There are those who walk among us in their twilight and inspire us to think that, warts and all, our world still remains a lovely place to be simply because such people still walk among us. In a time when sports seems to yield up more dubious and disreputable characters among its active players, we are comforted to know that some of our past athletic subjects prove better people than they did players, however great they were as the latter.
“Late success,” Sandy Koufax once mused, “is quieter.” I’m not entirely convinced it’s true in Homer Bailey’s case, since he’s gone from a seventh-overall 2004 draft pick to a shaky major league beginning despite the ballyhoo to standing on top of the world, or at least the PNC Park mound with his Cincinnati Reds owning the National League Central, and himself proving, at long enough last, he belonged in any serious Reds rotation plans.
Golden Era, my foot. That’s what they’re calling the era from 1947-72. Actually, the era didn’t start getting “golden” until 1965. Unless you want to say to yourself that it really was the good old days when a) players were still chattel; b) a team from New York was invariably in or winning the World Series, with the occasional freak exception, until 1965; and, c) it was a big slugging/modest pitching/little else era for the most part.
But let’s not quibble about such details for now. The Hall of Fame Veterans Committe is considering ten men from that era as prospective Hall of Famers.