Torii Hunter wins Branch Rickey Award

Angels outfielder Torii Hunter was named the recipient of the 2009 Branch Rickey Award. The award is given out each season to honor those players who do the most to set the single game record for stolen bases allowed, to crush the independent minor leagues, to deal sharply with players renegotiating their contracts and business partners attempting to buy them out, and to those players who do their best to integrate baseball.

Congratulations Torii!


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Jacob
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Jacob

I think it’s sometimes referred to as the We Lost With You, We Can Lose Without You Award.

Jacob
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Jacob

Also, did you see that Tom Glavine was nominated?  It seems a little odd to have a released player up for any sort of hardware.

Chris H.
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Chris H.

Unless it’s the Mike Morgan award for pitcher to change teams the most.  But Glavine hasn’t got a shot at that one. 

David Weathers is still pitching somewhere, right?

Aaron Moreno
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Aaron Moreno

Dave Weathers is the Alcibiades of baseball.

Mark Armour
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Mark Armour

Not to get off-topic, but this is a pretty nice award and it seems like Hunter is a deserving recipient.  I like stories like these.

Wooden U. Lykteneau
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Wooden U. Lykteneau

FYI: “independent minor leagues” is an oxymoron. If it’s minor, it’s affiliated. If it’s not affiliated, it’s independent.

Craig Calcaterra
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Craig Calcaterra

Wooden: it didn’t used to be.  The minor leagues—and they were called that, though it was more common to call the leagues by their proper names—were largely if not exclusively unaffiliated with major league teams prior to Brach Rickey.

Wooden U. Lykteneau
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Wooden U. Lykteneau
Perhaps the more correct verbiage is to say that Rickey crushed the bush leagues, which is another way these leagues were referred to. Rickey basically invented the system of affiliation, which we now call the farm system. Sadly, this confusion—independent vs. minor—persists to this day. I had a conversation with an owner of a Carolina League franchise, who referred to the Atlantic League as “basically sandlot baseball,” when, in fact, the players in that league play a much better brand of baseball, largely because they are much older and much more experienced. I held my tongue, but with a nom… Read more »
Mark Armour
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Mark Armour

Rickey helped usher in big changes to minor leagues, but the independent model would not have lasted much longer—the minor league teams were soon begging to be affiliated with the big leagues. 

The minor leagues went way down hill in the 1950s, and that was mostly due to television.

Wooden U. Lykteneau
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Wooden U. Lykteneau

The Miles Wolff version of the independent leagues (1993-present) has been, overall, quite successful. Wolff correctly saw that when the NAPBL capped the number of affiliates @ 160 in 1991, an opportunity for the indys to come back was born.

Since then roughly two dozen leagues have begun and about a half-dozen have “stuck”—the Northern, the Can-Am (nee Northeast), the Frontier, the American Association, the Golden, and the Atlantic—with a couple others in Texas (Continental, United) that have been hanging by a thread.

Chris H.
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Chris H.

Not every day we get a Peloponnesian War reference in the comments.

Ron
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Ron

Many of the indepedent leagues folded during the depression, and the minors took a big hit.

If Rickey hadn’t created the system, and got the minor league teams under the financial umbrella of the big league clubs, the minor league system might not exist today.

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