Old School Spring Training

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If you look at only one photo archive today with pictures of Walter O’Malley at Dodgertown playing cards with his shirt off, Stan Musial doing pushups, and Pee Wee Reese on the ground wrestling with a shirtless guy, make it this photo archive, highlighted today by lar at Wezen-Ball.

True story: In 1973, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn mandated that shirts be worn at all times during spring training as a result of the Oakland A’s bold decision to break baseball’s lamentable “gentleman’s agreement” which, until that point, had prevented teams from signing players with body hair.

The new rule was grandfathered in, of course, with Charlie Hough and Goose Gossage being allowed to go shirtless until their retirements following the 1994 season.  Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre still have the right, but they have chosen not to exercise it for both personal and professional reasons. Today George Steinbrenner, ever-the-maverick, is the only baseball figure routinely seen cavorting topless around a spring training facility.

Indians sign Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal

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The Indians have signed free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal. The pact is pending a physical.

Cabrera, 33, went unsigned this past offseason after putting up a season of .285/.324/.423 with 17 homers and 85 RBI with the White Sox and the Royals.

Cabrera will report to Columbus once he passes his physical and, according to Paul Hoynes, there are no guarantees being made to him that he’ll get playing time. That said, the Indians aren’t getting much outfield production from anyone besides Michael Brantley, and Cabrera’s status as a switch hitter would give Terry Francona some flexibility, so it would not be shocking to see him on the big club after some reps in the minors.