The name of the former baseball commissioner who never had a black player in the MLB during his long reign is being pulled off all future Most Valuable Player (MVP) plaques after more than 75 years.
Kenesaw Mountain Landis would not be depicted on the annual awards presented by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA), the group said on Friday.
The decision came after 89 percent of its membership last week voted for his removal.
“We will no longer be associated with the Landis name, and the MVP plaques will be nameless in 2020,” association president Paul Sullivan wrote.
“Hopefully, when some sense of normalcy returns in 2021, we can have a healthy debate over whether to add a new name or just leave it as the BBWAA MVP award,” he said.
Former MVP winners Barry Larkin, Mike Schmidt and Terry Pendleton have said they favored pulling Landis’ name because of concerns over his handling of black players.
Larkin, the black shortstop voted National League MVP in 1995 with the Cincinnati Reds, applauded the decision.
“To me, the MVP award should be something that’s all positive,” Larkin said on Friday. “There shouldn’t be a cloud over it.”
“I was always aware of the Landis name and what it meant to slow down the color line in Major League Baseball,” he said.
“I think the MVP honor stands on its own. It doesn’t need a name,” he added.
Told of the BBWAA’s ruling, Pendleton, the black third baseman who won the 1991 National League honor with the Atlanta Braves, texted: “It’s the right thing to do!!!”
The MLB would redesign the trophies, association secretary-treasurer Jack O’Connell said.
The American League and National League winners awards in this virus-shortened season are to be announced on Nov. 12.
Landis became MLB’s first commissioner in 1920 and no black players were in the majors during his control that ended with his death in 1944.
Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947 and Larry Doby followed later that year.
Landis’ legacy is “always a complicated story” that includes “documented racism,” official MLB historian John Thorn has said.
A federal judge in Chicago when he was hired, Landis banned Shoeless Joe Jackson and the Black Sox for throwing the 1919 World Series and helped rid baseball of gambling problems that were plaguing the game.
Landis “notably failed to integrate the game during his tenure,” Sullivan said in a statement.
The only living relative of Landis who personally knew him is nephew Lincoln Landis.
“Now at the age of 98, I am duly puzzled to learn that the baseball writers would have agreed to eliminate my uncle’s name and picture from the Most Valuable Player award,” he said on Saturday. “I must say that if today’s MVP winners truly understood the role Judge Landis played in preserving the game of baseball, they would support putting his image back on their award plaques.”
During the 1944 World Series, the BBWAA voted to add Landis’ name to the plaque as “an acknowledgement of his relationship with the writers,” O’Connell said.
“If you’re looking to expose individuals in baseball’s history who promoted racism by continuing to close baseball’s doors to men of color, Kenesaw Landis would be a candidate,” said Schmidt, the three-time National League MVP with the Philadelphia Phillies.
“Looking back to baseball in the early 1900s, this was the norm. It doesn’t make it right, though,” said the Hall of Famer, who is white. “Removing his name from the MVP trophy would expose the injustice of that era. I’d gladly replace the engraving on my trophies.”
For Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin, there were no chances left: Either beat the world’s top-ranked men’s doubles badminton team from Indonesia for the first time or see their Olympic hopes dashed in the preliminary round. The world No. 3 Taiwanese duo answered the challenge, edging past Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo in their final Group A match 21-18, 15-21, 21-17 to qualify for the final eight knockout round. “We finally made it,” Lee wrote on Facebook after beating the Indonesian duo. However, he said that the competition still had a long way to go. “We’re happy not only because
INTO THE SEMIS: Top seed Tai Tzu-ying hit two stunning backhands in quick succession while on the floor in her quarter-final, prompting disbelieving gasps and cheers Taiwanese badminton stars Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin yesterday advanced to the gold medal match of the men’s doubles, while Taiwanese top seed Tai Tzu-ying got off to a rough start in a nail-biting women’s singles quarter-final against Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, but rallied with a series of flash backhand smashes. Lee and Wang beat Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan 21-11, 21-10 in their men’s doubles semi-final to set up a shot at the gold medal against China’s Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, who had a 24-22, 21-13 win over Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik. Tai rallied from a game
‘BOSS CHARACTER’: Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin said they had ‘crawled out of hell’ and have nothing to lose in a match against the world’s No. 2 pairing Badminton duo Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin made history in Tokyo yesterday by becoming the first Taiwanese shuttlers to advance to an Olympics semi-final after they edged their Japanese rivals in the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles. The world No. 3 Taiwanese duo defeated Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe 21-16, 21-19 in 44 minutes at the Musashino Forest Plaza. By reaching the final four, the pair have recorded Taiwan’s best ever showing in Olympic badminton, surpassing a quarter-finals finish by Lee Sheng-mu and Fang Chieh-min in the men’s doubles at the London Games in 2012. After clinching the hard-earned victory, Lee dropped to
CLOSE CALL: In what was almost an upset, Brian Yang kept Chou Tien-chen on his toes for more than an hour, but the world No. 3 managed to hold on for the win Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying yesterday reminded the world why she is No. 1 when she had France’s Qi Xuefei struggling to match up through their 25-minute encounter. Tai, who beat Qi 21-10, 21-13, had a rough start to the Tokyo Olympics, taking longer to fend off two hugely inferior opponents earlier in the Games. The 27-year-old has a history of slipping up at the Olympics, despite performing exceptionally in other competitions. Tai, who became world No. 1 in 2016, has won the All England Open title three times and was a gold medalist at the 2018 Asian Games. “This is the first time I