February 1901

8th  News leaks out that Napoleon Lajoie, the Phillies star second baseman and leading NL hitter, has jumped to the new Philadelphia AL club, along with pitchers Chick Fraser and Bill Bernhard.

9th Giants and Pirates outfielder Tom O’Brien, 28, dies in Phoenix. A popular player with the Giants, O’Brien played for the Pirates in 1900, then accompanied the Giants and Superbas last fall on a trip to Cuba for a series of exhibition games. On the boat trip over, he was told that if he drank enough sea water he’d be sick, but would then be cured of any sea sickness. Both O’Brien and Kid Gleason became violently ill following the prescription, but O’Brien was so affected that all his internal organs were damaged, and he never recovered.

26th  NL officials meet with Charles “Chief” Zimmer, Pittsburgh catcher and the president of the PPA, and agree to contract concessions granted by the AL for NL players who will agree not to sign with AL clubs. Zimmer promises suspensions for PPA jumpers to the AL.

27th  The NL Rules Committee decrees that all fouls are to count as strikes, except after 2 strikes. To cut the cost of balls fouled and unrecovered, the committee urges that “batsmen who foul off good strikes are to be disciplined.” The AL will not adopt this rule for several years. Other new rules: catchers must play within 10 feet of the batter; a ball will be called if the pitcher does not throw to a ready and waiting batter within 20 seconds; players using indecent or improper language will be banished by the umpire. One rule stating that a ball will be called when a batter is hit by a pitch but, in a mail vote, the owners will rescind this in April, and a HBP will earn a batter first base.