Monday, September 14, 2009

No player is bigger than the game

A few months ago, Rickey Henderson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. His incredible statistics, ability to take over the game, and personality made him one of the best to ever play. The next day, his speech and career were being dissected on ESPN. While he was humble on the podium, the sportscasters made notice of the numerous antics pulled by Rickey during his career. They made sure to add that while his numbers were hall of fame worthy, no player has, or ever will be, bigger than the game.

Hearing this really made me think about all of the amazing players that have filtered through the league over the years, and the fact that not one has ever been bigger than the game of baseball. This, to me, is a very broad definition of talent. "Bigger than the game" is to be a talent above the rest. It is somebody with skill and attitude greater than any who have or ever will play.

For example, pick the very best baseball player from your generation. Think about all of the amazing highlights, unforgettable moments, and glory that this player saw during his career. Now put his name next to the best from every generation. Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson, Ken Griffey Jr., and Cy Young are all great choices, but not the only people on the list. If you thought about all of the miraculous careers of the players mentioned, it is impossible to say that any one was bigger than the game.

No player, no matter how talented or marketable, will ever be able to hold that title. Great players come and go, trying their best to cement a place in history. Some achieve far more than others could even imagine, but never more than what baseball has meant to America. This sport originated here and stuck. While I marvel at some of the greats around the game today, I only get more excited about what is in store for the future.

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