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From BR Bullpen
|Stats of players who were born this day|
|Stats of players who died on this day|
|Standings on this day|
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|Baseball Library Chronology|
|Today in Baseball History|
Events, births and deaths that occurred on December 31.
- 1878 - A reported eight million bats have been sold in the United States this year.
- 1889 - Three players are purchased from the disbanded Kansas City Cowboys American Association franchise by the National League.
- 1897 - At the age of 38, Charles Ebbets, who "has handled every dollar" entering the Brooklyn Dodgers club's treasury for the past 15 years, gains a controlling 80 percent interest in the team.
- 1914 - Ban Johnson's efforts to strengthen the New York Yankees succeed when he arranges the purchase of the team by Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Captain Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston for $460,000 from Bill Devery and Frank Farrell. After Detroit Tigers owner Frank Navin refuses to let manager Hugh Jennings go, the new New York owners will name longtime Detroit pitcher Bill Donovan to manage the team. Under the new regime, the Yankees will make the most important trade in franchise history when they purchase Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox in 1920.
- 1918 - Kid Gleason replaces Pants Rowland as Chicago White Sox manager following the team's skid to fifth place. Gleason will win the American League pennant as a rookie skipper, but it will be tarnished by the improprieties of eight members of the so-called "Black Sox" in the 1919 World Series.
- 1931 - Two pitchers changes the color of their socks, when Boston sends forkballer Milt Gaston to Chicago in exchange hard-thrower Bob Weiland.
- 1940 - The New York Yankees send Bump Hadley to the New York Giants for the waiver price and trade infielder Bill Knickerbocker to the Chicago White Sox for catcher Ken Silvestri. The military will claim Silvestri for the next four years.
- 1949 - The 1940s is the only decade in Major League Baseball history in which no new stadiums are built. After the Cleveland Indians opened Cleveland Stadium in 1932, no new ballpark will be opened until Milwaukee County Stadium is unveiled by the Braves in 1953. The decade also will end with eight black players on major league rosters: three each on the Brooklyn Dodgers and Indians rosters, and two with the New York Giants. Although it will be another decade before all major league teams will be integrated, most teams will be playing blacks in the next two years. Finally, all but the St. Louis Browns, Chicago Cubs, and Cincinnati Reds set attendance records in the 1940s. There were 81 scheduled night games in 1940 and 384 in 1949. The change to playing under the lights is underscored by the release of the 1950 schedule: the St. Louis Cardinals have permission to open the season with the Pittsburgh Pirates in a night game.
- 1962 - The state of Ohio withdraws a suit against the Cincinnati Reds when team owner Bill DeWitt agrees in writing that the club will stay in Cincinnati for 10 years.
- 1966 - After 15 seasons with the Braves in three different cities, Eddie Mathews is traded to the Houston Astros. The future Hall of Fame third baseman is the only person to play for the Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves.
- 1972 - Pittsburgh Pirates superstar Roberto Clemente dies in the crash of a four-engine plane over the Atlantic Ocean. The 38-year-old Clemente was supervising the delivery of relief supplies to the earthquake victims of Managua, Nicaragua. The cargo plane, a DC-7 that departed from San Juan Airport in Puerto Rico, crashes shortly after takeoff. In 18 major league seasons, Clemente batted .317, won the 1966 MVP Award, and led the Pirates to World Championships in 1960 and 1971. Shortly after his death, the Hall of Fame's Board of Directors votes to waive the usual five-year waiting period for Clemente, paving the way for his election to Cooperstown in 1973.
- 1974 - Free agent pitcher Catfish Hunter, who posted a 25-12 record with the Oakland Athletics, signs with the New York Yankees ending an unprecedented bidding war when he inks a five-year, $3.75 million dollar contract. This is triple the salary of any other major league player.
- 1979 - The Basic Agreement between players and owners expires, precipitating more than 19 months of bitter negotiations, that will culminate in the 1981 player strike.
- 1984 - Despite six weeks of negotiations, the Basic Agreement between the players and owners that was reached after the 1981 strike expires. The players are now seeking increased contributions to their pension plan from the clubs' additional television revenues, while the owners are hoping to slow the rapid growth of player salaries.
