By: David Lamm
I found it interesting that two outstanding athletes from our past passed away this week and their legacies are linked to one play in their careers, one good, one bad.
I’m talking about Bart Starr and Bill Buckner.
Starr was the quarterback of Vince Lombardi’s great Green Bay Packers teams of the 60s. In today’s game, Starr would have been label “a game manager” of the Lombardi machine. He was more than that, of course, and fortunately we didn’t have labels for every player back then.
What people under 50 don’t know about Starr is he’s the guy who scored the winning TD in the final seconds on a quarterback sneak in the famous “Ice Bowl.” It was also known as the 1967 NFL Championship Game.
That’s his legacy.
Buckner played 22 MLB seasons, won a batting title, had a career average of .289 and 2,715 hits. Not Hall of Fame worthy but a damn fine career.
But in the 1986 World Series, Buckner, a first baseman, let a slow roller go through his legs and it ultimately cost the Red Sox the World Series.
That’s his legacy.
Both were much more than one singular play.
Time to start following MLB standings
I don’t really get into Major League Baseball until after Memorial Day. By then, most clubs have revealed who they are.
As expected, the usual suspects are where they belong. The Astros, the Cubs, the Dodgers, the Brewers, the Yankees, the Athletics and the Rays are doing what you’d expect them to do. Leading their division or close to the lead. The Red Sox have heated up after a miserable start.
But there, as always, are surprises. The Yankees are winning without their best players, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Didi Gregorious. The Indians are struggling more than expected. Ditto for the Cardinals.
The biggest surprise is the Minnesota Twins. They have the best record in baseball, led by a bunch of “no-name” sluggers who are hitting home runs are a record pace.
Sadly for us true baseball fans, the biggest story thus far may be the continuing decline of the game’s popularity. Attendance is down; TV ratings are down.
And it hasn’t even reached the dog days of summer.