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Welcoming Spring and a Welcome Revision

I have a lot to celebrate today. First, Spring is in full bloom in the West Village.

When we first moved to our block I couldn't imagine seeing Roses growing on the street.

I love these teeny little pansies; I think they're also called Johhny-Jump-Ups.

Here's a happy memory. On a spring day when we could at last take off our jackets Molly, then in First Grade, said to her Mom, "I want to wear black pants and a striped shirt, just like MomMom." Because this was a day for me to pick Molly up after school, Jessie called me with the dress code memo. When I arrived at pick-up time Molly's teacher looked at us and said, "Oh, look at you two--you match!"

I had to get pictures but it took some wrangling.

But here's what I really want to celebrate. Major League Baseball has integrated Negro League statistics into the all-time record book so that Josh Gibson is now the career batting average leader, ahead of Ty Cobb.

a bronze plaque for Josh Gibson
His Plaque in the Hall of Fame

I have a soft spot for catchers; they're solid. If the pitcher is a high strung race horse the catcher is the steady hand on the reins. Think of Kevin Costner to Tim Robbins in the movie Bull Durham. Remember that scene of the conference on the mound?

Pen & Ink drawing or 4 baseball players
Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez, Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez and Derek Jeter in the Unicorn Tapestry

Some standouts; Yogi Berra, of course, is a national treasure. Thurmond Munson; when I was pregnant with Jessie we saw a Yankee game where he hit a home run and Arthur said, "If we have a son, we should name him after that man," and so until the day she was born our baby's fetal name was Thurman Sherman.

In May of 2021 the NY Times ran a piece about Johnny Bench remembering ten Hall of Fame players who had died in the past few months. He remembered most of all his first, nervous game in Atlanta against Hank Aaron in 1967. When Aaron got to the plate, he nodded at Bench and uttered under his breath: “Hi, John. How you doing?”

Bench, telling the story, laughed for a moment and repeated that line. “Hi, John. …”

“Just for him to say that to me, when I’m just a dumb rookie, I mean, wow! That will be with me forever.”Forty years later Johhny was still moved by the kindness in that greeting.

Bench joined Aaron's temmates in celebrating his 704th home run, tying Babe Ruth's record.

I remember that race and the hate Mr. Aaron faced as he went about his business hitting home runs. Some people said that Babe Ruth was looking down from Heaven in anger. Really? I choose to believe that Babe Ruth in Heaven was cheering and ready to welcome Hank Aaron to share the pedestal.

I don't know how Ty Cobb is taking the news that he's been knocked out of first place. I have my doubts about him--I hear that he wasn't the nicest guy--but I hope in Heaven he can say, "Well, statistics don't lie so you beat me, Josh. Well Done."

We have a long way to go before we can say Life is Fair, but we can dream and we can celebrate each small step in that direction.

Pen & Ink drawing of a catcher at a door, pointing to the welcome mat

As it happens this is  on my drawing table today; it's a detail from an old drawing I've been using as a reference for a new piece.

Please note he's pointing to the Welcome mat!

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