Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Belated Monday Musings on Sports - Santo and Saying Thank You

[Its been more years than I can count since Mrs KB and I went to a hockey game. As we were treated to tix to last night's Rangers Maple Leaf game, I was unable to post a Monday Musings on Sports post last evening. Rather than leaving the week without Sports+Torah, I have posted this evening instead.]

This morning, news broke that former Chicago Cubs 3B Ron Santo had been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The news was truly bittersweet, as Chicago area baseball fans had been advocating Santo for the Hall of Fame from the moment that he became eligible. During his career with the Cubs, Santo was selected to the All Star Team nine time and won five gold gloves. After Santo retired from baseball, he continued his service to the Cubs and to endear himself to Cubs fans by joining the broadcast team as WGN's color commentator.

Despite Santo's accomplishments, he was not elected to the Hall of Fame during his initial period of eligibility. Thereafter he was "eligible" to be voted in by the Veterans Committee, but he also failed to gain the necessary percentage of votes required for entry to the Hall. Although Santo was finally selected to the Hall of Fame today, the ceremony will be held without him as he passed away last December.

While driving to work this morning, I heard a piece on the Mike & Mike in the Morning Show on 1050 ESPN Radio in which they discussed the posthumous induction. Greenberg recollected his time working as a journalist in Chicago and how beloved Santo was by the fans. He also talked about how year after year, the media would descend on Santo for comment as to what he felt about the present year's Hall of Fame voting and his prospects for election in the following year.

Golic on the other hand ranted about why players take 10-15 years to get voted into the Hall. His position was - if the player is deserved of induction, he should be voted into the Hall in his first couple of years of eligibility. After all mused Golic, what about his statistics or accomplishments changed over the next ten years which would make the player now worthy of admission to the Hall?

The question of posthumous honors and the proper way to say thanks made me think about a vort that I heard on a R' Mansour shiur that I downloaded from www.learntorah.com. In last week's parsha, Leah names her fourth child Yehuda as now she can thank Hashem. The gemara states that Leah's action was the first time in Chumash that someone had shown thanks to Hashem. However, the gemara requires explanation as it is inconceivable that others did not thank Hashem. By example, Avraham & Sarah certainly must have thanked Hashem after being blessed with a son at advanced age.

R' Mansour answered the question on the gemara by quoting a vort from R' Paam ztl. R' Paam explained that thanks can be fleeting and easily forgotten, even if the gift or act was meaningful when received. Leah did not want to forget that Hashem had blessed her by giving her a fourth son which was more than a proportional 1/4 share of the 12 tribes of Israel. In order to remember this, Leah named her son Yehuda, so that every time she called or referred to him, the boy's very name would remind her of how thankful she was to Hashem.

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Jake you-know-who said...

Santo may have started his career with a brief stint as a catcher, but he primarily played 3rd base for the duration of his career. BTW, I don't know if you've seen it yet, but the cRc just updated their liquor list within the past week.Regards,

Jake you-know-who in Chicago

Neil T said...

Thanks for the comment and the heads up on the CRC. The catcher comment was my error, I dont know if ever played catcher for the Cubs.