Friday, October 9, 2015

The Truth of Finality

"Unlike most, a ballplayer must confront two deaths. First, between the ages of 30 and 40 he perishes as an athlete. Although he looks trim and feels vigorous and retains unusual coordination, the superlative reflexes, the major league reflexes, pass on. At a point when many of his classmates are newly confident and rising in other fields, he finds that he can no longer hit a very good fastball or reach a grounder four strides to his right. At 35 he is experiencing the truth of finality. As his major league career is ending, all things will end. However he sprang, he was always earthbound. Mortality embraces him. The golden age has passed as in a moment. So will all things. So will all moments. Memento mori."  ~ Roger Kahn's The Boys of Summer

Roger Kahn randomly (?) used the age of 35 to describe the point in life where the the athlete comes to the realization that his time on the field is short, that the end is nigh. Though I have never played professional sports, my own experience in life confirms the 'truth of finality,' as Kahn calls this phenomenon. Thirty-five was an age where my own frailty began showing: my hand-eye coordination wasn't as good as it once was; my memory, a little slower to recall; the aches and pains, a little more intense; my body, a little slower to heal.

After being released by the Phillies just two days before the start of the 1993 season, Dale Murphy didn't stay unemployed for long. The expansion Colorado Rockies, looking for veteran help, made Philadelphia's decision a little easier by indicating that they would be willing to sign 37 year-old outfielder. An 'Iron Man' for most of his career, Dale had missed only a total of 42 games between 1980 and 1991- but the daily grind had taken its tole on his knees, leading to him having to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery in November of 1991. Murph would play in 18 games during the 1992 season. His time in Philadelphia, short. His career nearing its end and the truth of finality, undoubtedly, beginning to settle into his mind.

As a fan and collector, there was nothing I would have liked to see more than to have Topps include Dale as a Rockie in their 1993 Traded set. But with only 49 plate appearances in 26 games for the Rockies, it wasn't to be. One interesting card, however, was this one- from the special Rockies Inaugural Year set. It is probably the closest thing we'll get to a Topps card showing Dale Murphy as a Colorado Rockie. Unless, of course, the company does one in its Archives set. *HINT, HINT*

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this awesome custom of Dale, created by Steve over at White Sox Cards. It is my all-time favorite custom card, BTW.

1 comment:

  1. Murphy played for Colorado? I guess it's true. We learn something new every day.