UPDATE: Since this post went up Heyman has updated his column to take out the lines about Blyleven and Stewart. No explanation in the column of course. And it changes little, actually. He may call it an oversight, but it’s a case of him wanting to believe something so badly that the facts ceased mattering at some point.
8:59 PM: Jon Heyman put up his Hall of Fame column this afternoon. For years he has pushed hard for Jack Morris for the Hall. He has long overstated Morris’ merits in my view, but it’s gotten to the point now where he’s simply making crap up:
He was thought good enough to be the ace on teams that had Bert Blyleven and Dave Stewart, and to receive Cy Young votes in seven seasons. I can’t allow his vast accomplishments to be re-evaluated downward by a new emphasis on different numbers.
Jack Morris and Bert Blyleven were never teammates. Jack Morris played one season with Dave Stewart. In that one season — 1993 — Morris was 7-12 with a 6.19 ERA. It’s possible that Heyman is calling Morris the “ace” of that 1993 Jays team because he got the Opening Day start, but he didn’t distinguish himself at all that year, he was out of the rotation by early September and was left off the postseason roster. Some ace.
Heyman has an agenda. He wants Morris in the Hall of Fame. He is so committed to that agenda that he will mislead his readers in order to make it happen. Because this can’t just be a mistake, right? Because it takes approximately five seconds in order to get that stuff right and we know someone given the privilege of making baseball history in the form of a Hall of Fame vote is not going to just dash it off without careful consideration and due diligence, right?
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.