By Alvin A. Reid
Image: Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton became the most victorious driver in Formula One history following his dominant 92nd career win in last Sunday’s Portuguese Grand Prix.
“It is going to take some time to fully sink in. I cannot find the words at the moment,” he said following the historic win. “I could have only ever dreamed of being where I am today.”
Hamilton left McLaren, where he won one driver’s championship, for Mercedes in 2016. He has ruled Formula 1 ever since and, barring a disastrous run or an injury, will win soon win his record seventh driver’s title.
“I knew we would win championships, but did I think we would win as many as we have? No. Did I think we would win this many races? Of course not,” Hamilton said.
“I am 35-years-old and I still feel physically strong, but of course you wonder when it is going to tip over and when you are going to start losing performance. Judging by today, it is not yet.”
Hamilton and his father, Anthony, have patched their relationship, which was strained for several years after the driver fired his dad as his manager in 2010.
The two men shared a long embrace minutes after Hamilton claimed the record victory.
“My dad is here, which is amazing, and my step-mum Linda too and my dog Roscoe so it is a blessed day,” Hamilton said.
The Wichita Klan vs. ‘the colored boys’
There are so many tidbits of information at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City that each time I’ve returned I’ve seen something I missed on a previous visit.
If I could zap myself back in time, there are hundreds of Negro League players and games I would attend – and then immediately zap myself back.
There is one particular game that would be a must for me and any fan of baseball and American history. It took place on Sunday, June 21, 1925 in Wichita.
Here is the lead of a story from that morning’s Wichita Beacon: “Strangle holds, razors, horsewhips and other violent implements of argument will be barred at the baseball game at Island Park this afternoon when the baseball club of Wichita Klan Number 6. Goes up against the Wichita Monrovians, Wichita’s crack colored team.”
Yes, a Ku Klux Klan team played a team of Black players on a Sunday afternoon. Not only did the game go on without incident, Black fans were invited to attend. Certainly, the Black and white fans did not sit together. But this game was about baseball, and the writer complimented the Klan’s opponent.
“The colored boys are asking all their supporters to be on hand to watch (the) contest, which besides its peculiar attraction due to the wide difference of the two organizations, should be a well-played amateur contest,” the Wichita Beacon reported. On the side of the colored boys is the fact that they have had a ball team here for several years, while the Klansmen are comparatively newly organized but both are playing good ball.”
How could this game possibly go on without the Klan team cheating or taking some type of physical action against the black players on the same diamond? What would keep white fans from doing the same?
“The novelty of the game will attract a large crowd of fans (although) both teams say that all the fans will see is baseball,” the Wichita Beacon reported. “The umpires have been instructed to rule any player out of the game who tries to bat with a cross. The names of Irish Garrity and Dan Dwyer, well-known amateur umpires and Catholics, have been suggested to get away from any favoritism.”
With the temperature topping 100 on that Sunday, Black and white fans were treated to an exciting game.
I’ve saved the best for last because I’m sure readers have come to the conclusion that the Monrovians lost the game – thus no riots, violence or lynching.
The Monrovians, a team comprised of barnstorming Black players from Kansas City, Kansas and the Midwest, actually won the game 10-8. The Klan had men on base when the final out was recorded, and the Black players left the field, peacefully, with a victory.
Also, the Monrovians often played white teams, but this is the only reported game played against a Klan unit. The team went 52-8 that summer, including the historic game that demonstrated the shame of Major League Baseball’s color line.
Also, on that hot Sunday afternoon in Wichita, there was obviously one black manager. Ninety-five years later, there are only two black managers guiding teams among MLB’s 30 franchises.
It’s Tua time in Miam
It’s one thing to hire a Blackhead football coach and a Black general manager. It’s something else to trust them.
Miami Dolphins owner Steven Ross, a noted friend and financial supporter of the president, has done both.
