My immediate interest in the Rangers’ sale has waned in the past week because (1) the fact that they traded for Cliff Lee means that they’ve made their big on-the-field move and thus getting the sale done before the trade deadline isn’t as pressing for baseball purposes as it seemed before; and (2) with all of the motions, cross-motions, requests for injunctions and all of that jazz, it’s starting to remind me of the old law gig, frankly, and that’s a real drag for me.
But I do feel duty-bound to keep up, and I thus am obliged to pass along word — gleaned from Daniel Kaplan’s latest at SBJ and Barry Shlachter’s reports in the Dallas Morning News — that the bankruptcy judge yesterday set the auction for the team for August 4th. It had originally been scheduled for July 22nd, but the Greenberg/Ryan lawsuit — which the judge has decided to treat as a mere motion in the ongoing case as opposed to its own thing — and other events have made the earlier date impossible. The creditors wanted to push things out even farther, but the judge said no dice. The auction date should be seen as a win for Greenberg and Ryan.
Other news of note: After months of suggestions that he would not be approved, Major League Baseball is now apparently fine with Jim Crane as an owner in the event that he wins the bid. Jeff Beck too, though that was less in question than Crane, seeing as baseball was fine with him back in December when he was part of the Dennis Gilbert bid. I assume that means that the auction is the real deal — highest bidder wins — with an MLB veto not coming into play. There will need to be formal approval (i.e. an owner vote) later, but that should be a formality once all of this legal messiness is over. I mean, really, how badly would Bud Selig crush, say, Fred Wilpon if he decided to be a pain in the butt about this after all the trouble everyone has gone through?
The judge said that, assuming the auction goes off smoothly, the team could emerge from bankruptcy that day. Viva efficiency.
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.