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Take Landis Name off the MVP Award


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Barry Larkin, former MVP, has been calling for removing the Kenesaw Mountain Landis name from MVP awards.  Personally, until I read the article about this, I did not know the name was on there, actually larger than the person who won the award.  

 

For those who do not know, Landis was first commissioner of baseball, and a well known racist that helped keep baseball white.  It was not until after his death that baseball was integrated.  Yes, he is historical in baseball, for both good, cleaning up the gambling that was going on, and bad the segregation of it.  However, his name does not need to be on, and especially larger than the person who won the award, trophy.  It is a constant reminder of the dark days of baseball, or should I say the white days of baseball.    

 

The only point of having his name on the award is to honor him.  To honor him is to honor what he stood for, racism.  This is just another example of the roots racism has in our society.  The best players in baseball have to be reminded of the days when black players could not play in the majors every time they look at what should be a great achievement. Sad that this is still going on.  Glad it is coming to light, and I hope MLB makes the change. 

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This is just the latest example of why it is problematic to commemorate someone in such a way. Names of awards, lakes, streets, buildings, cities, and other such things have needed to be changed. And the worst is giving a name to another person. I feel sorry for men named Orenthal James.

 

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The only point of having his name on the award is to honor him.  To honor him is to honor what he stood for, racism.  This is just another example of the roots racism has in our society.  The best players in baseball have to be reminded of the days when black players could not play in the majors every time they look at what should be a great achievement. Sad that this is still going on.  Glad it is coming to light, and I hope MLB makes the change. 

First I don't care if they remove him or not, go for it, but I sure hope they don't put any name of it, because nobody is perfect.

 

Do you think that MLB only put his name on the trophy because he was a racist? ("The only point of having his name on the award is to honor him.To honor him is to honor what he stood for, racism")

 

If MLB put his name on the trophy ONLY because he was a racist, then we should  shut down MLB, end of story that is gross, sickening and many other adjectives.

 

My hopes are that MLB weighed the good with the bad and made a decision that the good outweighed the bad and that is why they did it.

 

I sure hope when I die people don't only focus on the bad things I did and ignore the good things.

The CY Young award is named after a pitcher that pitched against only whites,might this remind them of days when black players could not play in the majors every time they look at what should be a great achievement?

 

Vince Lombardi was often accused of racism, should we remove him from the superbowl trophy and the statues around Green Bay?

 

 

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We've gone 5,000 years teaching via written history but suddenly in the year 2020 the only way we can teach is with monuments?

 

That doesn't sound very cost effective frankly.

 

The God angle is interesting to bring up as well. I think all of these things would fall into the "False Idol" category. 

question, don't mean to be argumentative, but haven't people been creating statues for almost all of history? I think the oldest statue is 30,000-40,000 years old.

 

 

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Can you tell me this won't morph into some other form of cancel culture "mobicity"?

You realize this is yet another strawman, in regard to the current question.

 

The MVP award didn't have someone's name attached to it in the beginning. There's nothing that says a naming decision made in 1944 is the right choice for 2020. The award will be just fine, if there is no name, or a new name, attached. That's all that is being discussed. Not erasing history, nor the empty phrase "cancel culture".

 

My little town just changed the name of its governing body from Board of Selectmen to Select Board yesterday. Residents' vote was about 80% in favor. Did we just erase history?

 

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If that teacher was a women or a person of color, it could be considered comparable? (assuming AceWrigley is white and male by his picture)

Awards bestowed upon someone, are different than awards bestowed upon someone with another's name attached. That's the disconnect. Is anyone proposing to rescind an award Landis received? No. The discussion is whether to un-attach his name to what future MVPs are bestowed.

 

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First I don't care if they remove him or not, go for it, but I sure hope they don't put any name of it, because nobody is perfect.

 

Do you think that MLB only put his name on the trophy because he was a racist? ("The only point of having his name on the award is to honor him.To honor him is to honor what he stood for, racism")

 

If MLB put his name on the trophy ONLY because he was a racist, then we should  shut down MLB, end of story that is gross, sickening and many other adjectives.

