Iím back on my favorite soapbox. During a MLB playoff game last night, Tim McCarver stated that it will cost the Yankees $55 million in baseball luxury tax next season if they maintain the same payroll as they have right now. I suspect that Steinbrenner has no intention of lowering his payroll for 2003; it will, no doubt, continue to grow. He and the Yankees can well afford the luxury tax hit with all that television revenue in New York. I suspect, too, that the Yankeesí luxury tax alone next year will be greater than the entire payroll of several MLB teams. There will never be team parity in MLB until the system changes. It stinks!!
Story of the Week
Frank Robinsonís high school teams boasted great talent, and his own talent on these teams was a sign of his future. His high school baseball team included Curt Flood and Vada Pinson, and his high school basketball team included Bill Russell.
Frank Robinson was in a class by himself as a two-league player and manager. Heís the only man to be chosen MVP in both the National and American Leagues (Cincinnati and Baltimore), to hit 200 or more home runs in both leagues, to hit All-Star Game homers in both leagues, and to become the first black manager in both leagues (Cleveland and San Francisco). And to add the cherry to the jubilee, he won Manager of the Year honors in both leagues (Baltimore and San Francisco).
When I think back to the hitters who were the most devastating and dangerous Iíve ever seen, Frank Robinsonís name most assuredly appears on that list. He was a five-star player; he could hit for average, he could hit with power, he could run, he could field, and he could throw. It doesnít get any better than the Leo Durocher five-star combo in grading the worth and talent of a position player.
Robinson also holds the record for hitting home runs in the most ballparks. He ranks on the all-time competition list in home runs, career runs, RBIís and total bases. The complete player, he stole 20 or more bases three times, and even led the majors in intentional walks in four straight seasons. To be sure, like all great performers, Frank Robinson produced under pressure; he was a great clutch-hitter.
Robinson broke in with Cincinnati in 1956, tied Wally Bergerís rookie record by hitting 38 home runs, and was named NL Rookie of the Year. The first MVP award came in 1961 when he hit .323 with 37 homers, and stole 22 bases. In 1966, he hit 49 homers, knocked in 122 runs, and hit .316 to win the Triple Crown; that year, he led Baltimore to a pennant and earned his second MVP award. Robbyís home run off Don Drysdale in the World Series provided the only run in Game Four of an Orioles sweep of the Dodgers, and he was named MVP of the Series as well. (I have to report the facts, but that 1966 World Series does not exactly produce fond memories for a Dodgers fan.)
Frank Robinson played in six All-Star Games for the NL and five for the AL. When he was traded to the Dodgers, number 20 became the first Baltimore uniform to be retired, and itís the one he wears in his 1982 Hall of Fame portrait.
Last Weekís Trivia
What player in major league baseball history received more MVP votes during his career than any other player for never having won that award? Eddie Murray rolled up lots of MVP votes during his career, but no cigar.
Trivia Question of the Week
When was the last scoreless game in NFL history? What teams were the participants? I admit it; this oneís a bit obscure. See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.