Tag:Jackie Robinson
Posted on: December 8, 2011 4:06 pm
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Pujols won't join exclusive Hall of Fame club



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Albert Pujols will most likely wear a St. Louis Cardinals hat when he's ultimately inducted into the Hall of Fame, but there still may be a question. We just don't know at this point. There are those players who go into the Hall without a doubt of which hat they'll wear, because it's the only one they ever wore. 

While the Hall of Fame is an elite club, there's a more elite club -- one of Hall of Famers who played their entire career with one organization. Currently there are 47 such players in Cooperstown, with the possibility of one more joining their ranks if Barry Larkin is voted in when the next class is announced in January.

It seemed like Pujols would be one of those guys -- there was even talk of a statue being built at Busch Stadium while he was still active. That statue will have to wait -- and it could be a long time before he's honored like that in St. Louis. 

So, if Pujols isn't going to join that club, who may? Here's four who may be able to claim they spent all of their entire major league career with one team.

Both Derek Jeter and Mariano River are first-ballot Hall of Fame players, both are nearing the end of their careers and both received new contracts with the Yankees last season. Jeter, 37, has two more years on his contract, plus a player option for 2014. He may play after he turns 40, but there's an almost zero percent chance the Yankees let him do it in another uniform. The same can be said for Rivera, 42. The all-time saves leader is under contract for 2012 and is unliekly to play anywhere else.

The third guy is Chipper Jones, who will turn 40 on April 24 and is under contract through 2012 with a club option for 2013 that becomes guaranteed if he plays 123 games this season. Jones has been on the verge of retiring the last two years. Like Jeter and Rivera, it seems unthinkable he'd ever wear another uniform as a player.

And that leads us to the fourth player, who will not only have an asterisk on this list if he does go into the Hall with his current team, but also the one of this group most likely to play for a different team (but even that chance seems slight -- but not as slight as the other three), and that's Ichiro Suzuki. The asterisk is that of course he played the first half of his career for the Orix Blue Wave in Japan before coming to the Mariners in 2000. Some will debate whether he'd be in the Hall if he retired today, but I find it hard to believe he could be left out. Suzuki is in the final year of his five-year extension he signed in 2007 and with the Mariners going through a rebuilding phase, he may not fit into their plans. Another team could be interested, or he could return to Japan. However, it's been suggested he really wants to get to 3,000 hits in the United States. He's at 2,428 right now and would need at least three more years to get there -- that could be two with a different team.

There are some other players that aren't sure-fire Hall of Famers that could still get there and do it with one team, but there's still a lot to be proven. The closest to the end of his career is the Rangers' Michael Young, who would need to get to 3,000 hits before he had a shot at the Hall. Young, 35, has 2,061 hits, so even that seems unlikely. Then there are the young, talented players who have a lot more to prove before getting there. However, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Braun, Evan Longoria and Matt Kemp all have one thing in common -- long-term contracts with their current team. 

Here's the list of Hall of Famers who played for just one team, sorted by team:

Yankees: Earle Combs, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Phil Rizzuto.

Dodgers: Roy Campanella, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson.

Giants: Carl Hubbell, Travis Jackson, Mel Ott, Bill Terry, Ross Youngs.

Pirates: Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski, Willie Stargell, Pie Traynor.

Red Sox: Bobby Doerr, Jim Rice, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski.

Indians: Bob Feller, Addie Joss, Bob Lemon.

Orioles: Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken, Brooks Robinson.

White Sox: Luke Appling, Red Faber, Ted Lyons.

Cardinals: Bob Gibson, Stan Musial.

Reds: Johnny Bench, Bid McPhee.

Tigers: Charlie Gehringer, Al Kaline.

Brewers: Robin Yount.

Cubs: Ernie Banks.

Padres: Tony Gwynn.

Phillies: Mike Schmidt.

Royals: George Brett.

Senators: Walter Johnson.

Twins: Kirby Puckett.

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 5:38 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 10:55 pm
 

Harper facing most scrutiny since ... Jackie?



By Matt Snyder


I don't doubt that Bryce Harper is facing pretty heavy hype and scrutiny as the game's top prospect makes his way through the minor leagues in the Nationals' system. He's reportedly faced lots of profanity and heckles from fans at nearly every stop. Unfortunatly, that's what comes with being a famous athlete these days. What is even more unfortunate is when a pair of his coaches decide to make a Jackie Robinson mention. From an upcoming story in Sports Illustrated:
Harper, a travel-baseball phenom out of Las Vegas at 10, an SI cover boy at 16 and a $9.9 million signee at 17, is the most well-known minor leaguer since Michael Jordan. But Jordan was a novelty, not a prospect. Harper is the most scrutinized prospect since....

"Jackie Robinson," says Tony Tarasco, a former major leaguer and a Nationals minor league coordinator who has become Harper's player-development Yoda. "You have to go back to Jackie Robinson to find anybody who goes through this much scrutiny. It wasn't like this for [Stephen] Strasburg. Wasn't like this for Alex Rodriguez."

Jackie Robinson? Surely Doug Harris, the Nationals' director of player development, with 21 years in pro ball as a player, scout and executive, would find a different comparable for Harper.

