With Opening Day a week away, baseball fans are chomping at the bit to get the season started. Sometimes, though, it is good to pause and reflect on baseball's past. Even during spring training significant, future-altering events can occur. The following is a short list of important events that helped to shape baseball as we know it today.
1938 - Future Hall of Famer Luke Appling (SS, Chicago White Sox) was forced to sit out most of the 1938 season after a bad slide during an exhibition game against the Cubs resulted in a broken leg. He managed to play in 81 games that season, and in 294 at bats, was able to earn a .303 batting average.
1973 - The career of two-time Cy Young Award winner, and former MVP Denny McLain comes to an end after being released by the Braves. McLain joined the MLB in 1963 as a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. By 1970, he was named as an All Star, had helped the Tigers to their first World Series victory since 1945, and was a back-to-back Cy Young winner in 1968 and 1969. But young McLain was arrogant, brash, and involved with illegal bookmaking, which at the start of the 1970 season resulted in a 3 month suspension from commissioner Bowie Kuhn. In September of that year, Kuhn dismissed him for the rest of the season for illegal gun possession. The Tigers had enough, and traded McLain to the Senators for the 1971 season, where he lost 22 games; the league's highest that season. After a brief stint with Oakland, McLain was traded to the Braves, but he still couldn't keep his act together. By 1973 he was overweight, his pitching was sub-par, and his attitude was rotten. He was released from the team with no fanfare or love lost. Denny McLain was only 28 years old.
1986 - The position of the designated hitter is extended for postseason and All Star play in American Leagues parks.
1989 - Pete Rose's history of gambling is revealed in the infamous Sports Illustrated article that ruined any chance of the slugger's entry into the Hall of Fame. This revelation resulted in a life-long ban from baseball, and more than 15 years of retractions, lies, and admissions of truth from the former king of swing. *Note: The cover of the March 27, 1989 issue featured tennis great, Stefi Graf.
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