IN THE NEWS: Baseball approves a free-agent draft. At their winter meetings in Houston, the minor league and major league organizations establish a system, basically like that of professional football, which will take effect in January 1965 and be held every four months thereafter. Choices will be exercised by clubs in inverse order of their previous year's standing. Draftees must be included in their club's 40-man roster or be susceptible to claim at the waiver price the following season.
The majors also restore to the commissioner's office all powers rescinded after Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis's death in 1944. Principally, they waive their right to take legal action in the event of disagreements with the commissioner and grant him authority to judge whether actions taken by the owners in concert are, automatically "in the best interests of baseball." Voting for the annual All-Star teams is turned back to the fans.
IN THE NEWS: Tigers owner John Fetzer announces a 2-year television pact between ML baseball and ABC-TV. The network pays $12.2 million to telecast games on 25 Saturdays, Independence Day, and Labor Day.