The Voyage of Captain Obvious

Grading is satanic

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

On rickey henderson

I read about the guy relatively recently (I forget where, or there'd be a link) on one of those lists of people who are HOF-bound. And, like many of these articles that I've read, seemed to pontificate on why the guy should retire and accept his appointment.

I don't agree with this sentiment. I actually really like the old ideal of the player that loses it at the majors, and goes back down and struggles to find it again in the minors, fading away into obscurity... or maybe having a last chance to try again as a late season call-up. It shows a level of dedication not evident in the setiment that modern sports stars have to "retire on top" and "not tarnish their image" or whatever. It should be about the game, not the players' image. Regardless, noone remembers the horrible aging superstar. In 10 years, noone will remember Michael Jordan on the Wizards, or the aging .132 average, 32 homer Mark McGwire (well, on second thought, if the steroid business escalates...). or Bob Gibson's 1975 season. "Retiring while on top" is stupid. It says that the player is more important than the game. If you can still play, you're getting paid to play a kids game, and play, dammit*.

The fact that Rickey plays on is something that I actually find inspiring and surprisingly human from the most brash, arrogant, spiteful and obnoxious player of his era, who, while on top, had such a toxic personality that despite HOF ability, no team could bear to keep around longer than a couple of years. But now, he's just a guy playing baseball, hanging around when there is no reason to, other than to play, and maybe try and capture some of the old glory days again. It's a lot harder to hate the guy anymore.

*the exception to this is guys like Will Clark, who for all purposes, was probably finished, and happened to find himself some of that magic again, living on what was really borrowed time and a league change. Will the Thrill gets a magic season and another playoff appearance, and I say Huzzah! to you!


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