 

My hopes are that MLB weighed the good with the bad and made a decision that the good outweighed the bad and that is why they did it.

 

I sure hope when I die people don't only focus on the bad things I did and ignore the good things.

The CY Young award is named after a pitcher that pitched against only whites,might this remind them of days when black players could not play in the majors every time they look at what should be a great achievement?

 

Vince Lombardi was often accused of racism, should we remove him from the superbowl trophy and the statues around Green Bay?

First, I agree no name should be put on the award as an honoree award.  I am not denying cleaning up the early days of baseball was a good thing.  However, you can acknowledge that without putting his name on a trophy for playing, when he never even played.  The fact the name is twice as large the person who played and earned it is crazy.  

 

The award was named after him the year he died, in 1944, still when baseball was segregated, so my guess they gave no thought to the negative it was and would become.  How black players would feel about it was not even in the mind of the league as, thanks to Landis, they were not even in the picture. 

 

I do not know anything about Cy Young and his stance on black people, if he was an overt racist and let it be known, then yes I would be all for removing his name from the award.  I would not support a Ty Cobb batting title, as he was well know for his views on black people. 

 

Although this is a baseball forum, if Lombardi was the level of racist you say, then yes, remove his name from the trophy.  Just call it the super bowl trophy.  Just because back when it was named the people doing did not fully understand how it would be perceived by people, does not mean when it is understood they should just leave it because.   

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Awards bestowed upon someone, are different than awards bestowed upon someone with another's name attached. That's the disconnect. Is anyone proposing to rescind an award Landis received? No. The discussion is whether to un-attach his name to what future MVPs are bestowed.
 

 

Moderator note: The bolded is the topic. If you want to broaden it to other awards in baseball, okay, but please stick to it instead of introducing all the 'whataboutisms' you can think of. They do nothing but derail the subject and delegitimize and dismiss the point being made.

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At their 1944 meeting, the writers (BBWAA) renamed the MVP trophy the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Award. The commissioner died one month later, but his name remains on the award to this day. 

 

I think it should just be the MVP Trophy. Ask the Writers.

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There is a difference between removing names and statutes to honor people, and removing them from being taught in history.  I did not say burn the record books of the years black players were not allowed, and remove any mention of Landis.  You can remove the name from the reward and not honor the man, but still inform people who he was and what he did both good and bad for baseball.  

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The anti-racist movement is veering into becoming an anti-historical movement.  In 50 years, will we have to remove President Obama's name from anything/everything, since he once stated he didn't believe in gay marriage?  Since Washington owned slaves, do we need to remove him from history as well?  If there is no room in a society to allow for recognition of part of what a person did, while acknowledging the latter day understanding of the wrongness of other parts of what they did, we can't possibly maintain a historical sense of ourselves as a society.

 

If, as another poster stated, racism is intertwined with our history (which it of course is), than it cannot be removed without hollowing out our own history.  As a country with no shared race, ethnicity, culture, or ideology, our history is the only thing that unites us as a people--both the good AND the bad of history.  Pretending the bad didn't happen doesn't make things better, it makes us less connected and and more divided.

First, how is removing the name from an award getting rid of history?  Second, how is removing statutes and monuments honoring people getting rid of history?  Who has advocated for never talking about these people in text books, documentaries, or the many other ways to learn from history?  I do not believe any person who advocates for removal of statues and monuments to honor people are advocating for never talking of them again.  I learn all the time of Adolf Hitler and what he did in history, but I have yet to come across a statute of him honoring what he did.  Following your logic I should have never been able to learn about him because statutes and monuments are the only way to learn history. 

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Kenesaw Landis may have been a racist SOB but he shaped the direction of MLB for better or worse. What are we supposed to answer when asked who was Commissioner of Baseball from 1920-44, "He who shall remain unnamed?"

No one is advocating from removing his name from MLB, only to remove his name from the award.  The point of having his name on the award was to honor him.  I do not understand where you read the advocacy of removing any mention of him when talking about the history of baseball.  You can talk and learn about history without honoring certain people in history for what they did.  Talk about Landis and what he did, good and bad, but do not honor his name making black players have to see it every time they look at an award that they should be proud to have earned.

