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Events, births and deaths that occurred on December 17.
- 1888 - Former Detroit players Deacon White and Jack Rowe purchase a controlling interest in the minor league Buffalo club. Though their reserve rights have been sold to Pittsburgh, both men announce plans to play in Buffalo next year.
- 1889 - The Players League adopts some new rules, including the two-umpire system and an increase in pitching distance from 55 1/2 feet to 57 feet. A lively ball is chosen, assuring high scores in the upcoming season.
- 1891 - The American Association passes out of existence after ten years as a settlement is finally reached with the National League. Four AA clubs (St. Louis, Louisville, Washington, and Baltimore) join the National League's existing eight clubs to form a twelve-club league formally styled "The National League and American Association of Professional Base Ball Clubs." The other four AA clubs are bought out for about $130,000. The NL will allow Sunday games for the first time but will retain its 50-cent minimum admission price.
- 1910 - John Harris sells the Boston National League team to a syndicate headed by William Hepburn Russell, a New York lawyer and city official, for $100,000. The team will be nicknamed the Rustlers by journalists, after their new owner.
- 1914 - Charles Comiskey pulls a surprise, reaching down to Peoria and naming Clarence "Pants" Rowland, scout and minor league executive, to manage his White Sox.
- 1920 - The American League votes to allow pitchers who used the spitball in 1920 to continue using it as long as they are in the league. The National League will do the same. There will be 17 designated spitters in all, eight in the NL and nine in the AL. For the NL: Bill Doak, Phil Douglas, Dana Fillingim, Ray Fisher, Marvin Goodwin, Burleigh Grimes, Clarence Mitchell, and Dick Rudolph. For the AL: A.W. Ayers, Slim Caldwell, Stan Coveleski, Red Faber, Dutch Leonard, Jack Quinn, Allan Russell, Urban Shocker, and Allen Sothoron.
- The Senators add another veteran pitcher to their staff by purchasing Dutch Ruether from Brooklyn. Ruether will go 30-13 for his year and a half in Washington.
- The Yankees get four-time 20-game winner Urban Shocker from the Browns for pitchers Milt Gaston, Joe Giard, and Joe Bush. Shocker led the Browns in wins in each of the past five seasons and will be a mainstay on two pennant-winning staffs for New York. Bush had beaten the Browns 17 straight times after losing to them on June 12, 1922.
- National League President John Heydler's designated hitter idea gets the backing of John McGraw, but the American League is against it.
- At a joint meeting, a rule is changed that ends the practice of minor league teams selling star prospects to friendly Major League clubs for high prices, then getting the players back, forcing another ML club to pay the reputed price for the player. Other changes ban the signing of players under the age of 17 and set a $7,500 price tag on any first-year player.
- 1932 - Sunny Jim Bottomley is traded by the Cardinals to the Reds for Owen Carroll and Estel Crabtree (of Crabtree, Ohio).
- 1935 - Heinie Manush is traded from Washington to the Boston Red Sox for Roy Johnson and Carl Reynolds.
- 1942 - The Yankees trade OF Roy Cullenbine and C Buddy Rosar to the Indians for Roy Weatherly and IF Oscar Grimes. With the draft in mind, all four players are married with one child each. Rosar had been in the doghouse with Joe McCarthy for leaving the team without permission the weekend of July 18-19 to take a police examination in Buffalo. The leave-taking prompted the Yankees to sign veteran C Rollie Hemsley.
- 1949 - The Yankees and Detroit swap first basemen, the Tigers getting Dick Kryhoski while New York takes Dick Wakefield, signed by the Tigers in 1941 to a $52,000 bonus.
- 1953 - In a tax-avoidance scheme, the New York Yankees sell Yankee Stadium and Kansas City properties for $6.5 million in a deal with Johnson Corp and the Knights of Columbus, who immediately lease the property back to the Yanks.
- 1957 - The Pasadena City Board confers with the Dodgers on the possible temporary use of the Rose Bowl.
