There’s a lot in this world that we take for granted. I know I do. What if you couldn’t see? Think about that for a moment. Okay, maybe things aren’t quite so bad. How about night? Imagine night without light. That’s pretty scary too. Now imagine something a lot less scary. No baseball at night. Sometimes it’s okay to blow off work early to go to a matinee on a get-away day. But you can’t do it twenty times per year. And if you can, please send my résumé to your employer.
Night baseball is responsible for bringing millions of fans and billions of dollars to the game. So the person most responsible for night baseball makes an excellent fit for the Hall of Miller and Eric. That’s why today we honor Larry MacPhail.
As an executive for the Reds, Dodgers, and Yankees, MacPhail has a bit of a spotty record. As an innovator, he’s something else. If only one person is allowed credit for night baseball, it would be MacPhail. As far as air travel, he was the first to institute it for his team. And MacPhail deserves some credit for early baseball broadcasts and the start of Red Barber’s career too.
Among players, we elected both Willie Mays and Don Sutton. We elected both John McGraw and Whitey Herzog among managers. So I don’t mind having someone like Larry MacPhail in the same wing as Branch Rickey. Remember, the HoME is going to be the same size as the Hall. As such it includes the all-time greats and those even greater.
In two weeks we’re going to elect the 20th Pioneer/Executive inductee.