Atop Major League Baseball’s annual MVP trophies is the name Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

A local tie to professional sports could go by the wayside.

Here’s a connection that some may not be aware of: Atop Major League Baseball’s annual MVP trophies is the name Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

Landis was the sport’s first commissioner, serving for 24 years from 1920 until his death in 1944. Shortly thereafter, the Baseball Writers Association of America honored Landis by adding his name and an imprint of his face to the American and National League MVP trophies. And that’s how it’s been for the last 75 years.

So how did Mr. Landis become named Kenesaw Mountain? And is that moniker  connected to our very own Kennesaw Mountain?


Landis’ father served in the Civil War as a battlefield surgeon. He fought, by the way, for the Union Army and was wounded at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. Two years later, a son was born and the name Kenesaw Mountain (one “n,” not two) was chosen as the inspiration for Landis’ new baby boy.

But now some in Major League Baseball, including some league MVPs are questioning Landis’ history.

Among those, three-time NL MVP Mike Schmidt of Philadelphia, Cincinnati shortstop Barry Larkin and the 1991 Atlanta Braves’ NL MVP Terry Pendleton, who told the Associated Press, “This is 2020 now and things have changed all around the world. It can change for the better. … Yes, maybe it is time to change the name.”

Before his stint as commissioner, Landis was appointed a federal judge in Illinois by President Theodore Roosevelt. He quickly became known for going after big business, notably when he fined Standard Oil more than $29 million (that’s about $800 million in today’s dollars) for granting illegal rebates on railroad tariffs.

Once named baseball’s commissioner, his first order of business was to restore the sport’s reputation after the 1919 Chicago Black Sox World Series scandal.

But the recent discussion of removing Kenesaw Mountain’s name from the MVP trophies centers on the fact that baseball was not integrated during his tenure as commissioner. It wasn’t until three years after his death that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.

All this, despite the fact that toward the end of his time as commissioner he told team owners they were free to sign black players. The criticism is that he didn’t push hard enough.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America is the group that chooses the MVP. They’ll meet in December. That’s when they could take up the topic of the Kenesaw Mountain Landis MVP trophies.

CLUB NEWS: Among the entities shut down by the coronavirus pandemic are Cobb’s numerous civic clubs and organizations. Weekly luncheons all over the county were halted in March as residents began sheltering in place. Many of these social gatherings have been replaced by Zoom and other online technology. But like much of the rest of America, club members are ready to gather again.

In a letter to members of the Rotary Club of Marietta from President Mary Ansley Southerland, that club will resume meeting in person next week.

In part, Southerland wrote “the one strong and clear message we have in the responses to our survey of active members is that the overwhelming majority (90%) want to meet in person, and want it to be soon. In the spirit of our bond as Rotarians, we will wash our hands because we are all about sanitation, maintain safe distances from each other because we believe in peace, and we will always be respectful of each other and our anxieties and fears or lack thereof because we know this is beneficial to all concerned. We will march on into the Hilton Conference Center next week, Wednesday July 8th, for a regularly scheduled noon meeting.”

Southerland adds that for those still wary of gathering, the meeting will have a virtual component also.

For the Kiwanis Club of Marietta, President Debbie McCracken writes to members that “the projected return date to face-to-face meetings, has been moved to July 23. Please know that the return date remains flexible. It is very dependent upon the rate of community infection and whether it is deemed safe to return to group meetings.”

TEMPERATURE CHECK: Cobb Solicitor Barry Morgan went to work on Wednesday only to find he didn't pass the temperature check to get in his office.

The solicitor's office has thermal scanners which read one's temperature as you stand in front of them. When they scanned him at 100.5, he stepped outside to wait 10 minutes and do it again. When he got the same reading, he went home. Morgan's office policy says after failing the temperature check twice, you have to get tested. Of his 75 staff, he says four others have had to do this to date. 

In the past, he had access to the rapid test at Georgia Tech, which revealed results in 30 minutes. But Morgan said they stopped offering this at the end of last month. So he went to CVS, where he had the test that requires you to put the testing sticks up your nose.

"It's not something I look forward to, that's for sure," Morgan said.

While CVS says the results will take two to five days, the clerk told him Thursday it would be at least five to seven days because they had so many people being tested.

Morgan says some of the Peachtree Immediate Care facilities have immediate testing results, but the last two days they’ve also been booked.

The good news for Morgan is he has no symptoms. Taking his temperature at home, it reads normal.

"I firmly believe I don't have it. I don't have any symptoms whatsoever. But it's just a matter of this is what I've made other people do so I'm going to hold myself to that same standard," he said.

PINE STRAW SCAM: Cobb police want to alert those seeking to spruce up their yards to a pine straw scam.

Cobb County is only aware of one incident of the scam occurring locally, but it’s been going on in neighboring Cherokee County for several weeks.

Here’s how the scam works:

Workers approach homeowners and explain they are in the area working, have extra pine straw, then offer to sell and spread the pine straw for approximately $4 per bale. At some point, the workers will approach the homeowner to say they need a little bit more pine straw to cover all areas. Thinking they’re talking just a few bales, the homeowner often agrees and gives their OK for the landscaper to complete the job.

Here’s the catch: When the workers finish the job, they advise the homeowner they installed up to four times the bales the homeowner anticipated. The workers then try to collect several hundred or even a thousand dollars for the work they claim they did. Police report that in many cases, the homeowners and landscaper negotiate a rate somewhere between the original quote and the upcharge. Let’s face it, once the pine straw is down, it’s impossible to know how many bales were actually installed.

If you find yourself faced with this pine straw predicament, police suggest you use common sense. Don’t agree to anything from walk-up sales people unless you research the business. At least check on a website. Get names, business cards, phone numbers and tag numbers.

If you feel you’ve fallen prey to the pine straw shakedown, call 770-499-3900 to file a report.

Fireworks in the sky won’t be the only reason to crane your neck this Fourth of July. Amid all the pyrotechnics, skygazers also will be treated to a lunar eclipse. The skies will darken on Saturday evening as the moon passes through Earth’s shadow.

This is not a full lunar eclipse, but a penumbral lunar eclipse, where the face of the moon will appear to turn a darker silver color.

The phenomenon will occur starting at 11:07 p.m. The eclipse “maximum” will occur almost 30 minutes after midnight at 12:29 a.m. on Sunday. The entire event will last nearly three hours.

Let’s close out with a quick round of Around Town Family Feud.

One hundred people surveyed with the top five answers on the board: Name something associated with the Fourth of July:

You’re already hitting your buzzer with parades, fireworks, cookouts, barbecues and baseball.

Now keep those answers in mind and consider the foresight of Founding Father John Adams, who very much predicted your answers all of 244 years ago.

In a letter to wife Abigail dated July 3rd, 1776, the day before the Declaration of Independence was approved, the American statesman wrote about what that day would mean to current and future Americans. The letter reads:

“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

A fairly prescient observation by one of this nation’s founding fathers.

Happy Fourth of July.

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