Monday, May 30, 2005

Cosmic Connection Needed

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone, long time passing?
Where have all the young girls gone, long time ago?
Where have all the young girls gone?
Gone for husbands everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the husbands gone, long time passing?
Where have all the husbands gone, long time ago?
Where have all the husbands gone?
Gone for soldiers everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the soldiers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone, long time passing?
Where have all the graveyards gone, long time ago?
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Gone to flowers, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

-- Peter, Paul, and Mary Where Have All the Flowers Gone

Maybe yesterday's tribute to Warren Spahn inspired David Wells in some cosmic connection. Probably not. Nonetheless, devoted baseball fans won't stop at the possibility of unknown forces, superstition, or magic to support their team. Whether Jobu's blessing in Major League, Glenn Close's backing in The Natural, or Wade Boggs' chicken fetish, baseball devotees do what they do.

Comparisons of baseball from one hundred years ago to today present terrific obstacles. The dead ball era had different fields and equipment and pitchers stayed in games as a matter of pride. Relief pitching was an anathema not an integral part of the game. But Christy Matthewson stood as the righthanded pitcher at the apex of his game and perhaps the zenith of righthanded pitching, period.

Matthewson won 373 games and had 79 shutouts. He won thirty games three years running, and twenty games twelve consecutive seasons. His career ERA in 17 seasons was 2.13, in an ERA when the league ERA was 2.88. He also batted .214 in almost 1700 at bats. He led the league in ERA five times, in wins four times, and was second in wins five times.

Remarkably, he also pitched in four World Series, winning three games in the 1905 World Series against the Athletics in just six days, each by a shutout! Although he was only 5-5 in the Series for his career, in 101.7 post-season innings he had an astonishing ERA of 0.97.

Maybe a little Matthewson can wear off on Bronson Arroyo tonight. Happy Memorial Day.

4 comments:

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