Independent of Tarasco, Harris offered, "This is really unfair and it's totally different, but if I can make a comparison to one guy that has been scrutinized like this, it would be Jackie Robinson. And it's unfair because it was a different standard. He was under a microscope in an era when we didn't have Internet, didn't have cellphones.

"Now, Jackie Robinson had his life threatened. I'm not comparing Bryce to that. But as far as nonstop scrutiny? Absolutely. Day to day."
I'm glad Harris qualified his statements and made sure to point out that what Harper faced and what Robinson faced are two completely different things, but that doesn't make the mention any less absurd. As 'Duk at Big League Stew pointed out, Strasburg faced tons of scrutiny and hype just last season.

What exactly is Harper hearing that draws the mention of a man who had to endure brutal racism, death threats and more day-in-day-out that few of us can even imagine?

"Some of the stuff I hear, I can't say," Harper said (from the above linked SI article). "It's bad stuff. I do hear stuff like 'moneymaker,' 'moneybags.' ... I get 'overrated' a lot -- that's just old. It comes with the territory, I guess. I'm not going to let it bother me."

I'll avoid getting sanctimonious or worked up here, so let's just bottom line it. That's nothing the overwhelming majority of major leaguers don't hear on a daily basis during road trips. Harper himself said it doesn't bother him.

This is not the stuff of Jackie Robinson. Let's leave his name alone in discussions like this.

UPDATE: Harris has followed up on the conversation with a mea culpa: "In talking to Tom[Verducci of Sports Illustrated], my sole intent was to speak to the scrutiny that Harper faces on a daily basis," Harris said. "That said, the hardships that Mr. Robinson endured in/around 1947 were unique and historical in context. While Harper's current situation is extraordinary by most measures, it pales in comparison to the life of Mr. Robinson, nor will it approach the lasting impact. I regret making this ill-fated correlation." (CSN Washington)

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Posted on: July 6, 2010 11:08 am
Edited on: July 8, 2010 3:16 pm
 

All-Star Game color barrier snapped in 1949

1949 All-Star Game In anticipation of the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim on Tuesday, July 13, the CBS Sports MLB Facts and Rumors blog looks back at some of the more memorable editions of the All-Star Game. Today looks at the 1949 All-Star Game.

Everyone knows the story of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Even though he won Rookie of the Year and improved in his sophomore season, however, it wasn't until 1949 that Robinson broke the color barrier in the All-Star Game. Robinson would go on to be named the MVP of the National League that season, finishing with 16 home runs, 12 triples, 37 stolen bases and a .342/.432/.528 line. He would eventually be named to six consecutive games.

Robinson wasn't alone in breaking the color barrier at the annual superstar game, however. Fellow Dodger Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe joined him in welcoming the All-Stars to Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.

Campanella was in his second season with the Dodgers behind the dish and named to the first of his eight consecutive games. While his first (out of three) MVP year was still two years in the future, the 27-year-old Campanella was having a fine 1949 with a .287/.385/.498 line. He was joined by Newcombe, who was enjoying a stellar campaign. Newcombe, like Robinson and Campanella, would also win an MVP, this time in 1956 along with a Cy Young Award. But back in 1949, he was in the middle of his Rookie of the Year campaign, winning 17 games while posting a 3.17 ERA in 244 1/3 innings.

Over on the American League's side, Larry Doby, who broke in later in the 1947 season to snap the color barrier in the AL, was also named to his first All-Star Game in 1949. He would finish '49 with a .280/.389/.468 line, slamming 24 home runs. His highest MVP finish was second in 1954 when he drilled 32 home runs and rapped in 126 RBI.

The AL would go on to thrash the NL 11-7, and Newcombe missed out on a chance to rack up more runs for the NL after hitting a liner when Ted Williams made a running catch with the bases loaded in the second inning. Joe DiMaggio, who was suffering a heel injury, hadn't played since June 28 (the game was held on July 12) and hadn't been elected by the fans, was crucial to the AL's victory by tallying a single, a double and three RBI. Asked why manager Lou Boudreau played DiMaggio, he simply replied "Joe DiMaggio is Joe DiMaggio." The victory pushed the AL to a 12-4 record in All-Star Games, as the NL was still years away from its run of dominance.

Jackie Robinson Robinson (pictured) went 1 for 4 with a walk, scoring three runs while batting second. Campanella did not start, but replaced Andy Seminick in the top of the fourth and was hitless in two at-bats but was intentionally walked in the bottom of the fifth to set up a force at first after Sid Gordon of the New York Giants doubled. Newcombe was saddled with the loss, entering the game with one out in the second inning. Warren Spahn left two runners on base for Newcombe, but the Dodger wiggled out of it. The AL finally got to Newcombe in the fourth, however, when Eddie Joost singled in George Kell and Williams with two out. At that point, the AL took the lead 6-4 and would not trail for the rest of the way.

Doby pinch ran for DiMaggio, who doubled in the sixth. Doby would bat in the seventh, grounding out to end the frame after the Junior Circuit scored three times.

No, there was no sexy play during the game that makes it stand the test of time, but what does stand the test of time is what the game meant to racial relations in America. Even though Robinson snapped the color barrier two years past, the advent of racial equality was still far off, and to have four African-American ballplayers come together and represent baseball's best was and is an important event in not just baseball's history, but America's as well.

-- Evan Brunell

More All-Star memories -- 2002: The Tie; 1941: Teddy Ballagame's walk-off homer

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