1897 March

9th  Cleveland signs Notre Dame’s Louis Sockalexis to a contract. W.A. Phelon, Chicago sportswriter, says “Sox” was expelled from the school for drunkenness and rowdyism. Sockalexis, a full-blooded Penobscot Indian, soon earns the admiration of Spiders fans with his phenomenal all-around skills. Before long, baseball fans start referring to the Cleveland team as the “Indians.” Although Sockalexis will only play parts of three seasons due to acute alcoholism, the nickname will be revived in 1915 and become the club’s official name.

12th  Brooklyn president Charles Byrne and treasurer Abell set a ML record by offering $100,000 for the entire Cleveland franchise. The offer is rejected.

16th  Workman are repairing damage wrought by the hurricane last September to the Washington Senators ball park. President McKinley’s private box is now completed.

27th  Cleveland president Frank DeHaas Robison proposes that NL teams chip in to pay the 1896 salary of New York star Amos Rusie, who refused to play due to a contract dispute. Robison and other NL officials want to avoid Rusie’s lawsuit, in which he seeks free agency. Although New York president Andrew Freeman vehemently opposes the NL plan, the $3,000 payment is made and Rusie rejoins the Giants.

30th NL President Young rules that St. Louis has the rights to Minneapolis hurler Bill Hutchinson under the reserve clause. “Wild Bill” will perform poorly with the Browns and will return to Minneapolis.