Thursday, May 28, 2015

Base(ball) Oddity #36: From The Cradle to the Grave

Rare is the athlete whose entire career is spent in the same city. Rarer still is the athlete whose career is bookended by two events in the same city- but while with different teams. Andruw Jones is one such player.

2004 Sports Illustrated for Kids #388

At one end is Andruw Jones the kid. Nineteen years old, fresh off a minor league stint in which he hit .339/.421/.652 with 34 homers and 92 RBI over 116 games at 3 stops (including 5 homers in only 45 at-bats at AAA Richmond). The kid hits another 5 homers in 106 at-bats after getting the call to the Show.

The kid then finds himself at Yankee Stadium, New York City- a World Series debutant who homers in his first two at-bats. His youthful enthusiasm, perpetual smile and otherworldly talent helps us to forgive his occasional transgressions (lackadaisicalness, lack of strike-zone judgement). He is a kid, after all.

2006 Sports Illustrated for Kids

Fifteen years later the kid is now a man. His skills have diminished greatly, leading you to believe he's forty-four, not thirty-four. He's still a year away from his final major league game, but he has once again found himself in the City- not in Shea, but back at Yankee Stadium, this time wearing pin-stripes. He homers off of the Twins' Brian Duensing in his first at-bat of the season. And then later, this:

Quite honestly, this is the last moment I remember in Andruw Jones' major league career. I'm really glad that Sports Illustrated didn't create a card of Andruw towards the end of his career. Long gone were the days of his taking away home runs or extra-base hits. Instead, he looks like an old man, slipping as he's taking out the trash.

1 comment:

  1. Always hated seeing him in pinstripes and really he has a legitimate HOF claim but the way his career ended stinks