Tag: Major League Baseball

Willie Mays Has World Series MVP Award Named After him by Major League Baseball 

Baseball Legend Willie Mays (photo via emaze.com)

via espn.com

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball has named its World Series Most Valuable Player Award after Willie Mays. The decision was announced Friday, the 63rd anniversary of Mays’ over-the-shoulder catch in deep center field at the Polo Grounds for the New York Giants against Cleveland’s Vic Wertz in Game 1 of the World Series.

The Giants went on to sweep the Indians. The Series MVP award was given out for the first time the following year, when it was won by Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Johnny Podres.”I’d like to thank Commissioner Rob Manfred and his team at Major League Baseball for honoring me with this recognition,” Mays said in a statement. “Baseball has always taken care of me, and for that I am grateful. I think it’s just a wonderful thing to know that at 86 years of age, I can still give something back to the game. I am proud to lend my name to this important award. What a day this has been!”

Now 86, Mays played in 24 All-Star Games during a 22-year career with the New York and San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets.”Once again, it’s going to remind people of who Willie is and how great a player he was,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Mays was also honored the same day in Harlem, where the corner of West 155th Street and Harlem River Drive was renamed Willie Mays Drive.

Source: Major League Baseball names World Series MVP award after Willie Mays

The Jackie Robinson Foundation Breaks Ground on the Jackie Robinson Museum in NY

(L-R) Hannah Storm, Ayo Robinson, Sonya Pankey, Founder of the Jackie Robinson Foundation Rachel Robinson, Meta Robinson, and Vice-Chair of the Jackie Robinson Foundation Sharon Robinson attend the Jackie Robinson Museum Groundbreaking at the Jackie Robinson Foundation on April 27, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Jackie Robinson Foundation)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

The Jackie Robinson Museum is one step closer to becoming a reality.

The Jackie Robinson Foundation hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for donors on April 27, 2017.  The 18,500-square foot space will honor the late sports legend Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball and played an active, pioneering role in the modern civil rights movement.  “Jack lived his life with such great purpose,” said Rachel Robinson, JRF Founder and wife of Jackie Robinson. “I hope that visitors to the Museum will not only learn about his journey and experience his energy, but that they will be inspired to view each day as a chance to make a difference.”

The Jackie Robinson Museum will expand the Foundation’s mission to educate and expose current and future generations of Americans to a man and an era that were pivotal in forming the more inclusive society that we are today. Exciting, interactive exhibitions, educational outreach efforts, and dynamic programing to illuminate the life and character of one of the most storied athletes of all time are all on the Museum’s agenda. “We are proud to realize Rachel Robinson’s dream of establishing a fixed tribute to her husband’s rich legacy,” said Della Britton Baeza, JRF’s President & CEO.  “Jackie Robinson’s contributions to our country propelled us through challenging social times and continue to encourage us to practice empathy and brotherhood toward others. The Jackie Robinson Museum will satisfy sports fans who will learn more about Jackie Robinson’s great accomplishments as an athlete and visitors of all walks of life who want to be inspired by a true humanitarian.”

Located in the heart of downtown Manhattan, just blocks north of the 9/11 Memorial, the Foundation has retained Gensler as Design Architect in collaboration with Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Exhibit Designer, to develop the Jackie Robinson Museum.

JRF has secured lead gifts from a diverse group of partners including:  Nike, Inc., Phil Knight, the Yawkey Foundation, the City of New York, New York Mets, Citi, Strada Education Network, Los Angeles Dodgers, Major League Baseball, the Tull Family Foundation, New York Yankees, and Stephen Ross. Half way to its $42 million fundraising goal, which is inclusive of a Museum operating endowment, the Foundation plans to open the Museum’s doors in the spring of 2019.   

JRF Welcomes Donations: visit www.jackierobinsonmuseum.org to support the Museum’s fundraising efforts.

About the Jackie Robinson Foundation

Established in 1973 to perpetuate Jackie Robinson’s memory, the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF), a national, public, non-profit organization, administers one of the nation’s premier education and leadership development programs for minority college students. In addition to generous financial assistance, JRF offers a comprehensive set of support services that includes mentoring, job placement, career guidance, leadership training and practical life skills. JRF’s celebrated four-year program yields a consistent, 98% college graduation rate. JRF has provided over $70 million in grants and direct program support to 1,500 students who have attended over 225 colleges and universities.

