The Baseball Writers have spoken, and this year we saw three men added to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Jeff Bagwell, who came to Houston from a 3A affiliate with Boston, was added. Tim Raines, a man who played a career with Montreal primarily, was also added to the ranks of recognized greatness, and then there was Pudge Rodriguez, who played most of his career with the Texas Rangers.
I was glad Bagwell was added because I watched him from the beginning of his career through to its end around 2007. Pudge, however, was someone I was proud to see make it because I had watched him, either in person or via television, for much of his career from his rookie year through his retirement. Pudge was, in a word, a great player, making it on his first year of eligibility for the Hall. Pudge was a great batter for the position (catcher), but what impressed anyone who watched Pudge was the gun he possessed known as an arm. I was at a live game one time when he threw from the catching position down to third base to pick a runner off. Being right-handed, he rocketed the ball down to the bag from the crouched position with the runner having no choice but to attempt getting back to the bag. It was futile. He was out before he even knew if the call at the plate was a strike or a ball.
Before Interleague play began between the two leagues, Drayton McLane, the new owner of the Astros, contacted George Bush, the managing partner and proposed the two teams play in pre-season for "bragging rights." We had season tickets to the Astros' games, so we were there. Before the game, the people in the outfield began chanting back and forth, much like they do at a Tech Red Raider football game. One side of the outfield would yell a chant, and then another would respond in kind. "What's going on out there?" my dad asked. I looked and there was Pudge standing in center field, directing the crowds back and forth. It was comical, and yet telling about Pudge. Personality displayed on the field as well as intensive play.
While we take time each day to devote to prayer and scripture, every now and then we take a break to appreciate the life that is going on around us. The addition of Pudge to the Hall of Fame was a perfect place to stop and say "Thank you" to God for the people around us who make a positive impact, who display a work ethic and intensity in a field of play we can learn from, and who also show kindness by the way they engage people. We thank God for the ability to laugh and enjoy life.
Hope Men's Ministry