1969 January

4th  Attorney Jack Reynolds, administrator of the new umpires union, says an economic agreement has been worked out between the AL and umpires that will avert a strike in 1969.

6th  Umpires Al Salerno and Bill Valentine file a grievance against the AL and its president, Joe Cronin. The grievance is filed by the new umpires union with the National Labor Relations Board.

11th  The Cubs obtain veteran reliever Ted Abernathy from the Reds for 3 minor leaguers, C Bill Plummer, OF Clarence Jones, and P Ken Myette.

21st  Stan Musial and Roy Campanella are voted into the Hall of Fame by BBWAA members.

22nd  The Expos trade 1B Donn Clendenon and OF Jesus Alou to Houston for OF/1B Rusty Staub. Clendenon, however, refuses to report to Houston and announces that he is retiring instead. A few days later, Clendenon will decide that he would be willing to go to one of several other teams, a move that outrages the Astros.  It will be April before the issues are resolved. Montreal will keep Clendenon and complete the deal by sending pitchers Jack Billingham and Skip Guinn, and cash to compensate the Astros. Montreal will finally peddle Clendenon on the trade deadline.

29th  Washington manager Jim Lemon is fired.

31stThe National Association approves the use of the Designated Hitter for the International, Eastern, Texas and New York-Pennsylvania Leagues. The rules vary slightly for each league. The Texas League will be the fir67777st to use the DH, in April.

      The 2 major leagues agree to try an experimental rule change in spring training using a designated pinch hitter, but they don’t agree on the implementation (as noted by John Lewis) The American League tells the teams to use the designated PH when they are the home team; the National League gives the home manager the choice of which rules to use, but the visiting manager has to agree. The NL had three rules: Rule A allows for a pinch-hitter to bat for the pitcher twice in a game with the pitcher remaining in the game. The pitcher could be used to bat for himself at anytime. An example is a PH batting for the pitcher the first time and fourth time; the pitcher could bat the second at bat; another PH could bat the third time. A pinch-hitter could play defensively, if he took the field the next half-inning after batting. The pitcher would bat in the replaced player’s spot. Rule B is the DH rule that will eventually be the standard in the AL, except the player could not go in defensively later. Rule C allows for a pinch-runner only twice in a game for the pitcher or PH in rule A or DPH in rule B. The PR can enter defensively at any time, even though he appeared twice as a runner. The Mets, Giants, and Cardinals say that they will not use the rules, and the Astros and Reds follow suit.