1941 The Dodgers announce their players will begin to wear helmets when batting. The use of the safety headgear will not become mandatory in the National League until 1954, and the AL will follow suit four years later.
1951 J. Edgar Hoover, longtime director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, declines the post of baseball commissioner. President Calvin Coolidge appointed him in 1924, and the nation’s top cop remained in the FBI until his death in 1972.
1963 In an exhibition game against the White Sox, 21 year-old rookie Pete Rose goes 2-for-2 in his first appearance in a Reds’ uniform. The future all-time major league leader in hits will be named the National League’s Rookie of the Year.
1966 The Orioles trade minor league outfielder Lou Piniella to the Indians for reserve catcher Camilo Carreon, who will play in only four games for his new team before retiring at the end of the season. The Tribe’s latest flycatcher will appear in more than 1,700 big league games, but only six games for Cleveland, all in 1968.
1967 Ted Davidson, a southpaw specialist who had five wins and four saves for the Reds last season, is gunned down in an alley as he leaves a local restaurant, telling police his estranged wife shot him once in the abdomen and twice in the chest. The charge against Mary Ruth Davidson will be dismissed when her husband, who will return to the team in June, but without his same effectiveness, fails to appear in court on two occasions.
1992 The Pirates trade pitcher Neal Heaton (3-3, 4.33) to the Royals for outfielder Kirk Gibson (.236, 16 HR, 18 SB). After being released by the Bucs in May, the veteran fly catcher, who will turn down an offer to play for the Arena Football League’s Detroit Drive, will end his brief retirement, playing his last three years as a Tiger for his former manager Sparky Anderson.
1993 Sherry Davis becomes the first full-time female major league public address announcer when she is hired by the Giants to work at Candlestick Park. The legal secretary won the job in an open audition, being selected from five hundred contestants.
1995 Former Chicago Bull superstar Michael Jordan, citing labor unrest as the reason, announces that he is leaving the White Sox organization to return to the Chicago Bulls. In his only season in professional baseball, the future NBA Hall of Famer batted .202, hit three home runs, drove in 51 runs, stole 30 bases, and made 11 errors playing the outfield for the Double-A Birmingham Barons last season.
2004 When asked by Senator John McCain to renegotiate the major league baseball’s contract in regard to the use of controlled substances, Donald Fehr refuses to comply. Although the union boss condemns the use of steroids, he believes the players oppose random drug testing as a violation of privacy, an argument countered by the Arizona Republican as unacceptable, and he promised congressional action if the status quo remains in place.
2005 Singling off Brad Thompson in a Cardinal intrasquad game, former pitching prospect Rick Ankiel goes 1-for-2 in his debut as a position player. Historic wildness and injuries ended the 25 year-old’s once very promising career on the mound.
2006 Jhonny Peralta (.292, 24, 78) agrees to a $13 million, five-year deal which includes a club option for 2011. In his first full season, the Indians shortstop established himself as one of the top offensive players for his position.
2006 Shairon Martis throws the first-ever no-hitter in WBC history as the Netherlands routs Panama, 10-0. The 19 year-old Dutch hurler threw exactly 65 pitches, which is the Classic’s pitch limit, to accomplish the historic deed in a game which was called after seven innings because of the mercy rule, a 10 run lead after seven innings.
2009 At Puerto Rico’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium, the Netherlands WBC team, made up of mostly unknown players, upsets a heavily-favored Dominican Republic club for the second time in four days to advance to the next round of the World Baseball Classic. The Dominicans, considered to be an odds-on favorite, with a roster filled with major league All-Stars including David Ortiz (Red Sox), Hanley Ramirez (Marlins), and Miguel Tejada (Astros), are eliminated in the first round of the 16-team tournament.
2010 Nomar Garciaparra signs a ceremonial one-day contract with Boston six years after rejecting a four-year, $60 million offer from the team that resulted in an acrimonious trade to the Cubs in 2004. The former Rookie of the Year and American League batting champion, who used the occasion to announce his retirement, ending a 14-year major league career with a .313 batting average, gets his wish to leave the game in a Red Sox uniform when he throws out the ceremonial first pitch to former teammate Jason Varitek, prior to the exhibition game against Tampa Bay.
2010 Justin Upton (.300, 26, 86) and the Diamondbacks come to terms on a $51.25 million, six-year contract, the second-largest deal in franchise history being slightly less than Randy Johnson’s $52.4 million pact in 1999. The 22 year-old outfielder, who was the team’s No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft, was selected to last season’s National League All-Star squad.