1903 January

10th  At Cincinnati peace talks, the NL proposes a consolidated 12-team league, which the AL rejects. An agreement is reached to coexist peacefully if the AL promises to stay out of Pittsburgh. In the awarding of disputed contracts, the most hotly contested case is that of Sam Crawford, Reds OF who batted .333 and led the NL with 23 triples in 1902. The future Hall of Famer, signed for 1903 by both Detroit and the Reds, is awarded to the Tigers, having signed with them first. He will lead the AL in triples this year with 25.

Despite attempts by John Brush and Andrew Freedman to use their political influence to prevent the AL from finding suitable grounds in New York, Ban Johnson, aided by baseball writer Joe Vila, finds backers. He also finds a ballpark site at 165th Street and Broadway. Frank Farrell and Bill Devery pay $18,000 for the Baltimore franchise and will build a wooden grandstand seating 15,000 on the highest point of Manhattan. The team, logically, will be called the Highlanders. Eighteen players are assigned to the New York team, including players who had moved with the team from Baltimore, and former NLers.

12th  Detroit pitcher Win Mercer, winner of 15 games in 1902, commits suicide by inhaling gas in San Francisco’s Occidental Hotel. Mercer had recently been named the Tigers manager. The 28-year-old had been suspected of embezzling gate receipts from the California winter league games to cover gambling debts. Mercer, very popular with lady fans, leaves an enigmatic note: “A word to friends: beware of women and a game of chance.” On the recommendation of Ban Johnson, Tiger owner Sam Angus will hire Toronto manager Ed Barrow as the new skipper.