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Mike Ilitch paid Rosa Parks’ rent for years

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I read about this a few years ago, but it was a brief thing that didn’t make a ton of waves, mostly because the Tigers and their late owner Mike Ilitch weren’t interested in making a big deal out of it.

In the wake of Ilitch’s death, however, we’re reminded that he paid the rent of civil rights icon Rosa Parks for several years. In 1994 Parks’ home was broken into and she was assaulted. In the wake of that awfulness, a local judge and a real estate developer helped her find a new apartment in a safer neighborhood. Ilitch, when he read about it, called the judge and the real estate developer and said he would pay for her housing as long as necessary and cut thousands of dollars in checks to that effect.

I’ve heard some people poke some holes in this over the years. It’s possible Ilitch did not pay her entire rent for the rest of her life or perhaps someone else contributed or any number of other scenarios unfolded. It’s clear, however, that Ilitch did reach out and did pay good money for Parks’ benefit out of the goodness of his heart and with little if any desire for publicity.

There are no doubt any number of skeletons one can find in the closet of any octogenarian billionaire. Skeletons often come with that territory. But there is no question that Ilitch did a great many of good things for people and his community as well. And as he shuffles off to sports owner Valhalla, it’s good to hear about some of those things.

 

Astros trade Jake Marisnick to the Mets

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The Mets and Astros have announced that they’ve completed a trade. The Mets will get outfielder Jake Marisnick from the Astros in exchange for outfielder Kenedy Corona and lefty Blake Taylor.

Marisnick, a seven-year big league veteran, has never hit all that much — his career line is .227/.280/.380 — but he’s a very strong defender at all three outfield positions and can run a good bit. That makes him a decent bench option at least. To the extent the Mets rely on him to be more than a bench guy they’ll get diminishing returns, but the Astros used him a good deal more than your standard 4-5th outfielder and that worked out fine. Really, having a no-hit, plus-defending center fielder is something that even contenders can deal with, even if you’d like some more offense.

Taylor is organizational depth. He turns 25 next season and has only pitched 50 innings above A-ball. Corona was an international signee last year so he’s not near contributing to a contender like Houston.