The Minnesota Twins earlier this week opened its 2015 season with a new manager and its first Black coach since 2012. Butch Davis was hired in January as first base coach.
Davis worked for 20 seasons in the Baltimore Orioles organization as a minor league coach after eight seasons as a major league baseball player (1983-1994). This is his first major league coaching job. Continue Reading →
Who got the best of the MLB winter meetings? Time will tell. Several teams in Major League Baseball used the winter meetings to improve their teams. The Twins were no different, signing veteran outfielder Torii Hunter before the meetings to a one-year $10.5 million deal. The Twins signed veteran right-handed pitcher Ervin Santana to a four-year deal for $57 million. Santana was 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA last year in the National League with the Atlanta Braves. Continue Reading →
The Crash Davis lead character in Bull Durham was a minor league baseball lifer who spent some time in “The Show,” the major leagues, a sage for his fellow teammates. Minnesota Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks is no Crash, but during his second consecutive minor league stint in as many seasons, he too became a sage. “For the first time, I was one of the older guys on the team. It was different. They were picking my brain and trying to figure out ways on becoming a better player. Continue Reading →
Rod Carew is one of 66 living baseball Hall of Famers. He, among others, wants former Minnesota Twins teammate Tony Oliva to soon join this honored group. “Tony Oliva deserves to be in the Hall of Fame,” proclaimed Carew. He told the MSR during the recent MLB All-Star series of events that he plans to lobby for his teammate later this year as a member of the Golden Era Committee. “I’m going to push for it in the next round of voting.”
A three-time batting champion and five-time league leader in hits during the era of the pitcher in the 1960s; the only player in American League history to win batting titles in his first two pro seasons; a .304
career average; over 1,900 hits in his career — these are Hall-worthy numbers. Continue Reading →
Julio Becquer and Tony Oliva, both Cuban-born, both migrated to the United States to play baseball. But if asked, both men quickly express their disappointment that the game they love has not been more embraced by today’s youth, especially by domestic-born Blacks. According to the 2014 Racial and Gender Report Card by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, the number of Blacks on major league rosters has been steady dwindling since the 1990s. On Opening Day 2014, 8.2 percent of players who identified themselves as Black were on the teams’ 25-man rosters. The Minnesota Twins had one — Aaron Hicks. Continue Reading →
I’ve held off long enough, but it’s that time again to write about the results of Dr. Richard Lapchick’s annual report cards on the pro leagues’ diversity efforts. The other print media use the fewest possible words to mention these Racial and Gender Report Cards (RGRC) on their sports pages because it doesn’t matter to them if diversity is achieved or not, especially when their own workplaces aren’t that diverse. It’s not like I don’t want to, but annual reporting on the snail-like progress the local pro teams have made on diversity over the years hasn’t much changed. In the Twin Cities, the diversity axiom isn’t how some things change and some remain the same, but rather nothing changes but the year. It’s like the teacher who practices social promotion every year — although the student doesn’t deserve it, they have another class coming in. Continue Reading →
The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) approved a new statewide high school football alignment, with all 371 teams divided into 18 new districts starting in 2015. As a result, all regular-season schedules will be made by the new 18 districts, with the teams mostly playing intradistrict games — all crossover games with schools outside their district can be scheduled with MSHSL approval. Because these districts are now larger than the former smaller conferences, sub-districts could be set up as well.
Both the seven Minneapolis City Conference and six St. Paul City Conference schools, along with 15 private and suburban schools, will make up the new 28-team Twin City district next year. Continue Reading →
It’s been over a week now since Aaron Hicks, the second-year Minnesota Twins centerfielder, quit being a switch hitter to being only a right-handed hitter. What brought him to that decision? Poor front-office decision-making may have resulted in rushing up the young man to the big leagues too soon last season. Hicks should have perfected his batting skills in the minors; instead, he struggled last season and was sent back down. This year thus far, Hicks is again struggling, leading him to stop his Judy Collins “Both Sides Now” batting and stick to one side only, a decision that caught his manager totally by surprise. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. In an occasional series throughout the 2013-14 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players. This week: Gopher softball players Tyler Walker and Madie Eckstrom
Juniors Tyler Walker and Madie Eckstrom are two members of a combined two-year recruiting class that helped Minnesota string together three consecutive 30-plus softball win seasons. Before last weekend’s league tournament play, Walker told the MSR that despite losing two of three to the conference regular season co-champs Wolverines in a series at Ann Arbor, “We can play with the top teams. We are one of the top
The U of M went unbeaten and won the Big Ten softball tournament in Evanston, Ill. last weekend. Continue Reading →
Tuesday is Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball. Every player on all 30 MLB clubs will wear the number 42 on their backs — the same number Robinson wore when he broke in with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948; the same number every club permanently retired save for one day a year.
“I’ve always known the significance of that number,” admits Minnesota Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks, the team’s only U.S.-born Black player, “definitely for me being a Black player.”
Hicks ranks Robinson in the same trailblazing light as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. “They are heroes, and he is right up there with them,” believes the second-year centerfielder. “He was the guy who took a lot of crap and handled it the right way. Continue Reading →