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question, don't mean to be argumentative, but haven't people been creating statues for almost all of history? I think the oldest statue is 30,000-40,000 years old.

 

Sure. Back in those days they erected statues to revere or fend of deities. Later many statues were created of conquerors, liberators and kings, but these were quite often put up as bragging rights and to make sure the subjugated people knew their place and prosperous people knew where their loyalties were supposed to be paid.

 

During the Renaissance most statues were created to as a means of creating an abstract cultural ethos or as a Biblical interpretation. The shift to these forms of art was not an accident, they intentionally stopped immortalizing contemporary men and instead embraced the intangible. It was a cultural shift and there was quite a bit of push back from what would probably be a similar crowd that we see are pushing back today.

 

No one is asking to have The Statue of Liberty or the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier removed because they are an abstract idea, they represent a cultural ethos. Art is much more meaningful when it's representative of an idea, not just meant to deify one single man.

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No one is advocating from removing his name from MLB, only to remove his name from the award.  The point of having his name on the award was to honor him.  I do not understand where you read the advocacy of removing any mention of him when talking about the history of baseball.  You can talk and learn about history without honoring certain people in history for what they did.  Talk about Landis and what he did, good and bad, but do not honor his name making black players have to see it every time they look at an award that they should be proud to have earned.

As I said in my first post, remove his name, don't care, didn't know it was there.

 

Honest question, is he a racist because baseball wasn't integrated? I can't find anything online that says he created rules against it or wouldn't let owners do it? I have seen people say he wouldn't let owners sign black players, but I also seen a quote of his "That is the business of the manager and the club owners. The business of the Commissioner is to interpret the rules and enforce them"

 

Not defending him at all, but doing limited research I am not finding a smoking gun?

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No one is advocating from removing his name from MLB, only to remove his name from the award.  The point of having his name on the award was to honor him.  I do not understand where you read the advocacy of removing any mention of him when talking about the history of baseball.  You can talk and learn about history without honoring certain people in history for what they did.  Talk about Landis and what he did, good and bad, but do not honor his name making black players have to see it every time they look at an award that they should be proud to have earned.

Has anyone who has won the award expressed any "problems" with the named award when they received it? I agree that it should be an award that all who receive it should be proud. Barry Larkin won it 25 years ago. Did he have a problem then? I'm not trying to be adversarial here; everybody has had some really good comments. It seems to me it should be up to the players to ask the BBWAA to change it, if anybody. Meanwhile, back to baseball. Go Twins!!

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As I said in my first post, remove his name, don't care, didn't know it was there.

 

Honest question, is he a racist because baseball wasn't integrated? I can't find anything online that says he created rules against it or wouldn't let owners do it? I have seen people say he wouldn't let owners sign black players, but I also seen a quote of his "That is the business of the manager and the club owners. The business of the Commissioner is to interpret the rules and enforce them"

 

Not defending him at all, but doing limited research I am not finding a smoking gun?

It's pretty well accepted that Bill Veeck tried to buy the Phillies around 1942 with the plan to stock the team with stars from the Negro Leagues. And also that Landis put a stop to that and had the NL step in and buy the ailing franchise out from under him. Of course, language was surely coded. But Landis's opinions were well known. Baseball could have been integrated a good half a decade sooner than it was - and that is from Veeck being willing to go behind Landis, maybe it could have been done in the 1930s with some cooperation and foresight by a different commish.

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As I said in my first post, remove his name, don't care, didn't know it was there.

 

Honest question, is he a racist because baseball wasn't integrated? I can't find anything online that says he created rules against it or wouldn't let owners do it? I have seen people say he wouldn't let owners sign black players, but I also seen a quote of his "That is the business of the manager and the club owners. The business of the Commissioner is to interpret the rules and enforce them"

 

Not defending him at all, but doing limited research I am not finding a smoking gun?

