1914 December

2nd The St. Louis Terriers sign pitcher Eddie Plank, who 21 games during the season, released after the A’s 4-game loss in the World Series.

4th  Walter Johnson accepts a $6,000 bonus from the FL Chicago Whales and signs a three-year contract for $17,500 per year. Clark Griffith threatens to take Johnson to court, claiming he has paid Johnson for the reserve option in his contract. AL Prexy Ban Johnson asserts that Johnson was on the market and is “damaged goods,” worth getting rid of. Griffith travels to Coffeyville, KS, to persuade his franchise player that the option clause is legal and binding. Two weeks later Griffith signs Johnson for 3 years at $12,500 per year and returns the bonus to the Feds.

6th Indoor baseball is a winter fad in some cities. In Chicago, $2,000 is raised at an indoor game for the benefit of the family of Jimmy Doyle, deceased former Chicago 3B.

7th  A’s ace Chief Bender, released by the A’s in October, signs a 2-year deal with the Federal League; he will be assigned to Baltimore. Bender was 17-3 this past season with the A’s, but will nearly reverse that, going 4-16.

8th  After weeks of rumors, the bomb drops: Connie Mack sells 27-year-old Eddie Collins, generally regarded as the game’s finest position player, to the White Sox for $50,000. Collins signs a 5-year contract worth $75,000 and gets $15,000 as a signing bonus. The deal breaks up the A’s “$100,000 infield” and raises conjecture that Mack, too, will leave to manage the Yankees. Ban Johnson reportedly had a hand in the negotiations, sending the A’s star to counter the box office effect of the Chifeds signing Walter Johnson. Johnson first approached the Yankees who thought the $50,000 price tag excessive.

The NL votes to hold the 1915 player limit to 21 per team. They also create the disabled list (DL) which allows a player to be kept out of play for 10 days and another players substituted for him.

14th Former Giants mascot (and “pitcher”) Charlie “Victory” Faust is confined to the Western Hospital for the Insane. He will die there of pulmonary tuberculosis on June 15, 1915.

17th  Charles Comiskey pulls a surprise, reaching down to Peoria and naming Clarence “Pants” Rowland, scout and minor league executive, to manage his White Sox.

19th Washington manager Clark Griffith meets with Walter Johnson in KC and convinces the star to re-sign for $12,500, considerably less than his recent contract with the Chifeds, with the assurance that Griffith would convince the Washington management to spring for a bigger contract later. Washington will later sign Johnson to $16,000 a year for five years. Griffith gets $6,000 from Charles Comiskey to allow Johnson to repay his Chifed signing bonus.

26th The Phillies trade their star and captain Sherry Magee to the Braves for cash and two players to be named later. The two turn out to be Possum Whited and INF Oscar Dugey. Magee led the NL in hits, doubles, RBIs, and slugging percentage, while hitting .314. On the first day of spring training, 1915, in Macon, Georgia, Magee will step in a hole while shagging flies and break his collarbone. He’ll hit just .280 with 2 homers.

Jack Barry purchases the Worcester roller polo team. Roller polo is all the rage in New England, and large crowds turn out to see the games. Jack has much of his money tied up in business enterprises. (as noted by Norman Macht)

31st  Ban Johnson’s efforts to strengthen the New York Yankees succeed when he arranges the purchase of the team by Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Cap Huston for $460,000 from Bill Devery and Frank Farrell. After Detroit owner Navin refuses to let Hughey Jennings go, the new Yankee owners will name longtime Detroit pitcher Wild Bill Donovan as manager. Donovan was recently manager of Providence (IL) and was rumored to be Jennings’ eventual successor in Detroit.