- 1959 - In a child-payment hearing related to his divorce, Ted Williams alleges the Red Sox paid him $60,000, not the reported $100,000. He claims his entire yearly income was $83,000.
- 1964 - The Yankees fire long-time television and radio voice Mel Allen. The well-known broadcaster popularized the "going, going, gone" home run call and often said "how about that" to describe happenings on the ball field.
- 1968 - The owners announce they will increase contributions to the players' pension fund by $1 million to $5.1 million per year. Players vote down the proposal, 491-7.
- 1992 - The Twins sign free agent DH/outfielder Dave Winfield. Last season for the World Champion Blue Jays, the St. Paul native hit .290 and had 108 RBIs and 26 home runs.
- 1993 - Rickey Henderson returns to the A's, signing a two-year $8.6 million dollar contract.
- The Orioles acquire P Kent Mercker from the Braves in exchange for pitchers Joe Borowski and Rachaad Stewart.
- The Royals obtain SS Jose Offerman from the Dodgers in exchange for P Billy Brewer.
- David Wells signs a three-year $13.5 million contract with the Yankees.
- The Red Sox sign P Chris Hammond, 5-8 last year with the Marlins.
- 1998 - The Pirates sign free agent P Pete Schourek to a two-year contract and the Orioles sign free agent P Xavier Hernandez to a two-year contract.
- The Mariners sign all-time Japanese League saves leader Kazuhiro Sasaki to a two-year contract.
- The Orioles sign free agent C Greg Myers to a two-year contract and the Dodgers sign free agent and former Dodger star P Orel Hershiser to a contract.
- 2000 - City and club officials announce plans for the financing and construction of a new, downtown Miami retractable roof ballpark for the Marlins. The state-of-the-art $385 million stadium, which will be a 40,000-seat facility with 60 luxury suites, includes a 40-year lease and an agreement to rename the team the "Miami Marlins". The deal will soon run into snags and the stadium will not be built for another decade, however.
- 2001 - The Yankees sign free agent OF Rondell White, who played for the Cubs this past year, to a two-year contract, while the Indians sign SS Ricky Gutierrez to a three-year contract.
- After bringing the Giants to the brink of a world championship, Russ Ortiz (14-10, 3.78) is traded by San Francisco to the Braves for sophomore southpaw Damian Moss (12-6, 4.11) and minor league prospect Merkin Valdez. The 27-year old right-hander left Game 6 of the World Series with 5 - 0 lead, but the Giants bullpen was unable to hold the lead and lost the series to the Angels in seven games.
- The Cubs sign free agent OF Troy O'Leary to a one-year contract for $750,000 and the Braves sign P Paul Byrd to a two-year contract.
- 2003 - After agreeing to basics weeks ago, the Yankees and 35-year-old Gary Sheffield (.330, 39, 132) finalize a $39 million, three-year deal which includes $13.5 million in deferred money and a $13 million team option for 2007. The seven-time All-Star outfielder played with Braves last year and has spent time with the Padres, Marlins and Dodgers after breaking in with the Brewers in 1988.
- A three-team deal is concluded which includes Diamondback southpaw Randy Johnson and pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii traded to the Yankees, Dodger outfielder Shawn Green and pitcher Brad Penny being sent to the Diamondbacks with Javier Vazquez and prospects going to the Dodgers. The blockbuster transaction falls apart as Los Angeles backs out at the eleventh hour.
- The last-place Mariners continue to sign impact free agents in hopes of improving upon last season's poor performance (63-99) as the team inks 25-year-old Adrian Beltre (.334, 48, 121) to a $64 million, five-year deal. The former Dodger third baseman joins Richie Sexson, a free agent Seattle signed to a four-year, $50 million contract two days ago.
- Although the terms of the deal are not made public, Edgar Renteria (.287, 10, 72) inks a four-year contract believed to be worth $40 million with the World Champion Red Sox. The former Cardinal shortstop, who made the last out in the World Series ending Boston's 86-year drought, replaces fellow Colombian Orlando Cabrera, the player obtained in July in the Nomar Garciaparra trade.
