Confused about the rich, but mysterious, history of baseball?
Baseball is a
game. There are teams and players, scores and stats,
winners and losers. But it is more than just a game. More than just a
boxscore. More than just numbers.
This is baseball.
KANSAS CITY, MO - The date was May 19, 2009, and the Kansas City Royals were getting ready to turn in another long summer of poor hitting, laughable base running, and Keystone Kops defense.
My wife and I were at the ballpark with our young son and daughter, who were understandably more concerned with the new outfield "experience" than the action on the field. Grandma and grandpa were there. So were aunts and uncles and a cousin.
Baseball is in my family's blood.
The game followed the same script we've gotten used to over the last 20 years here in the City of Fountains. The Boys in Blue found themselves down 5-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth. No signs of life.
My son, 6, was getting tired. It was past his bed time.
"It's a great day for a ballgame. Let's play two."
- Ernie Banks
In the annals of major league statistics you will find nothing spectacular about Mike Jacobs, Mark Teahen, David DeJesus and Willie Bloomquist. In fact, less than two years later none of them were still in Royals uniforms.
But with one out Mike Jacobs deposited a home run over the wall in right-center field, and the crowd halted its slow march to the exits.
Then when Teahen crushed the next pitch, we were all chanting "LET'S GO ROY-ALS!" before the ball even landed in the opposing team's bullpen.
We were still behind, but you could feel it coming. My daughter was on my shoulders, chanting with the giant scoreboard.
I looked at my son, and he was mesmerized. I smiled.
After a walk put the tying run on base, DeJesus brought it home with a triple into the gap. The stadium was so loud, I couldn't hear myself think!
When Bloomquist delivered the inevitable game-winning sacrifice fly, my family went bananas. We were high-fiving total strangers!
My daughter was squealing like a typical 7-year-old, caught up in the excitement of the crowd. But as I saw my brother-in-law give my son a giant bear hug, there was something on his 6-year-old face that wasn't there before.
The game. It was in his blood now.
That, my friends, is baseball.
"The other sports are just sports. Baseball is a love."
- Bryant Gumbel
You can find enough statistics on the game to keep you busy for a lifetime. And don't get me wrong. I love them all.
But the Royals produced more than just 65 wins and a Cy Young winner in that dreadful summer of 2009.
They made my son a fan.
Roger Maris was more than 61*. Jackie Robinson was more than 42. And 2,632 doesn't tell the entire story of Cal Ripken, Jr.
The Vault is more than just an encyclopedia of baseball history.
This is where our national pastime's legacy, stories and even numbers truly come alive!
Take a journey through the history of your favorite team, from their stadiums down to their minor leagues.
Revisit some of the greatest World Series moments ever, and
see where your favorite lands in the Vault's all-time rankings.
Laugh at the hilarious things players have said over the years.
This is baseball. ♦
BASEBALL QUOTES - They are as much a part of the game as the records, the rules or the stories.
It ain't over 'til it's over.
Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
The players who dirtied their
St. Louis baseball history is filled with great players like Stan Musial (above) and Rogers Hornsby, memorable teams like The Gashouse Gang and one-of-a-kind moments like Bob Gibson's 1967 World Series performance.
Since entering the American Association in 1882 as the Brown Stockings, the franchise has brought winning to the city's loyal fans. This is their team. Their legacy. Their history.
Right here in the Vault. ♦
uniforms between the foul lines have had a lot to say about the national pastime over the years.
It's the game in their words. ♦