Ask a Negro Leaguer

Week of July 27, 2005

Hey Joe: Do you feel like Barry Bonds properly respects the game of baseball, given his perceived arrogance and alleged steroid abuse?

John Tomachefski, Arnold, Missouri

Bonds is one helluva baseball player, but no baseball player has ever been more arrogant than the late Ted Williams, the former Boston Red Sox great. Usually power hitters tipped their caps in response to fans' ovations after connecting on long ones; Williams never did. After hitting a home run, he would jog around the bases and, after crossing home plate, he'd seemingly spit in the direction of fans. Despite being one of the greatest players ever, his most humanistic gesture was when he made the statement that the "Hall of Fame" was in all actuality the "Hall of Shame," due to the fact that great black baseball players had not at the time been enshrined. I have a deep love for both Williams and Bonds. Both have exhibited their own personal manhood. In reference to steroids, Bud Selig and Congress ought to quit.

Hey Joe: What do you think of Tony La Russa's customized lenses? What do you think of wearing sunglasses at night in general?

Corey Hart Fan, Death Valley, California

Recently, an ardent Cardinals supporter approached me concerning this past World Series. So disenchanted was he over the Cardinals' poor performance that he attacked Tony's shades. "Maybe if La Russa would relieve himself of those Stevie Wonder-like glasses, he could see what's going down," he bellowed. "Or maybe he keeps them on so he can't make eye-to-eye contact with the spectators, because he hasn't brought a World Series championship to St. Louis."

During Casey Stengel's successful years with the New York Yankees, they were so good that a manager was unneeded. Really, all Stengel had to do was name the next team in line for the butt-kicking. Stengel eventually bowed out in a blaze of glory as a managerial wizard. Meantime, the Giants left New York for San Francisco and were replaced by the New York Mets. Ol' Casey was coaxed back into baseball as their manager. As of the last count, he hasn't won a game since.

Following his brilliant managing career in Oakland, La Russa's stock has slowly diminished, much like Stengel's. Granted, he has kept the team up top most times in their division, but fans can no longer afford the luxury of waiting for him to win a World Series, like people have waited since Ted Williams for another .400 hitter. As for my opinion about dark glasses, I can't see a thing during the day with nothing covering my eyes.

Prince Joe Henry was an all-star infielder for Negro League baseball teams in Memphis, Indianapolis and Detroit throughout the 1950s. Direct questions on any and all topics to [email protected]. If we don't like your question, we'll hit Joe with one of our own.