It took almost 50 years, and there was no interest added. But a promise is a promise, and Jim Gentile finally got his $5,000 bonus from the Baltimore Orioles.
Gentile had the best season of a nine-year career for the Orioles in 1961, hitting .302 with 46 home runs and 141 runs batted in. He finished third in the voting for American League most valuable player, behind Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle.
For years, Maris had been credited with 142 RBI that season, narrowly edging Gentile for the league lead.
When the Orioles raised Gentile’s salary the next spring – from $15,000 to $30,000 – then-general manager, Lee MacPhail, told him he would have been paid an extra $5,000 if he had led the league in RBI.
Last month, when the Elias Sports Bureau officially recognized a scoring change from that season, Gentile gained a share of the crown.
Analysis by the Society for American Baseball Research found that Maris had erroneously been credited with a run batted in during a game July 5, 1961; the run, in fact, had scored on an error, as was reported in five published accounts of the game and in the Yankees’ play-by-play sheets.
Because of the scoring change, Maris had an RBI deducted – giving him 141, same as Gentile.
The Orioles honored Gentile, now 76, for his achievement before their game at Camden Yards on Friday. Andy MacPhail, the Orioles’ president of baseball operations, whose father made that long-ago promise, presented Gentile a $5,000 check.
ANGELS’ HUNTER GETS 4-GAME BAN
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter was suspended four games after a wild outburst Friday night against Detroit.
Hunter, who decided not to appeal and began serving his ban immediately, was ejected by plate umpire Ron Kulpa for arguing a called third strike in the eighth inning of Los Angeles’ 4-2 victory. He threw a bag of baseballs onto the field during his tantrum.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was hit in the leg by Lance Berkman’s sharp grounder during batting practice Saturday and was removed from the starting lineup against Boston. X-rays were negative. … The banged-up Red Sox have signed free agent slugger Carlos Delgado to a minor league contract. Delgado, 38, has not played in the majors since May 2009 for the Mets. … Tampa Bay has activated right-hander Andy Sonnanstine off the 15-day disabled list and optioned right-hander Dale Thayer to Triple-A Durham. … Luis Gonzalez, who wore No. 20, became the first player to have his number retired by the Arizona Diamondbacks. … Outfielder Kenny Lofton, who spent three separate stints in Cleveland while playing for 11 different major league teams, was enshrined into the team’s Hall of Fame. … Former pitching coach Ray Miller and the late Johnny Oates were inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame.