As of 16 March 2015 the question of whether Pete Rose should or will be reinstated to organised baseball became an official issue one more time. That was the date commissioner Rob Manfred announced he received a formal request for reinstatement from Rose himself. And Manfred was clear enough that nobody—Rose’s sympathisers and opponents included—should read anything deeper into that request or his receipt of it. Yet.
When Gabe Paul bolted as the Yankees’ president, exhausted by George Steinbrenner’s machinations, Steinbrenner had just the man to succeed him: Al Rosen, the one-time Cleveland third base star and a minority partner in the Yankee ownership.
There were those who thought the personable Rosen—who died 14 March at 91—was just the right guy to neutralise the tensions between two time bombs named Steinbrenner and then-Yankee manager Billy Martin. Including Martin himself. “Al played the game,” Martin told reporters. “He understands what it’s like. Gabe got in the way. He didn’t know the game.”
When Whitey Herzog wrote his memoir You’re Missin’ a Great Game, he included remarks about Alex Johnson that must have dropped every jaw in southern California who remembered Johnson’s tempestuous tenure (to put it politely) in an Angel uniform. To hear the White Rat say it, Johnson—who died 28 February at 72, after a battle with cancer—was anything but a handful, once you played things straight with him.
Spring training didn’t exactly come in quietly, and it certainly isn’t continuing quietly, either. Especially around the camps of the Phillies, the Rangers, and the Blue Jays, and from the mouth of a Panda . . .
■ THE SINKING OF THE CLIFTON P. LEE? The Phillies are in bad enough shape this season—nobody pretends any longer that they’re not rebuilding, even if many (mostly inside the club’s administration) still pretend they didn’t need to start rebuilding, oh, two years ago. Now they could be without Cliff Lee this season . . . and Lee could be looking at the end of his career, period.
This weekend began with the publication of a remarkable interview Minnie Minoso gave to ESPN’s Christina Kahrl, in which he admitted his disappointment that the Golden Era Committee didn’t elect him or any of its other candidates to the Hall of Fame in December.
“Don’t tell me that maybe I’ll get in after I pass away,” Minoso told Kahrl. “I don’t want it to happen after I pass. I want it while I’m here, because I want to enjoy it.” Two days after that interview appeared, Minoso died at 90, apparently due to issues with his heart. The physical organ, that is. When it came to heart as in heart, there were few endowed better.