1931 December

2nd  Toronto sells Ken Strong to Detroit. A former All-American football player at NYU, Strong hit .340. However, a botched operation on his wrist during the winter leaves him unable to throw effectively, and he settles for a pro football career with the New York Giants that eventually takes him to that sport’s Hall of Fame.

The White Sox swap lefty Bob Weiland to the Red Sox for Milt Gaston. Weiland was 5-15 for Chicago with an earned run average of 5.39 over the parts of four seasons. Changing Sox will not help Weiland or the veteran Gaston, a double-figure loser each year except his rookie season.

4th  Bump Hadley, Jackie Hayes, and Sad Sam Jones are traded from Washington to the White Sox for Carl Reynolds and John Kerr.

9th  Baseball owners, fearful of the effects of the Depression, vote to cut squads from 25 players to 23. Both leagues will stop awarding MVP trophies. The NL continues to prohibit uniform numbers. As noted by historian Doug Pappas, the NL loans the Phillies $35,000 and loans Judge Emil Fuchs, owner of the Braves, $20,000 secured by his stock. Fuchs’ finances are such that he won’t even pay the interest from 1935-37, and will file for bankruptcy in 1938, three years after retiring from the Braves.

11th  Despite two wins in the WS, spitball veteran Burleigh Grimes is traded by the Cards to the Cubs for the fallen Hack Wilson. Wilson will be offered just $7,500 reflecting the owner’s new austerity drive. Grimes will have 3 losing seasons in Chicago before calling it quits. Not until Cliff Lee in 2009 will a pitcher with two wins in a World Series be traded before the next season.

18th  The Reds once again purchase Wally Roettger, this time sending the cash to the Cardinals.