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Ruppert, O'Day, White elected to baseball Hall

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Ruppert, O'Day, White elected to baseball Hall

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Jacob Ruppert brought Babe Ruth to New York, built Yankee Stadium and transformed the pinstripers into baseball's most dominant power. He did so much, many people just figured the owner called the Colonel was already enshrined at the Hall of Fame.

``We were surprised to learn he wasn't,'' former Yankees player and executive Bob Watson said.

Watson and a 16-member Hall panel changed that Monday, electing Ruppert, longtime umpire Hank O'Day and barehanded catcher Deacon White for their excellence through the first half of the 20th century.

The trio was picked from by the Hall's pre-integration panel - part of what once was known as the Veterans Committee - and gave the shrine exactly 300 members.

``The family is so thrilled,'' great-grand-nephew K. Jacob Ruppert told The Associated Press by phone. ``His mark is now indelible.''

``Growing up, I was under the impression that he was inducted sometime in the 1940s or 1950s. But I guess it never happened. Some things in history aren't appreciated. If it's not in the here and now, it's off the radar screen.''

The Hall announcement was made at baseball's winter meetings. Induction ceremonies will be held July 28 in Cooperstown, N.Y., and the younger Ruppert is planning his first visit to the shrine.

``I'll grab some of my cousins, too,'' he said.

Ruppert and a partner bought the Yankees in 1915 and quickly turned them into a force. Under Ruppert's reign, the Yankees bought Ruth from the Boston Red Sox and presided over the club's first six World Series championships.

``This was the Colonel's toy. He liked to bring big stars to the team and built them a place to play, much the same way George Steinbrenner did,'' Ruppert's relative said.

O'Day umpired in 10 World Series, including the first one in 1903. He worked 35 years and made one of the most famous calls in the game's history, ruling Fred Merkle out in a 1908 play that long lived in baseball lore as ``Merkle's Boner.'' He was the 10th umpire to go into the Hall.

White played from 1871-1890, starting out as a catcher without a glove and later moving to third base. He was a three-time RBIs leader, once topping the league with 49 RBIs when baseball hardly resembled the game it is today.

The new members will be honored along with anyone chosen in January in voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Hall of Famer and panel member Phil Niekro credited two historians on the panel, Peter Morris and Tom Simon, with helping to illuminate the accomplishments of those who are long gone.

``It's tough to go back into the 1800s and bring that to life,'' Niekro said. ``It was so different then - five strikes, eight balls, batters can tell the pitcher where they want it. Can you imagine? I couldn't have done that if I tried, not with my knuckleball.''

Ruppert, O'Day and White all died in the 1930s - the first Hall class was selected in 1936.

Hall of Famers Bert Blyleven, Don Sutton, Pat Gillick and Niekro were among the voters who considered 10 candidates. Former NL MVPs Marty Marion and Bucky Walters also were on the ballot.

It took 75 percent (12 votes) for election. Ruppert and O'Day each got 15 votes and White drew 12. Bill Dahlen got 10 and Marion, Walters, Sam Breadon, Wes Ferrell, Tony Mullane and Alfred Reach each got three votes or less.

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Spurs trading Kawhi Leonard to Raptors in deal involving DeMar DeRozan, per report

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Spurs trading Kawhi Leonard to Raptors in deal involving DeMar DeRozan, per report

The NBA offseason has been nothing short of entertaining.

Overnight ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Toronto Raptors have agreed to a deal to acquire forward Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs in a trade package that includes guard DeMar DeRozan. 

Leaving San Antonio with Leonard is Danny Green, while the Raptors are dealing DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick.

As of early this morning, only DeRozan had been informed of the trade. This trade has reportedly been in talks for several weeks, almost falling through multiple times. 

According to ESPN's Chris Haynes, Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto while DeRozan was told he would not be traded by members of Toronto's front office during summer league in Las Vegas. 

Leonard was open early into the offseaosn about wanting to be traded away from the Spurs and there were even talks of the Wizards being interested in him. 

DeRozan, a four-time All-Star, has three years $83 million left on his contract that includes an early-termination option for the 2021-21 season. 

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10 Questions in 10 days: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

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USA TODAY Sports

10 Questions in 10 days: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

The Redskins had to improve the defensive line this offseason. The defense ranked dead last against the run in 2017, and without improvement up front defensively, the playoffs would again be out of reach in 2018. 

And for the second straight season, Washington tried. 

The team selected Daron Payne out of Alabama with their first-round pick and Tim Settle out of Virginia Tech in the fifth round. The front office also waived under-performing Terrell McClain in the offseason and moved on from veteran A.J. Francis.

Perhaps most important, the team should have 2017 first-rounder Jonathan Allen completely healthy this fall. He and Matt Ioannidis looked like a strong front in 2017 before a foot injury shut down Allen for the year in Week 5. Add in Anthony Lanier, who flashed big-time sack potential, and the Redskins have a strong, young nucleus.  

But how does it all work?

In the base 3-4 scheme, Payne might have the strength to play nose tackle. Settle definitely has the size for the nose. Both are rookies, however, and will need to learn a lot, and fast, to start Week 1. Veteran Stacy McGee, coming off groin surgery, might be able to hold off the rookies if he is fully healthy. When a nose is on the field, expect Allen and Ioannidis to line up at the defensive tackle spots. If he's not playing nose, Payne will rotate in at tackle as well. Another veteran, Ziggy Hood, will provide depth at tackle, if he makes the team. 

In the nickel package, which the team deploys more than half of their snaps, expect to see a healthy rotation of Allen, Payne, Ioannidis and Lanier. Keeping those players fresh should allow interior pocket pressure, and that could be great news for Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith

With Payne and Allen the headliners, and Ioannidis and Lanier valuable, and Settle capable at the nose, the Redskins have five D-line roster spots about locked down. 

Last year, the team kept six defensive linemen coming out of camp. If McGee is healthy, that spot will be his. If he's not, Hood likely hangs on. It's also possible the team keeps seven D-linemen, particularly as they monitor McGee's groin injury. 

The good news is last year, due to injuries and the talent on the roster, a number of players were forced into spots they didn't truly belong. Hood doesn't have the true size to play nose, but he was forced into the position. Lanier is best served as an interior pass rusher, but was forced to be a run stuffer. 

With more investments on the line, and better luck in the training room, the 2018 Redskins D-line should have more people playing where they belong. And that could go a long way. 

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