December 23 in Cardinals History

1960 Former major league first baseman Ripper Collins, who played with the Cardinals’ Gashouse Gang, joins the Cubs’ college of coaches, a group of interim skippers that will manage the team for part of the season. The original ‘faculty’ will include El Tappe, Goldie Holt, Bobby Adams, Harry Craft, Verlon Walker, Vedie Himsl and Charlie Grimm.

1975– Free Agency was born. Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally won a landmark case that changed baseball forever.

1985 Thousands of fans, including former President Richard Nixon and Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, attend a memorial mass conducted by John Cardinal O’Connor at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral held for Roger Maris. The moving service for the recently deceased ballplayer is arranged by Yankee owner George Steinbrenner.

1993– The Cardinals signed Vicente Palacios as a free agent.

1993– The Cardinals signed Gerald Young as a free agent.

1994 The Cardinals granted Gerald Young free agency.

1995– The Cardinals signed Andy Benes as a free agent.

1995– The  Cardinals signed Ron Gant as a free agent.

2000 The Giants sign 38-year old Eric Davis as a free agent. The veteran outfielder, who played with the Cardinals for the past two years, will end his 17-year career with San Francisco at the end of the season.

2004 Free-agent J.D. Drew (.305, 31, 118), former flycatcher of the Braves, signs a five-year, $55 million deal with the Dodgers. After being traded by the Cardinals to Atlanta last season, the left-hand hitting outfielder, known to be injury prone, played in a career-high 145 games.

2004 The Cardinals ink former Angel infielder David Eckstein (.276, 2, 35) to a three-year contract. The 29-year old free agent shortstop will replace Gold Glover Edgar Renteria, who signed with the Red Sox, making the Boston shortstop, Orlando Cabrera, available to Anaheim, the team Eckstein is leaving.

2007 The Phillies sign 38-year old outfielder So Taguchi (.290, 3, 30) to one-year, $1 million deal which also includes performance bonuses and a 2009 club option. The ‘So Man’, a Hyogo Prefecture, Japan native, batted .406 (13-32) as a pinch-hitter for the Cardinals to lead the National League last season.



  • Mike Grady (1868)
  • Cozy Dolan (1882)
  • Palmer Hildebrandt (1884)
  • Howie Williamson (1904)
  • Pat Ankenman (1912)
  • Al Cicotte (1928)
  • Ron Allen (1943)
  • Rick White (1968)
  • Audry Perez (1988)


  • Ted Menze 1969