I just finished re-reading the book titled "Men at Work" by George Will (copy written 1990). I read this book when it first came out, almost twenty years ago, and now that I have this avenue (blog) I thought I would share my thoughts.
First of all I recommend this read to all baseball fans, it is a book written to helps us all (even cardboard collectors) understand the details and beauty, the hardwork and dedication it takes to be “great” at the game we all love. This passage from the books front flap sums it up: “Being an informed, observant baseball fan is a form of participation in that complex, subtle game. Baseball . . . is indeed a game, but one at which men work with admirable seriousness”.
The book has only four chapters yet over 300 pages packed with statistics and memories from the era of the eighties. The four chapters are titled simply:
Chapter One: The Manager (Tony LaRussa)
Chapter Two: The Pitcher (Orel Hershiser)
Chapter Three: The Batter (Tony Gwynn)
Chapter Four: The Defense (Cal Ripken Jr.).
LaRussa is the only one still “active” and all four truly symbolize the work ethic, character and “greatness” of baseball in the 1980’s.
So I got to wondering . . . if the same book was written in 1970 (the 1960’s were my favorite decade of baseball), who would have been chosen for these four chapters ? For me it might look like:
Chapter One: Manager Walter Alston
Chapter Two: Pitcher Sandy Koufax
Chapter Three: Batter Frank Robinson
Chapter Four: Defense Roberto Clemente
Pick a decade and come up with your four “great” players, keeping in mind that “greatness” is more than just numbers, it incorporates work ethic, character and excellence. I would be interested in knowing what you think . . . as we approach the end of this decade, who would the “great” four chapters be of for the 2000’s ? It is not as easy as you think.
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