- 1990 - Oakland Athletics third baseman Carney Lansford is severely hurt in a snowmobile accident. He will undergo surgery on January 6th to reconstruct the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee as well as repair other ligament damage. Lansford will play just five games in 1991, but return to the starting lineup in 1992.
- 1993 - Baseball's collective bargaining agreement runs out with no new agreement yet signed.
- 2004 - After the Devil Rays decline his 2005 $8 million contract option, free agent first baseman Tino Martinez, who hit .262 with 23 home runs and 76 RBI for Tampa Bay last season, signs a one-year, $3 million contract to rejoin the New York Yankees. Martinez played in New York from 1996 through 2001 before being replaced by Jason Giambi. This time, he is acquired as insurance in the event Giambi's fragile health, suspected by some sportswriters to be the result of steroid use, continues to fail.
- 2005 - Today, Roberto Clemente Jr. will head to Nicaragua to distribute humanitarian aid, mirroring a trip that claimed the life of his father 33 years ago. He had planned a similar effort last year, but the December 26 tsunami convinced him to direct the relief supplies collected to affected areas of the Pacific Rim.
- 2009 - The Cubs sign CF Marlon Byrd to a three-year contract worth $15 million and the Phillies sign right-handed relief pitcher Danys Baez to a two-year contract.
- The Orioles sign veteran 1B Derrek Lee to a one-year contract.
- During year-end celebrations, a shooting takes place in Luperon, a town on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, leaving a 25-year-old man dead and his 17-year-old brother wounded. Three days later, police announce that the main suspect is Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon, who claims his innocence but goes in hiding in his hometown of Santiago. He will surrender to police on January 3rd.
- 2011 - The Padres acquire OF Carlos Quentin from the White Sox, in return for two minor leaguers, Ps Simon Castro and Pedro Hernandez. Quentin returns home to the city where he was a star athlete in high school a decade earlier.
- 2012 - Veteran infielder Miguel Tejada signs a deal with the Royals, after only playing in AAA last year.
- 1842 - Tom Berry, outfielder (d. 1915)
- 1852 - Al Metcalf, infielder (d. 1914)
- 1857 - King Kelly, outfielder, manager; Hall of Famer (d. 1894)
- 1861 - Walt Goldsby, outfielder (d. 1914)
- 1861 - Jerry McCormick, infielder (d. 1905)
- 1863 - Pete Sweeney, infielder (d. 1901)
- 1870 - Tom Connolly, umpire; Hall of Famer (d. 1961)
- 1879 - Fred Beebe, pitcher (d. 1957)
- 1884 - Bobby Byrne, infielder (d. 1964)
- 1891 - Charlie Flanagan, infielder/outfielder (d. 1930)
- 1894 - Joe Berry, infielder (d. 1976)
- 1894 - Jim Murray, pitcher (d. 1973)
- 1900 - Syl Johnson, pitcher (d. 1985)
- 1918 - Fats Dantonio, catcher (d. 1993)
- 1918 - Al Lakeman, catcher (d. 1976)
- 1919 - Tommy Byrne, pitcher; All-Star (d. 2007)
- 1919 - Loyd Christopher, outfielder (d. 1991)
- 1922 - Luis Zuloaga, Venezuelan national team pitcher (d. 2013)
- 1924 - Ted Gray, pitcher; All-Star (d. 2011)
- 1931 - Guy LaValliere, minor league catcher (d. 2003)
- 1933 - Ken Rowe, pitcher (d. 2012)
- 1944 - Alfredo Meli, Serie A1 outfielder and manager; Italian Baseball Hall of Fame (d. 2010)
