1981 December

2nd  Fernando Valenzuela becomes the 3rd consecutive Dodger to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Expos OF Tim Raines, who hit .304 with 71 stolen bases, is 2nd.

4th  Oakland signs free-agent OF-1B Joe Rudi, who hit just .180 in 49 games for the Red Sox last season, to a 2-year contract.

8th  In the first major deal of the winter meetings, the Cubs trade P Mike Krukow to the Phillies for pitchers Dickie Noles and Dan Larsen and versatile Keith Moreland.

9th  In a three-team deal, the Phillies send Lonnie Smith (and his 23-game hitting streak) to the Cardinals. The Phils receive Bo Diaz (.313 in 63 games) from the Indians, while the Cardinals send Lary Sorensen and Silvio Martinez to Cleveland Indians (November 20, 1981). The Phils send Scott Munninghoff to Cleveland.

      One day after announcing that manager Bob Lemon will return in 1982, the Yankees announce that former manager Gene Michael, whom Lemon replaced on September 6th, will return as manager for the 1983 season. They won’t wait that long.

      The Dodgers trade 1979 Rookie of the Year Rick Sutcliffe, unhappy with his exile to the Dodger bullpen, and infielder Jack Perconte to the Indians for OF Jorge Orta. Orta will hit just .217 for the Dodgers next season, while Sutcliffe will lead the AL in ERA.

      The Giants trade OF Larry Herndon to the Tigers for pitcher Dan Schatzeder and minor leaguer Mike Chris.

10th  In what would be a blockbuster swap of outstanding young shortstops, the Cardinals trade Garry Templeton and OF Sixto Lezcano to the Padres for Ozzie Smith and P Steve Mura. The deal is put on hold, however, when Smith is unable to work out an acceptable contract with his new club.

      The Royals send vet Clint Hurdle to the Reds for P Scott Brown.

11th  Veteran free-agent infielders Joe Morgan and Mark Belanger sign one-year contracts with the Giants and Dodgers, respectively.

      Seattle trades OF Tom Paciorek to the White Sox for C Jim Essian, IF Todd Cruz, and Rod Allen.

15th  Free-agent P Ron Guidry re-signs with the Yankees for a reported $3.6 million over 4 years.

18th  The Reds swap 3B Ray Knight to the Astros for OF Cesar Cedeno.

21st  Twenty-two-year-old Royals pitcher Mike Jones, who was 6-3, 3.20 in the 2nd half of 1981 and was projected to be the club’s 3rd starter next year, is listed in guarded condition after crashing his car while driving under the influence near Rochester, NY. Jones will not pitch in the majors again until 1984.

23rd  The Yankees sign free-agent OF Dave Collins for a reported $750,000 a year for at least 3 years. Collins hit .272 for the Reds in 1981 and stole 79 bases in 1979.