Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Major advances in geriatric baseball sports medicine

In a probably not so coincidental manner, the record for oldest baseball player in major league baseball was broken twice in two weeks.

First 83-year-old Jim Eriotes played in a minor league game in South Dakota, swinging at four pitches and striking out, though he did manage to foul one off. The article pictured him as pretty feisty. He had previously practiced against pitching machines hurling 100 mile per hour pitches and was excited to go up against some real pitching.

The next week, Buck O'Neil, former negro league player and the first black coach in the major leagues (for the Chicago Cubs), was awarded an intentional walk in the northern League All Star Game. Since he is 94 years old, he captured the title from short-lived "oldest man in baseball" Eriotes. (his title was short-lived, he is long-lived)

Obviously, both are marketing stunts, and I wonder if O'Neil's was planned before Jim Eriotes' or not. I don't know whether to give two marketing guys credit or one, and the second is just a copy cat.

With Kevin Costner depicting an aging pitcher in "For Love of the Game"and Dennis Quaid starting his baseball career late in life in "The Rookie" and the senior citizen examples above, maybe I can still be a baseball player someday, there appears to be no rush. If only I was any good at it.

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