This day in baseball: McCatty’s toy bat

On April 2, 1982, during an exhibition contest at Jack Murphy Stadium against the San Diego Padres, Oakland manager Billy Martin ordered pitcher Steve McCatty to go to home plate with a 15-inch toy bat. The move was a protest of the rule preventing the use of the designated hitter in National League ballparks. Umpire Jim Quick refused to let McCatty use the bat, however, so McCatty instead took three called strikes while holding a real bat.

Billy Martin as the manager of the New York Yankees, 1983 (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

Quote of the day

This is pretty much a postseason atmosphere, and we’re getting it right in the middle of Spring Training. It’s a great team over there, and it almost makes me kind of want to go play in winter ball a little bit and see how rowdy these fans get. It looks really fun, and I was glad to be a part of it.

~Trea Turner, on the experience of playing in the World Baseball Classic

Trea Turner, 2021 (All-Pro Reels Photography / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)

This day in baseball: Ted Williams Breaks collarbone

On the first day of spring training, March 1, 1954, Ted Williams broke his collarbone running after a line drive. Williams would be out for six weeks, and in April he wrote an article with Joe Reichler of the Saturday Evening Post saying that he intended to retire at the end of the season. Williams instead returned to the Red Sox lineup on May 7th, and during the 1954 season he hit .345 with 386 at bats in 117 games.

Ted Williams 1948 Leaf baseball card (public domain)

Spring Training 2023 reporting dates

MLB pitchers and catchers report for spring training next week, and position players join them the week after. Here are reporting dates for teams around the league:

2023 Cactus League spring training reporting dates

ArizonaWed., Feb. 15Mon., Feb. 20
Chi. CubsWed., Feb. 15Mon., Feb. 20
Chi. White SoxWed., Feb. 15Mon., Feb. 20
CincinnatiWed., Feb. 15Mon., Feb 20
ClevelandFri., Feb. 17Tues., Feb 21
ColoradoWed., Feb. 15Mon., Feb. 20
Kansas CityWed., Feb. 15Mon., Feb. 20
L.A. AngelsWed., Feb. 15Mon., Feb. 20
L.A. DodgersThurs., Feb. 16Mon., Feb. 20
MilwaukeeThurs., Feb. 16Tues., Feb. 21
OaklandWed., Feb. 15Mon., Feb. 20
San DiegoThurs., Feb. 16Tues., Feb. 21
San FranciscoThurs., Feb. 16Tues., Feb. 21
SeattleThurs., Feb. 16Tues., Feb. 21
TexasWed., Feb. 15Mon., Feb. 20

2023 Grapefruit League spring training reporting dates

AtlantaThurs., Feb. 16Tues., Feb. 21
BaltimoreThurs., Feb. 16Tues., Feb. 21
BostonWed., Feb. 15Mon., Feb. 20
DetroitWed., Feb. 15Mon., Feb. 20
HoustonThurs., Feb. 16Tues., Feb. 21
MiamiThurs., Feb. 16Tues., Feb. 21
MinnesotaThurs., Feb. 16Mon., Feb. 20
N.Y. MetsWed., Feb. 15Mon., Feb. 20
N.Y. YankeesThurs., Feb. 16Mon., Feb. 20
PhiladelphiaThurs., Feb. 16Tues., Feb. 21
PittsburghWed., Feb. 15Mon., Feb. 20
St. LouisWed., Feb. 15Mon., Feb. 20
Tampa BayWed., Feb. 15Mon., Feb. 20
TorontoThurs., Feb. 16Tues., Feb. 21
WashingtonWed., Feb. 15Tues., Feb. 21


Only nineteen more days until pitchers and catchers report!