My Baseball Wish…
If Bud Selig ever leaves his job as Commissioner of Major League Baseball, I wish that the powers that are behind that throne would send out a contract to Ron Darling offering him the job.
A bit of history about Ron – born in Honolulu, Hawaii to a French Canadian Father and a Hawaiian Chinese Mother – he was raised in Massachusetts, is the eldest of four brothers and studied at Yale with a dual major of French and Southeast Asian History. He was also a four sport athlete at Yale and as a baseball pitcher in a game against Frank Viola of St. John’s, Ronnie made history when he tossed 11 no-hit innings on May 21, 1981. The game was chronicled in The New Yorker by noted baseball writer, Roger Angell, and still remains the longest no-hitter in NCAA history.
Ron was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the first round of the ’81 draft, made his debut on September 6, 1983 and went on to play for the Mets, Athletics and Expos. He pitched in the Post Season in 1986 and 1988 for the Mets and in 1992 for Oakland. Lately he has become a commentator for SNY and other baseball media and has done some post season work as well.
He has also written a fine baseball book Titled “THE COMPLETE GAME – Reflections on Baseball, Pitching and Life on the Mound”. If you love the game I recommend it. Here’s an excerpt about Tom Seaver.
“Tom came over to me one day and asked where I went to school – I was certain he already knew the answer, but he was Tom Seaver and I was just a nothing rookie, so I finally caved. When I said “Yale”, Seaver just nodded, and then he stepped away, toward his locker apparently to get something. He came back a beat or two later with a copy of the New York Times, folded and quartered in the manner of an experienced New Yorker. He handed it to me and I could see it was open to the crossword puzzle. He said, “Finish this”.
“I’d never done the puzzle in my life, but someone must have been smiling down on me that day because I finished it straightaway. Some people have an aptitude for crossword puzzles. Some people don’t. Happily, it turned out, it came easily to me, so I left the completed puzzle on the chair in front of Seaver’s locker and waited for whatever would come next.”
“The next day, I arrived at my locker to find a fresh copy of that day’s New York Times, again open to the crossword. Every day for the rest of the season, that’s how it went, and every day I sat down and dutifully completed the puzzle….It became our thing. Keith Hernandez, too and like Tom Seaver, he was one of the more cerebral players in our clubhouse. Before long, these great veterans seemed to accept me. Not because I could pitch, but because I could do the New York Times crossword puzzle.”
“This, too , was baseball. It wasn’t just what you put out on the field that counted with your teammates. It was how you carried yourself, how you stood up to the razzing…It was in these clubhouse-related ways that you earned your stripes as a ballplayer. The stuff on the field came later.”
I’m not going to go on and on about what Ron knows about the game because I suspect most of you have heard him in the booth with Gary and Keith. Those who have run into him around the ball park or in the city know what a gentleman he is and a great guy, too. Once in a while he’ll answer some phone calls for WFAN listeners and always knows the answer to a baseball history question.
I know that Ron enjoys his work these days and perhaps has never thought about replacing Selig.
Maybe he will now…