Some of us are looking forward to March 29, 2018 – opening day of Major League Baseball! For the first time in 50 years, all 30 Major League teams will play on opening day, including Canada’s favourite team, the Toronto Blue Jays. They kick things off by playing four games against those ‘dreaded’ New York Yankees – hopefully they will be the ‘dreadful’ New York Yankees and Toronto will begin their season with a four-game sweep!
The Yankees have been, by far and away, baseball’s most successful team. To date, there have been 113 World Series, the series that crowns baseball’s best team. New York has appeared in 40 World Series and have been the champs an amazing 27 times. The next best team has been the St. Louis Cardinals, who have won it just 11 times. In case you’re not very good at math, the Yankees have been the champions sixteen more times than the next best team!
Obviously for the Yankees to be that successful, they’ve had some pretty good players – Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter…why the list could go on and on! New York fans have been treated to some pretty amazing players over the years.
For those of you who are astute baseball fans, you’re likely thinking, “Hey, he missed a name!” And you’re right! One of the greatest Yankees who ever played the game was a centre-fielder/first baseman by the name of… Mickey Mantle.
How great was he? He played for 18 years (from 1951 to 1968), all for the Yankees. Sixteen times, he was an All-Star and in 12 of those years, he played in the World Series. He helped those ‘Yanks’ win seven championships! Three times, he was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player and three other times, he finished second in the voting for the MVP. I could easily fill this column with his list of many accomplishments!
Perhaps the best tribute of how great of a player he was came in 1974. The year that he was elected into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Major League Baseball began way back in 1876 and since then, 19,183 players have appeared in uniform – incredibly, only 226 of them have made it to the Hall of Fame!
Yes, Mickey Mantle was a terrific player on the field, both offensively and defensively. In the 2,290 games that he played, he made just 107 errors – an error happens when a player makes a fielding mistake that allows someone to get on base, or allows a base runner to advance to an additional base.
But, in spite of all these and many other great accomplishments on the field, Mickey Mantle made one serious error, one serious mistake off the field. I’ll tell you what it was…next week.
In the meantime, join us for church at Pierson Bible Chapel this Sunday. Our morning service begins at 9:30 a.m.