- 2009 - The Mets sign Japanese right-handed reliever Ryota Igarashi to a two-year contract. Igarashi has spent his entire 11-year career in Nippon Pro Baseball with the Yakult Swallows.
- A flurry of deals take place today before the holiday break rolls in. San Diego's deal for SS Jason Bartlett, rumored for a week already, is officially completed, with prospects Adam Russell, Brandon Gomes, Cesar Ramos and Cole Figueroa heading to Tampa Bay. The Padres then complete the revamp of their infield by signing free agent 2B Orlando Hudson for two years. Hudson's former team, the Twins, in turn announce they have reached a deal with Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka for three years.
- The Yankees bring Pedro Feliciano across town, signing the rubber-armed reliever from the Mets. The Astros sign utility player Bill Hall to strengthen their bench and the Athletics claim P Philip Humber on waivers from the Royals.
- Players in the Dominican League go on strike to protest a decision by the league to suspend P Wilkins Arias for the rest of the season for facing one batter with the Aguilas Cibaenas while not officially on their roster. The players find the punishment unfair and excessive, given the team and not Arias was responsible for the administrative error. No games are played today until the league, which has already reverted its decision, can properly notify the Players' Association of the change.
- The Padres send P Mat Latos to Cincinnati in return for Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger. Latos is considered one of the most talented young pitchers in the majors in spite of a mediocre 9-14 record last year.
- The Phillies re-sign SS Jimmy Rollins to a three-year deal worth $33 million, with an option for a fourth season at the same salary.
- The Mariners repatriate lefty reliever George Sherrill, who broke in with the team in 2004, signing him as a free agent.
- 2012 - Houston sign 1B Carlos Pena and Boston signs SS Stephen Drew, both for one year.
- The Yankees continue their off-season spending spree, signing free agent 2B Brian Roberts for one year and P Matt Thornton for two years. While those two deals are not particularly large, the team gets hit once again with the largest luxury tax payment in Major League Baseball at $28 million; the Dodgers are the only other team which has to pay the tax, being assessed at $11.4 million, while the Red Sox manage to just squeeze under the $178 million payroll threshold.
- In other deals, the Orioles sign P Grant Balfour for two years and $15 million as a replacement for Jim Johnson and the Cubs sign P Jose Veras for one year. However, Balfour's deal will be cancelled on December 20th when he fails his physical exam.
- A busy off-season continues with the Rays pulling off a couple of trades involving 11 players. First, they get C Rene Rivera, 1B Jake Bauers and P Burch Smith from San Diego along with P Joe Ross and IF Trea Turner in return for OF Wil Myers, C Ryan Hanigan and Ps Gerardo Reyes and Jose Castillo, then they flip Ross and Turner to the Nationals for OF Steven Souza and P Travis Ott.
- In other deals, the Royals sign free agent P Edinson Volquez for two years and $20 million after a great comeback season with the Pirates and the Marlins add OF Michael Morse for two years and $16 million.
- 2017 - Nicaragua wins the baseball portion of the Central American Games for the seventh time in the ten times baseball has been included. In the Gold Medal game, they edge Panama, 3 - 1. In a duel of former major league pitchers. Nicaragua's Wilton López allows one run in five (Gerald Chin drives in Edgar Muñoz with an unearned run in the 1st) while Davis Romero gives up three in seven, two on an Elmer Reyes homer in the 4th. Roniel Raudes pitches four innings of one-hit, no-walk, six-K ball for the save. It is the second time in two months that Panama lost a Gold Medal game to a host nation, as they dropped the 2017 Bolivarian Games to Colombia in November. The Bronze Medal game is rained out in the 2nd inning; Guatemala's Fabián Vizcaíno goes deep off El Salvador's Marcelo Parker to open the game and Alejandro Amezquita battles out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the frame before the rains start. The two countries share the Bronze as a result.
