Rick Rhoden had a solid career as a pitcher (and an exceptionally good hitter, as pitchers go) in the Major Leagues. But there was something else, something harder to describe, that places him among Bruce Jenner and Jan-Michael Vincent in the ranks of the world's finest athletes.
How a near-perfect moment on the hard road of life reminds you of the paths you could have taken and the ones still to come.
Luis Tiant was a great pitcher, if perhaps one too interesting, flawed, and non-linear for the Hall of Fame. But he was also more than that, and a pitcher whose uniquely contorted and violent motion carved out a new and strange type of baseball grace. From the new e-book "The Hall of Nearly Great."
The card at the top of this page was intact, with a face, when I pulled it out of my shoebox of old cards at random few days ago. I always hope that by selecting from my shoebox blindly I’ll see the card drawn as if for the first time. I stuck with this hope for about a minute, lost focus, and then compulsively typed the player’s name into an internet search window.
From the beginning, Bill Bene threw very hard and yet with so much wildness as to be nearly useless to his team. Scouts began to appear, more and more all the time, drawn to his promise, ignoring his flaws, much in the way one falls in love.