- 1947 - Manny Muniz, pitcher
- 1948 - Brannon Bonifay, scout
- 1948 - Mike Dunbar, college coach
- 1951 - Joe Simpson, outfielder
- 1953 - Jose Baez, infielder
- 1955 - Jim Tracy, outfielder, manager
- 1961 - Rick Aguilera, pitcher; All-Star
- 1961 - Steve Engel, pitcher
- 1961 - Donell Nixon, outfielder
- 1965 - Sil Campusano, outfielder
- 1968 - Larry Owens, minor league pitcher
- 1970 - Eddie Dix, Hoofdklasse infielder
- 1971 - Norman Cardoze, Nicaraguan national team infielder
- 1971 - Esteban Loaiza, pitcher; All-Star
- 1971 - Brian Moehler, pitcher
- 1973 - Geronimo Newton, minor league pitcher
- 1975 - Sam McConnell, pitcher
- 1977 - Junnifer Pinero, Philippines national team catcher
- 1977 - Chris Reitsma, pitcher
- 1980 - Jesse Carlson, pitcher
- 1980 - Ivan Cherepanov, Ukrainian national team catcher
- 1982 - Ronald Belisario, pitcher
- 1982 - Julio DePaula, pitcher
- 1984 - Donald Furrow, minor league pitcher
- 1984 - Jason Furrow, minor league pitcher
- 1984 - Tsung-Chun Wu, CPBL outfielder
- 1985 - Raef Hobbs-Brown, Bundesliga infielder
- 1985 - Evan Reed, pitcher
- 1985 - Matthew Willard, minor league player
- 1986 - Nate Freiman, infielder
- 1987 - Adam Kudryk, minor league pitcher
- 1988 - Alex Colome, pitcher
- 1988 - Marco Tovar, minor league pitcher
- 1989 - Kelvin Herrera, pitcher
- 1991 - D.J. Peterson, drafted infielder
- 1992 - Adichat Wongvichit, Thai national team pitcher
- 1896 - Barney Graham, infielder
- 1898 - Martin Duke, pitcher (b. 1867)
- 1903 - Joe McGuckin, outfielder (b. 1862)
- 1905 - Frank Bonner, infielder (b. 1869)
- 1907 - Jocko Flynn, pitcher (b. 1864)
- 1911 - Pete Gilbert, infielder (b. 1867)
- 1912 - Charlie Sprague, outfielder (b. 1864)
- 1914 - John Farrow, catcher (b. 1853)
- 1914 - John O'Brien, outfielder (b. 1851)
- 1915 - Tip O'Neill, outfielder (b. 1858)
- 1925 - Denny Sullivan, infielder (b. 1858)
- 1927 - Jack Sharrott, pitcher (b. 1869)
- 1933 - James Donnelly, infielder (b. 1867)
- 1936 - Doc Casey, infielder (b. 1870)
- 1944 - Bill Chappelle, pitcher (b. 1881)
- 1954 - Tom Raftery, outfielder (b. 1881)
- 1955 - Clint Brown, pitcher (b. 1903)
- 1958 - Jack Doyle, infielder, manager (b. 1869)
- 1961 - Dutch Lieber, pitcher (b. 1910)
- 1962 - Pete Cawthon, college coach (b. 1898)
- 1962 - Del Mason, pitcher (b. 1883)
- 1963 - Junie Barnes, pitcher (b. 1911)
- 1963 - Bill Batsch, pinch hitter (b. 1892)
- 1964 - Bobby Byrne, infielder (b. 1884)
- 1964 - Red Rollings, infielder (b. 1904)
- 1964 - Doc Wallace, infielder (b. 1893)
- 1967 - Shovel Hodge, pitcher (b. 1893)
- 1972 - Roberto Clemente, outfielder; All-Star, Hall of Famer (b. 1934)
- 1978 - Tod Davis, infielder (b. 1924)
- 1980 - Bob Shawkey, pitcher, manager (b. 1890)
- 1988 - Wes Flowers, pitcher (b. 1913)
- 1994 - Jack Shepard, catcher (b. 1932)
- 1996 - Sam Narron, catcher (b. 1913)
- 1999 - Larry Bearnarth, pitcher (b. 1941)
- 1999 - Harry Kimberlin, pitcher (b. 1909)
- 2000 - Harry Dorish, pitcher (b. 1921)
- 2003 - Max West, outfielder; All-Star (b. 1916)
- 2004 - Charlie Cozart, pitcher (b. 1919)
- 2006 - Marv Breeding, infielder (b. 1934)
- 2006 - George Sisler Jr., minor league executive (b. 1917)
- 2007 - Paul Badgett, minor league infielder and manager (b. 1918)
- 2009 - Gustavo Olano, Cuban league outfielder (b. 1977)