The NL votes to ban the spitball’s use by all new pitchers. Following the 1920 season, the spitball will be banned in both leagues, except for existing spitballers who were grandfathered in and allowed to keep throwing the pitch legally until they retired. Seventeen existing spitballers were granted this exemption. Burleigh Grimes lasted the longest, retiring in 1934.
Frank Robinson is traded from Cincinnati to the Orioles for pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun and outfielder Dick Simpson. The Reds Bill DeWitt defends the trade by labeling Robinson “an old 30.” In response, Robinson won the AL MVP the next season!
Texas engineers a series of deals with the Braves, Mets, and Pirates, unloading a total of six players and getting three back. Among those involved are Jon Matlack and Al Oliver (to Texas), Bert Blyleven (to Pittsburgh), and Willie Montanez (to New York).
Lou Gehrig, age 36, is elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Gehrig, whose illness forced an end his streak of 2,130 consecutive games played, hit 493 home runs and batted .340 over his career. He is the first player to have the existing rule waived that required a player to be retired one year before he could be elected. Gehrig died…
The White Sox trade 1983 AL Cy Young Award winner LaMarr Hoyt and two minor leaguers to the Padres for pitcher Tim Lollar, utility man Luis Salazar, and minor leaguers Ozzie Guillen and Bill Long. Guillen will win the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 1985, and in 2005 lead the White Sox to a World Series title as manager.…
The Los Angeles Dodgers trade outfielder Willie Davis to the Montreal Expos for relief pitcher Mike Marshall. Davis will hit .295 for the Canadian club, while Marshall will win the Cy Young Award for the Dodgers in 1974, going 15-12 and appearing in 106 games.
Aurelio Rodriguez of the Tigers becomes the first AL third baseman since 1959 to beat out the Orioles’ Brooks Robinson for the Gold Glove Award. Other newcomers on The Sporting News fielding team include third baseman Mike Schmidt, outfielder Dwight Evans, and catcher Jim Sundberg. That trio will combine to win 24 Gold Gloves.
NL batting champion Willie McGee signs as a free agent with the Giants, ending his three-month stint across the bay with the Oakland Athletics. He finished the season with the A’s following a trade with the Cardinals, but McGee still had enough plate appearances to qualify as the NL batting champion.
The Major League Rules Committee meets in New Orleans. Among the changes is one permitting the use of cowhide, rather than just horsehide, in the manufacture of baseballs. (The records of the meeting do not indicate any future allowance for “juice” to be entered into the balls.)