- 2018 - Rumors emerge that the Astros have signed three-time All-Star OF Michael Brantley to a two-year free agent contract.
- 2020 - The major Nippon Pro Baseball awards are given out; the MVPs are both familiar faces. The Softbank Hawks' Yuki Yanagita wins the 2020 Pacific League MVP, five years after his prior MVP, after leading the league in OPS, slugging and runs (.342/.449/.623, 90 R in 119 G in a COVID-19-shortened season). The 2020 Central League MVP goes to 2014 MVP Tomoyuki Sugano, who led the league in wins (14-2, 1.97). The Hiroshima Carp's Masato Morishita is runaway winner of the 2020 CL Rookie of the Year after a 10-3, 1.91 campaign, while Seibu's Kaima Taira is named 2020 PL Rookie of the Year after allowing only 22 hits in 53 IP (1-0, 1 Sv, 1.87).
- The Cubs land one of the most sought-after remaining free agents as they sign SS Dansby Swanson, coming off a career year with the Braves, to a seven-year deal worth $177 million. For their part, the Dodgers make a considerably less risky move, signing DH J.D. Martinez for one year at $10 million.
- The baseball hit by Aaron Judge for his record-breaking 62nd home run on October 4th is sold at auction for $1.25 million plus a buyer's premium of $250,000. While this is a lot of money, the fan who caught the ball at Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX reportedly turned down an offer of $3 million from a potential buyer in order to have the ball auctioned off.
- 1859 - Bill Hutchison, pitcher (d. 1926)
- 1867 - Babe Doty, pitcher (d. 1929)
- 1867 - Jack Wadsworth, pitcher (d. 1941)
- 1875 - Jim McHale, outfielder (d. 1959)
- 1876 - Roy Patterson, pitcher (d. 1953)
- 1879 - Cy Falkenberg, pitcher (d. 1961)
- 1881 - Munehide Tanabe, stadium executive; Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame (d. 1957)
- 1883 - Rebel Oakes, outfielder, manager (d. 1948)
- 1884 - Yoriyasu Arima, NPB owner; Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame (d. 1957)
- 1886 - Jack McAdams, pitcher (d. 1937)
- 1889 - Ben Harris, pitcher (d. 1927)
- 1893 - Samuel Dewitt, infielder (d. ????)
- 1893 - Oscar Tuero, pitcher (d. 1960)
- 1893 - Bert Yeabsley, pinch hitter (d. 1961)
- 1896 - Jim Mattox, catcher (d. 1973)
- 1898 - Red Lutz, catcher (d. 1984)
- 1900 - Karl Swanson, infielder (d. 2002)
- 1903 - Ted Trent, pitcher; All-Star (d. 1944)
- 1914 - Dave Smith, pitcher (d. 1998)
- 1916 - Allen Lewis, writer (d. 2003)
- 1917 - Lovell Harden, pitcher (d. 1996)
- 1917 - Herb Stein, minor league infielder; scout (d. 2010)
- 1918 - Dale Jones, pitcher (d. 1980)
- 1919 - Johnny Kucab, pitcher (d. 1977)
- 1919 - Hooper Triplett, minor league outfielder (d. 1988)
- 1920 - Mike Schultz, pitcher (d. 2004)
- 1922 - Eugene Spangler, minor league outfielder (d. 2010)
- 1922 - Makoto Kozuru, NPB outfielder; Japanese Hall of Fame
- 1926 - Ray Jablonski, infielder; All-Star (d. 1985)
- 1927 - Yasuo Yonekawa, NPB pitcher
- 1929 - Raymond Harbaugh, minor league player (d. 2014)
