Cleveland Indians release former NL standout pitcher Don Newcombe, ending his major league career. A one-time hard thrower, Newcombe won the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards while with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He won 153 MLB games, 4 of them as a teenager with the Newark Eagles.
Hall of Fame pitcher Jerome “Dizzy” Dean is born in Lucas, AR. Dean will make his debut in 1930 with the St. Louis Cardinals and will win 150 games over a 12-year career with the Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Browns. He is enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1953.
Slugger Bob Horner returns to MLB on a one-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. Horner played the 1987 season with the Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League, as collusion reduced demand for his services in MLB to nothing. With St. Louis, Horner will replace Jack Clark at first base.
MLB owners approve one of the game’s most controversial rules: the designated hitter. The owners decide to allow American League teams to implement the rule on an experimental 3-year basis, but the rule becomes a permanent addition to the AL while the National League never adopts it.
Needing 145 hits to reach 3,000, Harold Baines agrees to a minor league contract with the White Sox. The 21-season veteran, who will be 42 during the season, played with the Orioles and White Sox last season. He will get into 32 games with the club and add 11 hits before retiring.
1933 MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis announces that he is cutting his salary by 40 percent. Landis’s action is a sign of the times during the Great Depression; most MLB players will have their salaries reduced for the coming season.
1943 A wartime tone for the season is set when Red Ruffing, just months short of his 38th birthday, and minus four toes, is drafted into the Army Air Corp. The Hall of Fame hurler was 14-7 for the Yankees in 1942.
1929 Cool Papa Bell becomes the first to connect for three home runs in a single game during Cuban professional play. A Negro Leaguer and future Hall of Fame member, Bell accomplishes his feat at Aida Park during a 15 – 11 slugfest win over Habana. All three are inside-the-park HRs.
1949 The 1940s is the only decade in MLB 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.
San Francisco Giants trade popular 2B Ron Hunt to the Montreal Expos for 1B Dave McDonald. Hunt will be a solid starter for three seasons in Montreal, while McDonald will be sold back to the Expos less than a year later.