Keeping Score: Tom Yawkey’s right of way

Friday, August 25, 2017

Good morning!

Dave Beutenmuller is to investing what the Godfather’s Tom Hagen was to lawyering, his sole client being a small private school in upstate New York. Beutenmuller began his career by devising income strategies for Florida retirees. “My boss told me he had a guy in the Boca Raton office who was a big producer,” recalls Beutenmuller. “I was in the Palm Beach office, so I never met him.”

He was referring to John Henry, who left Smith-Barney in 1981 to found a business that the 2002 Red Sox media guide described as an “alternative investment firm.”

In 1998, Henry had enough money to buy the Florida Marlins, and four years later he out-negotiated three other bidders to buy the Boston Red Sox.

According to forbes.com, Henry’s net worth is $2.4 billion, enough to swap out of a 164-foot yacht last November and into a 216-foot vessel called the Esther III.

Henry has become judge, jury and executioner of all things baseball in Boston, and on the 50th anniversary of the “Impossible Dream” season, he told the Boston Herald he’s “haunted by the legacy of his racist predecessor (Tom Yawkey).”

Yawkey owned the Red Sox from 1933 to 1976. He is being painted as a southern separatist, but he was born in Detroit, grew up in New York City and was educated at Yale. In grade school his uncle bought a hunting preserve in South Carolina, and after Yawkey died it was willed to the state.

More importantly, the Yawkey Trust has earmarked hundreds of millions of dollars to fighting cancer. The Jimmy Fund began during the Yawkey Era, and buildings are named in his honor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and the Yawkey Cancer Center in Georgetown, S.C.

It wasn’t wise for a south Florida millionaire to try and tell New Englanders the difference between right and wrong. The bottom line is that while Tom Yawkey’s money saves lives, John Henry’s money buys yachts.

The UMass football team’s season opener today kicks off at 6 p.m. so that Honolulu Nation can tune into the game at noon. The Rainbow Warriors finished second in the Mountain West Conference West last season (4-4), beat UMass in the season finale and Middle Tennessee State in the Honolulu Bowl to finish 7-7 overall.

The Minutemen are two-point favorites and the over/under is 62 points. Whatever the result, the game will be entertaining. Ferd Lewis of the Tribune News Service predicts Hawaii will win 27-24, Pete Fiutak of College Football News foresees a 37-34 UMass win and Steve Lassan of Athlon Sports has it 38-34 Hawaii.

The UMass offensive line will need to protect the quarterback better than last season when its 3.75 sacks allowed per game was third-highest in the FBS. Those 45 sacks resulted in 302 yards of lost real estate.

UMass coach Mark Whipple kept starter Andrew Ford on the bench the first two games last season and let Ross Comis take the punishment. He won the Purple Heart after being sacked 12 times in back-to-back losses to Florida and Boston College.

Hawaii ranked 95th in sacks last season, but analyst Phil Steele has named inside linebacker Jahlani Tavai (No. 31) and free safety Trayvon Henderson (No. 39) as preseason first-team all-conference.

Second-year coach Nick Rolovich played two seasons at Hawaii (2000-2001) and threw 40 TD passes. Last year he ordered the benches removed from the sideline after the Rainbow Warriors fell behind Boise State, 42-3. He uses a run-and-shoot offense and what’s called a “pistol” when quarterback Dru Brown stands four yards behind center instead of the standard seven yards in a shotgun offense.

Every preseason publication I’ve seen predicts a 3-9 season for UMass. I have them repeating at 2-10 and even that’s a stretch. Jeff Sagarin’s combined preseason ratings of Division I & I-AA teams lists Hawaii 95th and UMass 148th. Maine (186th) is the only opponent ranked lower than the Minutemen.

Last week in Stop & Shop, UMass grad Tony Worden bet me $10 that his Minutemen will hit the trifecta.

Okay, Hawaii, Maine and who else? We’ll find out starting this evening at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

The Red Sox signed their first black player on July 21, 1959, and nobody gave it much thought until 50 years later. Pumpsie Green batted .244 in four seasons and in 1963 was traded with two other players to the Mets for Felix Mantilla.

His brother Cornell Green was a standout defensive back at Utah State. He subsequently played 13 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys and was the starting strong safety the year they beat the Dolphins in Super Bowl VI.

Several local residents were in Bristol, Rhode Island, last weekend for the Anchor Down Ultra, an event that can be run in six-, 12-, or 24-hour increments. The ultimate goal is to run 100 miles over a series of two-and-a-half mile loops in Colt State Park.

Greenfield’s Ben Simanski and Brennan McGuane ran 73.5 and 35 miles, respectively. Both work at the Franklin County Courthouse, McGuane in Probate Court and Simanski as the First Assistant Clerk of the Superior Court.

Attorney Frank McDonald and Simanski’s wife Kathleen also did a few loops.

“It rained cats and dogs and sideways all night,” said Ben’s father, Dave Simanski. “Ben really wanted to get 100 miles until the weather got crazy. There’s always next year, but damn it,” he laughed.

SQUIBBERS: Yanks manager Joe Girardi on Thursday afternoon’s hockey game at Tiger Stadium: “It got to the heat of the moment, and when it gets to the heat of the moment, boys are going to be boys.” Eight players were ejected and Girardi’s worried that the suspensions will hurt the team’s playoff push. … Speaking of playoffs, let’s see … the Yankees will beat Minnesota and Houston, the Red Sox will beat Cleveland and New York will play Boston for the pennant. The winner plays the Dodgers or Nationals in the World Series. Yes, indeed, it’s going to be a fun October. …  Jim Bowden on “Inside Pitch” said Ian Kinsler’s $10,000 fine for dissing umpire Angel Hernandez was the equivalent of a $54 fine for anyone making $60,000. … AP reported this week that Normal Rockwell’s “Tough Call” was auctioned in Dallas and was sold to an anonymous bidder for $1.6 million. The classic 1948 painting shows three umpires looking skyward at a gray rainy sky and pondering whether to call the game. … Lane Kiffin was hired to put the Florida Atlantic University football team on the map and to do so he has brought in players of such questionable character the local newspapers are referring to FAU as “Last Chance U.” The Owls open against Navy in Boca Raton on Friday and are 11½ point underdogs. … The No. 3 horse won four consecutive races at Saratoga on Monday, but it’s the No. 4 horse that’s won the most Mid-Summer Derbies — 21 times, and the 7-2 morning line favorite Tapwrit breaks from that post today … I love seeing Indians manager Terry Francona scratch his cheek with his middle finger when he sees the TV camera’s on him. … Last December, Indians reliever Nick Goody learned he’d been traded by the Yankees while he was on his honeymoon. ... Umpire Joe West was suspended three games for telling USA Today that Adrian Beltre is a crybaby. “He will take a pitch down the middle and (say) ‘Yo! Yo! Yo! I got that as a ball!’” … Somehow I think John Henry doesn’t win for the love of the game. He wins for the love of money. … The Yankees are paying Aroldis Chapman $86 million over five years and he’s already demoted to middle relief. They paid Mariano Rivera $75 million his last five years and he had 160 saves. … In 1978, Yankees’ reliever Rich Gossage used a non sequitur to describe how he felt after blowing a save against the Red Sox. “This game,” said the Goose,”will drive you to the trout hatchery.” I was there. I heard it. I wrote it down, and afterward I  thought, “What did he say?”

Chip Ainsworth is an award-winning columnist who has penned his observations about sports for four decades in the Pioneer Valley. He can be reached by email at sports@recorder.com.