The Yankees, who finished with a 99-63 record, fire Yogi Berra after the team drops the World Series to the Cardinals in seven games. The 39-year-old Berra will join the crosstown Mets as a coach, becoming team’s the manager in 1972, following Gil Hodges’ unexpected death in spring training.
Jorge Posada (.273, 275, 1,065) announces his retirement after 17 major league seasons. The 40-year-old five-time All-Star catcher joins Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte in retirement, leaving Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera as the remaining members of the core group of players that led New York to four World Series titles in five years from 1996-2000.
The Giants dish out the largest amount ever paid for a single player when they obtain Walker Cooper from the Cardinals for $175,000. The All-Star catcher will hit .276 during his 3+ seasons with New York.
Ed Whitson, 14-8 with the NL champion Padres, signs a five-year $4.4 million contract with the Yankees. The free-agent deal becomes a nightmare for both the pitcher and the team when he lasts only a season and a half, compiling a 15-10 record along with an ERA of 5.38 in 44 games in the Bronx.
The Yankees reacquire Javier Vazquez by trading outfielder Melky Cabrera to the Braves. The right-hander’s last performance in pinstripes was less than stellar, allowing two home runs, including a grand slam, to Boston’s Johnny Damon, which put Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS out of reach and completed New York’s historic collapse after the team had won the first three games of the championship series.
Yankee farmhand Brien Taylor, the #1 overall selection in the MLB June Amateur Draft, who sign a record $1.55 million contract with the team, severely tears the glenoid labrum his left shoulder after attempting to throw a punch that misses its mark. The Harlowe, North Carolina, altercation will cause the 21-year-old prized prospect to miss all of next season, and will effectively end the his ability to pitch in the major leagues.
The Giants trade pitcher Bill Lohrman, catcher James O’Dea, first baseman Johnny McCarthy, and $50,000 to the Cardinals for first baseman Johnny Mize. The Giants’ new infielder, despite missing three years due to WWII, will spend five productive seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the team, hitting .299 and averaging more than 100 RBI per season.
In one of the worst deals in franchise history, the Mets trade Nolan Ryan and three prospects to the Angels for six time All-Star third baseman Jim Fregosi. The fireballer from Texas will set the all-time strikeout record (5,714) and will be elected to the Hall of Fame, while their new 30-year-old infielder (.232, 5, 32) plays less than two full seasons in New York, providing little help for the team.
The Mets purchase outfielder Richie Ashburn from the Cubs. The veteran outfielder, who will be the club’s first-ever representative on the National League All-Star team, will be given a boat after being named the Most Valuable Player of the last-place team. Unfortunately, the boat will sink before he ever uses it.
The Mets send right-handed starter Walt Terrell to the Tigers in exchange for infielder Howard Johnson. HoJo will spend nine years with the Mets and will return to the organization to become a minor league manager and big league coach.