1896 February

1st  NL umpires oppose the proposed rule giving them the authority to eject “obstreperous players.” They claim that the imposition of fines is a more effective form of discipline.

15th  The Louisville infield is being rebuilt with base lines of blue clay. In addition, blue semicircles will radiate out from 1B and 3B, joining at 2B to form, along with the bottom half of the diamond, a heart.

16th  New York City Parks Commissioner McMillan announces a plan to cut a street through the Polo Grounds leading to the Speedway, a new privately constructed horse track. The street is never built.

24th  The NL adopts changes in the National Agreement. The minor leagues are divided into 6 classifications based on population, and new draft fees are instituted.

The NL forbids players from deliberately soiling baseballs, declares that “a ball cutting the corners of the home plate, and being the requisite height, must be called a strike,” and empowers umpires to eject players.

29th  Western League president Ban Johnson asserts that “the Western League has passed the stage where it should be considered a minor league…it is a first-class organization, and should have the consideration that such an organization warrants.” Four years later Johnson will act upon this belief, taking the first steps toward moving the WL—renamed the American League in 1900—to ML status.