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.
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.
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.
On December 23, 1958, the Philadelphia Phillies acquire infielder Sparky Anderson from the Los Angeles Dodgers for outfielder Rip Repulski and two other players. Anderson won’t do much as a player, but will win three World Championships as a manager.
On December 23, 1981, the New York Yankees sign outfielder-first baseman Dave Collins to a free agent contract. Collins, who stole 79 bases for the Cincinnati Reds in 1979, will end up a bust in New York and will be traded after one season.
On December 23, 1995, the St. Louis Cardinals sign a pair of free agents: outfielder Ron Gant and pitcher Andy Benes. Gant hit 29 home runs and stole 23 bases for the Cincinnati Reds, and Benes won 11 games while splitting his season between San Diego and Seattle. Benes will join younger brother Alan in St. Louis’ rotation.
On December 24, 1969, star outfielder Curt Flood refuses to accept a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies, less than two months after being dealt by the St. Louis Cardinals. The trade had sent Flood, catcher Tim McCarver, outfielder Byron Browne, and pitcheFlood writes a letter to Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, explaining that he should be free to sign with any team he chooses. “I do not feel that I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes,” writes Flood. Flood will file suit against Major League Baseball, challenging the game’s reserve clause, which binds a player perpetually to his team. After losing the suit, Flood will attempt a comeback with the Washington Senators.
On December 26, 1919, Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee makes a secret agreement to sell Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $400,000 in cash plus other considerations. The sale will be announced publicly one week later…
On September 2, 1970, future Hall of Famer Billy Williams of the Chicago Cubs sets a National League record by playing in his 1,117th straight game. The next day, Williams will ask manager Leo Durocher to sit him down, ending the streak.