Ken Griffey Jr. gives us a case of sweater envy

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Ken Griffey Jr. gives us a case of sweater envy

There are ugly Christmas sweaters and then there are sweaters that are, unquestionably, downright beautiful. Ken Griffey Jr.'s new Christmas sweater is the latter:

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Logan Morrison has a stunning ugly X-mas sweater

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Logan Morrison has a stunning ugly X-mas sweater

Everyone loves a good Ugly Christmas Sweater. They've become as traditional as egg nog, yule logs and long poems about Santa. And just as everyone loves ugly sweaters, everyone has different definitions of what truly makes a Christmas sweater ugly with a capital-U: bows, bells, teddy bears unwrapping presents or any combination.

But we think everyone can agree that Mariners outfielder Logan Morrison takes the cake in 2014:

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Giants' latest title fueled by proven bunch

Bumgarner's heroics clinch championship set up by roster's perfect blend

Giants' latest title fueled by proven bunch

SAN FRANCISCO -- Many observers have maintained that Madison Bumgarner won the 2014 World Series for the Giants single-handedly. After all, he won Games 1 and 5 before saving Game 7 with five stunning scoreless innings of relief that capped a remarkable postseason.

But other Giants also had a hand in the club's excellence.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Banister's unmatched positivity a result of his perseverance

Banister's unmatched positivity a result of his perseverance

Just to show you that good things do sometimes happen to good people, there's Jeff Banister. He's the new manager of the Texas Rangers. To get his first managerial shot at 50 years old says so many good things about this guy, it would be difficult to know where to begin.

"I wake up every morning, put my feet on the floor and thank God I've been given this opportunity," he said.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Library of Congress offers window into baseball's evolution

Library of Congress offers window into baseball's evolution

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The nation's greatest storehouse of knowledge has developed a healthy baseball habit. The Library of Congress has traced the history and maturation of America for more than 200 years, and baseball has weaved its way into the national consciousness in surprising ways.

First, there are the intimate touches -- the century-old photographs of the first baseball teams and the Civil War-era paintings of teams playing the game. And then there are the letters, buried deep in the personal papers of great historic figures that tell of the game's tangential connections to history.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Have yourself an MLB little Christmas

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Have yourself an MLB little Christmas

You may not be able to stick them on your refrigerator, but holiday tweets from your favorite MLB players are just as good as Christmas cards.

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Wright reaches out to sons of slain NYPD officer

Mets' star extends invitation to camp, seat in dugout for spring games

Wright reaches out to sons of slain NYPD officer

David Wright picked up the phone and made a difference on Christmas Eve.

The Mets third baseman reached out to the two sons of slain NYPD officer Rafael Ramos on Wednesday, according to a report by the New York Daily News.

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Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

All I want: Holiday wishes for the league

All I want: Holiday wishes for the league

As David Byrne famously sang, "I can't seem to face up to the facts."

It's too late for last-minute shopping. The best you can do at this point is to extend New Year's wishes.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gray wears wreath glasses, wins Christmas

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Gray wears wreath glasses, wins Christmas

It all began simply enough. A's starter Sonny Gray tweeted a picture of his dog dressed as Santa. But as we all know, Christmas is a competition and Gray's former teammate, Josh Donaldson, wasn't about to let him coast to an easy victory. 

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Ishikawa's life changed since walk-off, but he hasn't

Ishikawa's life changed since walk-off, but he hasn't

SAN JOSE -- Scant hours after hitting one of the most monumental home runs in Giants history, Travis Ishikawa noticed how life had changed.

Seeking a well-deserved late-night snack after his walk-off, three-run drive off St. Louis' Michael Wacha had lifted the Giants to a 6-3 victory in the Game 5 National League Championship Series clincher on Oct. 16, Ishikawa and his wife, Rochelle, pulled into a burger joint. Though the Ishikawas opted to enter the restaurant, a patron in the drive-through lane peered beyond the window and noticed the Giants hero standing in line. Suddenly wanting more than just a double cheeseburger, the driver pulled over as soon as he received his order and rushed into the dining area to have his picture taken with Ishikawa.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

CarGo takes swings, brings holiday joy

CarGo takes swings, brings holiday joy

DENVER -- Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has offered some baseball-related holiday cheer on social media.

