Ever heard of Bobby Richardson?
Baseball fans are a strange group of useful idiots. We will argue over the smallest minutia of trivia. We will argue about anything, producing statistic after statistic to prove our point. Unless it comes down to cold hard numbers, anything can be argued.
Take the greatest teams ever. If you want The Pink Flamingo’s humble opinion (and you don’t) here is my list. Do not expect reason or logic. It’s all heart and gut feelings, along with a presentation of stats. I know my friend, Allen Barra would have an entirely different list, but I suspect we would agree on most of the teams, maybe with different rankings. The bottom line, when you get to those top teams, there is very little difference, and it is all quite subjective, as in My Man Johnny being on the greatest team ever.
- 1975 Cincinnati Reds (& 1976 Reds)
- 1961 New York Yankees
- 1927 New York Yankees
- 1939 New York Yankees, 1998 New York Yankees
- 1929 Philadelphia Athletes
- 1970 Baltimore Orioles
- 1906 Chicago Cubs
- 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers
- 1942 St. Louis Cardinals
- 1948 Cleveland Indians
The reason this list is important is because of Bobby Richardson, who is arguably (that is an important word in baseball) one of the greatest second basemen the game has ever produced. He was a bedrock of the 1961 Yankees.
During those wild and crazy glory days of the New York Yankees of the late 1950s and early 1960s, Richardson, and to a lessor point, his teammate Tony Kubek stood out as the quiet ones. Those were hard-drinking, but party years highlighted by the 1957 Battle of the Copacabana.
“…This nightclub achieved a degree of notoriety due to a May 16, 1957 incident involving members of the New York Yankees. On that evening, teammates Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Hank Bauer, Yogi Berra, Johnny Kucks and Billy Martin, along with the wives of the former five arrived at the nightclub to celebrate Martin’s birthday. Sammy Davis, Jr. happened to be the headliner. During the performance, a group of bowlers, apparently intoxicated, started to interfere with Davis’ act, even hurling racial slurs at him. This behavior incensed the Yankees, especially Martin, since his roommate was Elston Howard, the first African American to join the Yankees. Tensions erupted between the two factions, and the resulting fracas made newspaper headlines. Several of the Yankees were fined. One of the bowlers sued Bauer for aggravated assault, but Bauer was found not guilty. Martin was later traded from the Yankees to the Kansas City Athletics, with this incident cited as a main cause….”
In his glory days, Bobby Richardson was probably the most important Christian athlete in the world. His stature was so great, in 1970 Richard Nixon asked him to preach at the White House. He officiated at Micky Mantle’s funeral in 1995. (He is also a Republican, running for Congress in 1976 in the Fifth District in South Carolina. He was endorsed by fellow Republicans Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, and Bob Feller).
In 1962 Bobby Richardson was the World Series MVP.
“…His best year was probably 1962, when he batted .302 with 8 home runs and 59 runs batted in. His 209 hits led the American League, and he stole 11 bases in 161 games. He made the AL All-Star team, won his second Gold Glove, and came in second in the AL MVP voting, just behind teammate Mickey Mantle. One of the best parts of Richardson’s game was his ability to make contact. He struck out just 243 times in his entire 12-year career, less than 5% of his plate appearances. He was among the top three players in the league in at bats per strikeout eight times during his career, and led the league three times, 1964-1966. He twice led the league in sacrifice bunts.
He also led the league in at bats three times, partly because he batted early in the order and partly because he rarely missed a game, coming to be known as a workhorse. His career high was 692 at bats in 161 games in 1962.
He had an all-time fielding percentage of .979 at second base….”
The Pink Flamingo is using Bobby Richardson as an example of a Christian athlete because of the baseball connection. For the record I consider both football and basketball barbaric and primitive exercises of futility as testosterone. He is the prefect example of on and off the field reality of Christian living, a man always respected by his peers.
It wasn’t necessary for Richardson to put a Bible verse on his face, kneel down after each good play, or go around pontificating. He simply led the life of a Christian. The simple exercise of being a man of God, during those hard living, hard drinking days of Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Billy Martin was enough for him.
