by Mike Moffett
Weirs Times Columnist
There’s an unforgiving streak amongst a sizeable segment of sport fandom. These folks want lifetime bans for steroid users. They don’t understand the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.” And they show no mercy for players tainted by gambling associations.
Still, some thoughtful baseball people like the late BoSox great Ted Williams always spoke up for the likes of “Shoeless Joe” Jackson. The Chicago White Sox star was exiled from baseball due to his association with the 1919 Black Sox scandal, where Chicago supposedly lost the World Series to Cincinnati on purpose. Jackson’s alleged involvement seemed murky, and he was found “not guilty of all charges” during a 1921 jury trial. But Baseball Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis banned him and seven teammates for life.
Shoeless Joe died a broken man in 1951. Today, however, another baseball great tainted by gambling associations still lives. Pete Rose, the all-time hit leader (4256), will be 74 on April 14.
Despite a pariah status, Rose WILL attend this year’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati, where he played 19 seasons. Just don’t look for him to throw out the first pitch. He HAS submitted a formal reinstatement request to new Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred. Manfred seems to have a somewhat softer attitude towards Rose than that shown by other commissioners.
Like Jackson’s supposed mistakes, Rose’s are somewhat murky. But he’s already paid dearly for bad judgments. So during this Easter Season of reconciliation and redemption, I feel sympathy for Rose. I hope Manfred gives Pete a break while the Hit King is still alive. He’s suffered plenty of consequences already and there should be hope for redemption for all but the most hard-core criminals.
The Hit King foolishly gambled when he shouldn’t have and then lied about it. He’s paid for his mistakes for decades. But he’s not some incorrigible murderer. And no baseball Hall of Fame inductee is perfect (except maybe Lou Gehrig). So it’s time to give Rose a break.
Plymouth High School grad Ryan Bamford was recently named Director of Athletics at UMass-Amherst. Ryan’s dad Steve was Director of Athletics for many years at Plymouth State University and I remember Ryan when he was just a youngster, shooting baskets at PSU’s Foley Gym. He went on to play basketball at Ithaca College and later worked at Yale and then Georgia Tech. Now he has truly made the “big-time.” Good luck to him!
Speaking of Directors of Athletics and Foley Gym, I remember a college student at Plymouth State named Jim Herlihy keeping hoop stats behind the Panther bench when Phil Rowe was coaching men’s basketball at Plymouth. Rowe went on to serve as head coach at Keene State College and then the University of New Hampshire. Herlihy went on to work in minor league baseball and then did graduate work and got into athletic administration. Now he’s the Director of Athletics at St. Anselm College in Manchester. And for his assistant he recently hired Phil Rowe, of all people. Good luck to Jim, Phil, and the Hawks of St. Anselm.
A COOL SPORTS CONFERENCE …
… will be held at NHTI-Concord on Monday, April 13 from 8:30 a.m. until noon. Sponsored by the NHTI Sports Management Club, the NH Athletic Directors and Coaches Conference should be interesting and entertaining for high school Directors of Athletics, coaches from every level, guidance counselors, administrators, students, and other school personnel.
The conference will feature the aforementioned Herlihy, and also Rick Brenner of the NH Fisher Cats, Chris Lockwood of NH Motor Speedway and Brendan Doyle of Manchester Monarchs. The event will also include refreshments and door prizes. For more information contact NHTI Director of Athletics Paul Hogan at (603)-230-4041 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
KANSAS KKK STRIKES OUT
According to the Kansas Humanities Council, an all-black team from Wichita, the Monrovians, took on a team from the local Ku Klux Klan back in 1925. The Monrovians—defending Colored Western League champions—defeated the Klansmen 10-8. (I wonder if the KKK players were hampered by hoods and sheets.) The Humanities Council claims that Klan membership declined after the game and that the KKK subsequently shut down in Kansas in 1927. Sports CAN change the world for the better!
Cleveland Indian pitcher Rick Waits never played for the Red Sox. So why does he have a special place in the hearts of BoSox fans? (Answer follows)
Born Today …
That is to say, sports figures born on April 2 include NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski (1966).
Former Cleveland Browns coach Sam Rutigliano, who grew up in the same Brooklyn neighborhood as the late Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders, said this of Davis: “He’s Mr. Intrigue. He knows the serial number of the Unknown Soldier.”
Waits beat the New York Yankees on the last day of the 1978 season, allowing the Red Sox to tie N.Y. for first place in the A.L. East and force a playoff game—which Boston lost 5-4 to the Yankees at Fenway Park on Oct. 2.
Michael Moffett is a Professor of Sports Management at NHTI, Concord’s Community College. He recently co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines) —which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is email@example.com.