- 1931 - Charles Grimes, minor league outfielder (d. 2014)
- 1934 - Kent Hadley, infielder (d. 2005)
- 1935 - Teodoro Obregón, minor league infielder (d. 2013)
- 1935 - Cal Ripken, manager (d. 1999)
- 1936 - Jerry Adair, infielder (d. 1987)
- 1936 - Lázaro Pérez, Cuban league catcher and manager (d. 2005)
- 1936 - Rollie Sheldon, pitcher
- 1938 - Leo Cardenas, infielder; All-Star
- 1940 - Bobby Kilpatrick, college coach
- 1946 - Noel Jenke, minor league outfielder (d. 2020)
- 1947 - Michiyo Arito, NPB infielder and manager
- 1947 - Charlie Sands, catcher (d. 2016)
- 1954 - Rich Panas, umpire
- 1957 - Mark Dempsey, pitcher
- 1957 - Bob Ojeda, pitcher
- 1959 - Bryan Clutterbuck, pitcher (d. 2016)
- 1959 - Marvell Wynne, outfielder
- 1962 - Atsushi Kittaka, NPB umpire
- 1963 - Chris Jones, minor league player
- 1965 - Jeff Cook, minor league outfielder
- 1965 - Takahiro Ikeyama, NPB infielder
- 1965 - Joe Kruzel, minor league manager
- 1967 - Steve Parris, pitcher
- 1967 - Miguel Sabino, minor league outfielder
- 1967 - Rick Strickland, minor league outfielder
- 1967 - Rafael Valdez, pitcher
- 1968 - Curtis Pride, outfielder
- 1969 - Rudy Pemberton, outfielder
- 1969 - David Oliveras, minor league pitcher
- 1970 - Mike Cather, pitcher
- 1970 - Jeff Huber, minor league pitcher
- 1971 - Rob Adkins, minor league pitcher
- 1971 - Bret Hemphill, catcher
- 1971 - Joey Vreonis, minor league pitcher
- 1975 - Scott Hunter, scout
- 1975 - Brandon Villafuerte, pitcher
- 1976 - Edwin Almonte, pitcher
- 1976 - Juan Aracena, minor league player
- 1976 - Jason Dellaero, infielder
- 1976 - Eric Eckenstahler, pitcher
- 1976 - Mark Olivier, South African national team infielder
- 1976 - Jon Tucker, minor league infielder
- 1978 - Alex Cintron, infielder
- 1978 - Robert Pepen, minor league pitcher
- 1978 - Chase Utley, infielder; All-Star
- 1979 - David Kelton, outfielder
- 1980 - Larry Broadway, minor league infielder
- 1980 - Ken Pot, First Division catcher
- 1980 - Robert Rodriguez, coach
- 1980 - Dale Thayer, pitcher
- 1982 - Josh Barfield, infielder
- 1982 - Juan Mateo, pitcher
- 1982 - Rodolfo Navarro, minor league player
- 1983 - Henry Cabrera, minor league pitcher
- 1983 - Christian Castorri, minor league pitcher
- 1983 - Ben Copeland, minor league outfielder
- 1984 - Stuart Pomeranz, pitcher
- 1985 - Fernando Abad, pitcher
- 1986 - Josh Edgin, pitcher
- 1987 - Christopher Duffy, minor league infielder
- 1987 - Donovan Solano, infielder
- 1987 - Travis Tartamella, catcher
- 1988 - Min-sung Kim, KBO infielder
- 1988 - Jonathan Lozada, minor league outfielder
- 1989 - Zach Cates, minor league pitcher
- 1990 - Henry Moreno, minor league player
- 1990 - Takahiro Norimoto, NPB pitcher
- 1990 - Taylor Rogers, pitcher
- 1990 - Tyler Rogers, pitcher; All-Star
- 1991 - Robbie Aviles, minor league pitcher
- 1991 - Bryan Escanio, minor league pitcher
- 1992 - Miguel Gomez, infielder
- 1992 - Sean Isaac, minor league pitcher
