January 9th, 2001
Indians Sign Juan Gonzalez
Juan Gonzalez signed a one-year deal with Cleveland as the Indians hoped to fill the hole left by Manny Ramriez who had signed the Red Sox. For his part, Gonzalez who was coming off an injury-plagued year with the Tigers and hoped to reestablish his value. The deal worked out for both sides, and Gonzalez batted .325/.370/.505 with 35 home runs, and helped the Indians win 91 games and stretch the 116 win Seattle Mariners to five games in ALDS.
January 9th, 1990
Of course, the real irony of Gonzalez's contract was that the previous off-season he had turned down Detroit's 8-year, 143 million dollar extension. That's 17.875 million a year, average. Since he turned down that contract, "Juan Gone" made 10 million with Cleveland, a combined 24 million over two years with Texas and 4 million with Kansas City in 2004. As of his moment, he is apparently signing a minor-league deal with those same Indians for 2005, a season where he could be making, for the fifth year in a row, 17.875 million, with three years left. Gonzalez will obviously never be hard-up, but the contrast between what one could have in life and what one does is rarely quite so clear.
Spud Chandler Dies
Chandler won 109 games in 11 years with the Yankees, good for 14th all-time with the club, and did it against just 43 losses, good for a .717 winning percentage. Chandler's 14th place is fairly secure, the closest active Yankee is Mike Mussina, with just 64. Chandler also remains the only Yankee pitcher to have won an MVP award, which he got in 1943 after going 20-4. For good measure, if WS MVPs were distributed then (they weren’t until 1955), Chandler almost certainly would have won that too, as he won games 1 and 5 for the Yankees, throwing complete games both times, a shutout in the clinching game 5.
Spud, by the way, is not a nickname in reference to him being from Idaho or anything, its short for Spurgeon, his given name. The name may be after the English preacher Charles Spurgeon (1837-1892) but that's speculation on my part.