Former New York Yankee Derek Jeter has officially become the first African-American CEO of a Major League Baseball team. The 43-year-old, is also part owner of the Miami Marlins, joining only one other African-American in that specific role (Magic Johnson‘s Los Angeles Dodgers).
And if you wonder where the five-time World Series champion stands on athletes kneeling during the national anthem, he’s totally on board, telling the New York Daily News, “Everyone should be fine with that. They’re focused so much on the fact that they are kneeling as opposed to what they’re kneeling for. Peaceful protests are fine. You have your right to voice your opinion. As long as it’s a peaceful protest, everyone should be fine with that.”
Everyone’s favorite Little League pitcher, Mo’ne Davis, landed a deal with Harper Collins Children’s Books and will releaseMo’ne Davis: Remember My Name on March 17, 2015. In August, Davis became the first girl ever to pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series.
On the book, Davis said, “I hope it encourages people to take a chance and play the sports they want to play and not just the ones people expect them to play.” Below is an early peak at the cover and jacket copy via harpercollins.com:
An inspiring story of a courageous young girl who learned to play ball with the boys, only to outshine them on the national stage in the most watched Little League World Series of game of all time. Mo’ne Davis’s story is one that will encourage readers to reach for their dreams no matter the odds, young girls to play ball with anyone, and add a new chapter to the rich history of women in baseball.
NEW YORK (AP) — A new generation of starting pitchers and a self-proclaimed Mr. Clean of the Steroids Era will be ushered into baseball’s Hall of Fame this summer. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas were elected on their first ballot appearances Wednesday, when Craig Biggio fell just two votes short. Maddux and Glavine will join their former Atlanta Braves manager, Bobby Cox, at the July 27 induction along with Joe Torre and Tony La Russa, also elected last month by the expansion-era committee.
But Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and other stars whose accomplishments were muddied by accusations of steroids use lost even more ground, dropping below 40 percent in an election where 75 percent is needed. And on his first day as a member of baseball’s elite, Thomas said the living members among the 306 Hall of Famers don’t want those with sullied reputations.
“Over the last year, doing a couple of charity events with Hall of Famers that are in, they’ve got a strong stance against anyone who’s taken steroids. They do not want them in. They don’t care when they started or when they did it, they do not want them in,” he said. “I’ve got to take the right stance, too. No, they shouldn’t get in. There shouldn’t be cheating allowed to get into the Hall of Fame.”
Making their second appearances on the ballot, Clemens dropped from 37.6 percent to 35.4 in voting by senior members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, Bonds from 36.2 to 34.7 and Sosa from 12.5 to 7.2. Bonds, baseball’s career home run leader, is the only seven-time MVP in major league history. Clemens is the lone seven-time Cy Young Award winner. “As for what they did, I don’t think any of us will ever really know,” Thomas said. “But I can just tell you, what I did was real and that’s why I’ve got this smile on my face right now because the writers, they definitely got it right.”
President Barack Obama on Monday honored former baseball players in the Negro League, a haven for African-American players who for decades were prevented from competing with white players in professional baseball. The White House said Obama invited about a dozen players to the White House to mark their contributions to American history, civil rights and athletics. The players competed for teams like the Philadelphia Stars, New York Black Yankees, Indianapolis Clowns and Boston Blues.
The Negro League thrived in the early part of the 20th century. Its decline started after Jackie Robinson in 1947 became the first African-American to play Major League Baseball in modern times, clearing the way for other black players to compete in the major leagues. The league disbanded a few years later.
NEW YORK (AP) — A baseball glove worn by Jackie Robinson in the 1955 and 1956 World Series has been auctioned for $373,002. Steiner Sports said the glove was sold Sunday in an online auction by Steiner Sports Memorabilia. A Jackie Robinson Louisville Slugger bat, thought to be from the 1956 season, sold for $114,000.
Steiner executive vice president Brett Schissler said Monday the same person sold both items, which also were bought by one person. Schissler says the buyer and seller didn’t want to be identified. The prices include commissions. In addition, Steiner Sports says that Mickey Mantle’s signed 1960 contract with the New York Yankees was sold by his family for $39,930. Danny and David Mantle, sons of the player, are donating the money to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.
Film dated from 1919 shows employees of the Pebble Hill Plantation in Thomasville, Georgia, playing in a league against other teams. Archivists are still researching this 26 seconds of found footage, but it might just be the oldest footage of African-Americans playing baseball in the U.S.
Whether or not Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers President and General Manager, ever said this about Jackie Robinson in response to those who thought he might be trouble for major league baseball because of being court-martialed for refusing to move to the back of an Army bus, doesn’t matter. What does is that Rickey’s (gamely played by Harrison Ford) matter-of-fact delivery of that line sums up not only the heart of the movie, but the heart of the double standard commonly applied to systemically oppressed people who refuse to comply with their own dehumanization.
Although based on actual events as Jackie Robinson integrated major league baseball, spirit is ultimately what the biopic “42” is about – fighting for unequivocal truths to come to light, and to stir the best within us all regardless of race, color or religion by leveling the playing field and by just straight up playing ball.
“Lincoln Heights” actor Chadwick Boseman, in his first major film role, does a commendable job bringing sports legend and civil rights icon Jackie Robinson to life. Boseman has an athletic grace and physicality that conveys the intelligence and scrappiness of Robinson’s game, but his performance shines most when he silently conveys Robinson’s struggle to hold himself in check when he is verbally and physically assaulted on and off the field. At one point in the film, Robinson’s baseball prowess is remarked on as “superhuman,” but after seeing all he endured off the field in “42,” his ability to stay calm and focussed in the midst of a sea change in American sports and culture was arguably his most compelling power.
Writer/director Brian Helgeland wisely starts the film with a black reporter chronicling Robinson’s achievements (later revealed to be Wendell Smith of the Pittsburgh Courier, a well-known black newspaper of that era; Smith was assigned to cover Robinson’s journey), setting the stage by introducing and narrating America’s still racially tense post-war years. By framing this film about a black hero through the eyes and words of a black reporter shows Helgeland, who wrote the acclaimed “L.A. Confidential” and “Mystic River,” understands how deeply this movie is about a watershed moment in African-American history as much as it is about one extraordinary man. It needs to be told as “our story,” so by making Smith (played with quiet strength by Andre Howard) a guide, witness, admirer, and beneficiary of Jackie Robinson’s accomplishments, the core audience of “42” is able to hold the same positions while watching the story unfold.