- 1992 - Daniel Vogelbach, infielder; All-Star
- 1993 - Nathan Bannister, minor league pitcher
- 1993 - Maximin Monbeig, French Division I pitcher
- 1993 - Josh Sborz, pitcher
- 1993 - Agustín Tanco, Argentinian national team pitcher
- 1996 - Darwinzon Hernandez, pitcher
- 1996 - Maddison Lenard, Australian women's national team pitcher
- 1997 - Brent Headrick, pitcher
- 1998 - Víctor Aguilar, Venezuelan national team pitcher
- 1998 - Henry Henry, minor league pitcher
- 1998 - Brandon Leytón, minor league infielder
- 1998 - Jesús Marriaga, minor league outfielder
- 1998 - Chork Vantin, Cambodian national team player
- 1999 - Gunnar Hoglund, drafted pitcher
- 1891 - Ed Springer, pitcher (b. 1867)
- 1916 - Scoops Carey, infielder (b. 1870)
- 1916 - Elias Peak, infielder (b. 1859)
- 1917 - Frank Burlingame, umpire (b. 1853)
- 1927 - Bill Gilbert, pitcher (b. 1868)
- 1933 - Charlie DeArmond, infielder (b. 1877)
- 1934 - Charlie Atherton, infielder (b. 1873)
- 1947 - Lee Viau, pitcher (b. 1866)
- 1953 - Walt DeVoy, outfielder (b. 1886)
- 1953 - Lou McEvoy, pitcher (b. 1902)
- 1954 - Red Proctor, pitcher (b. 1900)
- 1955 - Rube DeGroff, outfielder (b. 1879)
- 1956 - Ona Dodd, infielder (b. 1886)
- 1957 - Fritz Ostermueller, pitcher (b. 1907)
- 1958 - Les Scarsella, infielder (b. 1913)
- 1959 - Del Young, outfielder (b. 1885)
- 1961 - Ping Bodie, outfielder (b. 1887)
- 1968 - Cap Crossley, minor league player and manager (b. 1902)
- 1968 - Hank Severeid, catcher (b. 1891)
- 1970 - Jim Park, pitcher (b. 1892)
- 1972 - Fred Bankhead, infielder; All-Star (b. 1912)
- 1975 - Kerby Farrell, infielder, manager (b. 1913)
- 1977 - Frank Wilton, college coach (b. 1905)
- 1980 - Hank Baylis, infielder (b. 1923)
- 1985 - Elmer Bowman, pinch hitter (b. 1897)
- 1985 - Ken O'Dea, catcher; All-Star (b. 1913)
- 1989 - Zeb Eaton, pitcher (b. 1920)
- 1991 - Jesse Flores, pitcher (b. 1914)
- 1995 - Cliff Blackmon, pitcher (b. 1914)
- 1995 - George Cox, pitcher (b. 1904)
- 1997 - Mel Mazzera, outfielder (b. 1914)
- 1999 - Rufus Lewis, pitcher; All-Star (b. 1919)
- 2001 - Boyd Tepler, minor league pitcher (b. 1923)
- 2003 - Bonnie Baker, AAGPBL catcher (b. 1918)
- 2006 - Larry Sherry, pitcher (b. 1935)
- 2008 - Dave Smith, pitcher; All-Star (b. 1955)
- 2010 - Walt Dropo, infielder; All-Star (b. 1923)
- 2010 - Jake Tarr, minor league catcher (b. 1932)
- 2011 - Marian Fricker, AAGPBL catcher (b. 1922)
- 2012 - Frank Pastore, pitcher (b. 1957)
- 2012 - Jerinson Tatis, minor league pitcher (b. 1994)
- 2014 - Ryan Bolden, minor league outfielder (b. 1991)
- 2014 - Tony Komisar, minor league pitcher (b. 1936)
- 2015 - Hal Brown, pitcher (b. 1924)
- 2017 - Jesús Guerra, Cuban league pitcher (b. 1948)
- 2017 - Romelio Martínez, Cuban league outfielder (b. 1965)
- 2019 - Chien-Chang Wu, Taiwanese national team pitcher (b. 1955)
- 2022 - Wilbur Howard, outfielder (b. 1949)
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