Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Glory Days of Baseball

Glory days well they'll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days
-Bruce Springsteen, Glory Days

Whatever happened to the glory days of baseball? The era in which hard work, perseverance, and sweat meant that you could be able to play in the bigs. An era in which the only form of " performance enhancing" meant doctoring a pitch by scuffing the ball or applying spit or pine tar to the ball.

Nowadays, we don't even know the plays on our own home teams are "clean" or "dirty." The fact is steroids have most likely once "saved" baseball, but are now like a cancer in baseball. By "saved," I mean the home run quests by McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds. Is by no means a rant about how steroids are/ have or have not destroyed baseball.

I am wondering whatever happened to the days of Robin Roberts and the Whiz Kids? Or the days of Babe Ruth and the Murderers Row?

I realize that every era in baseball has it's share of serious problems. From the Black Sox Scandal in 1919 to Pete Rose and gambling and amphetamines to HGH and designer anabolic steroids of the 1990's and 2000's.

Moreover to towards my point. When I was growing up, I was raised under three banners. My grandfather on my mother's side would always tell me stories about the 1928, '29, '30, and '31 New York Yankees. My grandfather on my father's side would always tell me stories about the 1927, '28, '29 and '30 Philadelphia Athletics.

Then my own father would tell me stories about the one and only, Philadelphia Phillies and how bad some of them teams were. It was always: Good Pitching, bad hitting or good hitting, bad pitching with the Philadelphia Phillies.

I can remember my two grandfathers arguing over which was the greatest team in baseball history... the '27 Yankees or the '29 A's. My father's father would always seem to win pulling out the baseball encyclopedia and proving statistically which was the better team. As well as stories of different players: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Grove, Mickey Cochrane, Eddie Collins, Ed Delahanty, Grover Cleveland "Ole Pete" Alexander, Jimmie Foxx, the list goes on.

I also remember asking my grandfather to compare player from the "Golden Age" or "Deadball Era" of baseball to players of that time (mid-1990's). As well as asking my father to compare players from today's game to players from his day, the "Liveball Era" or "Sliver Age" of baseball. They would all say that.

I also remember asking so many questions because I just became fascinated with the sport of baseball. I wanted to know more. My father soon taught me how to throw, and my grandfather taught me how to throw like Lefty Grove. My other grandfather taught me to hit like Mickey Cochrane, and field like Ed Delahanty. I learned how to play baseball, and was free to have fun from then on.

That was my memory of what I thought was the glory days of baseball. So what are your memories of the glory days of baseball? Please share them if you comment. Personally I believe what were the "glory days of baseball" are far gone, replaced by statistics, drugs, and greed.

Where it'll end
nobody knows...

-The Offspring, Hammerhead

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