Is the MVP award racist?

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Not the way its given out or anything. Just its name.  Blogger Tom Tango asks the question:

Well, the writers DO have an official name for the MVP, and if wikipedia is to be trusted, it is named Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award
For those not big on history, Landis was MLB’s first commissioner, a
former federal judge brought in to clean up the game after the Black
Sox scandal.  But, he was also a racist . . . It’s not that Landis was a racist like Ty Cobb.  He was a racist that
actually prevented the best players in the game from playing.  That
brings it to a whole new level.

I wasn’t sure if I could believe Wikipedia in this case actually, but some Googling does show that the MVP plaques do say “Kennesaw Mountain Landis Award” right on them, and they have since at least 1944.  And there’s no mistaking the fact that Landis was the prime mover between baseball remaining segregated until the 1947.

But should we care? Even I — a guy who takes every opportunity he can to advocate for the removal of Chief Wahoo from Indians’ uniforms and merchandise — am having a hard time caring about this. Did any of you even know that the award was named for Landis?  I didn’t. I think the reason we didn’t is that, unlike Cy Young, no one ever felt any gusto about popularizing the award’s official name in this case, probably for the specific reason that Landis was a sonofabitch.  Pointing out the name of the award and getting worked up over it is like pointing out a lone racist standing alongside the road. Even if we knew his sort existed, no one ever noticed him and no one gave a damn about him until someone took the time to tell us he was there.

Officially, sure, the BBWAA or Major League Baseball or whoever sanctions the pressing of the plaques should probably take his name off it, in the interests of eliminating superfluity if nothing else.  But I see little cause to get worked up over it.

Cardinals extend José Martínez through 2020

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First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.

Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.