Elijah Dukes and Carl Everett are independent ball teammates

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Elijah Dukes is a 26-year-old former top prospect with good speed, experience in all three outfield spots, and a .771 OPS in 240 career games, but he’s apparently such a horrible human being that no MLB team is willing to even sign him to a minor-league contract and stash him at Triple-A.
Dukes has been out of work since the Nationals surprisingly released him during spring training and yesterday he signed with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League.
It’s often said in sports that being talented trumps being a bad guy and that’s definitely true for star-caliber players, but Dukes is providing an example of how that isn’t always the case for merely good players. At the very least he’d be a solid, cheap fourth outfielder and could certainly start for plenty of teams, but when the upside is “good regular” rather than “perennial All-Star” the 30 general managers have seemingly decided it’s not worth the hassle. And it’s tough to blame them.
Former big leaguers Willie Banks, Daryle Ward, Edgardo Alfonzo, Scott Spiezio, Brian Barton, and Vince Perkins are also listed on the Newark roster, but here’s the really amazing part: Dukes is now teammates with Carl Everett. I suspect that within the first week they’ll either become inseparable lifelong friends or kill each other following an argument about dinosaurs.

Odubel Herrera went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts today

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Did you have a bad day? It’s OK. We all do sometimes. It’s just part of life. Even ballplayers have bad days. Even the good ones.

Odubel Herrera is a good one. He’s only 25, but he’s already got two seasons of above average hitting under his belt. Dude gets on base. He could be a regular for tons of teams, so there’s no shame at all in him having a bad day. And boy howdy did he have a bad day today. He went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts in the Phillies extra innings win against the Rockies.

“I feel that I am making good swings but I’m just missing the pitches,” Herrera said.

Well, that is how strikeouts work.

Four strikeouts in a game is known as a Golden Sombrero. Players don’t strike out five times in a game very often so they don’t have an agreed upon name, but I’ve seen it referred to as the “platinum sombrero,” which seems pretty solid for such a feat. Six is a titanium sombrero or a double platinum sombrero, though there are references to it as a “Horn,” for Sam Horn, who deserves something to be named in his honor. Horn is like Moe Greene — a great man, a man of vision and guts — yet there isn’t even a plaque, or a signpost or a statue of him!

But I digress.

The last time a Phillies player did it was when Pat Burrell K’d five times in September 2008. The Phillies won the World Series that year, of course, so maybe this is an omen. [looks at standings] Or maybe not.

Anyway, get a good night’s sleep tonight, Odubel. Shake it off. Tomorrow is another day.

Rachel Robinson to receive O’Neil Award from the Hall of Fame

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NEW YORK (AP) Rachel Robinson will receive the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award from baseball’s Hall of Fame on July 29, the day before this year’s induction ceremony.

She’s the wife of late Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, who broke the major league color barrier in 1947. Rachel Robinson created the Jackie Robinson Foundation in 1973, a year after he husband’s death. Rachel Robinson, who turns 95 in July 19, headed the foundation’s board until 1996.

The O’Neil award was established in 2007 to honor individuals who broaden the game’s appeal and whose character is comparable to that of O’Neil. He played in the Negro Leagues, was a scout for major league baseball teams and helped establish the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

The award was given to O’Neil in 2008, Roland Hemond in 2011 and Joe Garagiola in 2014.