1969 March

1st  The Yankees’ Mickey Mantle retires.

6th  Two spring training games today use experimental rules. DPHers Ty Cline (Expos) and George Spriggs (Royals) both bat ninth and go 0 for 4 in Fort Myers. John Orsino (Yankees) bats 6th (1 for 4) and Jim French (Senators) bats 9th (0 for 3) in Pompano Beach. Orsino has the first hit as a DPH. Five of the nine games on March 7 use the DPH. The Angels’ Dick Stuart reaches base 4 times against the Padres and the box score has 3 different pinch-runners for him(none scored). Boog Powell is the Orioles’ DPH(hit 9th) and doubles in the 5th. The PR, Stanley Martin, scores, and Powell singles in the winning run in the 7th to beat the Twins, 2-1. The DPH idea will be dropped on March 26.

8th  NL President Giles and Commissioner Bowie Kuhn say the Rusty Staub deal stands, that Clendenon belongs to the Expos, and that Montreal and Houston will have to come to agreement on further compensation.

13thIn addition to this year’s lower mound and tightened strike zone, the majors try an experiment ball with 10% more resiliency for a spring training game between the Mets and Tigers in Lakeland.  It has an all-rubber center instead of a cork and rubber core, and the seams are higher than the regular ball. The Mets’ Don Cardwell surrenders 3 homers in the 4th to Dick McAuliffe, Norm Cash, and Gates Brown in the Tigers’ 7-4 win. Tomorrow, in Phoenix, the same ball is used in the Giants 13–1 win over the Angels, with Bobby Bonds hitting the only two homers (off George Brunet). The players agree the ball is definitely livelier and sounded louder coming off the bat.

16th A plane crash in Maracaibo kills 155 passengers including Carlos Santeliz, the Venezuelan League Rookie of the Year, on his way to the Braves spring training camp. Another fatality is Nestor Chavez, en route to the Giants camp. Chavez (1–0) was 12–5 with Waterbury in 1967, including 7 shutouts. Pablo Torrealba was also scheduled to take the flight, but missed it, and took a later one.

17th  St. Louis trades 1B Orlando Cepeda to Atlanta for C/1B Joe Torre. Torre will knock in 100 RBIs in each of the next 3 seasons topping it off with the MVP Award in 1971.

26th  An indemnity of $540,000 is paid to the Pacific Coast League for the ML invasion of San Diego and Seattle.

28thThe Cubs purchase Charley Smith from the Giants, which had acquired the well-traveled third sacker last December 6. Smith will reinjure his knee and retire after a few at bats.