Single Moment Baseball Identities

Guess who.

Guess who.

They are all strong single-moment identities in baseball. They each defy any strongest to weakest rating against each other because it all depends upon  one’s personal fan perspective . Some are joyful. Some are painful. Again, depending upon your own fan perspective.

Here are The Pecan Park Eagle’s list of our favorite baseball people who are always referenced to one event in their baseball lives. Each of the dead from this list – and all of the living that shall later follow – receive a headline and/or first paragraph obituary reference to the single  memory that never dies in the collective consciousness of fans when their name comes to mind.

If we have to explain why each is tied to a certain memory, we will be forced to question either your age or the depth of your baseball fandom status:

The Pecan Park Eagle’s Ten Strongest One-Moment Baseball Memory Group (in chronological order)

  1. Fred Merkle (1908)
  2. Joe Jackson (1919)
  3. Ray Chapman (1920)
  4. Grover Cleveland Alexander (1926)
  5. Jackie Robinson (1947)
  6. Eddie Gaedel (1951)
  7. Bobby Thomson (1951)
  8. Don Larsen (1956)
  9. Bill Mazeroski (1960)
  10. Bill Buckner (1986)

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Random Thought. We went to see “Spectre”, the new James Bond movie last night. Loved it, but I also came home with this realization: If the Brits had been armed with James Bond and the “OO” whatever spy program during the Revolutionary War, there might  never have been a United States of America.

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Have a Happy and Pleasant Fall Tuesday in Houston – or Wherever You Are, Everybody!

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eagle-0range

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12 Responses to “Single Moment Baseball Identities”

  1. Kyle Says:

    Everything I hear Robin Ventura’s name I think of the beating Nolan dished out to him on the mound.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Good one, Kyle! – I can never see Ventura without immediately recalling the night that Nolan Ryan noogied his head like a bongo drum. Once I even saw Ventura arguing with an umpire during a TV game with the Astros. When the camera briefly shifted to a shot of Nolan Ryan watching from a suite, I wondered what images were dancing through Nolie’s mind at that same moment.

  2. Tom Kleinworth Says:

    Lots of other possibilities of players identified with one moment:

    1. Fred Snodgrass’s “muff” in the 1912 World Series
    2. Mickey Owens’ dropped third strike – 1941 World Series
    3. Johnny Pesky’s “held ball” – 1946 World Series
    4. Harvey Haddix’s 12-inning perfect game that he lost

    And I think you’re stretching too far to say Jackie Robinson was remembered for one moment. If you’re going to include him, then I’d include Babe Ruth’s called home run, and Willie Mays’ catch off Vic Wertz, and Reggie Jackson’s three-homer World Series game..

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      “And I think you’re stretching too far to say Jackie Robinson was remembered for one moment.” – Tom Kleinworth.

      They didn’t retire # 24 for Willie Mays because of “The Catch.” MLB did retire Jackie Robinson’s #42 from further use by all clubs in honor of the man who broke the color line. I contend that Jackie’s landmark role in civil rights progress far out-shadows any of the great things he did on the field for ten years. I respect your right to differ, but I simply do not see Robinson as anything close to a stretch as a primary example for this category. That said, I would have no problem adding Mays or any of the others to the list as well. I might even have been able to slide Phil Linz into the club, had Linz been a great player. Had Linz qualified for induction, his HOF plaque most probably would have included the word “harmonica” in the first paragraph of his biography.

      • Tom Kleinworth Says:

        Bill: I guess it boils down to your definition of a single “moment.” There’s no question Jackie Robinson is one of the most important people in baseball history, but what was the “moment” he is remembered for? When he signed his contract? When he took his first at bat in the majors? Or is it when he stole home in the World Series and was called safe, and Yogi started jumping up and down in protest? There’s no question Jackie is remembered by all baseball fans. I just feel that the others you listed better fit your definition of people remembered for a “single moment.”

  3. Tom Kleinworth Says:

    And somewhere on your list I’d have a special place for Steve Bartman, the poor Cub fan who caught the foul ball in 2003, and was blamed for their collapse. Talk about being remembered for one thing.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Great nomination, Tom! – Steve Bartman’s trip to that fateful Cubs playoff game was far larger than any fan’s everyday trip to Wrigley to watch baseball. For Bartman, it was a life-altering event. 🙂

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Tom – I wasn’t able to connect this reply to your second comment on the other dialogue so I decided to do so here. Your opening comment is enough to help me attempt the connecting thought:

      “Bill: I guess it boils down to your definition of a single “moment.” There’s no question Jackie Robinson is one of the most important people in baseball history, but what was the “moment” he is remembered for?” – Tom Kleinworth

      Yes, Tom, you nailed it. Most of the single moment people here can be identified by something that happened in a nanosecond. – Willie Mays will always be caricatured by the nanosecond it took to make and then become “The Catch” in all of our hearts and minds.

      Jackie is well remembered for the steal of home and the Yogi-fit to the umpire that followed, but his playing field single moment, which, in my mind, is literally the steal of home and Yogi’s ire, was much larger than the game of baseball itself. It was the cultural moment, by whatever concrete nanosecond act we pin it to – his pen hits the contract page, his foot hits the field in Dodger blue for the first time, his bat kisses the ball for its first hit – the real measure is the less visible moment of great cultural change that was inherent in Jackie Robinson breaking the baseball color line against blacks playing with whites in organized baseball. It was the first great victory for racial justice in the modern era civil rights movement – and that is why his number 42 is now retired from further use by any player on any big league team – and that is why his big moment association is what it is – and so much larger than his World Series steal of home.

  4. Gary Trujillo Says:

    Is it a stretch to mention Luis Gonzales and the base hit that beat the Yankees in the WS?

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Gary – It’s not a stretch if you are simply asking Luis Gonzalez to describe the major moment from his career that he wakes up seeing in his mind – every time he awakens – or simply needs to feel better about some unrelated matter.

  5. Rick B. Says:

    I’d add Juan Marichal who, in spite of being a HOF pitcher, is always remembered for taking a baseball bat to John Roseboro’s head.

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