Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos to be retained for 2015

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Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun has the story:

Alex Anthopoulos, the much-maligned general manager of the Blue Jays, will return for his sixth season running the club, a bevy of major-league sources have confirmed.

Apparently, there is no temperature at all to remove Anthopoulos from his job — in fact, quite the opposite sentiment exists — with an appreciation internally for the manner in which he has conducted his business.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is also expected to be brought back, no matter what happens over the final 38 games of 2014. Toronto has fallen 6 1/2 games back of the Orioles in the American League East and Anthopoulos was heavily-criticized for failing to upgrade the major league roster at the July 31 trade deadline. But Simmons writes Sunday that club ownership is “pleased that Anthopoulous has put the club’s future in good pitching hands with a potential rotation down the road that includes Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Drew Hutchison and minor-league stalwart Daniel Norris — all of whom are 23 years old or younger.”

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.