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Lee MacPhail, oldest Hall of Famer, dies at 95

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Lee MacPhail, oldest Hall of Famer, dies at 95

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) Lee MacPhail, the longtime baseball executive who ruled in the celebrated Pine Tar case and later became part of the only father-son Hall of Fame pairing, has died. He was 95.

He was the oldest Hall of Famer, and he died Thursday night at his home in Delray Beach, Fla., the shrine said Friday.

``There's not much I haven't done off the field other than commissioner,'' he said during a 1985 interview with The Associated Press when he retired after 4 1-2 decades in the sport.

In the second generation of one of baseball's most prominent families - his son, Andy, also was in the front office for several teams - MacPhail's most well-known moment in baseball came in 1983. He upheld Kansas City's protest in the Pine Tar Game against the New York Yankees, restoring a ninth-inning home run to Royals slugger George Brett - also a future Hall of Famer.

``Lee MacPhail was one of the great executives in baseball history and a Hall of Famer in every sense, both personally and professionally,'' Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. ``His hallmarks were dignity, common sense and humility. He was not only a remarkable league executive, but was a true baseball man.''

With MacPhail's death, Bobby Doerr at 94 becomes the oldest living Hall of Famer.

``Baseball history has lost a great figure in Lee MacPhail, whose significant impact on the game spanned five decades,'' Hall chairman Jane Forbes Clark said. ``He will always be remembered in Cooperstown as a man of exemplary kindness and a man who always looked after the best interests of the game.''

Lee MacPhail was the son of Larry MacPhail, a top executive with the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees.

``Over his lifetime in baseball, Lee made many significant contributions that helped to make the game what it is today,'' former players' union head Don Fehr said.

Said union founding executive director Marvin Miller: ``Lee was a good man, trustworthy and honest, and I had a decent relationship with him over the years.''

Born Leland Stanford MacPhail Jr. in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 25, 1917, he was general manager at minor league Reading, went on to work for the Yankees in 1949 and spent a decade as farm director and player personnel director, with players he developed winning seven World Series titles.

He moved to the Baltimore Orioles as general manager in 1959 and six years later returned to New York as chief administrative assistant for new baseball Commissioner Spike Eckert. He returned to the Yankees as general manager from 1967-73, and left after George Steinbrenner bought the team to become AL president in 1974.

A member of management's labor negotiating team along with NL President Chub Feeney during the 1981 midseason strike, he also headed the AL when it added the designated hitter for the 1973 season and expanded to Seattle and Toronto for 1977.

After he stepped down as league president following the 1983 season, he served two years as president of the owners' Player Relations Committee, overseeing bargaining during a two-day strike in 1985. He was elected to the Hall as an executive in 1998, 20 years after his father.

In the famed Pine Tar case, MacPhail overruled plate umpire Tim McClelland and crew chief Joe Brinkman and restored a home run to Brett. After Yankees manager Billy Martin argued that Brett's bat had excessive pine tar when he hit a two-run, ninth-inning homer at Yankees Stadium on July 24, McClelland called Brett out, the final out in a 4-3 New York victory.

Brett stormed out of the dugout, eyes bulging, in one of baseball's most replayed arguments. Four days later, MacPhail upheld a protest for the first time as league president, said the home run counted and ordered the game to continue from that point. When the game was completed Aug. 18, the Royals held on to win 5-4.

While the pine tar extended more than 18 inches past the handle, the limit set by baseball's rules, MacPhail said taking away the home run was improper.

``The umpires' interpretation, while technically defensible, is not in accord with the intent or spirit of the rules and that the rules do not provide that a hitter be called out for excessive use of pine tar. The rules provide instead that the bat be removed from the game,'' he wrote. ``Although manager Martin and his staff should be commended for their alertness, it is the strong conviction of the league that games should be won and lost on the playing field - not through technicalities of the rules.''

He retired at the end of that season.

Son Andy became GM of the Minnesota Twins, president of the Chicago Cubs and president of baseball operations of the Orioles. From the next generation, Andy MacPhail IV worked for the Cleveland Indians and is a scout for the Orioles.

The Hall said no services are planned and a memorial will be held later.

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MLB Postseason 2017: Wild Card Race

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MLB Postseason 2017: Wild Card Race

The 2017 MLB Wild Card race is at full throttle and at this point it will be a matter of who gets hot at the right time.

Both races will not be settled this week. Likely we will have to wait until the final weekend to see who will be in the postseason.

With so many teams still in the hunt, the American League race is absolutely bonkers. While the National League looks more condensed, the schedule has this playing out up until the final game of the season.

RELATED: FULL MLB POSTSEASON UPDATE

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Specifically looking at the American League, the race for the second Wild Card spot is wide open. Ten teams are still mathematically alive but realistically it is six teams battling for one position.

The New York Yankees (85-67) completed an impressive three game series sweep over the Twins, winning the series by a combined score of 18-6. New York’s postseason magic number is three but they have their sights on the Boston Red Sox for the AL East Division.

