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.