From BR Bullpen
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Events, births and deaths that occurred on February 19.
- 1889 - A tour of baseball players led by John Ward stages its first game in Europe, playing in Naples, Italy.
- 1892 - Dan Brouthers, batting champion of the American Association while with the Boston Reds in 1891, signs a contract to play with the Brooklyn Grooms. It will be his fifth team in five years.
- 1935 - Lou Gehrig signs a contract with the New York Yankees for $30,000, $7,000 less than he asked for, but still making him the highest-paid player. The 32-year old first baseman will hit .329 and 30 home runs driving in 119 runs for the second-place Yankees.
- 1937 - The New York Giants open their spring training camp in Havana, Cuba.
- 1942 - Hal Trosky, whose season ended last August when he injured his finger, and suffering from migraine headaches that cannot be treated, retires as first baseman of the Indians. Trosky will come back to play for the Chicago White Sox in 1944 and 1946, but the Hall of Fame-type brilliance he showed in the 1930s is gone.
- 1946 - Giants OF Danny Gardella becomes the first major leaguer to announce he is jumping to the "outlaw" Mexican League, the first shot in the series of events that will dominate baseball even more than the return of all the war veterans. His attempt to return to Major League Baseball a few years later will initiate a major court battle.
- 1953 - Ted Williams safely crash-lands his damaged Panther jet after flying a combat mission in Korea. The plane was hit by enemy fire.
- 1954 - 19-year-old Roberto Clemente signs with the Brooklyn Dodgers for one year at $5,000 with a $10,000 signing bonus. The Dodgers thus beat out a number of other clubs in the Clemente sweepstakes. They've outspent the prior two entrants, their cross-river rivals in Manhattan and the Bronx, and simply beaten the Milwaukee Braves to the punch. By far the biggest spenders of the bunch (by all accounts exceeding Brooklyn's offer by at least 150%), the Braves were just a tad tardy, Clemente having already accepted the Dodgers' terms. The Dodgers may have won the first battle, but they will lose Clemente's services in one year when they fail to protect him in the 1954 Rule V Draft.
- 1957 - The Kansas City Athletics ship pitchers Art Ditmar, Bobby Shantz, and Jack McMahan, and infielders Clete Boyer, Curt Roberts and Wayne Belardi to the Yankees. In return they receive pitchers Mickey McDermott, Tom Morgan, Rip Coleman and Jack Urban, OF Irv Noren, plus infielders Billy Hunter and Milt Graff. Roberts will not go to New York City till May 4th, while Boyer goes a month later, conveniently just when his mandatory service time in the majors as a result of the bonus rule expires. Hunter and Urban don't switch until April 5th. The veteran Shantz and Boyer will be valuable pick-ups for New York, with Shantz leading the American League in ERA this year, and Boyer a tough defensive 3B for eight years in pinstripes. The A's will eventually admit that when they signed Boyer for a $40,000 bonus in 1955, it was on behalf of the Yankees, with the understanding that they'd ship him to NY as soon as he became eligible to be sent down to the minors.
- 1970 - Commissioner Bowie Kuhn announces the suspension of Detroit Tigers ace Denny McLain, effective April 1st, for McLain's alleged involvement in a bookmaking operation. The suspension will last three months, setting off what will basically be a lost season for the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
- 1977 - The Oakland A's sell P Paul Lindblad to the Texas Rangers for $400,000, calling into question Bowie Kuhn's policy on player sales. Kuhn had previously voided an Oakland sale of players (on June 18, 1976) as "not being in the best interest of baseball," but had not specified the maximum amount allowable in a player sale.
- 1983 - Fernando Valenzuela wins his salary arbitration case with the Dodgers and becomes the first player to win a $1 million salary through the process. The Dodgers had offered Valenzuela $750,000 for this season.
- 1987 - After signing a contract as a free agent with the A's less than a month ago, Vida Blue unexpectedly retires from baseball.
- 1988 - The San Diego Padres sign veteran SS Dickie Thon, released by Houston last month.
- 1995 - The Toronto Blue Jays assign manager Cito Gaston and his coaching staff to work with minor league players until the strike is settled so that they will not have to deal with replacement players.
- 1998 - Shortly after beating Jorge Fabregas in an arbitration case, Arizona owner Jerry Colangelo stuns the catcher - and fellow owners - by signing him to a 2-year, $2.9 million contract, which includes a significant raise over the arbitration salary in the first year.
- 2002 - 37-year-old Jose Canseco signs a minor league contract with the lame-duck Montreal Expos. The 17-year veteran, who was the 1985 American League Rookie of the Year and its 1986 MVP, is 38 homers shy of the coveted 500 mark. He will be released before the end of spring training, however.
- 2012 - In the 2012 Cuban All-Star Game, the Orientales beat the Occidentales, 8-7. Yeison Pacheco doubles in the winner off Yadier Pedroso in a 3-run 8th inning, while Reutilio Hurtado and Yosvany Alarcón both homer for the Orientales.