Bernie Williams, an Improbable Star in Center Field for the New York Yankees, is Immortalized Just Beyond It

Bernie Williams, who won four World Series titles with the Yankees, with catcher Brian McCann after throwing a ceremonial pitch in the Bronx on May 24. (BILL KOSTROUN / ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Bernie Williams, who won four World Series titles with the Yankees, with catcher Brian McCann after throwing a ceremonial pitch in the Bronx on May 24. (BILL KOSTROUN / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

On July 5, 1991, Cal Ripken Jr. drove a pitch from the Yankees’ Tim Leary to the center-field wall at the old Yankee Stadium. Roberto Kelly chased after it, crashed into the fence and sprained his right wrist. Two days later, Bernie Williams was roaming center field in the Bronx.

This is how it often happens, an emergency leading to the realization of a dream. Williams’s career unfolded in ways he never could have imagined, with four championships, five All-Star selections and $103 million in career earnings. He never left the Yankees, and on May 24th, the team retired his No. 51.

“Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that a skinny little 17-year-old kid from Puerto Rico could be here this day, in this celebration,” Williams said in his speech, before the Yankees fell to Texas, 5-2, for their 10th loss in 11 games. “I am overwhelmed.”

Williams thanked George M. Steinbrenner, the principal owner who died in 2010, for making him a Yankee and keeping him here. Hal Steinbrenner presented Williams with a custom-made ring, No. 51 surrounded by diamonds on the face.

Derek Jeter’s Yankee Stadium Farewell Scores Record-Setting Streams For MLB.TV

MLB.TV_Jeter_CelebrationMajor League Baseball’s online streaming service set a viewing record for a single game last night with the New York Yankees captain’s final game in pinstripes — where, in a moment almost too dramatically perfect to believe, he drove in the game-winning run. Fans accessed 641,000 streams, beating by 18% the previous one-game regular-season record set on this year’s opening day, March 31. Viewing peaked just before 10:20 PM ET when Derek Jeter hit his single to right and touched off the Yankees’ on-field celebration.

The streaming figure for Jeter is especially impressive because it doesn’t include any viewers in New York or Baltimore; MLB.TV subscribers only get to watch out-of-market games, so it doesn’t compete with local broadcast or cable telecasts. Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Boston were the top markets for last night’s game.  The only baseball event that topped last night was the Home Run Derby that took place the day before the All-Star Game in July. That attracted about 800,000 streams — but had the advantage of being available in all markets.

Fans clearly were cued in to the end of Jeter’s nearly 20-year career. In the past 24 hours they watched more than 15 million Jeter-related clips on MLB.com. The vast majority of MLB.TV subscribers pay $129.99 for a full season, which they can access via Apple and Android-powered devices, as well as all of the major gaming consoles and smart TVs.

It didn’t hurt, of course, that it was a most improbable ending to Derek Jeter‘s career at Yankee Stadium and, at the same time, utterly predictable: ninth inning, runner on second, game on the line and the player who has been called “Captain Clutch” at the plate.

As he has done so many times over the past two decades, Jeter jumped on a first-pitch fastball and with that instantly recognizable inside-out swing slapped the ball hard on the ground into right field to score the winning run in a dramatic 6-5 New York Yankees victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Yankee Stadium, which had overflowed with love for Jeter all night, erupted in the kinds of cheers reserved for the greats of Yankees history.

It was an ending so perfect that even Jeter admitted, “I wouldn’t have believed it myself.”

“Everyone dreams of hitting a home run in the World Series or getting a game-winning hit,” Jeter said. “But I was happy with a broken bat and a run scored in the the seventh inning; I was happy with that being the end. But I’ll take this one.”

