There are a lot of “boys clubs” in baseball. The players. The media. Management. If you had to come up with a prototypical old boys club, though, you could do worse than naming scouts. Thanks to popular culture and various anecdotes it’s almost impossible for the first image that pops in your head when you hear the words “baseball scout” NOT to be an old guy. Maybe a grouchy one like Clint Eastwood.
But Edith Houghton cracked that boys club. Not last year or in the 1970s or something. She did it in 1946, holding the job until she left to go fight in the Korean freakin’ War. She severed in the Navy during World War II as well. Before that she played baseball on a number of industrial and semi-pro teams.
Edith Houghton: tougher and more accomplished than most of us put together.
Sadly, she died earlier this month at age 100. The beginnings of her story can be read here. Some more in depth information can be found here. There’s probably a much longer story to be told as well.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.
First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.
More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:
The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.