Associated Press

Hall of Famer Frank Robinson dies at 83

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Horrible news about one of baseball’s all-time greats: Hall of Famer Frank Robinson has died at age 83. He had been suffering from bone cancer.

Robinson’s impact on the game cannot be overstated. A fixture in baseball for over 60 years, Robinson was the 1956 Rookie of the Year and won the MVP Award in both the National and American Leagues, in 1961 with the Reds and in 1966 with the Orioles. He was also the 1966 Triple Crown winner. For his career he was a .294/.389/.537 hitter who smacked 586 career homers, placing him 10th on the all-time list. He appeared in 14 All-Star Games and was the 1966 World Series MVP. A part of his game that often goes unnoticed: he led the league in getting hit by pitches seven times in his career. He crowded the plate and dared pitchers to throw him inside. They did and he never backed off. A fierce but not necessarily fiery competitor, Robinson was known to slide hard and otherwise play hard in every aspect of the game.

That alone justified his induction into the Hall of Fame, which occurred in his first year of eligibility in 1982. But he was also a trailblazer, becoming the game’s first African-American manager when the Indians hired him as their player-manager for the 1975 season. He would go on to manage for the Giants, the Orioles, the Expos and, upon that franchise’s move to Washington, he became the Nationals first manager. His career record was 1065-1176, but a lot of that had to do with the fact that he took over some pretty bad teams. He rarely had teams which underachieved their talent level, and his managerial abilities were on perhaps their best display in Baltimore in 1989 when he turned around a dreadful Orioles club and was named the 1989 AL Manager of the Year.

In the middle of his managerial career he moved into Major League Baseball’s front office where he was a key advisor to Commissioner Bud Selig, serving as the game’s vice president of on-field operations. As baseball’s so-called Dean of Discipline, he handed down suspensions and the like. After returning to the dugout to manage the Expos and the Nationals he returned to work as a special advisor to Selig and then Rob Manfred until his death.

Robinson is survived by his wife, Barbara, a son and a daughter.

Nike Swoosh to appear on the front off every uniform in 2020

Nike
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SAN DIEGO — We knew as of last January that this was coming — and the new uniform designs teams like the Padres, Brewers and Rangers have released in the past few weeks have shown it — but today the images were all released: all 30 teams will wear jerseys with the Nike Swoosh prominently placed on the front starting in the 2020 season.

The move is the result of the deal in which Nike has taken took over from Majestic Athletic as Major League Baseball’s uniform supplier. While Majestic’s logo had long appeared on MLB uniforms — they were making BP jerseys as early as 1982 and were the exclusive game uniform supplier for the past 14 years — that little M had appeared on the sleeve.

The Nike Swoosh, however, is a lot more prominent:

You can see all 30 of them here.

They aren’t all that bothersome on most uniform styles, particularly the newer and busier ones. But to my eyes the Swoosh is a desecration of the more classic, cleaner uniforms like the Yankees, Dodgers, and Tigers as shown above. Yeah, that’s some traditionalism on my part talking — OK, a LOT of traditionalism on my part talking — but it does, objectively, throw off the balance that some of the better uniform designs have long had.

Not that anyone is gonna do anything about it. That ship sailed long ago and the money has already been put in the bank. And, yes, like most things along these lines we’ll likely all get used to this pretty quickly. By May someone will likely have to remind me that I was pissed off about this here in December. I’ll grant that this is a me issue.

Still, at some point down the road, someone at Major League Baseball is going to broach the idea of advertisements on uniforms and a lot of people are going to get angry about it. When they do, I hope you’ll remind them that we’ve already got prominent advertisements on jerseys. We Just Did It.