One of the more overlooked Bob Dylan songs of all time is “Day of the Locusts,” which recounts his mixed feelings on the day on which he received an honorary degree from Princeton University. I love Bob Dylan more than any artist in the history of music, but like a lot of his songs, it was motivated by a bit of snotty cynicism and “I’m-better-than-you” sentiment. Probably didn’t help that he had David Crosby with him the day he got his degree. I’m guessing the two of them circa 1970 were damn nigh insufferable together.
Anyway, I’m guessing Hank Aaron was a lot more graceful about this:
Hall of Famer Hank Aaron can add an honorary degree from Princeton University to his trophy case. The former home run record-holder was awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities for making America a better place with his “imperishable example of grace under pressure.” The university cited how he kept his cool while pursuing Babe Ruth’s home run record nearly 40 years ago.
See that? “Grace under pressure.” Which means that this is the first baseball post in the history of blogging that cites both Bob Dylan and Rush at the same time.
Sorry to drag you into this, Hank.
In addition to naming the Spink Award winner this morning, the Baseball Writers Association of America voted today to make all Hall of Fame ballots public beginning with next year’s vote for the 2018 induction class.
As of now, writers are encouraged to make their votes public and, if they do, they are placed on the BBWAA website. They are not required to, however, and a great many Hall of Fame voters do not. While ballot secrecy is laudable in politics, the Hall of Fame vote brings with it a fundamentally different set of concerns and sentiment has increasingly favored transparency, as opposed to secrecy when it comes to the Hall of Fame.
While some in opposition to this move may claim that public ballots will only lead to criticism, our view is that if you can’t handle some reasonable criticism over your Hall of Fame ballot, you probably need to get out of the business of making history, which is what voting for the Hall of Fame really is.
RE2PECT: The Yankees just announced that they will retire Derek Jeter’s number 2 next season. The ceremony will take place on May 14, 2017 at Yankee Stadium.
With Jeter’s number 2 retired the Yankees will have retired 21 numbers. Twenty-two if you count number 8 twice, given that it was retired for both Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey. They also have retired 42 twice, once for Jackie Robinson, which every team has retired, and once for Mariano Rivera who donned 42 before the league-wide retirement of the number. The Yankees will also have put every single-digit number on the shelf. Except for zero, anyway, which no Yankees player has ever worn.
The retired pinstripes break down as follows:
1 Billy Martin
3 Babe Ruth
4 Lou Gehrig
5 Joe DiMaggio
6 Joe Torre
7 Mickey Mantle
8 Yogi Berra
8 Bill Dickey
9 Roger Maris
10 Phil Rizzuto
15 Thurman Munson
16 Whitey Ford
20 Jorge Posada
23 Don Mattingly
32 Elston Howard
37 Casey Stengel
42 Mariano Rivera
44 Reggie Jackson
46 Andy Pettitte
49 Ron Guidry
51 Bernie Williams