1st Dodgers pitcher Steve Howe wins the NL Rookie of the Year Award, edging the Expos Bill Gullickson and the Phillies Lonnie Smith. Howe was 7-9 with a 2.65 ERA and 17 saves.
3rd Don Sutton, 35, the winningest pitcher in Los Angeles Dodgers’ history, signs a 4-year contract with the Houston Astros. Sutton was 13-5 in 1980 with a league-leading 2.21 ERA.
Indians outfielder “Super Joe” Charboneau, who hit .289 with 23 HR and 87 RBI, is named AL Rookie of the Year.
8th The Cardinals and Padres complete the first major trade at the annual winter meetings in Dallas, TX. Reliever Rollie Fingers, who won 11 games and saved 23 for San Diego in 1980, and 24-year-old catcher Terry Kennedy, who hit .254 for St. Louis, are the keys in the 11-player swap.
9th Giants manager Dave Bristol is fired.
The Cubs trade reliever Bruce Sutter, the 1979 NL Cy Young Award winner, to the Cardinals for 3B Ken Reitz, OF-1B Leon Durham, and a player to be named (Ty Waller). Sutter was the NL leader in saves in the past two seasons and will do so for the Cards in the next two campaigns.
The Pirates trade P Bert Blyleven and C Manny Sanguillen to the Indians for P Bob Owchinko, P Victor Cruz, C Gary Alexander, and minor league P Rafael Vasquez. Blyleven had quit the team for ten days because he did not like the way manager Chuck Tanner was handling him. Tanner blasts him for his selfishness, calling him “Cryleven.”
10th The Red Sox trade SS Rick Burleson and 3B Butch Hobson to the Angels for 3B Carney Lansford, CF Rick Miller, and P Mark Clear.
12th The Cardinals make their 3rd major trade, sending the recently acquired Rollie Fingers, C Ted Simmons, and P Pete Vuckovich to the Brewers in exchange for P Lary Sorensen, OF Sixto Lezcano, and minor leaguers OF David Green and P Dave LaPoint. Fingers and Vuckovich will win the AL Cy Young Award for the Brewers in 1981 and 1982, respectively.
13th The Cubs send Mike Vail to the Reds in exchange for Hector Cruz.
15th Outfielder Dave Winfield becomes the highest-paid player in baseball when he signs a 10-year, $15 million contract with the New York Yankees.
18th Ferguson Jenkins is convicted on cocaine possession charges in a Canadian court, but has the verdict immediately erased by Judge Gerald Young because of his years of “exemplary” conduct.
23rd The Orioles sign free agent OF Jim Dwyer.