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January 2, 1888

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On January 2, 1888, star second baseman Fred “Sure Shot” Dunlap signs with Pittsburgh of the National League, becoming the highest paid player in the major leagues. Dunlap, who batted .327 with 10 triples for Detroit in 1887, receives a salary of $5,000 and a bonus of $2,000.

January 03, 1977

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On January 3, 1977, the Kansas City Royals release veteran reliever Lindy McDaniel, ending his 21-year career. McDaniel won 141 games and posted 172 saves in stints with the Royals, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, and St. Louis Cardinals.

January 03, 1923

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On January 3, 1923, the New York Yankees steal another standout player from the Boston Red Sox, acquiring pitcher Herb Pennock for three marginal players and $50,000 in cash. Known as “The Knight of Kenneth Square,” Pennock will win 19 games in 1923, 21 games in 1924, 23 games in 1926, and 19 games in 1927.

January 03, 1920

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On January 3, 1920, terms of the recent sale of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees are publicly revealed. Boston Red Sox’ owner Harry Frazee will receive $125,000 in cash and $300,000 in loans. The news draws the further wrath of angry Red Sox fans who are already upset that Frazee sold one of the team’s best players.

January 04, 1936

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On January 4, 1936, the Boston Red Sox acquire outfielder Doc Cramer and Eric “Boob” McNair from the Philadelphia A’s for Henry Johnson, Al Niemiec and $75,000. The transaction completes the December 10th trade that sent future Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx to the Red Sox.

January 05, 1957

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On January 5, 1957, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers officially announces his retirement, voiding a recent trade to the rival New York Giants. In December, the Dodgers had dealt Robinson to the Giants for pitcher Dick Littlefield and $35,000. Giants vice-president Charles Feeney had offered Robinson a $60,000 contract. Citing problems with his legs, Robinson decides to call it quits.

January 05, 1946

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On January 5, 1946, the St. Louis Cardinals sell star catcher Walker Cooper to the New York Giants for a record $175,000. Cooper batted .317 in 1944 but missed most of the 1945 season because of his enlistment in World War II.

January 05, 1915

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On January 5, 1915, the Philadelphia Athletics purchase future Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie from the Cleveland Indians. Lajoie slumped to a .258 average in 1914.

December 28, 1983

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On December 28, 1983, free agent outfielder Warren Cromartie signs a three-year contract with the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese League. Cromartie, who batted .278 for the Montreal Expos in 1983, will receive $2.5 million over the length of the contract.

January 05, 1920

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On January 5, 1920, in perhaps the most famous transaction in baseball history, the New York Yankees formally announce the purchase of outfielder-pitcher Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox for $100,000. The trade had actually been made on December 26, 1919, but the announcement was delayed until Ruth could come to contract terms with the Yankees. Red Sox owner and theatrical entrepreneur Harry Frazee decides to sell Ruth because he needs money to support one of his theatrical productions, while paying off debts on Fenway Park. The Yankees will make Ruth a full-time outfielder in 1920
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