Continue reading “Derek Jeter’s Yankee Stadium Farewell Scores Record-Setting Streams For MLB.TV”

R.I.P. MLB Star Tony Gwynn: Six Things He Did Better Than Anyone Else In Modern Baseball

tony gwynn parade pointing - tony gwynn parade pointing

After a multi-year battle with oral cancer, MLB First-Ballot Hall Of Famer Tony Gwynn passed away recently. He is mourned by everyone in San Diego from the mayor on down and by all of Major League Baseball.  No one will debate the talent that Tony Gwynn’s amazing career displayed. But what few people know is just how thoroughly superlative his aptitude for baseball was.

Back when relief pitching was more of an aberration than the norm and drug testing was non-existing, Gwynn’s numbers would have been impressive. But you add these factors in and it starts to paint the portrait of wonder that was Gwynn’s outstanding career.

So let me grab that paint brush and show you just how beautiful his genius for baseball was.

1. Most Batting Titles – 8

tony gwynn swinging bat - tony gwynn swinging bat

Tony Gwynn had the highest batting average of every player in the Major Leagues in eight out his twenty seasons of professional baseball. He tied for second all time in the number of batting titles he’d earned. The guy ahead of him is Ty Cobb whose career ended in 1928. He’s tied with Honus Wagner whose career ended in 1917. And he’s the only one to have had near as many whose career stretched into the 2000’s.

2. Highest Overall Career Batting Average

 

Tony Gwynn retired in 2001. At that time, his career batting average was .338. There are 30 men to have finished their careers at an average of .330 or higher. Tony Gwynn is the only one whose career ended after 1963. He’s also one of the few to have faced consistent, talented relief pitching.

I think you’re starting to understand how in this Modern Era of baseball, Tony Gwynn was a monster at the plate.

3. (Almost) Finished a season batting .400

tony gwynn's career stats - tony gwynn's career stats

players strike ended the 1994 season while Tony Gwynn was batting .394 and charging towards .400. Hitting .400 over an entire season is the equivalent of hitting 65% of your 3-point in the NBA. The number is so insane there’s a reason no one has done it since Ted Williams in 1941.

4. Top 10 for highest Hall Of Fame induction rates ever

tony gwynn hall of fame - tony gwynn hall of fame

The MLB decides who goes into the Hall Of Fame by giving ballots to sportswriters and other affiliated media. When Gwynn’s name came up, he got in with 97.4% of the vote. He’s 7th overall with only Cal Ripken being the other post-90’s top-10 vote getter, ever.

5. Most All-Star Team Selections

tony gwynn drive - tony gwynn drive

At 15 All-Star selections, Tony Gwynn is tied, again, with Cal Ripken for having the most in a career that stretched into the 2000’s. Cal Ripken had 19, but that doesn’t take away from Gwynn’s accomplishment in the least. You know what did? The fact that his team sucked. As a matter of fact…

6. All twenty seasons in one city

tony gwynn statue - tony gwynn statue

Tony Gwynn was San Diego before LaDanian was even born. Impressive considering the fact that the San Diego Padres were a perennial loser. The closest they game to a championship were two National League Pennants, both earned while Gwynn was there. In fact, they struggled to finish above .500 for most of the Gwynn’s tenure there. Still yet, he stayed and flourished. If ever there was an MLB award for market loyalty, it should be named after Tony Gwynn.

article by Span via urbandaily.com

Barry Bonds to Join Giants as Special Instructor to Team’s Hitters

Barry Bonds (AP Photo)

Barry Bonds is making a return to baseball, of sorts.  The San Jose Mercury News reports the career home run leader has wanted to take on a more active role in the San Francisco Giants organization and will get his chance. It marks his return to baseball after retiring in 2007.

Bonds finished with 762 career home runs. He also holds the Major League Baseball record for homers in a season with 73. He finished with a .444 career on-base percentage and stole 514 bases.

“He’s part of what we’ll do here,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s going to be part of the group of instructors like (Will) Clark, (J.T.) Snow or (Jeff) Kent. He’s going to be like the other guy sna help where he can. I don’t have any concerns.”

