Yahoo sports scribe and veteran baseball writer Gordon Edes has a column on-line today that lobbies to change the name of the Cy Young Award to honor the one-and-only Satchel Paige.
I take issue with this approach, and here's a comment I left with Gordon that explains why:
Gordon, you can't honor a great like Paige by relegating another great, Cy Young, to the dustbin of history.
Your approach essentially robs from Peter to pay Paul, and dishonors the very real accomplishment of Satchel Paige. (shown on the right in a 1945 photograph with Jackie Robinson)
Paige would've never wanted to take away from the real accomplishments of other hurlers. A genius at self-promotion in an era where African-Americans were denied access to the mainstream media, Paige would've understood that the pathway to greatness is not littered with the discarded accomplishments of others.
Further, the Cy Young Award should not be associated with the cruel indignities of segregation.
The Award, first given in 1956, was never given in the shadow of Jim Crow, as was the Chalmers Medal and earlier incarnations of the MVP.
In fact, the very first Cy Young winner (and a ROY and MVP as well) was an African-American pitcher, Don Newcombe.
Here's my suggestion, since you're a baseball scribe: lobby the BBWWA to create a new award and call THAT the Paige Medal or Trophy or whatever. There are a lot of ways to go with that. Paige was known for his amazing control, for example, so that award could go to the pitcher who exhibits the best command, and thus arguably the single best pitcher in baseball.
Let the Cy Young be redefined as the 'most valuable pitcher' in each league, but let the Paige Medal go to the single best pitcher in baseball. At any rate, there are lots of ways to put Paige and his historic contributions up on a pedestal that don't put Cy Young and his amazing 511 wins out to pasture.
As some of you who pop in from time to time realize, I'm a high school teacher when I'm not blogging. Lately, I've found myself using another blog to interact with students. My latest insight is that I can show a film in class, but also make that same film available on my blog by embedding a link to that video. My district blocks YouTube, but Google Video and (especially) Hulu make it through just fine.
Being able to provide this resource in a different venue makes it easier to require assessments based upon the video, and this can really be an effective way to get certain kinds of material across. An example of this can be found here.