Tag Archives: world series

Dec. 7, 1939 – Lou Gehrig was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Lou Gehrig was the first player to have the rule waived that required a player to be retired one year before he could be elected. At age 36, he was the second youngest player to be so honored (behind Sandy Koufax). He never had a formal induction ceremony. On July 28, 2013, he and eleven other deceased players including Rogers Hornsby received a special tribute during the Induction Ceremony, held during “Hall of Fame Induction Weekend”, July 26–29 in Cooperstown, New York.

Did You Know:
Gehrig was the first baseball player to have his uniform number retired?

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Dec. 2, 1991 – Mets signed Bonilla to the highest paid contract in team sports

The New York Mets, with a flair for the dramatic and an unprecedented expenditure of cash, signed free agent Bobby Bonilla to a lucrative contract that made him (then) the highest-paid player in team sports. The deal had a guaranteed package for five years and worth $29 million ($48.2 million today). The contract had $27.5 million in base salary, as well as $1.5 million in a promotional arrangement.

Bonilla helped lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to consecutive National League East titles in 1990 and 1991. But without his fellow Pirate stars around him, his offensive production dropped. His stay in New York was also marred by a number of incidents, such as threatening sportswriter Bob Klapisch that he would “show him the Bronx” in response to his book on the 1992 Mets, “The Worst Team Money Could Buy: The Collapse Of The New York Mets.” On another occasion, he called the press box during a game to complain about an error that he was charged with. In 1992 Bonilla hit .249 as the Mets went 72 and 90. Bonilla hit 34 home runs in 1993 and the Mets went 59 and 103.

Nov. 21, 1934 – The Yankees purchase Joe DiMaggio for $50,000

Joe DiMaggio was playing semi-pro ball when older brother Vince DiMaggio, playing for the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), talked his manager into letting DiMaggio fill in at shortstop. Joe DiMaggio made his professional debut on October 1, 1932.

From May 27 to July 25, 1933, he got at least one hit in a PCL-record 61 consecutive games: “Baseball didn’t really get into my blood until I knocked off that hitting streak. Getting a daily hit became more important to me than eating, drinking or sleeping.”

In 1934, his career almost ended. Going to his sister’s house for dinner, he tore ligaments in his left knee while stepping out of a jitney (shared taxi).

The Seals had hoped to sell DiMaggio’s contract for $100,000. Scout Bill Essick of the New York Yankees was convinced that DiMaggio could overcome his knee injury and pestered the club to give DiMaggio another look. After DiMaggio passed a test on his knee, he was bought on November 21 in exchange for $50,000 and five players, with the Seals keeping him for the 1935 season. He batted .398 with 154 runs batted in (RBIs) and 34 home runs, led the Seals to the 1935 PCL title, and was named the League’s Most Valuable Player.

Nov. 16, 1999 – Pedro Martínez won the American League Cy Young Award in a unanimous vote

Having won the N.L. award in 1997 with Montreal, Pedro Martínez of the Boston Red Sox became only the third major leaguer to win the award in both leagues, joining Gaylord Perry and Randy Johnson, whose N.L. award was announced a day earlier. Pedro also became only the fourth American Leaguer to win the award unanimously.

His 1999 season was one of the best in history, especially considering the offensive era baseball’s in right now. Pedro went 23-4, with a 2.07 ERA and a club record 313 strikeouts. He struck out 15 or more batters 6 times, including 17 in a one-hitter against the New York Yankees on September 10. He allowed only 37 walks (the lowest total in history for a member of the 300-strikeout club!) and gave up only 9 home runs, none of them with runners on base.

To put it in perspective:
His ERA of 2.07 was 1.37 points lower than the 3.44 of league runner-up David Cone of the Yankees, and 2.80 lower than the league average. There have been just two other occasions – Dazzy Vance in 1930 and Greg Maddux in 1994 – when the pitcher with the league’s best ERA was more than a run better than the runner-up. Pedro struck out 313 batters, 113 more than runner-up Chuck Finley of the Angels. Opponents batted a league-low .205 against him, 70 points below the league average. He averaged 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings, more than five more a game than runner-up Finley, and his 1.6 walks per nine innings were just behind Gil Heredia of Oakland (1.5). In this age of offense, Pedro was able to completely dominate the league.

Manager Jimy Williams says, “It’s pretty special just to have the opportunity to watch this man pitch every game. I’ve seen guys win games but not with the strikeouts. All kinds of different pitches. I’ve never seen anything like this. You see him one time, and you say, ‘Wow, look at that!’ But how many times have you seen him do this? I really don’t know how you can put in perspective what we’re seeing out here.”