Lou Gehrig memorabilia from an unexpected source

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A pretty nifty story in the New York Times this morning.  Seems Lou Gehrig had a girlfriend for a brief period in the early 30s prior to marrying his wife Eleanor.  That relationship ended after a brief time for the same reason a lot of Gehrig’s early relationships ended: Gehrig’s domineering mother didn’t approve.

But it seems that the girlfriend — one Ruth Martin — somehow maintained a close relationship with Gehrig’s mother, particularly after Gehrig’s death.  Gehrig’s mother left her a bunch of memorabilia when she died, and when Ruth Martin died, she left it to her now-69-year-old son, who was in some ways treated like a grandson by Gehrig’s mother when he was young.  He’s auctioning it off and it’s expected to net at least a half million bucks. Probably more now that the Times is publicizing it.

It’s neat simply from the memorabilia angle, but it’s far more interesting from the “wow, what a weird relationship” perspective.

Major League Baseball to launch an elite league for high schoolers

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This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.

The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.

As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.