Well ahead of everyone else in the race, the Yankees will still be a factor in the battle for the second Wild Card. They play three teams (Toronto – six games, Tampa Bay – three games, Kansas City – one game) that are still alive.

Losing five of their last six, the Minnesota Twins (78-74) are not sitting in a comfortable position. This weekend against the Tigers is crucial in solidifying their position because they travel to Cleveland next week for a three game series. That is a series they do not want to enter with a one-to-two game lead on the Los Angeles Angels

Being the first team out does not put the Angels (76-75) in a good position because they are currently in a series with the Indians and then travel to the Houston Astros over the weekend.

The Texas Rangers (75-76) are in a prime position to make-up ground playing Seattle and Oakland in eight of their final 11 games.

Both the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles face off this weekend for a four-game series. Anything but a sweep or a 3-1 series win would basically eliminate each team from contention.

AL WILD CARD RACE:

New York Yankees:     +7.0
Minnesota Twins:           ---
Los Angeles Angels:     -1.5
Texas Rangers:             -2.5
Kansas City Royals:      -3.5
Seattle Mariners:           -4.0
Tampa Bay Rays:          -4.0
Baltimore Orioles:          -5.5
Toronto Blue Jays:        -7.0
Oakland Athletics:         -9.0

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Less crazy but perhaps more interesting is the race in the National League. It’s a four-team race for two positions, with two teams each from the West and the Central.

Sitting 6.5 games to the good, the Arizona Diamondbacks (88-65) are in a pretty good spot. They do not play a single team over .500 the rest of the way and can essentially be on cruise control the rest of the way until October.

The Colorado Rockies (82-70) are positioned the best out of the remaining teams. Plenty of opportunities for the team to gain on their lead with the Padres on the road and the Marlins at home in their next two series.

If the Rockies were to slip, the Milwaukee Brewers (81-71) and St. Louis Cardinals (79-72) are right behind them. Both are preoccupied with their NL Central race with the Chicago Cubs that is still in each team’s control.

NL WILD CARD RACE:

Arizona Diamondbacks:  +5.5
Colorado Rockies:             ---
Milwaukee Brewers:         -1.0
St. Louis Cardinals:          -2.5
Miami Marlins:                -10.0

RELATED: MIKE RIZZO PROVIDES UPDATE ON BRYCE HARPER

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Red Sox rally to win in extras over the Orioles

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Red Sox rally to win in extras over the Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Roaring from behind and then finally winning in extra innings, the Boston Red Sox did more than merely maintain their lead in the AL East.

They showed their mettle, a characteristic that should come in handy during the postseason.

Andrew Benintendi hit a two-run single in the 11th inning, Mookie Betts had four RBIs and Boston beat the Baltimore Orioles 10-8 Monday night for their ninth win in 12 games.

RELATED: MONDAY'S MLB POSTSEASON BRACKET

Xander Bogaerts homered and scored three runs for the Red Sox, who remained three games ahead of the second-place Yankees in the AL East and reduced to four their magic number for clinching a playoff berth.

Boston erased a five-run deficit with a six-run fifth inning and needed 10 pitchers to beat a skidding Orioles team that has now lost 10 of 12.

"This is a big one, being down early and coming back," Benintendi said. "Obviously it's a good win, but it's kind of a character win. Everybody contributed tonight."

After three walks -- one intentional -- off Miguel Castro (3-2) loaded the bases in the 11th, Benintendi hit a grounder past diving second baseman Jonathan Schoop to give Boston its major-league leading 14th extra-inning win against three defeats.

"That's one of the reasons we stand here today," manager John Farrell said.

Matt Barnes (7-3) pitched the 10th and Carson Smith got three outs for his first save.

"Our group has such grit, such determination, such competiveness," Farrell said. "There's no quit in them.

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia left in the fourth inning after being struck in the face by a foul ball he chopped off the plate. The team described the injury as a bruised nose and listed his availability as day to day.

It was the second freak injury Pedroia sustained at Camden Yards this season. On April 21, the All-Star was spiked on a late slide by Manny Machado, a play that created bad blood between the teams into May.

Baltimore built a 5-0 lead against Doug Fister over the first three innings, taking advantage of five walks and getting a two-run double from rookie Austin Hays.

After Betts hit an RBI double in the fourth, Adam Jones countered with a run-scoring single in the bottom half. But the 6-1 advantage vanished in the fifth under a torrent of six hits against Dylan Bundy and two Baltimore relievers.

The key blows in the six-run inning were a two-run double by Brock Holt -- Pedroia's replacement -- and a bases-loaded double by Betts that scored all three runners.

"It was just that one inning. I let things slip away from me," Bundy said. "I didn't really limit the damage very well, obviously. I was just leaving balls over the middle of the plate and they made me pay for them."

Pedro Alvarez homered in the bottom half and Tim Beckham put Baltimore back in front with a two-out RBI double .

"We find a way to build a big inning, we give it right back and then from that point on the bullpen is outstanding," Farrell said.

The see-saw leveled in the seventh when Bogaerts homered off Donnie Hart to make it 8-all.