Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Real Reason Kids Today Don't Remember Stuff On The Web...


...Isn't just because they know it's stuffed up The Tubez for easy and instant access.

In addition, I think its got a lot to do with the fact that just about everything is searchable.

Which means you never have to actually read through something in its entirety to find both the specific thing you're looking for and to make sure you don't miss something that might shed a little more light on that specific thing further on down the piece.

I thought of this as I finished all one and three-quarter pieces worth reading in yesterday's dead-tree version of the weekend Globe* before I began ruminating, during that twilight time between Randy Bachman's radio show and a deep cloud-darkened pseudo-summer sunset viewed from here, guitar propped on log nearby, on something that really matters.

Which was a list of all of major league baseball's retired numbers that that was tagged onto yet another 'Roberto Alomar Is (really, he is) Mr. Blue Jay' bit of deck chair/resurrection re-shuffling from the Globe's Sports Dept.**

And, not surprisingly given the way the jersey thing used to work in the old days, the numbers below 10 had, by far the most retirees, in aggregate.

I was surprised, however, that the #20 was tied with #5 (Brooks!) for the most retirees by a single number.

Although #20 is a bit of cheater because it includes Big Frank (not Brooks!) twice. First when he played with the pre-Big Red Machine Reds and later, with Brooks!, in Baltimore.

Which of, course, got me looking through the list for the other single numbers with players whose numbers had been retired twice with different teams....

Like #29, Rod Carew (Twins/Angels)...Double-double #34, Nolan Ryan (Astros/Rangers, but not the Miracle Mets pre-Advil Wild Man) and Rollie Fingers (Brewers/A's)....And, of course, #44, Hammerin' Hank (Braves/BackToMilwaukeeBrewers).

But here's the thing.

Because I read through the entire thing, I noticed something else.

Which is that one player has had two different numbers retired by two different teams.

And no, (the real) Pudge,*** who palindromed '2' and '7' with the Red&White Sox doesn't count, although in true crustian Pudge fashion it is pretty damned cool.


Think about it for a second.

And stay away from the goldarned Google for just a second longer....

How about a few brain searchable hints to get the old memory mojo workin'...

Like.... Straw (but not berry)?....Car dealerships (b/w mysterious flames)?....Joe Rudi?....Hit-on-the-big-fat-beefy-hip by kid fireballer...Whiffs, homers and tirades for and with both of his most famous mercurial managers, both now deceased....


You got it now.


Old fashioned #9, with the very new fangled early '70's A's.

And new fangled, riding the tail-end of Hank's #44 with the faux traditional late '70's Yankees.

*All of D.Saunders, half of T.Southey and 1/4 of S.Quinn
**Make no mistake, I think that Robbie was an excellent 2nd baseman...But I remember him as a free agent vagabond who was no Omar Vizquel when it came to making a real difference for a team beyond range and consistent numbers...And don't forget, despite all the adulation from the Center of the Universe's scribes, he was only their for five wild, Skydome Hotel outfield window years...
***Thanks to my editor, I almost, but not quite got to interview the real/no tweet Pudge in the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum bullpen, but that's a different (Dear Diarist) story (for later)...
I remember seeing Roberto's older brother Sandy Jr. play for the Padres' Triple A affiliate a whole bunch of times in the late 80's and being blown away by his total cat-like command of all aspects of the game, both behind and at the plate...Have to wonder what his very good MLB career could have become if he hadn't been hobbled by injuries by a large chunk of its first decade....Please note: I, could be a little fuzzy on that one because I resisted the urge and did NOT look it up....And if I did, I'd go downstairs and dig out the door stop, the BBE, for all kinds of reasons like, say, I might want to directly compare Sandy Sr.'s numbers with his kids' on the directly facing super thin, non-crinkly pages....Hey!....I think I'll go do that right now...
Later, in the lab (well, actually earlier this morning), I mentioned this non-searchable exercise to one of the sharp young deep sequence blaster kids, for whom everything is searchable....He just rolled his eyes at me and said...."Names".... "What?", I replied.... "All you had to do was re-align with names instead of numbers and you would have seen that in about two seconds".... Sheesh.
Update: Thought about it a bit more...Could ask blaster kid to come up with a strategy to find the single number that actually has a triple city retiree, but figured that might come out in the MIL/ATL Braves search wash somehow, so....Tomorrow I'll ask him to explain how he'd search the fact that there is nothing comparable to #7 for its starkest of stark contrasts...Will then wait to see if the smartass can figure that one out in the most salacious Boolean scriptease fashion...Ha!
Double Secret Probation Update: Photo at top of the post has three of the players mentioned in this post....And only two of them are in uniform...And yes, I found the image using the bloody search engine....Ironically enough though you can't get to the full story, with context, via a direct link....It's from a retrospective of the great NY Daily News photog Charles Ruppmann's fantastic body of work over half a century....To find the answer to the not quite trivial question you've got to go here and then go to....#26 (three retirees, of course, one of them, ironically, a horse riding rope rider who never played an MLB game in his life).


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