Ernie Harwell

Ernie Harwell’s memorabilia collection is at risk

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A sad story from the Detroit News: Ernie Harwell’s personal baseball memorabilia collection — which is reputed to be worth millions and contain stuff collectors and fans would love to see — is being mismanaged by the Detroit Public Library, to whom Harwell entrusted it:

He entrusted it to the library and dreamed that one day his legacy would become a destination. But 10 months after he died at 92 last year, library executives have laid off the primary caretaker of his collection, further limiting access to the appointment-only exhibit that saw only 500 visitors last year.

Now, historians and Harwell confidantes worry his collection may be at risk in a system plagued with accusations of mismanagement and overspending.

Stuff is sitting in boxes in the basement, uncategorized and uncontrolled. There have been thefts in the past and no way of knowing if things are being stolen now, due to the lack of organization. And even if those concerns are remedied, the fact remains that the exhibition of the memorabilia is poor and access is difficult at best for library patrons.

I have much love for the city of Detroit due to my family’s history there, but no amount of civic pride should blind us to the fact that Detroit is in no position to care for this kind of collection when the city’s very survival is a far more pressing matter.

What a shame.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.