Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adios Chicago Hola Miami

Not that any of us should be surprised, but controversy and Ozzie Guillen are once again walking hand-in hand. The 8-year love and hate affair between the Chicago White Sox and Ozzie Guillen has come to an end. In a bizarre twist, manager Ozzie Guillen was released of his duties so that he could pursue a deal with the Florida Marlins. It is believed that he will be announced as the manager of the Marlins tomorrow afternoon. Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports that since Guillen had one year remaining on his contract with the White Sox, the Marlins will have to trade two prospects as compensation for Guillen.

There had been many rumors to the effect that the Florida Marlins have been interested in hiring Ozzie Guillen as their manager for next season. With the Marlins looking at a major franchise change for the 2012 season, it is only natural that they would want to make a splash. What changes will we expect from the Marlins? They will open a new stadium, a new logo and a new name in the form of the Miami Marlins. Hiring Ozzie Guillen makes sense in that they are trying to tap into the large Latino population that lives in Miami and as we've seen multiple times, Guillen knows how to keep the spotlight burning hot on himself and his team. As the sayings go: Any publicity is good publicity and There's no such thing as bad publicity. We'll see how that part of Ozzie will play out in Miami.

What we do know his teams win for him. in 8-seasons with the White Sox, Guillen compiled a 678-617 record for a winning percentage of .524 and the White Sox only had two losing seasons under Guillen. Their best season was the 2005 season where the White Sox finished with a 99-63 record and brought the World Series trophy to a starved city of Chicago with a sweep of the Houston Astros. The cafes and restaurants of the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami will be super-charged with strong black coffee and baseball talk. Bienvenidos to Miami Ozzie. Buena suerte. Quizas lo vas a necesitar.


For Further Reading
- Click Here to Access Ozzie Guillen's career managerial statistics from BaseballReference.com
- Click Here to access Mark Gonzales' article Sox set to receive two players for Guillen from the Chicago Tribune website dated September 27, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The First All Black-Latino MLB Starting Lineup

September 1 in Major League Baseball is known as the day when the rosters are expanded to accommodate the minor leaguers that have earned a brief promotion to the major leagues. But on September 1, 1971 in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania something happened in a major league baseball game that had never happened before. 

Pirates manager Danny Murtagh had prepared the lineup that he planned to field against the Philadelphia Phillies as he would have done for any other game for the exception of one little detail. Before I go into the little detail, here is the lineup:

Rennie Stennett (2B)
Gene Clines (CF)
Roberto Clemente (RF)
Willie Stargell (LF)
Manny Sanguillen (C)
Dave Cash (3B)
Al Oliver (1B)
Jackie Hernandez (SS)
Dock Ellis (P)

What was different about this lineup from any other lineup that Murtagh  (or any other manager in Major League baseball up to that point) had ever written up was that this lineup was the first starting lineup that was made up of players of color. Considering  that they color line was broken only 24 years prior by Jackie Robinson in 1947, it was an amazing and historic event.

Was there a reason past just winning the game for Murtagh's decision? It's hard to say. Murtagh had been quoted as such when asked about the lineup for the article "Pirates Starters All Black" which was printed in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin:

"When it comes to making out the lineup, I'm color blind and my athletes know it. They don't know it because I told them, but they know it because they are familiar with the way I operate."

The Pirates roster was a cosmopolitan blend of 14 whites, six African-Americans and seven Latinos. According to Bruce Markensen's article Thirty Years Ago...The First All-Black Lineup:

In 1971 the Pirates represented baseball’s most heavily integrated team, with black and Latino players accounting for nearly fifty percent of the club’s roster.  The Pirates also featured one of baseball’s most harmonious teams, with friendships and gatherings often crossing racial lines

The reason for the team being called the "All-Black team" rather than let's say the "All-Black/Latino Team" (as I chose to do so) is that at the time there wasn't much in the way of distinguishing African American and Latino players past the color of their skin which always seemed to upset Roberto Clemente. Clemente always stressed that he was Puerto Rican and should be regarded as a Latino because of it rather than the color of skin. So what happened in the game?

In front of just 11,278 fans, the Pirates defeated the Phillies by a score of 10-7. History and continued progress was made that day.


For Further Reading:
There are two excellent articles that cover the subject of the Pittsburgh pirates starting lineups of September 1, 1971

- Click Here to access Bruce Markensen's article Thirty Years Ago...The First All-Black Lineup from baseballguru.com

- Click Here to access Charlie Vascellaro's article Bucs broke ground with first all-minority lineup dated September 1, 2011 from MLB.com