Josh Hamilton has a new accountability partner

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Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports that the Rangers have hired Shayne Kelley as a major league staff assistant and that one of his duties will be to serve as Josh Hamilton’s new accountability partner.

Kelley has a pretty diverse background, serving as the Royals’ minor league strength and conditioning coach for two seasons and the team chaplain at Alabama from 1996-1999. As such, part of his duties will also include helping out the Rangers’ coaching staff and hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh.

Kelley will take over the role vacated by Jerry Narron, who took the hitting coach job with the Brewers this offseason. Hamilton’s father-in-law, Michael Dean Chadwick, originally volunteered to replace Narron, but had a change of heart last month after discussing the matter further with his family. Chadwick said at the time that he didn’t think an accountability partner was even necessary, but the matter is obviously of increased importance following Hamilton’s relapse with alcohol at a Dallas-Fort Worth area bar last Monday night.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said that Kelley has already begun his duties, as he traveled with Hamilton during his visit with MLB and MLBPA doctors yesterday in New York.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.