1999 March

2nd Orlando Cepeda, Frank Selee, Smoky Joe Williams, Nestor Chylak are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.

3rd Houston OF Moises Alou undergoes surgery to repair ligaments in his left knee. He will be out for 5–6 months. Alou was injured when he fell while trying to adjust the speed of his treadmill while in the Dominican Republic.

4th  Delino DeShields, signed to a long-term contract by the Orioles, suffers a freak injury during an intersquad game and will be put on the disabled list.

7th In a historic agreement, it is announced that the Baltimore Orioles will travel to Cuba for a March 28 exhibition game against the Cuban national team in Havana. The Cuban team will travel to the US for a return contest at a future date. It is the first time in 40 years that Americans will play a professional game in Cuba.

8th Joe DiMaggio, baseball’s “Greatest Living Player,” dies at the age of 84 following a long illness.

The Padres reach an agreement with relief ace Trevor Hoffman on a 4 year, $32 million contract, with a club option for a 5th year that would raise the total up to $40 million. The agreement makes Hoffman the highest paid reliever in history.

Diamondbacks OF Tony Womack is out for 6 weeks with a fractured bone in his right forearm. Womack, acquired from the Pirates over the winter, suffers the break when he is hit by a pitch from White Sox Jim Parque.

10th Yankees manager Joe Torre is diagnosed with prostate cancer. While he is undergoing treatment, the team will be run by coach Don Zimmer.

11th The Red Sox sign free agent P Ramon Martinez to a contract, uniting him with his brother, Pedro.

16th NL Rookie of the Year Kerry Wood suffers a ligament tear in his right elbow. It will require surgery that will keep him out of action until 2000.

17th The Blue Jays fire manager Tim Johnson and replace him with Jim Fregosi. Johnson had been under fire since admitting he had lied when he said he was a Vietnam veteran.

19thThe career of New York Mets righthander Paul Wilson is derailed again when he suffers a partially torn ligament in his pitching elbow while warming up before a three–inning stint in a minor-league game. An MRI will show a partial tear of the MCL in his elbow, and on March 30 he will undergo “Tommy John” surgery which will sideline him for the year.

21st  Country singer-turned-baseball player Garth Brooks got his first hit of spring training Sunday, singling up the middle in the San Diego Padres’ 11-8 loss to the Chicago White Sox in Peoria, AZ. Brooks’ hit came off Mike Sirotka in the 2nd inning. He was pinch-hitting in his 10th plate appearance of the spring.

22nd The Cardinals announce that P Matt Morris, expected to be the ace of their staff, will miss the entire season because of a torn ligament in his right elbow.

25th Angels P Jason Dickson undergoes surgery to repair torn tissue in his right shoulder. He is expected to miss at least 4 months of the season.

The Mets sign free agent P Orel Hershiser to a contract.

28th The Baltimore Orioles make the first visit to Cuba by major leaguers since 1959, and defeat a team of Cuban Leaguers, 3–2 in 11 innings. Pitcher Jose Contreras hurls 8 innings of 2–hit, 10–K ball in relief for the Cubans, while C Charles Johnson hits a 2–run homer and DH Harold Baines drives in the winning run for the Orioles. The two teams will play a rematch at Camden Yards in Baltimore on May 3. As part of the arrangement with the Cubans, ML ships a reported 7,500 wooden bats to Cuba, and the Cuban League immediately switches from metal bats.

29th The Braves announce that P Kerry Ligtenberg will undergo reconstructive surgery on his right elbow and be out for the season. Ligtenberg was diagnosed with a partially torn ligament in his elbow on March 12.

The Padres obtain C–IF Phil Nevin and minor league P Keith Volkman from the Angels in exchange for IF Andy Sheets and minor league OF Gus Kennedy. Nevin will go on the DL in 3 days because of a strained muscle.

The Pirates acquire catcher Tim Laker from the Dodgers for a player to be named later. Much later—26 months. The deal will finally be completed in early July, 2001 when LA selects P Jason Ryan from Nashville (AAA), Laker will be gone from the Bucs by then.

30th The Players Association releases the results of a survey rating major league umpires in both leagues. Tim McClelland (AL) and Jerry Crawford (NL) receive the highest grades, while Ken Kaiser (AL) and Charlie Williams (NL) receive the lowest.

Mariners SS Alex Rodriguez is injured in spring training while doing an agility exercise that involves jumping over boxes. He’ll undergo surgery on April 8 that will keep him out of action for 6 weeks.

The Blue Jays obtain 3B Dave Hollins from the Angels for IF Tomas Perez.

The Yankees trade P Darren Holmes to the Diamondbacks for C Izzy Molina and P Ben Ford.

Pitcher Jay Witasick is traded by Oakland to Kansas City for a player to be named. The deal is completed June 9 when the A’s receive P Scott Chiasson.

31st Commissioner Bud Selig confirms that discussions are underway which could lead to advertising space being sold on the sleeves of players uniforms

The Cubs obtain P Dan Serafini from the Twins in exchange for cash considerations.