Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Gentlemen of Baseball

Okay, I've done some posting on some of the more erratic players in baseball history, and now as promised, I'll cover some of the guys who were actually nice and worthy of being a boy's role model.  It may surprise those of you who are a little sports-biased (I at times fall into this category myself, I must admit!), but there are actually quite a few who were great guys!  Here are three more players which I consider note-worthy:

Christy Mathewson:

He was actually called "the Christian Gentleman" by players and press alike because of his courtesy and public stand for God and country.  He was an amazing of the first in the hall of fame...who wouldn't pitch a game on Sunday, in honor of his beliefs.  He enlisted in WWI, along with the less-than-Christian-non-gentleman Ty Cobb, and inhaled poisonous gas.  This ended his pitching career and ultimately took his life, but he never regretted it.  He was one of the first five inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Lou Gehrig:

I have to say, through the Ken Burns series, Lou Gehrig was one of my personal favorites, although he was largely overshadowed by his flamboyant teammate, Babe Ruth.  He was just as talented as Ruth, but was completely opposite him in character.  He was a quiet, modest, family man.  He never sought the lime-light.  He spent years in the shadow of Ruth, being largely overlooked, yet always kept a kind and gentlemanly attitude toward him.  It's actually he, and not Ruth who holds the grand slam record!  Even when he had to leave the game of baseball at the age of 36 due to what would eventually be called 'Lou Gehrig's Disease', he bravely faced a devastating illness without complaint, instead being grateful for the time he had lived and played.  He is a great example of how to win and keep a humble attitude.

Ted Williams:

I suppose I ought to include a Red Sox player since I've had a Yankee. :)  Seriously, Ted Williams is a good role model for a young man.  He was an absolutely amazing hitter,  and much of his skill was acquired through hard work and observation.  He really studied and worked hard to become didn't just happen naturally for him!  Some people even consider him the greatest hitter who ever lived.  His stats, though, may not seem as impressive as you'd expect from an all-time great.  There's a reason.  He took years away from his career (stats) to serve in the military in both WWII and the Korean war.  How many sports players these day can you think of who wouldn't be too self-serving to step away from their sport while at their prime to serve their country?  I think it was amazing...what a great example.

I've really enjoyed learning some of the ins and outs of baseball, courtesy of Ken Burns.  I understand why Brooklyn Dodgers fans are bitter, I know about the Red Sox curse, I know how to calculate a batting average, but most of all, I enjoyed the stories.  The game of baseball is an avenue to learn about some very interesting lives.  They say truth is stranger than fiction...who would have thought I'd have enjoyed the Baseball documentary so much?


  1. In our culture, where "nice guys" seem to "finish last", it is so reassuring to hear the stories of baseballs REAL greats. The real greats in life, are the men who live with honor, doing their best while still keeping their morals intact.

    Thanks for sharing this series, I've really enjoyed it.

  2. Thanks for this post. My oldest has been interested in baseball lately. We'll have to check out the Ken Burns video.