The Giants are not sure what to expect from Bonds, 49, but the paper reports the team believes he can make an immediate impact. He was originally scheduled to arrive in Scottsdale on March 9 and leave on March 17, but the newspaper reports the Giants are still waiting on exact dates.

article by Jason Boyd via sportingnews.com

Frank Thomas Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas smiles as he responds to a question during a news conference about his selection into the MLB Baseball Hall Of Fame Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Thomas joins Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine as first ballot inductees Wednesday, and will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 27 along with managers Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa, elected last month by the expansion-era committee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas smiles as he responds to a question during a news conference about his selection into the MLB Baseball Hall Of Fame Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Thomas joins Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine as first ballot inductees Wednesday, and will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 27 along with managers Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa, elected last month by the expansion-era committee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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.”

Continue reading “Frank Thomas Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame”

Pittsburgh Pirate Andrew McCutchen Wins National League MVP Award

In this Aug. 29, 2013, file photo, Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen looks to the dugout after sliding into third with a triple off Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo during a baseball game in Pittsburgh. McCutchen won the National League honor Thursday, Nov. 14. McCutchen ranked among the NL leaders by hitting .317 with 21 home runs and 84 RBIs. He also scored 97 runs, stole 27 bases and had a .404 on-base percentage. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, FIle)
Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen ranked among the NL leaders by hitting .317 with 21 home runs and 84 RBIs. He also scored 97 runs, stole 27 bases and had a .404 on-base percentage. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — M-V-P: Most Versatile Pirate.  Andrew McCutchen was all that and more.  One of the game’s most dynamic talents, McCutchen coasted to the National League Most Valuable Player award by a surprisingly wide margin Thursday after leading a baseball revival in Pittsburgh with his speed, power and defense.  The center fielder received 28 of 30 first-place votes from a Baseball Writers’ Association of America panel to finish far ahead of Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina in a race that many thought would be tight.

“I’m floating right now,” McCutchen said in Pittsburgh. “But I definitely didn’t expect it to be a landslide with those other guys — Goldschmidt and Molina. They were great candidates and I didn’t know what to expect.”

Seated in a sweater and tie, a smiling McCutchen juked a sort of stationary shimmy when he was announced as the winner on MLB Network.  “If I could get up and dance right now I would, but I don’t have much room to do that,” he said. “When I get off camera, I probably will.”

Miguel Cabrera took the AL prize for the second straight year, once again winning by a comfortable gap over Angels outfielder Mike Trout.  A season after posting the majors’ first Triple Crown in 45 years, Cabrera came back to lead baseball in hitting at .348 and finish second with 44 home runs and 137 RBIs.

Continue reading “Pittsburgh Pirate Andrew McCutchen Wins National League MVP Award”

President Barack Obama Honors Negro League Players at White House

NegroLeaguePlayers
Former baseball players in the Negro League, from left to right, Pedro Sierra, Minnie Minoso, Ron Teasley, and the last living owner of a Negro League team, Minnie Forbes, of the Detroit Stars, far right, talk outside the West Wing of the White House following their meeting with President Barack Obama, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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.

Copyright The Associated Press via krmg.com

Former Baseball Star Darryl Strawberry Finds True Calling as Pastor

 

Darryl and Tracy Strawberry
Darryl and Tracy Strawberry

ST. PETERS, Mo. — The four-bedroom, two-story modest house sits on a corner in this planned bedroom community, and when this 6-6 muscular-toned man welcomes you inside his home, there is no evidence Darryl Strawberry the player ever existed.

There are no pictures of Strawberry in a baseball uniform. No trophies. No plaques. None of his four World Series rings. Nothing from his eight All-Star Games. None of his 335 home run balls.

“I got rid of it all. I was never attached to none of that stuff,” says Strawberry, 51, wearing a North Carolina jersey with Michael Jordan’s No. 23. “I don’t want it. It’s not part of my life anymore.” Darryl Strawberry, the former outfield great, is no longer.  Darryl Strawberry, the ordained minister in this town 30 miles west of St. Louis, is very much alive.

“I’m over ‘Strawberry,’ ” he tells USA TODAY Sports. “I’m over Mets. I’m over Yankees. I don’t want to exist as Darryl Strawberry, the baseball player.  “People don’t understand that’s no longer you. I’m not a baseball player, anymore. That person is dead.”

Continue reading “Former Baseball Star Darryl Strawberry Finds True Calling as Pastor”

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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