That’s right. You’re welcome. I’m going to silence this argument once and for all.
1. We don’t need no stinkin’ asterisks.
I have an eighteen-month-old daughter. She is the light of my life, and I’m beginning to teach her all the important things she should know. Two nights ago, Georgetown was playing St. John’s on ESPN2 in college basketball. I explained to her who John Thompson was. We talked about Georgetown, John Thompson II & III. She responded appropriately by trying to take her shoes off and trying to get the remote.
I don’t need asterisks, because I’m going to explain to my daughter all she needs to know about baseball history. Right now, when we watch baseball, I tell her all about Chase Utley & Ryan Howard & Cole Hamels. When we go to a Rangers game, I tell her all about Johnny Oates, Nolan Ryan & Jackie Robinson. We’ll talk all about my favorite players when I was her age: Steve Buechele (just because we got to boo every time he came to the plate), Ruben Sierra, Rafael Palmeiro & Mark Holtz, the legendary radio announcer. And hopefully, we’ll go over the new retired jersey numbers: Ivan Rodriguez, Kenny Rogers & Josh Hamilton.
Then there’s the players we’ll talk about when we go through baseball history. We’ll talk about the players I was lucky to see live: Nolan Ryan, George Brett, Robin Yount, Jim Rice, Frank Robinson (he was managing the Nationals; I’m not that old), Cal Ripken, Jr., Ken Griffey, Jr. Then we’ll talk about all my favorite players from baseball history: PeeWee Reese, Mike Schmidt, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Tinker-Evans-Chance, Ernie Banks, the whole Snider-Mantle-Mays debate.
And we’ll talk about who had the most of something. We’ll talk about how Nolan Ryan had the most strikeouts, Pete Rose had the most hits, and Rickey Henderson had the most steals. We’ll also talk about wins. The person who had the most wins in his career was Cy Young. He had 511. I’ll tell my daughter he was legendary. But he also holds the record for most wins, innings pitched and games started. And then we’ll come to a category that will be very uncomfortable, but we’ll have to go there. We’ll get to the name Barry Bonds. We’ll talk about Barry Bonds and his career. I can’t hide that he was there. We’ll talk about Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, A-Rod, all of them. I will explain to her about how they tried to cheat and were quite successful and even ended up being good for baseball at the time.
Parents, baseball historians, talking heads on sports talk shows, even fledgling bloggers like me, it’s our job to educate and pass on what really happened. The future of baseball lies with us.