When four fans draped a large banner over the Green Monster in the fourth inning Wednesday night, reading, “Racism is as American as Baseball,” it lasted long enough for the banner and its creators to be ejected from the ballpark. An immediate reaction, not knowing the creators or their intentions in the specific moment, could have been, “Do they denounce or applaud racism?”
Six can be an historic baseball number. On uniforms, number 6 has been retired for five players and two managers: Johnny Pesky (Red Sox), Steve Garvey (Padres), Stan Musial (Cardinals), Al Kaline (Tigers), and Tony Oliva (Twins) are the players; Bobby Cox (Braves) and Joe Torre (Yankees) are the managers. In postseason competition, Game Six can be historic heaven or heartbreak, depending on whose side you’re on.
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.
Jackie Robinson suffered few baitings more vicious than those led by Ben Chapman, the former outfielder who managed the Philadelphia Phillies, when Robinson broke into the Show with the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers. And, yes, it really did get to a point where Chapman’s job was on the line, and he posed for photographs with Robinson—clearly ill at ease—in a bid to turn down the heat he had brought himself and his team.
Maybe the one thing absolutely guaranteed about 2012 was that Mike Trout would nail the American League’s Rookie of the Year honours, which was made official with Monday night’s announcement. It wasn’t even close.
Trout landed every last first place vote possible as the unanimous pick. Nobody else in the running—not Yoenis Cespedes, not Yu Darvish, not Wei-Yin Chen, not Jarrod Parker—got any higher than 45 percent of a share of the voting. Bryce Harper landed the National League’s Rookie of the Year honours in a slightly tighter competition, with five more votes than runner-up Wade Miley and 70 percent of a share to Miley’s 66. The remaining National League contenders—Todd Frazier, Wilin Rosario, Norichika Aoki, Yonder Alonso (now, that’d be a name, if he had more than a little long ball power), Matt Carpenter, Jordan Pacheco—fell well behind Harper and Miley.