1926 January

11th The Pacific Coast League initiates 2 franchises shifts moving the Vernon, CA team to San Francisco where it becomes the Mission Club. The Salt Lake City, UT franchise is transferred to Hollywood.

16th The Yankees sell popular first baseman Wally Pipp to the Reds for the $7500 waiver price. Pipp had lost his job to Lou Gehrig.

19th The woes continue for Giants pitcher Hugh McQuillan, who is diagnosed with three broken bones in his pitching hand and is projected to miss the first half of the season. McQuillan broke his hand punching a cabbie in an altercation a week ago. McQuillan was suspended once last season by John McGraw for being out of shape, and then had his marital affairs aired in divorce court.

30th  The ML Rules Committee, with the backing of Judge Landis, agrees 5 to 3 that pitchers may have access to a resin bag. On February 8th the AL will refuse to permit its use and will be joined by the American Association and the International League: but on April 28th the league will give in and allow a resin bag on the field, but discourage its use by players. Sam Breadon, a member of the NL rules committee states that “it is common knowledge that many pitchers have been using resin taken from the resin bag which many teams keep in the dugout.” The use of a resin bag on the field “will not lead to a revival of trick pitches. What is to prevent a pitcher from holding a bag of resin and tapping it against his trousers? Then on the mound he rubs his hand against his trouser leg and has resin on his hand? This is cheating and making a rule permitting the use of resin on the mound will give the honest man an even break against the cheater. It also makes for better control.” Connie Mack thinks that the use of a resin bag on the mound will lead to an immediate decline in hitting [Maybe Mack is right. Both leagues hit .292 in 1925 and this will drop to .282 in 1926]. The issue will flare up in a spring training game in Lakeland where an NL ump insists that a resin bag be present on the field in a game between the Indians and the Braves. The game will be delayed for an hour.

In an unrelated issue, the Committee also passes the elimination of the intentional walk, a topic that has come up before, by making the pitcher throw to the batter. Calling a catcher balk has not eliminated the intentional walk as intended. In the coming season if the pitcher purposely tries to walk a batter after a warning from the umpire, he will be thrown out of the game.

The rules committee also agrees on increasing the minimum distance from home plate to the wall for a homerun. The distance will now be 250 feet, an increase from the 235 foot distance set in 1892. In 1888, the distance had been set at 210 feet (as noted by Dave Vincent).