 

Yeah, this had been news to me, and I always loved reading baseball history. Ash laid out the most damning evidence with Bill Veek, but since this came out I've been looking for more stories. I guess Leo Durocher also publicly stated that he wanted to integrate the Dodgers but Landis would not let them. After a call into the commissioners office Durocher said he had to stop talking about it. Of course the Dodgers then integrated a year after Landis died.

 

It's not hard to believe though, Landis ruled baseball almost as a dictator, I don't think there has been a sports commissioner before or since that as wielded as much authority as he did. If he wanted integration, he would have had at least half the owners kneeling before him saying "As you wish".

 

It does bum me out though as I did have a soft spot for him. Landis was a big cog in Roosevelt's trust-busting machine. His iron-fisted cracking of Standard Oil was a big win for our country.

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It's pretty well accepted that Bill Veeck tried to buy the Phillies around 1942 with the plan to stock the team with stars from the Negro Leagues. And also that Landis put a stop to that and had the NL step in and buy the ailing franchise out from under him. Of course, language was surely coded. But Landis's opinions were well known. Baseball could have been integrated a good half a decade sooner than it was - and that is from Veeck being willing to go behind Landis, maybe it could have been done in the 1930s with some cooperation and foresight by a different commish.

 

It does sound like Landis held what are, by 2020 standards, racist views.  Yet he should be judged by his contemporaries and the time in which he lived--my guess is that Landis was barely more racist, if at all, than the average person in the 1920's to 1940's.  We could also easily state that with a different commish, integration could have come in the 1950's or 1960's.  If the motivation for removing Landis' name is that he no longer represents baseball based solely on one aspect of his life, then we need to be ready to remove anyone else's name on the same flimsy threshold.  If the award is named the Jackie Robinson awar, and it turns out Jackie Robinson didn't like gay people very much, we'll have to get rid of his name.  Historical figures must not be judged by non-historical standards.

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Yet he should be judged by his contemporaries and the time in which he lived

I found an interesting quote:

 

For twenty-four years Judge Landis wouldn’t let a black man play. I had his records, and I read them, and for twenty-four years Landis consistently blocked any attempts to put blacks and whites together on a big league field. He even refused to let them play exhibition games. ... For twenty-four years, the record will show that my predecessor said, 'if you're black, you can't play.' Why? Because that's what the owners wanted him to do.

 

I was named the commissioner in April 1945, and just as soon as I was elected commissioner, two black writers from the Pittsburgh Courier, Wendell Smith and Ric Roberts, came down to Washington to see me. They asked me where I stood, and I shook their hands and said, “I’m for the Four Freedoms, and if a black boy can make it in Okinawa and go to Guadalcanal, he can make it in baseball. My quote was printed in the Pittsburgh Courier, and when [branch] Rickey saw that, he started making plans.

 

Would you accept a man's successor as his "contemporary"? The author of the above quote was baseball commissioner Happy Chandler, as reported in "Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers" by Peter Golenbock.

 

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Pretty much every trophy in the NHL has a name attached to it: Stanley, Ross, Hart, Richard, Selke, etc. 

 

I know nothing about Lord Stanley or Con Smythe or the others, but will be interesting to see anything similar happens there. I mean, it is about the whitest sport ever.

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It's pretty well accepted that Bill Veeck tried to buy the Phillies around 1942 with the plan to stock the team with stars from the Negro Leagues. And also that Landis put a stop to that and had the NL step in and buy the ailing franchise out from under him. Of course, language was surely coded. But Landis's opinions were well known. Baseball could have been integrated a good half a decade sooner than it was - and that is from Veeck being willing to go behind Landis, maybe it could have been done in the 1930s with some cooperation and foresight by a different commish.

So the link you added, explained Veeck's story, but also had this tidbt - "Subsequently, the article was strongly challenged by historian Jules Tygiel, who refuted it point-by-point in an article in the 2006 issue of SABR's"

 

I think my definition of pretty well accepted might differ from yours. Again not saying he wasn't a racist, but people seem to be looking real hard to prove he was and overlooking he saved baseball.

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