“Why doesn’t anyone stump for Aaron to be booted out of Cooperstown?”

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Ken Davidoff, following up on his Hall of Fame ballot column from yesterday, brings the noise about why PED stuff shouldn’t matter when it comes to this sort of thing.  hitting the following bases:

  • Hank Aaron did greenies, so why aren’t people on his case about that?;
  • The fact that non-prescribed steroids are illegal should not be relevant to a Hall voter because (a) Hall voters aren’t lawyers; and (b) that logic would apply to greenies, cocaine and — though he doesn’t say it — alcohol in the 1920s too. It’s just not a workable reason to withhold a Hall vote now; and
  • More generally, people and the times in which they live are imperfect and there’s no way to be consistent or fair if we apply the standards of one era to the acts of those in another.

I imagine Davidoff will catch a lot of flak for this column, particularly when it comes to the Hank Aaron stuff.  But nothing he says in it is wrong, and I love the fact that he’s willing to ruffle some feathers on this stuff.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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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 Indians are unveiling a Frank Robinson statue on Sunday

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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.