1903 December

12th  During the post-season City Series in Chicago, the Cubs veteran Jack Taylor is chided for losing 3 games to the White Stockings and Cubs president John Hart is convinced that gambling was involved. Taylor is quoted as saying, “Why should I have won? I got $100 from Hart for winning and $500 for losing.” Taylor, who refused to pitch the last game of the city series, is traded to the St. Louis Cardinals with rookie C Larry McLean for pitcher Mike O’Neill and a righthander who was 9–13 in his first season, Mordecai “Three Fingered” Brown. Ironically, charges will surface in the fall of 2005 that Taylor threw another city series, the Mound City series between the Browns and the Cardinals.

Continuing efforts to build a winner in New York, John McGraw acquires 34-year-old SS Bill Dahlen from Brooklyn in exchange for pitcher Jack Cronin and iron-fingered SS Charlie Babb. McGraw says this is the trade that makes the Giants into winners. In 1904, Dahlen will top the NL with 80 RBI. When he retires in 1911, he will have fielded more chances than any other SS.

18th  At the league meeting, Ban Johnson is reelected AL president and given a raise to $10,000. Also, the AL votes to allow coaches at 3B and 1B at all times: till now, only one coach was permitted except if there were 2 or more base runners. The AL also institutes the “foul strike” rule, used by the NL since 1901: a foul will be counted as a strike unless there are already 2 strikes.

20th  After a two-year absence from the majors, pitcher Kid Nichols signs as player/ manager of the Cardinals. He will win 21 himself, but the team will finish 4th.

In an unpopular trade in Boston, the Americans send Long Tom Hughes to the Highlanders for lefty Jesse Tannehill. Hughes, 20–7 for the champs, had jumped to the AL from the NL Chicago team in 1902. Hughes will come up short in New York and be shipped to Washington in July, while Tannehill will win 20 for the Hubmen.