1910 Hugh Chalmers, the president of the Chalmers Motor Car Company of Detroit, announces his Model 30, one of the most luxurious autos of its day, will be awarded to the player with the highest batting average this season. The prize will lead to controversy when Cleveland infielder Nap Lajoie beats out seven bunts, thanks to the Browns’ Red Corriden purposely playing deep at third base, to go 8-for-9 on the last day of the season, raising his average to .384 in an attempt to surpass Ty Cobb for the batting title.
1914 Babe Ruth makes his first start of his professional career when he defeats the world champion Philadelphia Athletics, 6-2, in an exhibition game played in Wilmington, N.C. The 19 year-old Red Sox rookie left-hander had faced 29 batters in relief, allowing just six hits to earn a spot in manager Jack Dunn’s rotation.
1935 The Cubs sell Pat Malone to the Yankees. The right-hander will go 12-4 in 1936, but will post only a 19-13 record in his three years with the Bronx Bombers.
1945 Tryouts are granted to pitcher Terris McDuffie and first baseman Dave Thomas when a group of blacks appears at the Dodger offices in Brooklyn. The two players will work out at Ebbets Field in front of Branch Rickey on April 7.
1959 Infielder Bill White, along with third baseman Ray Jablonski, is traded to the Cardinals by the Giants in exchange for pitching prospect Don Choate and right-hander Sam Jones. Although southpaw ‘Toothpick Sam’ will have three solid seasons in San Francisco, including a 20-win season, the Redbirds’ new first baseman will become a perennial All-Star and Gold Glover during his eight-year tenure in St. Louis.
1962 Elvin Tappe is named as the Cubs’ first head coach of the season in the team’s college of coaches plan. Chicago hasn’t had a manager since 1960.
1963 The Reds sell journeyman pitcher Johnny Klippstein to the Phillies. After going 7-7 over two seasons with Philadelphia, the 37 year-old box salesman will help the Twins win the pennant in 1965, posting a 9-3 record.
1981 The Phillies trade Bob Walk to the Braves for outfielder Gary Matthews. The team’s new center fielder will play outstanding defense along with three solid seasons at the plate for Philadelphia, while Atlanta’s new right-hander will compile a 12-13 record with a 4.85 ERA during his three-year tenure with the club.
1985 It’s bad news for the Cubs when Circuit Court Judge Richard L. Curry rules laws banning night games are constitutional. The Cubs brought suit after having to give up a home playoff game last season due to the lack of lights at Wrigley.
1989 The Pirates and Indians swap shortstops with Jay Bell going to the Steel City and Felix Fermin joining the Tribe. Pittsburgh’s new slick infielder will serve as the team’s starting shortstop for the next eight seasons.
1997 The Indians send Kenny Lofton (.317, 14, 67) and Alan Embree (3-1, 2.79) to the Braves for Marquis Grissom (.262, 10, 57) and David Justice (.337, 30, 88). The deal saves $5.8 million in salaries for Atlanta and helps the team to sign hurlers Greg Maddux ($57.5 million, five-year) and Tom Glavine ($34 million, four-year).
2006 Acknowledging he may never play again, Jeff Bagwell announces he will start the season on the disabled list and will seek consultation to find out if removing bone spurs from his shoulder would be beneficial in prolonging his career. The 37 year-old first baseman must stay on the injured list all season for the Astros to collect $15.6 million of the $17 million guaranteed contract from an insurance claim filed in January.
2008 At the Tokyo Dome in Japan, the Red Sox beat the A’s, 6-5, in the earliest major league opener ever played. Manny Ramirez’s tenth inning double gives the victory to Hideki Okajima, who used to pitch in this stadium for the hometown Yomiuri Giants.
2008 Miguel Cabrera (.320, 34, 119), acquired by the Tigers in a trade at the winter meetings with the Marlins, agrees to a $152.3 million, eight-year deal to play with the team. The All-Star third baseman had previously agreed to an $11.3 million, one-year contract in January.