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True Facts: Baseball’s Winter Meetings

Laika’s UZR would’ve been off the charts.

As this year’s edition continues to demonstrate, Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings serve as a vehicle for all manner of baseballing-related hijinks.

That said, in the 109-year history of the event, some particularly absurd moments stand out. Below are some notable — and totally-actually-happened — examples of such instances.

1918: Dissatisfied with the merely symbolic shackles imparted by Baseball’s reserve clause, notoriously stingy White Sox owner Charles Comiskey places actual shackles on star players Eddie Cicotte and Joe Jackson.

1959: In just one of a long line of attention-grabbing promotions, White Sox owner Bill Veeck attempts to sign Laika, the Russian dog that, in November of 1957, became the first living Earth-born creature in orbit.

1976: Perhaps overstimulated by the advent of free agency, Yankee owner George Steinbrenner accidentally signs every Major League baseball player.

1979: Shortly after Nolan Ryan becomes Baseball’s first official Million-Dollar Man, Montreal Expo Bill Lee, coming off a season in which he was named the Sporting News National League Left Hander of the Year, threatens to hold out to until he becomes the first player to earn one million space bucks. The front office acquiesces to Lee’s demands; however, the lefty refuses to take the money after falling in love with Princess Vespa.

2010: Baltimore Oriole Luke Scott performs a Dadaist-like prank on Yahoo! contributor David Brown, affecting the personality of an irrational and xenophobic yokel for Brown’s Answer Man series. Intellectuals from all circles applaud Scott’s performance.