Someone must have slipped me some bad liquor or something, because I’m sure I didn’t just read an article by Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Inquirer saying that the Braves would have won more titles in the 90s if they hadn’t had Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz. I mean, that would be, like, the stupidest thing ever:
Yes, the Braves cut loose some stars along that 14-season run. But they also did exactly what the Phillies resisted doing this winter. They already had John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine when they signed Greg Maddux before the 1993 season . . . Did keeping three future Hall of Famers for all those years cash-strap them out of multiple world titles? It’s a thought.
Yes, bringing together three Hall of Fame pitchers to form the best starting rotation of all time was what prevented the Braves from winning more World Series. Clearly the team would have been better off if they had avoided splurging on Greg Maddux and, rather than have him post historically awesome seasons throughout the 90s in a Braves uniform, spent the money on a lefty specialist.
And if you think I’m taking this quote out of context or something, here’s the windup:
So be careful with our hearts, fellas. We’ve made you The Show in this
hard-to-please town. Maybe we can’t be the Yankees, but we sure don’t
want to be the Braves for the next decade either.
Yeah, winning the division every year would be, like, a total downer.
As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.
The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.
Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.
Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.
The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.
Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.
Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.
Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.