Wednesday, April 24, 2019

In the shoes of heroes

In five or six hours at the National Baseball Hall of Fame today, I took exactly six cell-phone photos, three of them of shoes. Maybe all that standing around on hard floors made my feet wish for more padding, but I couldn't steal Frankie Lindor's shoes so I did the next best thing. (They look about my size.)

I also encountered a character whom I find more fascinating by the minute: Adrian "Addie" Joss, who first attracted my attention because his bronze image on the plaque makes him look like he could be played by Will Farrell in a film about the Little Rascals all grown up:

But the more I learn about ol' Addie, the more impressed I am--and not just because his nickname was "The Human Hairpin." He pitched for the Cleveland Bronchos, a team I'd never heard of that later changed its name to the Cleveland Naps, and he played only nine seasons (1902-1910), which means he's technically not eligible to be in the Hall of Fame (which requires at least 10 seasons of play). However, he hairpinned his way in there by first racking up some pretty amazing pitching stats (including four consecutive 20-win seasons and an ERA of 1.89, the second-lowest in MLB history) and then dying of meningitis a few days after the first game of his tenth season. Further, so beloved was our Addie that his teammates began playing an annual Addie Joss memorial game, which eventually served as the model for the All-Star Game.

Good thing his shoes weren't on display. I might have swiped 'em. 


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