Lockers of the Greats

Figured it was time to share some more pics from our trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, a few weeks ago.   So here are the lockers of some of the greatest players ever.  In fact, if you added Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, and Ty Cobb, you’d have a list of the seven greatest position players (that is, non-pitchers) in baseball history.

Here’s the locker belonging to Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, the Yankee Clipper, who was probably the best all-around baseball player that there has ever been and will ever be.  He did more than just rack up amazing stats at the plate and nail down centerfield–he carried his team to win, and win big.  DiMaggio always came through with the clutch hit, carrying his New York Yankees to an unbelievable 9 World Series championships in his 13-year career.  (He led them to 10 World Series, but they lost one.)

Ted Williams may have been the greatest pure hitter ever (although I think the Babe’s got him beat).  During his career, his Boston Red Sox and DiMaggio’s Yankees were arch-rivals.  Williams and DiMaggio often competed for the MVP award.  The last player to hit .400 (he swatted .406 in 1941), Williams had such a keen eye that after the hitting the ball, he could tell you exactly where on the ball the bat made contact.  Like DiMaggio, Williams had his career interrupted by military service–he served in World War II and the Korean War, which is probably the only reason he doesn’t own every offensive record in the book.

Lou Gehrig joins Ruth and DiMaggio as the three greatest Yankees and perhaps the three greatest players ever.  Gehrig was teammates with both Ruth and DiMaggio.  Like Williams and DiMaggio, we’ll never know what kind of numbers Gehrig would have posted if his career had not been cut short–not by a war against another country, but by a war within his own body.  Even though disease cut short both his career and his life, Gehrig had one of the greatest careers imaginable.  Batting cleanup in the most potent lineup ever, he crushed a record 24 grand slams in his career.

Last but certainly not least is Stan “the Man” Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals.  Like the other three, he spent his entire career with one team.  If I were to select the all-time greatest player in the National League, Musial’s only serious challenger would be Willie Mays.  I don’t know of anyone who owns more records than Musial, who is also a classy guy.  When I was a kid I sent him an autograph request with an addressed envelope enclosed, but I forgot to stamp it.  Not only did Musial stamp it himself, but he also threw in a picture of his own, which he signed: “To Nathan, a great fan.  Stan Musial.”  Who does stuff like that anymore?  Make sure you follow the link above to check out his stats.  I guarantee you’ll be impressed.

When I reflect on the amazing careers and achievements of men like these, I’m inspired by two thoughts:

(1) First, their excellence in their craft inspires me to strive for excellence in my own craft–preaching.

(2) Second, I have to wonder: How crazy-fun would it be to play baseball as one of the greatest players ever?

Published in: on August 30, 2007 at 7:16 am  Leave a Comment  

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