Saturday, January 21, 2012

Field of Dreams

It was a fair book by Ray Kinsella, made famous by the movie "Field of Dreams" with Kevin Costner and James Early Jones, he of one of the greatest voices on the planet. Anyway, you all know how crazy about baseball I am. It's actually worse than you might think. There's not a day that passes that I don't dabble in something having to do with baseball. For example, I'm beginning to stir about selecting my fantasy teams for this season. I played fantasy ball for the first time last season. This coming season I'm going to be in two fantasy leagues.

I'm getting off the track. I wanted to tell you about something baseball-connected, but not necessarily this stuff. Part of my routine every day that passes is checking in with Baseball-Reference. There is simple nothing better for baseball people than this place. You can get lost there for days. Anyway, a regular feature of the site is an "In Memoriam" section listing the names of  MLB-connected people who have died. I check it out sometimes because I'm curious, especially about guys who have died at fairly young ages. For example, today a guy named Randy Stein is listed. Who was this guy? Only 58 when he died. Why? How?

Well, the site won't tell you that. It'll tell you how old he was and the date of death. But the web yielded an obit for the guy. Early Onset Alzheimer's, which was diagnosed four years ago, was what killed him. As major leaguers go, this guy was pretty obscure. A pitcher with three teams for four years, he wasn't very good either.

But he went on to become successful in the insurance business. He liked the beach, and camping, pulling pranks, and M&Ms. Married to his high school sweetheart for 36 years; two daughters and a son; a grandchild. But now he's in the Field of Dreams. And he's left behind a whole lot of people who wish he were any place else and could not care less that his career ERA is 5.72.
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