1996 February

1st The Royals sign free agent P Tim Belcher.

3rd The White Sox sign free agent P Kevin Tapani, a double-figure winner in each year in the 90’s.

8th Dave Winfield announces his retirement after 23 seasons. The 12-time All Star joins Aaron, Mays and Musial as the only players with 3,000 hits and 400 home runs.

13th The Cardinals complete a long-rumored swap, acquiring Dennis Eckersley, 42, from the A’s in exchange for minor leaguer Steve Montgomery. Eck replaces Tom Henke, who announced last month he was retiring.

The Cards announce that they are laying nearly three acres of natural grass over the field at Busch Stadium, replacing the artificial turf that has been used for 26 years. The turf will be ready for the April 8 opener against Montreal.

21st Despite the Baltimore Orioles winning in arbitration over P Arthur Rhodes, the players have their first winning year since 1990, going 14–10 in arbitration against the owners.  Rhodes, 2–5, gets a team offer raise to $300,000: the pitcher had asked for $675,000. Arbitration-eligible players increased their salaries by 64%, the lowest since 1998,

23rd The Rules Committee announces that the strike zone will be larger, dropping it from the top of the knees to the hollow below the knees. The change comes out of a series of recommendations to help speed up play.