December 11, 1917: The Philadelphia Phillies traded Grover Cleveland Alexander and C Bill Killefer to the Chicago Cubs for C Pickles Dillhoefer, RHP Mike Prendergast, and $55,000.
Hearing the words “pitchers and catchers report” means another baseball season is about to begin. Before the Super Bowl is played, the magic words signify that only so many days remain until the batteries report. The rest of the squad arrives, and soon there is a full slate of exhibition games being staged for the entertainment of the fans, many of whom had headed south for warmer climes.
By the latter stages of the 1875 season, the National Association (NA) was teetering. In its fifth year, the league had become horribly unbalanced; the Boston Red Stockings were running away with the pennant and on their way to a 71–8 record, while at the bottom of the standings the Brooklyn Atlantics were staggering to a 2–42 finish. Four teams didn’t survive the season, there were numerous rumors of dishonest play, and in July, the Chicago White Stockings had signed Boston’s four best players for 1876.
December 4, 1964: The Cincinnati Reds traded INF/OF Cesar Tovar to the Minnesota Twins for LHP Gerry Arrigo.
Spring training moved to Arizona for the first time in 1947 when Cleveland Indians owner Bill Veeck concluded that it would be the right place to bring racially integrated teams, which he felt were about to become a reality.
I always thought “Pee Wee” referred to Reese’s stature. Not so. A “pee wee” is a small marble, a nickname bestowed when Reese was marbles champion of his hometown, Louisville, Kentucky. At the same time, it came to my attention that scooter, as in Honda, wasn’t the basis for Phil Rizzuto’s moniker. It had to do with range—“scoot” around the field. Before this essay was completed, I came to learn much more, all of which increased my admiration for both shortstops.
July 20, 1916: The New York Giants traded OF Edd Roush, INF Bill McKechnie, and RHP Christy Mathewson to the Cincinnati Reds for INF Buck Herzog and U Red Killefer.
Ending Jim Crow in the Preseason:
The Heroic Spring Struggles of Jackie Robinson,
Roy Campanella, and Others
In the spring of 1946 Jackie Robinson was trying to become the first black player in the twentieth century to make the roster of a Major League baseball team. He had signed with the Montreal Royals the previous fall, and over the winter the Royals had also signed 27-year-old Johnny Wright, a right-hander with the Homestead Grays of the Negro Leagues. Both men were invited to Florida to train with the Royals and play in exhibition games against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Boston has always been one of the better cities for baseball, and from 1901 through 1952 it was (with Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and St. Louis) a city that hosted two Major League teams.
The National League team, which began as the Boston Red Stockings and became the Beaneaters and the Braves, were frequent champions, finishing first in the league 12 times in the 27 years from 1872 through 1898. As the twentieth century opened, though, it was a different story altogether.