This Date In Transactions History: March 11

His name is Dan Uggla, and he's celebrating his 31st birthday today.  He was also involved in one of the winter's biggest trades when the Marlins sent him to Atlanta.  Uggla's birthday and his recent appearance on the trade wire combined to inspire the latest edition of This Date In Transactions History…

  • Brian Giles cut his comeback bid with the Dodgers short on March 11, 2010 when he announced his retirement due to nagging knee injuries.  You can make a case for Giles as baseball's most underrated player in recent years — he posted a .902 career OPS (.291/.400/.502) over his 15-year career with the Indians, Pirates and Padres.
  • The Royals signed David DeJesus to a five-year, $13.8MM contract extension on this day in 2006.  The deal contained a $6MM team option for 2011 that Kansas City exercised a month before dealing DeJesus to Oakland.  DeJesus hit .289/.360/.426 during that contract's lifetime and gave the Royals some well-above average defense, especially in left field.  The Royals got that solid performance plus Vin Mazzaro and Justin Marks from the A's, so K.C. received quite a nice return on that $13.8MM investment.   
  • The Yankees released Ruben Rivera under odd circumstances on this day in 2002.  The outfielder was cut during Spring Training for stealing a glove and bat from the locker of teammate Derek Jeter and selling the gear to a sports memorabilia dealer.  Rivera was released after the other Yankee players (including his cousin Mariano) unanimously voted him off the team.  Rivera only had 241 more Major League plate appearances after this incident, though he played for Panama in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics.
  • Former No. 1 overall amateur draft pick Ben McDonald was dealt from Cleveland to Milwaukee for Mark Watson on March 11, 1998.  Just three months earlier,  McDonald went from the Brewers (along with Ron Villone and Mike Fetters) to the Tribe for a package of Marquis Grissom and Jeff Juden.  McDonald underwent rotator cuff surgery, however, in February 1998 that failed to correct a nagging shoulder problem, so he was sent back to Milwaukee.  McDonald never pitched again, finishing his career with a 3.91 career ERA and a 2.05 career K/BB rate in 211 Major League games. 
  • Hall-of-Famer Jim Palmer made his final pitching appearance in an Orioles uniform on this day in 1991.  At age 45, Palmer attempted a comeback and allowed two runs and five hits over two innings in a Spring Training game against Boston.  Palmer announced his final retirement the next day.
  • Between 1955 and 1964, Mickey Mantle averaged a 1.057 OPS for the Yankees.  His only "down year" came in 1959 when he hit .285/.390/.514 with 31 homers.  (To give you an idea of how great Mantle was, compare the worst year of his prime to Brian Giles' very good career numbers.)  The Yankees gave Mantle a $7K pay cut when finalizing his next contract on this day in 1960, whittling his pay for the 1960 season to $65K.  The Mick responded by leading the league in homers, total bases, runs and OPS that year.
  • On March 11, 1901, Hall-of-Fame manager John McGraw tried to sneak a player under baseball's color line by announcing that his Baltimore Orioles had signed "Charlie Tokohama," allegedly a member of the Cherokee Nation.  Tokohama was actually Charlie Grant, a Negro Leagues star.  McGraw's plot was discovered and Grant was prevented from ever playing in the majors. 


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