Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Landis MVP Debate

Because of the 100 year celebration of the Negro Leagues on Monday, I spent a lot of time yesterday watching some great movies with ties to the Negro Leagues.

One of my favorite baseball movies is Soul of the Game.  It was a mid 90s made for HBO movie that starred Delroy Lindo as Satchel Paige.  It also featured notable Negro league players like Jackie Robinson and Josh Gibson.

Below is a clip from the movie where Josh and Satchel are trash talking each other and Satchel had the other fielders behind him walk off the field due to his confidence in getting Josh Gibson, the black Babe Ruth, out with no help from anyone else.
The story follows the history that lead to Jackie Robinson being the 1st black player to join a major league franchise.

There were a few quotes in the movie about teams trying to sign Satchel but Commissioner Landis wouldn't sign off on it.  In the opening credits it even has newspaper articles printed that Judge Landis banned Negro players from playing in the majors.

Another movie I watched yesterday was 42 starring the Black Panther himself, Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson.  It wasn't until after Landis' death did baseball move forward with integration.

Yesterday there was an article that came out where former MVP winners were wishing to remove Judge Kennesaw Landis name and face from the award.  Barry Larkin, Terry Pendleton, and Joe Morgan, both black former MVP winners spoke up about it.  You can read the article here.

Above is a card with a manufactured relic designed to look like the MVP award.  It appeared in packs of 2017 Topps Update and shows the full name of Landis along with a picture of the first commissioner of baseball.

For a sport that has writers so involved in the history and preserving of the game, do you think that baseball will rename the MVP award and remove the Landis name from it?


  1. Interesting. I’m all for renaming the award for someone with a more recent connection to the game.

  2. Yup, it'll be removed. I can't think of anyone having an attachment to that name.

    I don't care whether the new name refers to someone more recent, just as long as it refers to someone more appropriate.

  3. He banned Negro League players from playing in Major League Baseball? His name should not be on the MVP Award. Take it off and rename it.

    1. Yeah. I didn't know about that until researching it. All I knew was the gamble issues and the banning of 8 White Sox

  4. Honestly, until the recent news, I had forgotten the award was even named after anyone. Nobody calls it the Landis Award, so removing his name really wouldn't be a huge deal. You don't even need to put someone else's name on it.

  5. Everything is being removed. So, probably.