Bruntlett's jersey is Cooperstown worthy?

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We had quite a lively debate yesterday about whether Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.  I’d have to guess, however, that even the most ardent Rose haters — of which I am not one, no matter what a lot of you think — would agree that Rose has a better claim to Cooperstown immortality than Eric Bruntlett’s sweaty jersey:

There actually have been more perfect games — 18, including the postseason — than unassisted triple plays . . . That is why the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum asked Bruntlett for a piece of memorabilia from the play.

Bruntlett is sending his jersey.

This isn’t a slam on Bruntlett or his feat — I took care of that yesterday.  I just don’t get the obsessiveness on the part of the Hall for this kind of totem.  I get truly historic jerseys, and I even get more directly symbolic things like a guy’s spikes for a stolen base record or something.  But the shirt a backup second baseman was wearing when something cool yet kind of flukey happened? How isn’t preserved video or a photo sufficient?  What does the jersey actually add to the historic remembrance of it all?  Maybe the glove would be better.  Bruntlett probably doesn’t want to part with that in the middle of a season, of course, so maybe the Hall should just wait for that.

Don’t get me wrong — this is not a complaint as such. Just kind of a head scratcher regarding why it is we actually preserve artifacts like this. Is it to remember an event? Does the Hall do this out of a sense of mere inertia?

Probably worth a visit to Cooperstown to ask someone. 

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.