Happy 69th birthday to Jon Matlack of the New York Mets and Texas Rangers. Matlack, the 1972 NL Rookie of the Year, compiled 1,023 strikeouts and a 3.03 ERA in a seven-year run as one of the “Big Three” pitchers the New York Mets were built around in the 1970s, along with Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman.
1973 Orlando Cepeda signs with the Boston Red Sox, making him the first player signed by a team specifically to be a designated hitter. His slash line will be .289/.350/.444 with 20 HRs and 86 RBI in his one Beantown season.
1964 A.L. owners vote 9-1 against Charlie Finley’s proposal to move the Kansas City A’s to Louisville. Finley is given an ultimatum to sign a lease in Kansas City or lose his franchise. The Athletics will play four more seasons in Kansas City before moving to Oakland.
1976 Ted Turner completes his purchase of 100 percent of the Atlanta Braves. Using superstation WTBS to make Braves games available in nearly every home in North America, Turner made the team well-known even before their incredible run of titles in the 1990s and early 2000s.
1972 The owner of the Detroit Tigers, John Fetzer, announces the team has signed a lease to build a $126M domed stadium along the river in downtown Detroit. It will seat 52,000 for baseball, and 60,000 for football. Lawsuits, a failed bond issue, and the Silverdome in nearby Pontiac eventually kill the idea. The Tigers will not have a new stadium until…
1971 Detroit Tigers relief pitcher John Hiller suffers a heart attack at age 27. He will miss the 1971 season before making a remarkable comeback. In the 1973 and 1974 seasons he will go 27-19…ALL in relief.
1971 A ruptured Achilles tendon for Reds center fielder Bobby Tolan brings an end to two sports seasons. Tolan suffers the injury while playing basketball for the Reds offseason squad. He misses the 1971 baseball season due to the injury and the Cincy front office disbands the basketball team as a result.
1993 Reggie Jackson is the lone player elected to the Hall of Fame. Even though his .262 lifetime batting average is the lowest of any outfielder in the Hall, Reggie receives a 93.6% vote as his 563 career home runs make him a hit with voters in his first year of eligibility. His Hall of Fame plaque shows him as a Yankee.…