1949 December

1st Attendance in the ML is 20.2 million, down from 20.9 in 1948. The Yankees and the Indians each finish with over 2.2 million, but the Browns fall to 270,000. The Browns will try to cover their light attendance with $200,000 obtained in cash in December sales of Bob Dillinger, Gerry Priddy, and Paul Lehner. The Browns get 5 players in the transactions.

7th After ten years in pinstripes, Charlie “King Kong” Keller is released by the Yankees. He’ll sign for a season in Detroit.

12th By a 7-1 vote, the AL rejects a proposal to bring back the legal spitball. The rules committee also alters the strike zone to the space between the armpits and the top of the knees. The new rule eliminates the batter’s shoulders being within the strike zone.

13th The Browns send star 3B Bob Dillinger (.324) and OF Paul Lehner to the A’s for a reported $100,000 and infielders Frankie Gustine, Bill DeMars, and outfielders Ray Coleman, and Ray Ippolitto. Dillinger will play just a half-season in Philley before being swapped to Pittsburgh.

14th In a major trade, the Giants get Alvin Dark and Eddie Stanky from the Braves in a swap for Willard Marshall, Sid Gordon, Buddy Kerr, and Sam Webb.

The Cubs send P Bill Voiselle and $35,000 to the Braves for infielder Gene Mauch. The Cubs had hoped to come away with Warren Spahn or John Antonelli.

17th The Yankees and Detroit swap first baseman, the Tigers getting Dick Kryhoski while New York takes Dick Wakefield, signed by the Tigers in 1941 with a $52,000 bonus.

24th The Braves swap Ed Sauer and Jim Russell plus cash to the Dodgers for P Luis Olmo. Russell will play, Sauer won’t.

31st The 1940s is the only decade in ML baseball history in which no new stadiums are built. After Cleveland opened Municipal Stadium in 1932, no new ballpark will be opened until County Stadium in Milwaukee is unveiled in 1953.

The 1940s will end with 8 blacks on ML rosters: 3 each on the Dodgers and Indians, and 2 with the Giants. Although it will be another decade before all ML teams would be integrated, most teams will be playing blacks in the next 2 years. All but the Browns, Cubs, and Reds set attendance records in the 1940s. There were 81 scheduled night games in 1940 and 384 in 1949. The change to playing under the lights is underscored by the release of the 1950 schedule. The Cardinals have permission to open the season with the Pirates in a night game.