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.
Ah, Hollywood. In its twentieth anniversary year, I couldn’t resist putting A League of Their Own into the DVD deck. For the most part, the film composited the first season of the All-American Girls’ Professional Baseball League, 1943, respectfully enough and with reasonably questionable accuracy.
Oops. The Racine Belles did win the league’s first World Series. But the Rockford Peaches weren’t their victims, as the film depicted. The Peaches finished dead last in the original four-team league; the Belles beat the Kenosha Comets in the Series.