Since 1944, the name of Kenesaw Mountain Landis -- the most powerful commissioner in the history of Major League Baseball -- has adorned the MVP trophies of both leagues. Now, though, there's a movement afoot to remove Landis' name from those trophies.
That's because Landis, for all he did to get baseball through the Black Sox Scandal fallout, was a proponent of segregation in baseball and was for a time responsible for maintaining the color line in the sport. It was until three years after Landis' death that Jackie Robinson broke that color line with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Not surprisingly, MLB's official historian recently told the Associated Press of "documented racism" during Landis' tenure. Recently, former NL MVP Barry Larkin called for Landis' name to be removed from the trophies, and fellow award winners Mike Schmidt and Terry Pendleton agreed.
Now, two-time NL MVP Dale Murphy has joined the fray, and he also thinks Landis' name has no place on the trophies. "The circumstances are now such that I'm obviously in favor of this," Murphy during a recent appearance on Tiki and Tierney on CBS Sports Network/CBS Sports Radio. "Just think about how long it's been bothering Joe Morgan and Barry Larkin. We can learn a valuable lesson from this small example"
When asked whether there was danger in overreacting to the moment and following the crowd, Murphy said, "You have to listen to the crowd. What I'm doing right now is listening and I'm learning and I've heard enough. I'm asking myself why does this offend Barry (Larkin) & Joe (Morgan) and the little bit I know, I don't feel that the crowd is wrong. You have to ask, 'why does this bother Joe Morgan? Is this frivolous? And this doesn't feel frivolous to me"
And when asked what name should go on trophies in place of Landis', Murphy replied, "I think Frank Robinson would be perfect, the only person to win the MVP in both leagues."
Murphy himself won the NL MVP award in 1982 and 1983. That's in addition to winning five Gold Gloves and being a seven-time All-Star. While Murphy came up short in his bid to make the Hall of Fame, he stands as one of the best players of his era and an important voice in the game. Click here to listen to Murphy's full interview with Tiki and Tierney.