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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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Former Patriot and Eagle Pro Bowler Asante Samuel takes shot at Darrell Green

Former Patriot and Eagle Pro Bowler Asante Samuel takes shot at Darrell Green

Asante Samuel got hit Fourth of July fireworks started early Saturday morning with a negative tweet about NFL Hall-of-Famer Darrell Green.

The former Pro Bowler with the Patriots and the Eagles had a fine 11-year NFL career. He is a Super Bowl champion himself. But his out-of-nowhere tweets about Green, one of the NFL’s all-time great corners, were just…weird. 

Green was a dominant player on two Super Bowl champions, a seven-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in 1991. He was one of the fastest players in the league, a fearsome punt returner when necessary in playoff games and an all-around great player. Even other players from Samuel’s era were confused, including former Redskins safety Will Blackmon.

That's a pretty accurate description of the differences between Samuel's era and the way the game was played when Green was at his peak. Maybe he stuck around too long and maybe he wasn't close to the player he'd once been by the late 90s and early 2000s.

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But peak Darrell Green was an unquestioned Hall-of-Fame player. Teams didn't throw at him for a reason. When they did, they paid for it. Samuel got a little aggressive for a guy who might have cost the Pats an extra Super Bowl. 

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Tony Dungy, himself a great player and a Super Bowl champion as a player AND a coach, clapped back at Samuel for his ignorance of NFL history. 

That about says it all. 

For his part, Samuel doubled down responding to some tweets but by the afternoon he was starting to see the light. Sort of. 

 

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Ron Rivera reportedly hopes the Redskins can change their name before the 2020 season starts

Ron Rivera reportedly hopes the Redskins can change their name before the 2020 season starts

One day after his team announced they'd be launching a "thorough review" of its name, Ron Rivera told the Washington Post "it would be awesome" if the Redskins could complete the change before the 2020 season.

In fact, Rivera already has a few favorite ideas that he and Dan Snyder have tossed around in their recent, extensive discussions about the topic, though he wouldn't disclose them yet.

"We came up with a couple of names — two of them I really like," Rivera told Les Carpenter on Saturday.

In Washington's Friday statement, Rivera said, “This issue is of personal importance to me and I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our Military.”

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While talking with Carpenter, Rivera further explained that a new name must be respectful to both of those groups. 

"We want to do this in a positive way," Rivera said.

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It feels like more progress has been made toward a possible change in the past few days than the past handful of years.

Snyder, who once proclaimed his organization would "NEVER" make a switch, is clearly softening his stance now. That shift comes as outside pressure has really mounted from every direction since Thursday.

According to the Post, the owner and his new coach have really focused on going to a new name over the last month, with Rivera hoping to end the process soon.

"My eyes are wide open," Rivera said to Carpenter.

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