Archives

THOUGHTS ON COLLEGE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME INDUCTION OF BRANCH RICKEY AND RAFAEL PALMEIRO

June 29, 2009

Tags: Branch Rickey, Rafael Palmeiro, National Baseball College Hall of Fame, Manny Ramirez

This coming Friday night July 3 Branch Rickey will be inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in Lubbock, Texas. He is this year’s selection in the Vintage Pre-1947 category. Last year Jackie Robinson was enshrined in the pre-1947 class for his standout performances at UCLA. I was honored when the Rickey family (more…)

PRE-BIRTHDAY MUSINGS ON BASEBALL AND CIVIL RIGHTS PLUS MY LIFE AS AN ANTI-YANKEE BASEBALL NUT

June 26, 2009

Tags: Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Civil Rights Weekend, Rooting Against Yankees

Here are some more thoughts about the Cincinnati Civil Rights Weekend. On the roundtable that I participated in (that may air one of these days on the MLB cable TV network), Harold Reynolds, the broadcaster and former All-Star second baseman, shared his vivid memory of watching on TV with his grandmother and some of his seven older siblings as Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s career HR record. Reynolds emphasized that it was especially meaningful that Aaron hit his epochal homer in 1974 as an Atlanta Brave in Georgia! In accepting his Beacon award at the Saturday afternoon luncheon, Aaron emphasized that he “rode the shoulders of a lot of civil rights people” and couldn’t have hit 755 home runs without them. (more…)

BUILDING BRIDGES IN CINCINNATI

June 22, 2009

Tags: Oscar Robertson, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Civil Rights Weekend of Major League Baseball

Until this past weekend I had never spent any significant time in Cincinnati, the Queen City on the Ohio River located virtually in Kentucky. Though the forecast called for a lot of rain and the humidity was midsummer-like in its oppressiveness, the whims of the weather did not disturb Major League Baseball’s first (more…)

PREPARING FOR THE CIVIL RIGHTS WEEKEND

June 17, 2009

Tags: Branch Rickey, Charles Ogletree, MLB Civil Rights Weekend, Oscar Robertson, Joe Kelley, Judge Robert L. Carter, Brown 1954 Supreme Court decision, Crispus Attacks H.S. Indianapolis

I have been honored by an invitation to appear in Cincinnati this Friday afternoon June 19 on a Civil Rights Roundtable chaired by Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, Jr. (President Obama’s law school mentor). The opening event of Major League Baseball’s first Civil Rights Weekend, our panel begins at 4 PM and will take place at (more…)

THOUGHTS ON THE JUNE 15TH TRADING DEADLINE

June 16, 2009

Tags: Branch Rickey, Commissioner Landis, Bob Costas, Bob Gibson, Tim McCarver, Al Kaline, Willie Horton

June 15th used to be the big trading deadline in baseball and as usual Branch Rickey was in the middle of a big innovation. In 1922 Rickey’s Cardinals and the St. Louis Browns who shared the home field of Sportsman’s Park were in first place near the end of July for the first (more…)

"AMAZING DISGRACE" AND AMAZING GRACE: THOUGHTS FROM A NEW YORK WEEKEND

June 15, 2009

Tags: Mets, Yankees, Interleague play, Luis Castillo, Omar Minaya, Marjorie Eliot, American Legion Harlem jazz, Sedric Choukroun, Seleno Clarke, Jerry Weldon, David Lee Jones

I am not the biggest fan of inter-league play because it unbalances the intra-league schedule to a ridiculous level. For instance, how can you still call it an American LEAGUE when the longtime rival Cleveland Indians play the Yankees in New York in early April and don’t return again, and the Cubs have to wait until early September to visit their once-arch-rival Mets. The other serious imbalance is the unequal transcontinental schedule. The Red Sox have already finishing traveling to the West Coast while the Yankees still have three trips to make.

Saying all this, there is no doubt that inter-league play is a big hit at the box office and in the TV ratings and is here to stay. And Friday night at new Yankee Stadium there was an ending to the first Mets-Yankees game of the season that provided as infamous a moment as you will ever see. AMAZING DISGRACE read the Daily News’s frontpage headline on Saturday and with good reason (more…)

RICKEY BEING RICKEY: THOUGHTS ON HENDERSON AND BRANCH

June 11, 2009

Tags: Rickey Henderson, Branch Rickey, Pepper Martin, Bobby Bonilla, Elinor Nauen

When I started working on my biography of Branch Rickey in the late 1990s, some people thought I was writing about Rickey Henderson, the all-time base stealing champion and one of the most effective leadoff hitters in baseball history. On the last Sunday of next month (more…)

"TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK NOT WHAT YOU'VE HEARD"

June 10, 2009

Tags: Joe Maddon, Ken Revizza, Earl Weaver, Columbia Sport Management program, Norman Thomas High School, Mariel Checo

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon is a man of many adages and aphorisms. “Attitude is a decision” caught my eye last year, coined by the sport psychologist Ken Revizza who is a consultant for the Rays. My grad students in the Columbia sport management program really latched onto it. (And as someone who (more…)

THOUGHTS ON AMATEUR DRAFT DAY

June 9, 2009

Tags: Ben McDonald, Mark Prior, Branch Rickey, Joe Maddon, Scott Boras

Tonight for the first time in history the first round of Major League Baseball’s Amateur Free Agent Draft will be televised on the sport’s new MLB cable TV network. The consensus is that San Diego State righthander Stephen Strasburg will be the number one pick by the Washington Nationals even though super-agent Scott Boras is throwing around a $50 million price tag that would shatter the $10.5 record set by another right-hander Mark Prior in 2001. Computer addicts will be able to view the rounds after the first one on the TV link to mlb.com . (more…)

BACK FROM COOPERSTOWN

June 8, 2009

Tags: Cooperstown Symposium, George Powles, Curt Flood, Ed Edmonds, Jeff Katz, Marjorie Maddox, Joe Maddon

Last week’s annual Baseball and American Culture symposium at the National Baseball Hall of Fame attracted the largest attendance of scholars, writers, and informed fans in its 21-year history. There were so many interesting presentations that concurrent sessions were the rule and it was impossible to hear many of the (more…)

A GREAT GAME AND A TOUGH BUSINESS

June 1, 2009

Tags: Dave Trembley, Chad Moeller, Peter Angelos, Matt Wieters, Detroit Tigers, Texas-Boston College 25-inning game, Branch Rickey, Glenn Davis

The headline in today’s posting comes from what Orioles manager Dave Trembley told the media last week in breaking the bad news to backup catcher Chad Moeller that he was being removed from the roster to make room for the phenom Matt Wieters. If the 32-year-old (more…)

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History
Story of baseball's reserve system and the men who fought to change it
Biography/Sports
“Lowenfish’s take is detailed and nuanced.... he doesn’t look for simple answers; despite his own abiding admiration, he never sugarcoats or presents Rickey in anything other than a three-dimensional light.”
–David Ulin, Los Angeles Times