At the Major League winter meetings in New Orleans, the Rules Committee institutes several changes: among the changes is one permitting the use of cowhide, rather than just horsehide, in the manufacture of baseballs.
After several rounds of bourbon are consumed by Phillies GM Paul Owens and Detroit GM Jim Campbell at the winter meetings, Owens agrees to trade promising catcher Bob Boone and P Larry Christensen to Detroit for veterans Bill Freehan and Jim Northrup. Tomorrow morning, Owens won't recall the trade and the deal is never made. "How do you unshake a handshake?" says the disappointed Campbell.
The frustrated White Sox unload controversial Dick Allen to the Braves for a reported $5,000. Allen never reports and retires instead. Richie Ashburn will help coax Allen out of retirement and he'll play two disappointing seasons back in Philadelphia before going to Oakland as a free agent.
IN THE NEWS: Bobby Tolan, traded by Cincinnati for P Clay Kirby on November 9, 1973, finally signs a 1974 contract with the Padres, leading to a withdrawal of the grievance initiated by the Players' Association on his behalf.
IN THE NEWS: The Little League is officially open to girls as President Gerald Ford signs legislation amending the charter of the organization. Little League had sought changes in their charter after a series of lawsuits challenged its boys-only rule.
IN THE NEWS: Happy New Year. The Yankees sign Catfish Hunter to a 5-year contract worth a reported $3.75 million. This is triple the salary of any other ML player. Catfish will win 40 games over the next two seasons before suffering arm trouble.