- 1853 - George Miller, catcher (d. 1929)
- 1855 - John Morrill, infielder, manager (d. 1932)
- 1864 - Henry Cote, catcher (d. 1940)
- 1868 - Sal Campfield, pitcher (d. 1952)
- 1876 - Joe Marshall, outfielder (d. 1931)
- 1883 - Harry Curtis, catcher (d. 1951)
- 1889 - Walt Herrell, pitcher (d. 1949)
- 1890 - Larry Chappell, outfielder (d. 1918)
- 1891 - Weldon Wyckoff, pitcher (d. 1961)
- 1892 - Scott Lucas, minor league infielder/outfielder (d. 1968)
- 1894 - Ernie Cox, pitcher (d. 1974)
- 1898 - Uke Clanton, infielder (d. 1960)
- 1900 - John Kane, infielder (d. 1956)
- 1900 - Oscar Roettger, infielder (d. 1986)
- 1908 - Yoshio Takahashi, NPB player (d. 1976)
- 1912 - Dick Siebert, infielder; All-Star (d. 1978)
- 1914 - Stan Sperry, infielder (d. 1962)
- 1914 - Iso Utsumi, NPB infielder
- 1917 - Chuck Aleno, infielder (d. 2003)
- 1917 - Tom Earley, pitcher (d. 1988)
- 1917 - Hub Kittle, coach (d. 2004)
- 1923 - Russ Sullivan, outfielder (d. 2013)
- 1928 - Joe Macko, coach
- 1932 - Don Taussig, outfielder
- 1935 - Dave Niehaus, broadcaster; Hall of Famer (d. 2010)
- 1935 - Roy Nixon, minor league infielder
- 1935 - Russ Nixon, catcher, manager
- 1938 - Bob Sadowski, pitcher
- 1939 - Jackie Moore, catcher, manager
- 1939 - Jim Weaver, pitcher
- 1940 - Bill Kelso, pitcher (d. 2009)
- 1941 - Manuel Alarcón, Cuban league pitcher (d. 1998)
- 1943 - Jim Cosman, pitcher (d. 2013)
- 1943 - Gail Hopkins, infielder
- 1944 - Chris Zachary, pitcher (d. 2003)
- 1951 - Walt Jocketty, general manager
- 1952 - Dave Cheadle, pitcher (d. 2012)
- 1955 - Roberto Almarales, Cuban league pitcher
- 1957 - Dave Stewart, pitcher; All-Star
- 1959 - Keith Atherton, pitcher
- 1959 - Tim Burke, pitcher; All-Star
- 1962 - Alvaro Espinoza, infielder
- 1962 - Guillermo Valenzuela, minor league pitcher
- 1965 - Wayne Rosenthal, pitcher
- 1967 - Dana Brown, scout
- 1967 - Trip Couch, scout
- 1967 - Keith Kessinger, infielder
- 1968 - David Crowson, scout
- 1971 - Miguel Batista, pitcher
- 1973 - Mike Martin Jr., minor league catcher
- 1974 - Juan Diaz, infielder/designated hitter
- 1974 - Tomochika Tsuboi, NPB outfielder
- 1979 - Luka Kreitmayer, Slovenian national team infielder-pitcher
- 1979 - Jiangang Lu, Chinese national team pitcher
- 1980 - Lukas McKnight, scout
- 1982 - Chris Stewart, catcher
- 1983 - Danny Figueroa, minor league outfielder
- 1983 - Paco Figueroa, minor league infielder
- 1983 - Brad Kilby, pitcher
- 1985 - Danny Otero, pitcher
- 1986 - Michael Schwimer, pitcher
- 1987 - Josh Reddick, outfielder
- 1988 - Kevin Chapman, pitcher
- 1991 - Kieran Cree, South African national team pitcher
- 1991 - Gerald Rojas, minor league pitcher
- 1992 - Filippo Crepaldi, Italian Baseball League pitcher
- 1888 - Live Oak Taylor, outfielder (b. 1851)
- 1915 - George Moolic, catcher (b. 1865)
- 1927 - Katsy Keifer, pitcher (b. 1891)
- 1947 - Hooks Warner, infielder (b. 1894)
- 1948 - Bob Groom, pitcher (b. 1884)
- 1956 - Ray Demmitt, outfielder (b. 1884)
- 1957 - Red Munson, catcher (b. 1883)
- 1961 - Art Loudell, pitcher (b. 1882)
- 1961 - Epp Sell, pitcher (b. 1897)
- 1961 - Red Smith, infielder (b. 1900)
- 1966 - Harry Geisel, umpire (b. 1886)
- 1966 - Eldridge Mayweather, Negro League infielder (b. 1909)
- 1969 - Doc White, pitcher (b. 1879)
- 1970 - Vincent Mullen, minor league infielder and manager (b. 1912)
- 1972 - Fuller Thompson, pitcher (b. 1889)
- 1974 - Frank Miller, pitcher (b. 1886)
- 1975 - Herschel Bobo, minor league infielder and manager (b. 1897)
- 1977 - Mike Gonzalez, catcher, manager (b. 1890)
- 1978 - Ben Mallonee, outfielder (b. 1894)
- 1978 - Phil Paine, pitcher (b. 1930)
- 1981 - Sam Barnes, infielder (b. 1899)
- 1983 - Frank Colman, outfielder (b. 1918)
- 1984 - Bill Shores, pitcher (b. 1904)
- 1996 - Charles Finley, owner (b. 1918)
- 1997 - Edsall Walker, Negro League pitcher (b. 1910)
- 1998 - Leo Righetti, minor league infielder (b. 1925)
- 2008 - Andy Bilesky, Little League coach; Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (b. 1919)
- 2008 - Bob Howsam, general manager (b. 1918)
- 2010 - George Cisar, outfielder (b. 1910)
- 2013 - Mickey Stubblefield, minor league pitcher (b. 1926)