2003 February

2ndThe Cardinals sign free agent OF Orlando Palmeiro to a contract.

The Red Sox announce that Jackie Robinson will be nominated for the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his achievements as the first black player in modern major league baseball.

5thUmpire John Hirschbeck the head of the umpires’ union, is given a 10-day suspension for reportedly making personal threats to Rob Manfred, executive vice president for labor relations in the commissioner’s office. He is the second umpire in less than a week to be given a 10-day suspension because of inappropriate comments. Hirschbeck got into a heated telephone conversation with Manfred last month and made personal threats against him. Hirschbeck was upset that an acquaintance was one of 26 baseball employees laid off on January 22.

7thThe Devil Rays sign free agent 1B Travis Lee.

8thThe Dominican Republic’s Cibao Eagles defeat Puerto Rico to win the Caribbean Series.

14thIn a letter to the World Umpires Association, baseball says that umpires whose calls do not match Questec at least 90 percent of the time will be judged as not meeting standards. In response next month, 47 of 68 umpires sign a statement expressing no confidence in the QuesTec system.

15thThe Marlins sell Kevin Millar to the Red Sox for $1.2 million, along with an additional $300,000 that will go to charity. This ends the bizarre episode which began when the Marlins sold Millar to the Japan’s Chunichi Dragons for $1.2 million for Millar’s rights last month. A pro forma waiver request was interrupted when the Red Sox claimed Millar.

17thOrioles pitcher Steve Bechler dies less than 24 hours after being forced to leave a spring training workout due to heatstroke. His death is tied to an over-the-counter supplement, which contains the stimulant Ephedrine.

The Braves re-signed P Greg Maddux to a one-year, $14.75 million contract, which avoids salary arbitration.

21stHall of Fame P Sandy Koufax severs ties with his former team because of a gossip item hinting that Koufax is gay that appeared in the New York Post, a newspaper owned by the Dodgers’ team ownership.

25thThe Pirates sign free agent OF Reggie Sanders to a contract, his 6thNL team in 6 years.

26thThe Veterans Committee does not vote anyone into the Hall of Fame for the first time since 1993. Gil Hodges is the top vote-getter, falling 11 votes shy of winning election.

27thMajor league baseball formally bans the drug Ephedrine from use by all minor league players not on a major league 40-man roster.