In posts Tuesday on Instagram and Wednesday on Facebook, Gonzalez announced that he has finally been allowed to practice hitting for the first time since undergoing surgery in August to repair the patella tendon in his left knee. Problems in the knee bothered him for well more than a year before he finally underwent the procedure, performed by Dr. Tom Hackett in Frisco, Colo., on Aug. 18.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fister's Xmas gift: A free coffee for you!

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Fister's Xmas gift: A free coffee for you!

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear ... unless you're a Major League pitcher with enough zeroes in the bank account to justify buying everyone on the Internet a cup of coffee, in which case: do that.

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Pierzynski news: Overheard in ham store (?)

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Pierzynski news: Overheard in ham store (?)

On Wednesday, MLB.com's Mark Bowman reported that catcher A.J. Pierzynski would be signing with the Braves.

Though the club has yet to confirm, where did the info come from? Did Pierzynski tweet something? Was it a report from Ken Rosenthal? A leaked document? 

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Holidays extra special for new dad Gyorko

Padres infielder and his wife excited to spoil twin boys at first Christmas

Holidays extra special for new dad Gyorko

This promises to be a special -- and certainly a more hectic -- holiday season for Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko and his wife Karley, as their twin sons, Brody and Kadin, will be experiencing their very first Christmas at the family's home in West Virginia.

Brody and Kadin were born on April 28, not long after the start of the regular season. Gyorko has been able to catch up for time away during the season this offseason, including during the holidays.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Penn State, Boston College ready to rumble in the Bronx

Yankee Stadium hosts Pinstripe Bowl on Saturday

Penn State, Boston College ready to rumble in the Bronx

NEW YORK -- One last thing before Christmas.

Penn State and Boston College took care of some final business before the holidays Wednesday, when they met the media in advance of the Pinstripe Bowl. The two regional powers will meet on the Yankee Stadium turf Saturday, and they'll be seeking fitting closure to their seasons.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Young returns to Orioles on 1-year deal

Outfielder/designated hitter posted .302 average over 83 games in 2014

Young returns to Orioles on 1-year deal

The Orioles have agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder/designated hitter Delmon Young, a source tells MLB.com, helping the club add the right-handed bat it needed. The club has not confirmed.

The agreement is still pending a physical, which will be done after the holidays. Young is slated to make a base salary of $2.25 million that could reach $3 million if he hits all of the deal's incentives.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Pierzynski agrees to 1-year deal with Braves

Seventeen-year vet expected to mentor catching prospect Bethancourt

Source: Pierzynski agrees to 1-year deal with Braves

ATLANTA -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez's trip to Honeybaked Ham led to the revelation that his club and A.J. Pierzynski have agreed to a one-year deal. The club has not confirmed the contract.

While waiting to pick up his ham for the holiday season on Wednesday, Gonzalez was telling his son that Pierzynski was an option to fill the Braves' need for a backup catcher. The father of Aaron Lunsford, the drummer for a rock band named "As Cities Burn," overheard the news and informed his son, who tweeted the information from his @darrenstains account.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB teams recite Christmas poem on Twitter

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MLB teams recite Christmas poem on Twitter

Yes, you do have a favorite Christmas poem. It's called "A Visit from St. Nicholas." 

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For Hudsons, Christmas spirit a year-round endeavor

Giants pitcher and family dedicate time to foundation, helping the needy

For Hudsons, Christmas spirit a year-round endeavor

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Hudson is the Major Leagues' winningest active pitcher, yet his most treasured victories occur far from any diamond.

Hudson and his wife, Kim, launched the Hudson Family Foundation in 2009 with one goal in mind: helping children and their families. The foundation aims to support youths throughout Alabama and Georgia who require help in addressing "a specific physical, emotional or financial circumstance," in the words of the organization's mission statement. Since its inception, the foundation has raised more than $600,000 for the needy.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Josh Donaldson to walk up to Phil Collins in 2015

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Josh Donaldson to walk up to Phil Collins in 2015

Hey guys, what's that in the air tonight? Is it snow? Is it the sound of Santa's jolly laughter? Nope! It's your favorite third baseman and mine, Josh Donaldson, coming up to the plate. 

