Cap du jour


11 thoughts on “Cap du jour

  1. Two things–I have a good feeling about these guys. And, I’m so happy that Henry Aaron is the living symbol of our franchise, as opposed to the rampant steroid fraudsters fronting other major franchises past and current.

  2. I feel proud and lucky that Henry Aaron was my favorite player as a kid. I mean you root for a guy because he’s the star of your team, and you don’t know whether he’s going to turn out to be a jerk. (Although AKnob’s depth of insincerity has been evident from the get-go.) Bad Henry was a great player, and he’s been an exemplary human being. I think Musial was a similarly (and appropriately) revered icon with the Cardinals, and there’s Feller for the Indians, Yastrzemski for the Bosox, Kaline for the Tigers, Banks for the Cubs. But many teams lack them. (Can you name a such a figure you identify with the White Sox?) Braves fans are blessed to have the greatest of them all representing them. And I’m encouraged that les frères Upton seem to be aware of his legacy and are eagerly embracing it.

  3. Yazstremski was/is an asshole. So he’s a perfect icon for Massholes, otherwise known as Red Sox Nation.

    Aaron is a complicated person. He’s certainly not the wonderful human being that Musial was. But he was a vocal advocate for civil rights when it was a controversial subject; he questioned the treatment of black players by MLB when other stars like Banks and Mays wouldn’t take that personal risk; and he never embarrassed himself or the sport in his retirement (unlike Mays and Mantle, who worked for a casino).

    I grew up in a mill town in Connecticut in the early 70’s, a place seething in racial animosity. People there didn’t like Aaron. Many hated him. He was simply referred to as a nigger. People didn’t even use his name; it was “that nigger”. That home run chase was part of the civil rights movement. When he dies, every federal government pole should hang the flag at half mast.

  4. roadrunner, I was making Aaron’s civil-rights advocacy part of my calculus in evaluating his legacy. He could have avoided the issue, like Banks, and nobody would have faulted him, but he had the courage to address controversial issues that he felt needed to be addressed. Heck, he even had the stones to upbraid Jackie Robinson for continuing to support the GOP after the Nixon administration adopted the party’s Southern strategy. All that makes him a wonderful human being in my opinion, although sure, he’s never been as warm and lovable as Musial was. But then I’m a cat person, not a dog person, so that’s kind of how I roll.

  5. Heck, he even had the stones to upbraid Jackie Robinson for continuing to support the GOP after the Nixon administration adopted the party’s Southern strategy.

    Pretty sure that Robinson’s GOP affiliation consisted of his personal friendship with New York Governor Rockerfeller, a moderate of moderates. Robinson attended the ’64 GOP convention in California, where Rockerfeller was eclipsed by Goldwater and the new angry, reactionary conservative movement, whose keynote speaker was Ronald Wilson Reagan. Robinson walked out of the convention due to abuse. I’m not sure I’ve seen where he re-connected with the GOP after that (1964)…

    From Robinson’s autobiography:

    That convention was one of the most unforgettable and frightening experiences of my life. The hatred I saw was unique to me because it was hatred directed against a white man. It embodied a revulsion for all he stood for, including his enlightened attitude towards black people.

    A new breed of Republicans had taken over the GOP. As I watched this steamroller operation in San Francisco, I had a better understanding of how it must have felt to be a Jew in Hitler’s Germany.

  6. Good info, JD. Taylor Branch included that quote in one of his King Years volumes. It’s a real argument stopper.

  7. My bad. Robinson campaigned for Nixon in 1960, not 1968. (He supported Rockefeller for the GOP primary in 1968, and when Nixon won the nomination, backed Humphrey.) He was appalled by the Goldwater wing of the party and his treatment at the 1964 convention (Rockefeller managed to get him a selection as a special delegate), but I believe Aaron’s point was that Robinson should have seen the change that was coming to the GOP, which Nixon more or less formalized with the so-called Southern strategy.

    Keep in mind, however, that up until the mid-20th century, most blacks identified themselves as Republicans, and most Southern whites identified themselves as Democrats, just as they had since the time of the Civil War. Aaron, who was born 15 years after Robinson, didn’t have share Robinson’s long-term loyalty to the party and wasn’t friends with Nellie Rockefeller, so it was probably easier for him to make the break. And although Aaron may have questioned Robinson’s political savvy, there isn’t a man alive who better understands the debt he owes Robinson than does Henry Aaron.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s