Passages: Fifty years later, a tragic Cub, a (damn) Yankee shame, and baseball’s Beatle record . . .

Ken Hubbs

Ken Hubbs

REMEMBERING HUBBS

* Fifty years ago Saturday, Chicago Cubs second baseman Ken Hubbs was killed when his Cessna 172 went down in bad weather outside Provo, Utah. (Sadly enough, Hubbs had taken up flying in the first place to conquer his fear of it.)

The writing on the wall barks at A-Rod

A-Rod files to withdraw his suits against MLB, MLBPA: The writing on the wall barked at him.

A-Rod files to withdraw his suits against MLB, MLBPA: The writing on the wall barked at him.

Accepting the inevitable comes hard enough for most mortals, never mind professional athletes. When the inevitable is retirement, it isn’t everyone who faces it with quiet grace and gratitude for having been there at all, and it often forces a player to buck up to it. When the inevitable is banishment for cause, it isn’t everyone who can resist facing it kicking and screaming, but few kicked and screamed as loudly or as wildly as Alex Rodriguez did until Friday.

Ralph Kiner, RIP: The slugger who outslugged the Mahatma

Ralph Kiner, a slugging Pirate . . .

Ralph Kiner, a slugging Pirate . . .

Ralph Kiner’s death at 91 Thursday, a day before pitchers and catchers were due in to start spring training, provokes a pool full of thoughts, considering my experience with him has been as a New York Mets fan since the day they were born. Kiner was one of the original Mets broadcast trio (Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy, both of whom preceded him in death, were the others) but the longest-serving, even if Bell’s palsy finally wore him down to periodic appearances the Mets never begrudged him.