1979 November

1st  Edward Bennett Williams buys the Orioles from Jerold Hoffberger for a reported $12.3 million.

In separate deals, the Yankees acquire OF Ruppert Jones from the Mariners and C Rick Cerone and Tom Underwood from the Blue Jays, giving up 7 players, including popular 1B Chris Chambliss, SS Damaso Garcia, OF Juan Beniquez, and pitchers Jim Beattie and Paul Mirabella. Chambliss will be with the Blue Jays a month before they swap him to Atlanta.

2nd  Nolan Ryan and Joe Morgan are the top names available in the reentry draft held at New York’s Plaza Hotel.

3rd  Teams of U.S. all-stars depart on an exhibition tour of Japan. The NL stars will win 4 of 7 games versus the AL, and the combined forces will split a pair of games with the Japanese all-stars.

7th  Reliever Bruce Sutter, who had a 2.23 ERA and saved 37 of the Cubs’ 80 victories, wins the NL Cy Young Award by a 72-66 margin over the Astros Joe Niekro.

8th  The Yankees ink 1B-DH Bob Watson and P Rudy May, the first reentry free agents to sign long-term contracts with new teams.

Mets president Lorinda de Roulet announces the team is for sale, beginning a 2-month bidding war.

13th  For the first time in history, 2 players share the MVP Award. The NL co-winners are Willie Stargell, the Pirates spiritual leader, who batted .281 with 32 HRs; and the Cardinals Keith Hernandez, who led the NL in runs (116), doubles (48), and batting (.344).

14th  The Dodgers sign reentry free agent P Dave Goltz, formerly of the Twins, to a 6-year, $3 million pact.

California’s Don Baylor, who led the AL in runs and RBIs, is named the league’s MVP.

The Yankees acquire 3B Eric Soderholm from Texas for 3 players (minor leaguers Rockey Burdette, Roger Slagle, Amos Lewis) to be named later. As noted in Yankees Coming, Yankees Goingby Lyle Spatz, the Ranger release the players’ names, a rules violation since they are still frozen on minor league rosters until December. The deal will be consummated on December 13, with Slagle’s name omitted. Soderholm will hit .287 in 1980, then miss the 1981 season because of illness, and retire.

16th  The Red Sox sign 1B Tony Perez, a reentry free agent formerly with the Expos.

17th  On a flight to Austin, TX, writer/editor Dan Okrent sketches out the first draft of rules for what would become Rotisserie League Baseball. Had the friends he was seeing not ignored these rules, the Rotisserie League would have been called the Pit League, after the Austin barbecue joint where Okrent first unveiled them. Two weeks later in New York, he pitches the idea to a more receptive group with whom Okrent lunches monthly at La Rotisserie Francaise.

19th  The Astros sign reentry free agent Nolan Ryan, formerly of the Angels, to a 4-year, $4.5 million contract, making him the highest-paid player in the ML.

20th  The Braves sign reliever Al Hrabosky, “the Mad Hungarian,” a reentry free agent formerly with the Royals, to a 5-year pact worth $2.2 million.

26th  Third baseman John Castino, who batted .285 for the Twins, and SS Alfredo Griffin, who hit .287 for the Blue Jays, tie for the AL Rookie of the Year award, each receiving 7 of the 28 votes. The two rookies share one other distinction: both of them hit their first ML homers inside-the-park. The deadlock precipitates a change in the voting system, effective in 1980.

28th  Pitcher Rick Sutcliffe, who went 17-10 for the sub-.500 Dodgers, receives 20 of 24 votes to earn the NL Rookie of the Year honors.

29th  Commissioner Kuhn lets Billy Martin off with a warning, following the October 23rd incident.