Check out my friend John Robinson’s Journey Along the Erie Canal to raise awareness for People with Disabilities http://ow.ly/mr8C2
Story on our client Plymouth Rock Assurance’s NJ Distracted Driver Study by @MikeFrassinelli http://ow.ly/m4R5p
Story on our client the NJ Energy Link by @BobJordanAPP http://ow.ly/m4QWA
Proud to now be part of the MWW Group after acquisition of our parent company Capital Public Affairs http://reut.rs/WTSQKy
More validation of the growth of the digital book market. Barnes & Noble to close 1/3 of its stores http://ow.ly/hcto9
Coca Cola calls the doctor http://ow.ly/gpi9v
Last week, Hall of Fame Baseball Executive Lee MacPhail passed away at the age of 95. While I never had the pleasure to meet Mr. MacPhail, he certainly kept me busy for a memorable couple of weeks while interning in the media relations department of the New York Yankees in 1983.
At the time, MacPhail, a former General Manager of the Yankees from 1967-1973, was the American League President. His ruling overturning home plate umpire Tim McClelland’s out call on George Brett for using a bat with too much pine tar on it after Brett hit a home run off Goose Gossage in the top of the 9th inning in the infamous Pine Tar Game on July 24, caused much consternation in the Yankee front offices. Brett’s home run putting the Royals in front would have been the third out because of the illegal bat and would have given the Yankees a 4-3 win.
MacPhail upheld a protest and said the home run counted and ordered the game to be resumed from the point of the home run. The game was completed on August 18 and the Royals won 5-4.
MacPhail’s ruling stated:
”The umpires’ interpretation, while technically defensible, is not in accord with the intent or spirit of the rules and that the rules do not provide that a hitter be called out for excessive use of pine tar. The rules provide instead that the bat be removed from the game,” he wrote. ”Although manager Martin and his staff should be commended for their alertness, it is the strong conviction of the league that games should be won and lost on the playing field – not through technicalities of the rules.”
During the span from July 24 to August 18 the Yankee front office was determined to have the resumption of the game stopped in the courts. A couple of fans had filed suit saying they could not attend the resumption of the game.
As this was developing, I was given a task in the media relations department. Come up with all the bad moves that Lee MacPhail had made while serving as Yankees General Manager.
A Yankee fan since I was eight, I had no problem recalling the lean years in Yankee history during the late 1960s. I started writing down some of the failed trades.
Clete Boyer to the Atlanta Braves for Bill Robinson
Roger Maris to the St. Louis Cardinals for Charlie Smith
Stan Bahnsen to the Chicago White Sox for Rich McKinney
What I also came up with was positive moves like the trade MacPahil orchestrated in 1972 to bring Sparky Lyle to the Yankees from the Red Sox in exchange for Danny Cater and Mario Guerrero and the one that landed Graig Nettles from the Cleveland Indians a year later. I also threw in that MacPhail had helped negotiate the Frank Robinson from the Reds to the Orioles deal for Milt Pappas just prior to leaving Baltimore to take the Yankees job.
After turning in my research, I was never asked again to delve any further into Lee MacPhail’s career. Following the season, MacPhail retired and was elected to the Hall of Fame as an executive in 1998.
Even though as a Yankees fan I felt his ruling was in error, I always felt that the fair and balanced approach to evaluating Lee MacPhail might have saved the Yankees from a sportswriter trashing them for a one-sided approach. Personally, I don’t think my boss, Ken Nigro ever gave George Steinbrenner the information. He just wanted to be prepared in case he was asked.
Thanks to Lee MacPhail I’ve followed that fair and balanced approach throughout my career.