Amazin’ Gifts I Wish I Could Have Given You…
Good afternoon. I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas and you got what you wanted or needed. If I had the power, I would have given you these things:
* One more summer like 1969, when the expectations weren’t high and your team captured the imagination of the City and the nation.
* An ownership group solvent and desirous of giving you the talent you deserve to cheer for.
* One more night of Tom Seaver going into that classic windup and stride, brushing his right knee to the mound and throwing a darting fastball on the corner, with Willie Mays swinging and missing with a mighty grunt.
* Shea Stadium rocking one more time, with the stands actually moving as the K’s mount up for Dwight Gooden.
* Darryl Strawberry uncoiling that mighty swing of his and ripping a majestic blast deep into the bullpen area. That is, if it misses the scoreboard.
* Another summer against the classic rivalries, the Cubs, the Cardinals, the Braves … and beating them.
* Mike Piazza whiplash swing, rifling a line drive deep into the night.
* The gritty play of Len Dykstra and Wally Backman, diving for balls and into bases, letting us know hustle is still in vogue.
* Keith Hernandez, creeping in from first to pounce on the bunt and nail the runner going to third.
* Johan Santana, healthy from April through October.
* Jerry Koosman dropping a slow curve in on the hands of Willie McCovey.
* Those hundreds of creative signs on Banner Day.
* Seeing the stars come in one more time: Mays, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Hank Aaron, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Roberto Clemente, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Gaylord Perry, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, Richie Allen, Mike Schmidt, Willie Stargell, Fergie Jenkins, Dale Murphy and yes, Chipper Jones.
* Jose Reyes drilling a liner into the gap, striding around the bases and diving head first into third with a triple.
* Ed Kranepool holding on speedster Maury Wills at first.
* A Dave Kingman moonshot, without the complementary strikeout.
* Shea Stadium on a sunny, Sunday afternoon.
* Citi Field, full for once on a date other than Opening Day and against somebody other than the Yankees.
* Speaking of the Yankees, sweeping them during interleague play.
* Carlos Beltran running into the gap to chase down a line drive.
* A solid rotation of Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez.
* Randy Myers throwing smoke in the ninth.
* Billy Wagner doing the same.
* Jerry Grote blocking the plate.
* An October of magic, with J.C. Martin getting the call when he was struck running down the line … with Tommie Agee chasing down uncatchable fly balls and Donn Clendenon ripping home runs.
* A summer when the non-descript come through in the clutch: Ken Boswell and Al Weis; Ron Taylor and Don Cardwell.
* Another spring training with Casey Stengel telling his tales.
* Another summer with Gil Hodges in the dugout.
* David Wright with supporting hitters all around him.
* John Olerud’s sweet swing.
* Robin Ventura with the bases loaded.
* R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball floating towards home.
* And, one more dribbler down the first base line from Mookie Wilson ….
About the Author: John Delcos
I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 20 years, including ten in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I covered the Baltimore Orioles for eight years and the Cleveland Indians before that.
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