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MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Winter Meetings in San Diego among the wildest in history

Winter Meetings in San Diego among the wildest in history

There's never been a time like this in Major League Baseball. Maybe it shouldn't have been so surprising that the Winter Meetings were the wildest we've seen since Bill Veeck set up his famous table in the hotel lobby in 1975, trading 22 players in three days.

No owner or general manager was quite that overt in San Diego, but the activity in suites and on cellphones was positively Veeckian.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lone Star: Pence giving back to Houston kids

Popular outfielder draws crowds, support with All-Star Camp

Lone Star: Pence giving back to Houston kids

HOUSTON -- If there is somewhere in this country where Hunter Pence can blend in with the crowd, largely unnoticed, it's probably the place that he still considers home base, even as numerous professional and personal obligations pull him in a dozen different directions.

But let's not kid ourselves. Even in Houston, where it all began, Pence can only blend in so much. He stands out, no matter where he is, for a couple of reasons. One, obviously, he's a Major League star who has won two World Series titles in the past three years with the San Francisco Giants.

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Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bernadina set to join Rockies on Minor League deal

Bernadina set to join Rockies on Minor League deal

The Rockies have reportedly signed outfielder Roger Bernadina to a Minor League deal, according to Baseball America. The club has not confirmed the report.

Bernadina, 30, appeared in 53 games with the Reds and the Dodgers last season, batting just .167 with a homer, nine RBIs and two stolen bases.

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Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

No need to wait: Cubs have a spot for Bryant

Goal of contending now would be served by moving top prospect to Majors

No need to wait: Cubs have a spot for Bryant

Happy holidays, Kris Bryant.

Bryant is arguably the best prospect in baseball. He also may benefit immediately from the Cubs' signing of Jon Lester.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Syndergaard lifts weights in Christmas PJs

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Syndergaard lifts weights in Christmas PJs

The Holderness Family invited themselves into your Facebook feeds more than a year ago with their viral video Christmas card, "#XMAS JAMMIES":

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Braves reach agreement with veteran reliever Grilli

Braves reach agreement with veteran reliever Grilli

ATLANTA -- Less than a month after buying low on Jim Johnson, the Braves have opted to do the same with veteran right-handed reliever Jason Grilli.

On Tuesday evening, Grilli and the Braves reached an agreement on a two-year, $8.25 million deal that includes a $3 million option for the 2017 season.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cueto won't talk contract beyond Opening Day

Reds ace doesn't want extension negotiations to be distraction

Cueto won't talk contract beyond Opening Day

CINCINNATI -- Not wanting to be sidetracked over prolonged contract negotiations, Reds ace Johnny Cueto has set a deadline for an extension to be completed with the club.

Cueto and the Reds have until Opening Day to work out a deal, agent Bryce Dixon said.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Peavy thrilled to stay with Giants on 2-year deal

Veteran right-hander finalizes $24 million contract; 're-energized' for another title run

Peavy thrilled to stay with Giants on 2-year deal

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jake Peavy remembered the generosity that the Giants expressed toward him and his family when they acquired him. So he seized the opportunity to reciprocate the club's goodwill.

As Peavy's two-year, $24 million deal with the Giants was formalized Tuesday, the right-hander indicated on a conference call that the club's consideration for him and his family influenced him when he received offers in free agency that were more lucrative or would have enabled him to play closer to his home in Alabama.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

By any metric, Trout's 2014 was a year for the ages

By any metric, Trout's 2014 was a year for the ages

ANAHEIM -- Remember all that time we spent debating how to pick the American League's Most Valuable Player, from the merits of Wins Above Replacement to the importance of residing on a winning team to the overall significance of traditional statistics?

Yeah, 2014 wasn't really about that.

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

To celebrate anniversary, Doziers help others

Twins second baseman and his wife will head to Nicaragua on mission trip

To celebrate anniversary, Doziers help others

MINNEAPOLIS -- With their one-year wedding anniversary coming up on Jan. 4, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier and his wife, Renee, wanted to plan a memorable trip to celebrate the occasion.

But they also wanted to fit in a mission trip to Nicaragua after spending a week there last offseason through a Georgia-based group called Amigos for Christ. So when it came time to plan their offseason, the couple realized it would mean much more to them if they spent their anniversary helping others in Nicaragua instead of on a relaxing vacation.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.