Forty-five years ago today, Ken Griffey, Jr. was born in Donora PA.
As most folks my age are wont to do, I got suckered in to loving Junior early and that adoration never really went away. All through the early and mid 90's, my Mets really sucked and didn't have many players worth rooting for, so Griffey was an out-of-town escape from my hometown doldrums.
I always liked the way Griffey looked in a Reds uniform; oh how I wish things worked out better for him there.
Griffey has some of the most iconic cards of all-time but one that slips through the cracks is that bubble gum 1995 Pinnacle shot. Maybe because it isn't the best bubble card of all time? I think it deserves more love, the look on his face is priceless.
I have a bunch of Griffey inserts as well, but you will just have to be satisfied with the six(!) pages I have of him. This was whittled down from many more years ago when I decided to not collect every single player I liked in mass quantities. Of all the player collections I pared down, Junior's was probably the hardest one to do. Six pages is the most I have of any player in either the retired or hall of fame binders.
And of course, here is the obligatory page with his dad, Ken Griffey, Sr. Did you know at one point Ken Griffey, Jr. Lee May, Jr. and Pete Rose, Jr. (and Eduardo Perez, who is a combo-breaker) all played on the same traveling team? That seems, um, unfair.
Ninety-four years ago today, Stan Musial was born in Donora PA.
Opinions obviously vary wildly about who the most basebally baseball player who ever baseballed is, but gun to my head, I'd have to go with Stan. He looked the part, he acted the part, and he was, well, The Man.
With apologies to Tom McCraw, Freddie Lindstrom, Dick Schofield, Bill
Almon, Hank Blalock, Mark Eichhorn, and Tripp Cromer (amongst others) who never ever get
mentioned as having a birthday today because they had the karmic misfortune to be
born on the same day as two of the greatest baseball players of all time.
Sixty-six years ago today, my mother was born in beautiful downtown Jersey City. As far as I know, she has never been to Donora PA.
My mom has spent the last month or so in New Orleans, going to games and following the players around. She is sort of a stalker who doesn't "stalk" or perhaps a groupie who doesn't actually sleep with the players - she is old enough to be the grandmother of some of them, after all. But in between drinking and eating, she loves to go see the players in public (see above) and she does make the rounds, believe me.
Since I can't be there to do it in person, here is Akiem Hicks to give you a great big hug. Happy Birthday Mom!