1920 December

6th  A 5-year-old lawsuit that awarded $264,000 damages to the Baltimore Federal League club on April 12, 1919, is reversed by a court of appeals, which upholds the reserve clause and holds that baseball is not interstate commerce nor subject to antitrust laws. The original was initiated because the Baltimore Feds were not included in the settlement of the Federal League war. They wanted a ML team in Baltimore and did not get it. This ruling will be upheld in 1922 by the U.S. Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice William Howard Taft, brother of Cubs former owner, Charles Taft.

15th  The NL reveals a most telling statistic, pointing out the changes in the game: the use of 27,924 baseballs during the season, an increase of 10,248 over 1919.

The Yankees’ Ed Barrow pries future Hall of Fame P Waite Hoyt, C Wally Schang, lefty Harry Harper, and IF Mike McNally from his former Boston team in exchange for 2B Del Pratt, C Muddy Ruel, P Hank Thormahlen, OF Sammy Vick, and cash. Schang, expected to give more punch to the Yankees’ lineup, will go 0-for-25 before connecting for hit. Thormahlen, once predicted to be a star, will win just one more ML game. Umpire Billy Evans commented about him in the May 17, 1918 (New York) Globe and Commercial Advertiser, “He constantly kept the ball just far enough outside or inside to bother the batters. . . . It was pitching that an umpire must watch closely, for Thormahlen was constantly getting them into that neutral zone where either a strike or a ball could be called. . . . I predict that this fellow will be a star.”

Brooklyn sends Rube Marquard to the Reds for Dutch Ruether. Marquard was in the Ebbets doghouse after being arrested in a Cleveland hotel lobby for scalping WS tickets.

The Giants hand a release to 2B Larry Doyle so that he can manage the Toronto team.

17th  The AL votes to allow pitchers who used the spitball in 1920 to continue using it as long as they are in the league. The NL will do the same. There will be 17 designated spitters in all, 8 in the NL and 9 in the AL. For the NL, the spitball pitchers are: Bill Doak, Phil Douglas, Dana Fillingim, Ray Fisher, Marvin Goodwin, Burleigh Grimes, Clarence Mitchell, and Dick Rudolph. For the AL: A.W. Ayers, Slim Caldwell, Stan Coveleski, Red Faber, H.B. Leonard, Jack Quinn, Allen Russell, Urban Shocker, and Allen Sothoron. One story has the White Sox forgetting to name Frank Shellenback as a spitball pitcher, forcing him to go the PCL to throw a wet one, and where he wins 296 games.

18th  On his 34th birthday, Ty Cobb signs to manage the Tigers for $32,500, making him the highest-paid player and 2nd to John McGraw among managers. He replaces Hugh Jennings, who resigns after 14 years to join his old teammate McGraw as assistant manager of the Giants. In other managerial changes at the ML meetings: Lee Fohl replaces Jimmy Burke with the Browns; Clark Griffith, now president of the Senators, gives up the managing job to SS George McBride; George Stallings buys the Rochester club and leaves the Boston Braves, replaced by Fred Mitchell from the Cubs, who is replaced by Johnny Evers; former Yankees skipper Bill Donovan takes over the Phils from Gavvy Cravath.