Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Sons of Their Fathers...

While I did not watch any of the induction ceremonies from Cooperstown, New York on Sunday afternoon, I was not surprised at all to read in multiple media sources thereafter that the two-member class of 2016, Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza, did themselves, their families, and the game that each loves so much and played so well proud in their speeches.  

Neither Junior nor Piazza played for a team for whom I root during their respective careers.  To the contrary, each man was for a time a principal nemesis of my beloved Bronx Bombers.  Yet, looking at each of them from across the field as it were I never felt anything less than admiration.  Each played the game with a great deal of passion and as a fan I never sensed that either left anything on the field at game's end, at season's end, or - when it came for each - at career's end.  Irrespective of what a person does to earn his or her living, I will always pull hard for - and defend to the point of hoarseness - the person who tenders a day's worth of honest work in exchange for a day's wage. 

I did not know - until I read it somewhere on Sunday night - that this dynamic duo shared a rather interesting characteristic relative to where each was chosen in the MLB draft.  Piazza - a 62nd round selection of the Los Angeles Dodgers - is the lowest draft choice ever elected to the Hall of Fame.

Junior, who was the #1 pick overall the year that the Seattle Mariners selected him - is the first-ever #1 overall draft choice to ever gain entry into Cooperstown.  Proof, I suppose, of the old adage that it is not where you start but where you finish that counts

Much is written - and with justification - about the "me-first" attitude of professional athletes.  The danger in painting with such broad brushstrokes is that it tends to obliterate the finer points and to make precise, detailed analysis exceedingly difficult.  We are less than two months away from the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.  In the aftermath of that horrible day, baseball's two newest Hall-of-Famers were among its most generous souls, giving help to those in need.  I most heartily recommend this video that MLB.com produced about these two players, the people affected by the September 11 attacks, and the way in which the lives of all concerned were profoundly and positively impacted by them getting to know one another.

Congratulations to each of them on an achievement that each plainly appreciated every bit as much as each deserved it.   


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