Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Now warming up in the bullpen, a picture of Dorian Gray

 I'm a petty man in some ways.Seriously, there are actual real problems in the world that I can sum up and rationalize with minimal effort, yet it's always the little things that keep me up at night.Things such as, why isn't WKRP available on DVD?or, why isn't Captain Beefheart in the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame? , and why oh why did Tim Wakefield have to retire at the tender young age of 45?Because when you think about it, 45 for a knuckleballer is like 38 for other players...Phil Neikro almost made it to 50 for godsakes!

                 Now, I'm not saying this because I wanted him to continue pitching for the was actually rather painful watching him lose game after game trying to win #200.I'm saying this because...I want there to be someone older than me in the Major leagues.There, I said it...petty and foolish, but I feel the way I feel...part of  my youth(as it is)is fading...I'm 42, will be 43 in May.When Ken Griffey JR. retired a couple of years ago after a 20 year Hall of fame career, he was STILL 6 months younger than me.(despite that nasty case of gigantism he contracted drinking that brain tonic while playing for Mr.Burn's softball team)That's why the Matt Stairs and the Julio Francos of the world gave my non reality-based world hope.Thank God for Jamie Moyer and Omar Visquel.

               First Jamie Moyer.I was shocked to see the almost 50 year old lefty trying for a spot for the Colorado Rockies this spring.I hope he makes it.He had retired after helping his hometown Phillies win  pennants 
in 2008-2009, and when he left the game, there was no reason to think he would comeback.His rookie year was 1986, a great year for rookies(I was still in high school, sigh...)with Barry Bonds,Greg Maddox and many more making their debuts that year.He was a late bloomer, not figuring it all out until he was in his 30's.
It does worry me that, even though he may make the team out of spring training ,he will eventually have to play half his games at Coors Field(I don't care HOW many humidors they have there, it's still friggin' Coors field, where pitchers not named Ubaldo Jiminez go to die), but at this point,I'll take anything...

                         Then there's Omar Visquel, the ageless shortstop(actually aged 44) who signed with the Toronto Blue Jays in January.Everyone could use a good backup shortstop,and Omar certainly is that.I remember a Simpsons episode(yes, this is my second Simpson's reference ,get over it)where Bart trades a ripped Omar Visquel card to a distracted Milhouse for a vintage Carl Yazstremski.(He also gets Milhouse to give him a 1958 Micky Mante for a picture of Homer sleeping on the couch).Omar will eventually go the the Hall of Fame, I think...only Ozzie Smith(another potential Simpsons reference,geez)has more gold gloves.

                 Baseball history is ,fortunately on their(and my)side.There are a number of big leaguers who played into their mid-forties onward.Here's a selected list:

1)Satchel Paige(59 years old)
      Actually,Satch retired in his mid 40's, only to be brought back as a publicity stunt by Kansas city A's owner Charles O.Finley.He pitched a few innings, not allowing a run and striking out a few.Wish we could have seen him in his prime, but as Satch would say, "Don't look back, someone might be gaining on you".
2)Minnie Minosa (57 years old)

    Actually, this is a cheat.The White Sox used to have him play an inning every decade to break a record, but he still played a long time, and had one of the coolest names ever.

3)Hoyt Wilhelm(49 years old,Phil Neikro,48 years old and Charlie Hough,46 years old)
          All knuckleballers...geez,Wakefield, you couldn't have stuck it out for a few more years?

4)Tommy John (46 years old)
      See kids, you stick around long enough, and they'll name an operation after you(hey, better than naming a disease after you)And, as it turns out, even Lou Gehrig didn't have Lou Gehrig's disease...     

5)Julio Franco(49 years)

  Julio had retired for a few years,then came back mostly as a pinch hitter.When he hit a home run off of Randy Johnson a few years back, the combined age of both of them was equal to the combined ages of the entire 2011 Oakland A's...

6)Nick Altrock(47 years old)
    Famous not only as a pitcher, but also as the inspiration for a popular music trend in the 1990's.I believe
Silverchair dedicated their 2nd album to him...  

7)Hughie Jennings(49 years old,Jim O'Rourked,54,Charlie O'leary,51

These are dead ball era players, who knows what kind of endurance they needed...back when whiskey was considered a performance enhancing drug, and only women of a certain stature were seen at games, and a hotdog cost a nickel, and your grandad met Mordecai "Three finger" Brown at Wrigley in '08, and you could ride the trolley for free on Wednesdays, and you could play your collection of brand new 78 rpm records til the cows came home...

     Sorry, went off on a tangent there.Of course there's more...I remember the 2010 World series where a 62 year old Nolan Ryan(who himself played til he was 47)threw out the first pitch...and it was 88 miles per hour!!I don't think Jamie Moyer has hit 88mph since the 90's..all I know is, Jamie Moyer debuted for the Cubs, the same team that started a rookie shortstop 2 years ago named Starlin' Castro, born in....1990...
(Ouch!)Well, at least I have one or two players carrying the old guy torch for one more year, and if they both retire after the 2012 season, I'm sure the (almost literally)ageless Manny Mota can still swing a bat, because everyone needs a good, experienced, pinch hitter...just ask Matt Stairs...  
Satchel Paige on "What's my line"




  1. That's good stuff. My only concern is this Capt. Beefheart Hall of Fame stuff. Everyone knows a 500 foot tall Bob Mosley should crush the Rz&R Hall of Fame.

  2. Can we spare a thought for Jack Quinn of the Slovakia Quinns?
    [Adam C.]