Monday, January 24, 2011

Is My Son Already One of the 10 Greatest African-American Red Sox of All Time?

Our district's Little League "Rookies" division draft was held this past weekend.

I always assumed that teams just somehow came together, starting at the top with the manager and his child. Add a sibling, some classmates, a few kids from the cul-de-sac and there's your team.

Instead, as it was explained to me, the managers in our district meet one week after tryouts. With hastily-scrawled, concealed scouting reports in hand; these grown men enter a shared war room and devote an entire afternoon to plotting, politics, bluffing and drafting.

Through the grapevine, I learned that my six-year-old son Jalen was selected in the second round by the Red Sox. Unfortunately, he didn't land with his 2010 fall season manager -- whom he practiced with all winter. I received a call from Jalen's erstwhile skipper on Sunday afternoon assuring me that he did everything he could to get my son on his team -- including an attempt to engineer a trade. In Little League!

Yeah, I've got to get in on one of these drafts someday -- if only for the "live blogging" possibilities.

Late last night, I posted the following quip to my Twitter feed:

My son will play for the Red Sox in Little League this year. Including MLB, he's already one of the top 10 African-American Red Sox ever.

Let's put my tweet to the test.

#10 -- Pumpsie Green: The first African-American player in Red Sox history. Made his debut in July 1959 and hit .244 with 12 home runs as a part-time infielder over four seasons in Boston.

#9 -- Jalen Cameron: Hit .407 during 2010 fall season, besting Red Sox legend and Hall of Famer Ted Williams' iconic .406 mark in 1941 by one point.

#8 -- Dave Henderson: His game-tying, ninth-inning home run in game five of the 1986 ALCS is more memorable, but his tenth-inning shot in game six of the 1986 World Series gave Boston the lead before Bill Buckner hobbled along in the bottom of the tenth.

#7 -- Troy O'Leary: Spent seven years with the Red Sox (1995-2001) including 28 home run season in 1999. Hit the first grand slam in the team's postseason history -- part of a seven RBI night.

#6 -- Oil Can Boyd: Won 60 games over eight seasons in Boston. Weighed 60 pounds.

#5 -- Lee Smith: Finished in the top ten in saves during two full seasons with the Red Sox. Boldly carried the jheri curl into the 1990 season, but was traded to St. Louis in May.

#4 -- Ellis Burks: One of the first hyped prospects of the burgeoning baseball card craze of the late 1980s. Hit .281/.342/.457 from 1987-1992. Surprisingly, his rookie card ain't worth sh*t.

#3 -- Reggie Smith: Considered the first black superstar in team history, he hit 149 home runs over eight seasons (1966-1973). So, do Red Sox fans acknowledge that "Superstar" Smith was better once he left Boston? No? OK, then.

#2 -- Mo Vaughn: Single-handedly kept the New England strip club scene afloat in the mid-1990s. Also, posted an ungodly .936 OPS during eight-year Red Sox career.

#1 -- Jim Rice: Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, Jim. Jalen's coming for you.


Lew B said...

Oh dude, you tricked me. I thought I was reading a piece about your son and you snuck in sports.

I barely pulled out before losing consciousness.

You sneaky man.

Sabre Springs Hottie said...

Austin went first round this year in the draft (just a wee bit o' motherly pride). And the coach that we really wanted also tried to trade for him (a couple of times). What we don't understand is that the coach who drafted Austin, we don't even know (he came up from T-ball). I have a feeling one of our neighbors must have done a good PR campaign. Of course when we told Austin that he didn't get on Coach Brent's team, his first response was "Yes! I didn't really want to have to wear a Dodger uniform." Oh how we have brainwashed him well.

Elena said...

I look forward to purchasing a 'Cameron' team shirt in the not-too-distant future... and for the inevitable pastel-pink 'Mrs. Cameron' baby tees that will be worn by white girls all across Red Sox Nation.

You do realize, though, that he will be contractually obliged to dance in public to the Dropkick Murphys? I mean, I'm not saying I haven't done it myself, just... forewarned is forearmed.

Other Joe said...

Funny how you mention how serious tryouts are now Cam. I remember when I was playing little league in the early 90's, my dad had the bright idea to bring his big-ass camcorder (the kind that was so big it needed real vcr tapes) to the ballfield and film tryouts. The other coaches looked at him like he was insane.

He, his assistant coach, and I convened later for draft analysis, with me serving as the character analyst ("What do you think about Tommy? He's a jerk dad.") and we assembled a championship team.

Next year, there were more video cameras and extension cords than there were power outlets at the ballfield. Good times.

thai said...

i'm sorry, franchise. much love to J and all but pumpsie has him beat for the sake of that name alone.

i'm terribly disappointed that you rated o'leary over hendu and burks over lee arthur. shame on you, sir. shame on you.

Smitty said...

I know you Cameron. I know you have more stats on Jalen than just the BA. You are "that guy"

Aaron C. said...

Sorry for the lack of posts this week y'all. The second act of my month-long cold debuted this week.

@Smitty -- I am THAT guy. If I don't compile his stats, how will he win his first Little League arbitration hearing?!

@Thai -- A friend of mine read the post, stopped me in the hallway at work and said, "Carl Everett would like a word with Jalen." Slayed me.

@O. Joe -- Seriously, they need to consider building a photographer's well for next year's tryouts.

@Elena -- There's a girl on Jalen's Red Sox team this year who might *already* want to wear a "Cameron" jersey. Easily the most intriguing storyline from the team's first practice.

@Hotness -- I'll have to tell you about the ridiculous political shenanigans that landed Jalen on this team. I fear it's going to be a long season.

Sabre Springs Hottie said...

Could we see a copy of your signed parent pledge? ;)

This year, in addition to the "I promise to not be one of THOSE parents on the sideline" form, we have to sign a pledge that we've read the Positive Coaching Alliance and will dutifully abide by its rules. (Example: #6 "I will engage in No-Directions Cheering. I will limit my comments during the game to encouraging my child and other players (from both teams).)

We shall discuss shenanigans this weekend!

Shough610 said...

Oil Can Boyd over Hendu? Geez

thai said...

wow. carl everett.

wait . . . newark? really?!?

Carrie said...

After reading the comments, I really really want to start a cheerleading squad named No Directions Cheering, stocked with pregnant high schoolers and whatnot. Or maybe that should be the plot of "Bring It On XI: It Has Been Brought." Eliza Dushku doesn't have much going on these days, yes?

Oh, sorry, I'll try to make this comment more topical. Unfortunately, my knowledge of the Red Sox is limited to "Johnny Damon looked way more attractive after he left the Red Sox and Steinbrenner made him get a damn haircut."

SHough610 said...

I should have added "Oil Can Boyd's family doesn't rate him higher than Hendu".

Also, in college we were debating how racist the north was and I said that you had to think of Boston as an outlier. My friends were confused when I called it "a maple flavored Mississippi" (I know it doesn't make much sense, but I like alliteration damn it). I had to remind them that in addition to busing riots and the Red Sox being one of the last, if not the last, team to integrate (and they were notorious for not having many players of color for YEARS after) that white people had broken into Bill Russell's house (the greatest center of all-time, the second best player of all-time, and the greatest Celtic of all-time) and vandalized his house because he was living in a "white neighborhood". Just unbelievable.