Another famous Christian is George Foreman.
“…1977 would prove to be a life changing year for Foreman. After knocking out Pedro Agosto in four rounds at Pensacola, Florida, Foreman flew to Puerto Rico a day before the fight without giving himself time to acclimatise. His opponent was the skilled boxer Jimmy Young, who had beaten Ron Lyle and lost a very controversial decision to Muhammad Ali the previous year. Foreman fought cautiously early on, allowing Young to settle into the fight. Young constantly complained about Foreman pushing him, for which Foreman eventually had a point deducted by the referee, although Young was never warned for his persistent holding. Foreman badly hurt Young in round 7 but was unable to land a finishing blow. Foreman tired during the second half of the fight and even suffered a flash knockdown in round 12 en route to losing a decision.
Foreman became ill in his dressing room after the fight. He was suffering from exhaustion and heatstroke and believed he had a near death experience. He claimed he found himself in a hellish, frightening place of nothingness and despair. He began to plead with God to help him. He explained that he sensed God asking him to change his life and ways. After this experience, Foreman became a born-again Christian, dedicating his life for the next decade to God. Although he did not formally retire from boxing, Foreman stopped fighting, became an ordained minister of a church in Houston, Texas, and devoted himself to his family and his congregation. He also opened a youth center that bears his name. Foreman continues to share his conversion experience on Christian television broadcasts such as The 700 Club and the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and would later joke that Young had knocked the devil out of him….”
Ever heard of Mariano Rivera?
“…He is the owner of one of the nastiest pitches in the history of the game, 5 World Series Rings (1996, 1998-2000, 2009) and a Bible. Rivera’s on the field achievements are impressive; 10 Time All Star, 1999 World Series MVP, second all time in saves and holds a multitude of statistical records.
While Rivera holds down the ninth inning for the Yanks with regularity he also holds down his Christian responsibilities as well. He reads his Bible before and after games and even has a verse imprinted in his glove. Rivera, who came from humble beginnings in Panama, has testified that after he retires (hopefully not anytime soon) he hopes to be a minister…”
What about Albert Pujols, John Smoltz, Josh Hamilton?
“...Josh Hamilton is tagged as being one of the most naturally talented hitters in baseball. In 2008 he finished seventh in the balloting for AL MVP and in 2007 he contested for the NL Rookie Of The Year award. He currently is a starting outfielder for the Texas Rangers, batting in the heart of the lineup and widely considered their best player. He’s also a 2 time All Star (2008-2009) and winner of the Silver Slugger Award (2008).
The Josh Hamilton story is one of inspiration. After being drafted first overall in 1999 he succumbed to a partying lifestyle and later became addicted to cocaine, which resulted in him losing his career. For several years he was in and out of rehab and was basically a world class loser. Then he crawled to his grandmothers house and she helped clean him up.
Josh credits his sobriety to Jesus Christ and both he and his wife are active Christians. Hamilton has spoken about his story openly, as well as his faith in Christ, and now serves as a role model for younger players and children everywhere….”
Charlie Ward is another Christian star.
“...What hasn’t Charlie Ward done? He has been considered the most versatile athlete in the last century, having opportunities to play professionally in football, basketball and baseball. In college he won a National Championship as quarterback for Florida State University (1993), the Heisman Trophy Award (1993), the Davey O’Brien Award (1993), NCAA Top Quarterback Of The Year Award (1993), Johnny Unitis Award (1993) and many others from that memorable year in 1993. After college Ward decided to not play professional football and in 1994 he was drafted in the first round by the New York Knicks and served as their starting point guard for several years. He had a successful career in the NBA including making it to the NBA Finals in the mid 90’s.
Charlie Ward was always a strongly devoted Christian. After losses he would send scriptures to his coach with the Knicks, Stan Van Gundy. He participated and lead many Bible studies with the Knicks and spoke openly about his faith in Jesus.
