Thursday, January 14, 2016

Of Blowhards, Buffoons and Ball Players

In case you doubted the importance of Tuesday, January 12, 2016 on the calendar for those men and women seeking election to a national office, consider that our Absentee Governor and his fellow GOP-nomination-seeking thunder buddy, Florida's Junior Senator, each spent the day in the city where their respective constituencies presumed they would be when each was elected.  To hell with Powerball.  You would have gotten better odds on a monkey flying out of your ass while riding a lightning bolt and juggling chainsaws than you would have gotten on those occurrences happening on the same day.  

You might have missed it but Monte Irvin died earlier this week.  A Negro League superstar who became one of the first two African-American players to wear the uniform of the New York (baseball) Giants and a member of the Baseball Hall-of-Fame in Cooperstown, New York (Class of 1973), he died on Monday night.  He was ninety-six.   

Irvin was the last surviving member of the Newark Eagles and was a leader on the 1946 Eagles team that captured the Negro League World Series.  Monte Irvin - in spite of his superior physical gifts - took a lot of shit from a lot of bigoted assholes who judged him by the color of his skin rather than the content of his character.  He could have lived this past century with a chip on his shoulder that no one - save Atlas himself - possesses the strength to knock off.  He did not.   

Set aside a minute or three today - hell, do it right now (I assure you that there is nothing that follows here that you shall ever regret not having read) - and read the great Jerry Izenberg's tribute to Monte Irvin, which originally appeared on the front page of the January 13, 2016 edition of The Star-Ledger as well as on the nj.com web site.  Reading it, I felt through the page the joy with which Irvin and his teammates played the game they loved - even as they were barred from competing in the Major Leagues.  It was a joy that he never permitted those who had deprived him of his opportunity to play in the big leagues to take from him, even after he finally "arrived" in the National League.  

A live well-lived.  A lesson to which attention should properly be paid. 

1946 Newark Eagles
Negro League World Series Champions
(Monte Irvin - Top Row/Far Left)

-AK

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