the Anaheim Angels announced the franchise would henceforth be known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The idea was to imply that the Angels were from Southern California in general, and not just from Orange County. The “of Anaheim” phrase was included to comply with the terms of a 1996 lease that called for the city to fund renovations to Anaheim Stadium, and required the team’s name to contain the name “Anaheim.” The city of Anaheim filed an injunction seeking to immediately reverse the name change, but this proved unsuccessful, and the Angels began playing under the new name for the 2007 season.
The Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees on December 26, 1919 for $100,000 and guarantee a $300,000 loan, with Fenway Park as collateral. The sale would not go public until January, and would serve as the inception of the “Curse of the Bambino” on the Red Sox.
On December 19, 1954, Wally Moon of the St. Louis Cardinals was selected National League Rookie of the Year. Moon finished his first season in the big leagues with a .304 batting average, 12 home runs, and 76 RBIs. The twenty-four-year-old center fielder, who replaced Enos Slaughter in the St. Louis outfield, collected 17 of the 24 writers’ votes, winning easily over future Hall of Famers Ernie Banks and Hank Aaron.