After retiring from basketball he became an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets. He is currently the head coach of a football team at a Christian High School….”
Glen Coffee is a former football player who is a Christian, with a large ministry. And then there is Kurt Warner, another football player, who is quite outspoken against lifting up one person up over another.
“…According to The Post Game, Warner feels Tebow’s outward profession of Christianity might be having an adverse effect to the people he is trying to reach. “There’s almost a faith cliche, where (athletes) come out and say, ‘I want to thank my Lord and savior.’ As soon as you say that, the guard goes up, the walls go up, and I came to realize you have to be more strategic,” Warner said.
“The greatest impact you can have on people is never what you say, but how you live. When you speak and represent the person of Jesus Christ in all actions of your life, people are drawn to that. You set the standard with your actions. The words can come after.”
Warner is also famous for his post game interviews where he would always thank the Lord for his victories and give Him glory. Upon winning his first Super Bowl in 1999, he had a conversation with Mike Trico of ABC. “Kurt, first things first – tell me about the final touchdown pass to Isaac,” asked Trico.
Warner replied, “Well, first things first, I’ve got to thank my Lord and Savior up above – thank you, Jesus!”…”
This brings us back to Tim Tebow. Unlike most of the world, I find him to be disgusting, putting himself above the Lord. It is no longer about the Lord, it is about Tebow. Someone who is a true Christian, putting the Lord above himself, does not make the game about himself. There are several members of the New York Jets who are dreading the possibility of having him on the team.
“…”(I’d be) a little disappointed just (because) you don’t really know what angle we’re going as his team — are we trying to win right now, or are we playing to get a draft pick for the next year’s quarterback, who’s gonna be pretty good,” Porter asked. “You gotta think that if I’m playing and you bring Tebow in. You’re not gonna think like, ‘What are we trying to do this year?’ I don’t think we can win right now with Tebow.”
Warren Sapp, former NFL defensive tackle turned analyst, seemed to agree with Porter’s way of thinking. Sapp said playing with Tebow would probably make his teammates miserable.
“If I was on that ballclub, I’d have to learn to love to be miserable. But if they brought him on my team, I’d have to follow him, because I’d have to see if the magic … if he could bring it to me.” Sapp said. “Until the wheels falls off and the horse breaks down, I’m gonna ride him. But it’s a miserable state to put yourself in.”…”
During the fall, I found the adulation surrounding Tim Tebow – Great Christian – to be disgusting and repulsive. Today, it is even worse. When I saw what Pat Robertson said, well, as far as I’m concerned, Tim Tebow is an utter and complete failure, both as a football player and as a Christian (then again, we are all failures as Christians).
This adoration of Tim Tebow has gone too far.
“…Televangelist Pat Robertson is not happy with the Broncos shipping out Tim Tebow. So unhappy that he’s wishing Peyton Manning bad karma. Robertson has his own bounty out on the new QB. Robertson said Denver treated Tebow “shabbily” after all he did for the “nothing team” last season.
“And you just ask yourself, OK, so Peyton Manning was a tremendous MVP quarterback, but he’s been injured. If that injury comes back, Denver will find itself without a quarterback. And in my opinion, it would serve them right,” he said….”
When a so-called Christian inspires this kind of adulation, it’s time for them to sit down, shut up, and listen to the Lord. Does Pat Robertson, who I once admired, think that changes in a man’s life are bad? Where is his faith? As Christians, we are required to rejoice always, pray constantly, and in EVERYTHING give Thanks unto the Lord! Let’s face it, if Tebow can make it in New York, he can make it anywhere, right?
How dare anyone question the movement of a person’s life, especially a Christian questioning the things that go one in a Christian’s life?
As for Tim Tebow, he is NOT God. What bothers me is the way people are putting him on some sort of a higher plain than the rest of us. Tragically, he is the one who will end up paying for it. There is something not quite stable about his faith. Over the years, The Pink Flamingo has learned those who advertise their faith the most, are the ones in serious trouble.