Monday, April 30, 2007

hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.

For the third time in less than five years the Saint Louis Cardinals have lost members of the family, two of which were pitchers.

(Read a chronological review of the Tragic Deaths of Major Leaguers.)

Early Sunday morning, pitcher Josh Hancock (#32) died in an automobile accident. Consequently, Sunday nights game against the Cubs was postponed. Hancock went from winning the World Series in October and seemingly being on top of the world, to being confronted by his own mortality. He was 29 years old.

In 2002 on June 22 pitcher Darryl Kile (#57) died in his sleep from heart problems (coronary atherosclerosis, a "narrowing of the arteries supplying the heart muscle"). Consequently, that day's game against the Cubs was postponed. He was 33 years old.

At that time the Cardinals nation was already in mourning, for long time announcer (and poet) Jack Buck had passed away less than four days beforehand. This picture of Kile always struck me as eerie. Kile had pitched the Cardinals into first place the night of Buck's death. The next day you see this picture of Kile paying tribute to Jack Buck with the "JFB" on his sleeve. Less than four days later, the Cardinals would need another black band.
"Smith corks one into right down the line! It may go! … Go crazy, folks, Go crazy! It’s a home run! And the Cardinals have won the game … by the score of 3 to 2 … on a home run … by the Wizard! Go crazy!"
-Jack Buck, with the call on Ozzie's first left-handed homer, in the 1985 NLCS, a "walk off" homer in Game Five that put them in the World Series, where they were robbed.

We love our Redbirds and just as we rejoice with those who rejoice, so we mourn with those who mourn. However, for the Christian, for the Christian, now, only for the Christian, we do not mourn as the world, as though we had no hope. Because we are Christ, we will be raised, just as He was.
Our HOPE is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand.
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

Josh Hancock will be remembered by his teammates and others, but he also reminds us that there is no guarantee of tomorrow and that our lives are like vapors or a breath, fleeting at best.
O LORD, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!
-Psalm 39:4-5, ESV (HT Rev)

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