Sam Mele, who played ten years in the big leagues and then managed the Minnesota Twins for seven seasons, has died. He was 95.
Mele made his major league debut with the Red Sox in 1947 before making stops with the Senators, White Sox, Indians, Reds and Orioles. He was a career.267 hitter with 80 home runs and 544 RBIs. He hit .302 as a rookie and smacked 36 doubles in 1951, leading the American League.
After his playing career was over Mele coached and worked for the Washington Senators, staying with them when they moved to Minnesota to become the Twins. He managed the Twins from 1961 through 1967. In 1965 he guided the Twins to their first pennant, going 102-60, losing the World Series to the Dodgers in seven games. Following his managerial stint, he worked for the Red Sox in various capacities for 25 years.
Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.
Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.
The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.
In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.