1899 March

2nd  At the league meeting in New York, an attempt to expel the St. Louis Browns, who had a 39-111 record in 1898, fails by a 7–4 margin. It is also decided that no club may hold more than 18 players on its reserve list.

9th  Bill McGunnigle, player and manager, who won pennants for Brooklyn in 1889-90, dies of consumption in Brockton, MA. He was 44.

13th  The debt-ridden St. Louis Browns (and Sportsman’s Park) are sold at auction by court order for $33,000. The ultimate owners are the Robison brothers, Frank and Stanley, who will continue ownership of the Cleveland franchise as well. With meager fan support, the Robisons transfer the Spiders’ best players to St. Louis, while the Browns’ worst players end up in Cleveland. Rambunctious Chris Von der Ahe, broke and fallen from favor, is out of baseball.

18th  John Healey, peripatetic righthander of the 80s and early 90s, dies of consumption at age 32. Known as “Long John” and “Egyptian” (he was 6’2” and born in Cairo, IL) he played for 8 NL and AA teams in 8 years, winning 76 and losing 136.

20th  The Chicago players arrive in Hot Springs, NM for spring training. They are met at the isolated train station by a band of scruffy outlaws who shoot off their guns and threaten the players. After a nervous interval, the desperadoes drop their disguises and reveal themselves as teammates Bill Lange, Frank Chance, Sam Mertes and Gene DeMontreville, who had come in earlier from California. Hot Springs would later be renamed, appropriately, Truth or Consequences.

29th  The Robison brothers, owners of the Cleveland franchise, gain control of the St. Louis franchise as well, and redistribute players. St. Louis, which finished 12th in 1898, is enhanced with Cy Young, Jesse Burkett, Bobby Wallace, and manager-1B Patsy Tebeau. Cleveland is greatly weakened by the transfers. The new St. Louis owners change the name of Sportsman’s Park to League Park. They also change the color of the team socks from brown to red. The team nickname becomes the Perfectos. The players going to Cleveland are Kid Carsey, Jack Clements, Lave Cross, Tommy Dowd, Dick Harley, Bill Hill, Harry Lochhead, Harry Maupin, Joe Quinn, Jack Stivetts, Willie Sudhoff, Joe Sugden, Sleeper Sullivan and Tommy Tucker.

After changing 30 dates the league officials adopt a playing schedule. Eleven Sunday games are cut out of Louisville’s schedule, assuring a financial loss for the franchise. Resentment against new owner Barney Dreyfuss is given as the reason.

30th  Amos Rusie refuses to sign a new contract with the Giants for $2,000. He made $3,000 in 1898 but hurt his arm. He will stay out of baseball for the next 2 years.