“Baseball Grieves the Loss of Heroes”
The strangest baseball season in history, has also become the saddest.
Baseball has said goodbye to 5-of its greatest people over the last seven weeks.
JOE MORGAN…the quiet little leader of the Cincinnati Reds Big Red Machine,passed away after a battle with a nerve disorder. The 2nd baseman started his career with the Astros, was given away in a deal to the Reds, and hit a ton of homers,hit for average, stole bases, won Gold Gloves, and was a 10-time All Star. L’il Joe was not as popular as Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, George Foster, Davey Concepcion, but was a rock solid piece of glue.
WHITEY FORD…the quiet Yankees pitcher, nicknamed ‘Chairman of the Board’ was a spectacular pitcher for the great 1950s Yankees team. Crafty and shifty, he 24-and-25 games in different seasons, dominated World Series games, and was a 16-year anchor in Casey Stengel’s rotation. And he ran the streets with Mickey Mantle-Billy Martin-Hank Bauer-Roger Maris.
BOB GIBSON….he changed the game on the mound, not just for the Cardinals but for baseball. As fierce a competitor as the game ever saw, and maybe the most dominant pitcher in the modern day game. Can you picture anyone with a (1.12-ERA) as he had in 1984? What about 15-wins in a row during that season? Or 12-shutouts in that 15-win string.
LOU BROCK…he revolutionized the offense aspect of the game as a base stealer. Lost in all his accomplishment running the bases, was his power hitting ability, his gold glove. His quiet demeanour offset the brashness of others in his clubhouse. History writes the most lopsided trade in baseball history, the one that brought him to the Cards from the Cubs for journeyman pitcher Ernie Broglio.
TOM SEAVER…The anchor of the great Mets pitching staff. A warrior of a starting pitcher. He was a scientist on the mound, maybe the early day version of Greg Maddux. A power arm that never lost its lightning, first for the Amazing Mets and then for the Cincinnati Reds. The quiet respected intellectual leader of the 1969-Mets.
AL KALINE…Classy, gifted, the pro’s pro who spent his entire career wearing the “Old English D’ of the Detroit Tigers. He never played an inning in the minor leagues in a career that stretched from the 1950s thru the 1960s, then into the Tigers broadcast booth. Graceful and complete.
Pick any stat you want…impressive:
JOE MORGAN…(.271 BA..268HR..689 SB)
AL KALINE…(.297 BA…399HR)
TOM SEAVER..(311-205….2.86 ERA)
BOB GIBSON..(251-176…2.91 ERA….3,117K)
WHITEY FORD..(236-106…2.75 ERA)
Quite a team they have put together in Heaven isn’t it?
Baseball purists, who respect the game, mourn the loss this week.