When the subject involves evaluating the greatest baseball players of all time, there are certain standard arguments that make me want to cringe. Perhaps the worst of these goes something like this: no Major League ballplayer that played before 1947 can be considered to be the greatest at his position because he never had to face any ballplayer from the Negro Leagues. Because no African Americans were allowed to play in the Major Leagues, the quality of ball was diluted, and therefore the competition was inferior to that faced after the sport was integrated. At some point in a future article I hope to go into a lengthy discussion of this fallacy; however, the only thing that I will point out for now is that if you use this as a frame of logic, then you must also say the same about the converse – no player from the Negro Leagues could be considered to be an all-time great; for if the Major League talent base was diluted by 10% (the percentage of African American’s in the U.S.), then the dilution would be 90% in the Negro Leagues, making the standard of play likely equivalent to Single A Ball, which is frankly ridiculous. However, many historians, while they don’t state the converse logic openly, perhaps because it is safer to use the politically correct rationale, site the statistical chaos that was part and parcel of the Negro Leagues as the “apparent” reason used in refusing to consider any of these legendary players on their all time lists.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Recently I wrote an article about Minnie Minoso, one of the first players to play in MLB after having played in the Negro Leagues. In honor of Jackie Robinson, and the movie “42”, I will write a number of other pieces about players who starred in the Negro Leagues, never having the opportunity to compete against elite white ballplayers. Without a doubt, the most influential black baseball player of all time who played his entire career in Negro League ball was Buck O’Neil.Please, blog, may I have some more?
In 2006, a special H.O.F. committee was appointed for the task of reviewing the qualifications of ballplayers, managers and owners from the Negro League, in order to determine who might best qualify for admission to the Hall of Fame. After review, 17 individuals, including players, management and owners, all deceased at that time, were admitted. The two living participants — as worthy of admission as anyone on that list — Buck O’Neill and Minnie Minoso, were rejected.Please, blog, may I have some more?
There has been much discussion concerning whether players known/suspected of using P.E.D’s should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. What has been lost in the debate is that there are a number of former players on the ballot that should be inducted at Cooperstown. Perhaps the player who has the most credentials, but is continually overlooked, is Tim Raines.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Perhaps the best part of all the hoopla around Miguel Cabrera’s remarkable feat of winning baseball’s fabled Triple Crown was that for a brief time, we recalled the name and exploits of Carl Yastrzemski, the last player in the Bigs to have pulled off this feat.Please, blog, may I have some more?
I was introduced to Major League baseball, like millions of my generation, by my dad, an inveterate fan of the New York Giants. Time upon end, I heard wondrous tales of the 1951 miracle pennant chase with the hated Bums of Brooklyn, beating them in the playoffs with the three run homer hit by Bobby Thomson off of Ralph Branca, forever known as “The Shot heard round the World.”, with Russ Hodges endlessly repeating “THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!Please, blog, may I have some more?
The two greatest defensive catchers during the Fin de siècle of the late 19th – early 20th century were the Bergen brothers, Marty and Bill. Both have distinct legacies in the annals of baseball history. Bill Bergen is undoubtedly the worst hitter in the history of the National Pastime.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Pete Browning was the hitter’s version of Rube Waddell. He was undoubtedly one of the greatest hitters of the 19th century, as well as one of the most colorful and oddest individuals in the history of the game. Like Waddell, he was immensely popular wherever he played, both for his immense talent as well as his eccentric personality.Please, blog, may I have some more?
On Christmas day, 2009, the Mets signed an obscure knuckleballer named R.A. Dickey. The cynical Mets’ fans whispered to each other that the Wilpon family, owners of the franchise, were broke, as a result of the Bernie Madoff scandal, and all they could afford to sign was a mediocre 35 year old career nomad, who had been tried and discarded by four major league franchises.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Nick Altrock was arguably one of the best southpaws in baseball at one time, but a love for malt liquor, and a happy-go-lucky attitude, contributed to his increasing ineffectiveness. Several years after being the hero of the World Series, he found himself struggling in the Minors.Please, blog, may I have some more?