This was proven last week when head coach Brian Flores announced that first-round draft pick Tua Tagovailoa is taking over for starter Ryan Fitzpatrick at home against the L.A. Rams on Sunday.
Fitzpatrick had guided the Dolphins to a 3-3 record and played well in back-to-back wins by a combined score of 60-17. He threw six TD passed and had a completion rate of 73 percent in those victories. He said he was “heartbroken” by Flores’ and the front-office decision.
But the Dolphins were on a bye week and Flores decided it was time for a change. The choice has caused a positive stir of fan excitement unseen for decades in Miami.
Flores called it “a difficult decision – but the best thing for the team.”
“I’m confident in all of our players, Tua included,” Flores said.
“He’s practiced well, he’s worked hard in meetings and walkthroughs. He’s got good rapport with teammates. I’m confident that, if he prepares the way that he’s been preparing, I’m confident that we’ll go out and have good results.
But it’s not a one-man game. It’s football. We’ll need all 11 guys to go out there and play together [and] play as a team. And I’m confident that we can do that.”
Flores is in his second season with the Dolphins and Grier was instrumental in hiring him. The Dolphins would be the eighth seed in the AFC playoffs if the postseason began today and are just one and a half games behind the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills.
The head coach could have played it safe and left Fitzpatrick as his starting quarterback until the Dolphins ran into trouble later in the season.
But, regardless of the owner’s trust, he and Grier trust themselves. Their team and their fans are on board.
“Our locker room, it’s tight,” tight end Mike Gesicki said.
“We all believe in one another and believe in coach Flores, Grier and Ross and everybody that is upstairs making decisions. I think that we all have confidence in Tua to go out and make plays.”
It’s Tua time, and Miami fans are ecstatic.
The Reid Roundup
Maurice Massey, now a former Missouri wide receiver, was dismissed from the team last Sunday after being arrested on suspicion of third-degree domestic assault, fourth-degree assault and first-degree property damage, according to the Boone County Sheriff Department. Massey, 20, played at Kirkwood High School…The Monday after his Washington Football Team beat the pathetic Dallas Cowboys 25-3, head coach Ron Rivera completed his last melanoma chemotherapy treatment and left the hospital to the cheers of its healthcare workers. Rivera, the NFL’s lone Latino head coach, said the cheers should be for those workers…Tony La Russa, 76, did indeed interview for the vacant managerial job with the Chicago White Sox, and was listed by sources as “a leading candidate.” Any announcement on his hire would come after the World Series is complete…Chicago Cubs coach Will Venable, a rare Black candidate for an MLB managerial post, has interviewed for the open jobs with the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers…Former St. Louis and L.A. Ram running back Todd Gurley, now with the Atlanta Falcons, cost Black interim head coach Raheem Morris his second win in as many tries by not going down at the 1-yard-line late in the Falcons’ loss to the Detroit Lions. Instead of a game-winning football with no time left on the clock, Gurley’s TD gave the Lions a chance to score a game-winning touchdown – and they did…If NFL Coach of the Year honors were today, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin would win. His Steelers are 6-0…Cleveland receiver O’Dell Beckham Jr., is lost for the season after sustaining a serious knee injury last Sunday. Some analysts are suggesting that quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Browns will be better off without him on the field…Bethune-Cookman has become the first HBCU to call off all sporting events during the 2020-21 school year because of the COVID-19 virus…When the New York Jets released running back Le’Veon Bell, Alvin Reid’s first thought was “Kansas City should sign him.” Chiefs coach Andy Reid agreed…New England quarterback Cam Newton and the Patriots have struggled since he and several other players tested positive for COVID-19. The disruption has been too much for even genius head coach Bill Belichick to overcome. Belichick says he is sticking with Newton as starting quarterback…Word leaked out on social media that Brian Flores was naming Tua Tagovailoa as Miami Dolphins starting quarterback before he told the team. “Unfortunately, that’s the way of the world right now. That’s unfortunate. I’m not happy about that at all,” Flores said.