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Barbara Walking in the Valley
A weekly column for those who live and walk in Silicon Valley

by Barbara Dahlgren

Batter Up!
Column for the week of July 7-13, 2002

It seems like legends are passing away as quickly as we can answer a trivia question about who they were. First there was Ann Landers, advice columnist extra-ordinaire, who died a couple of weeks ago. She was followed by Rosemary Clooney, singer extra-ordinaire and aunt to one George Clooney. Then on July 5, we lost Ted Williams, baseball player extra-ordinaire.

I must admit that I have always found America's fascination with baseball curious at best. It can be one of the slowest games to watch live or on T. V., second only to golf. Yes, there is nothing quite as exciting as watching an instant replay of someone hitting a golf ball in the air. Then watching him walk and walk and walk and walk and walk to the exact spot where the ball landed and hit it again. Yeah, boy, that's my idea of excitement. It's a good thing that a Tiger Woods happens along once in a lifetime to liven it up a bit.

At least with baseball there is always the possibility that someone will hit a home run, make a triple play, slide into a base, or tick the umpire off and get thrown out of the game. But sometimes you can wait a mighty long time for one of those exciting events to happen. It's a good thing that a Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, or Mark McGuire happens along to liven the game up a bit. Ted Williams was that kind of ball player. He was happy to be in the game.

Ted started playing baseball with the San Diego Padres in 1935 and moved to the Boston Red Sox in 1939, where he played baseball until he retired in 1960. He retired from the Red Sox the same way he began, by hitting a home run. No wonder he had nicknames like "The Thumper," "Teddy Ballgame," and "The Splendid Splinter." No wonder he was an idol to millions of little boys. No wonder he is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. No wonder he was named the 16th greatest athlete of the 20th Century by ESPN.

It's been said that Ted Williams had the greatest eyes in baseball. He could read the label on a phonograph record while it was spinning on a turntable. Ty Cobb said, ''Ted Williams sees more of the ball than any man alive." Williams also knew how to use his eyesight to his advantage. If a cloud came out of nowhere and suddenly blocked out the sun and the pitcher was getting ready to throw, Williams would call for time out, step out of the box and "wipe an imaginary cinder out of his eye." He knew that eyes could not adapt that quickly to less sunlight, so he'd stall a bit before resuming. I guess he not only had good eyesight but knew how to use his brain as well.
Ted Williams loved baseball. He said, "Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed 3 times out of 10 and be considered a good performer." He was partly right. Baseball is a field where man can succeed 3 times out of 10 and be considered a good performer but it's not the only field.

Some feel that to be a Christian you must be perfect. Not so. We strive for perfection because it's the Christian thing to do, but most of the time we probably only succeed 3 times out of 10, and that's okay. If we were all perfect, we wouldn't need Christ. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He makes up our lack. Salvation is assured. It's not so much how many times we actually hit the home run that counts with God, but that we are in the game. Remember that the next time the umpire yells, "Batter up!"

©July 2002

Be sure to visit this page every week to read the next edition of Walking in the Valley. You can write to the author at bydahlgren@aol.com.



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