Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Men don’t follow titles; they follow courage.

Since football season is over, my thoughts turn to baseball. During the offseason, the Cardinals have been making some deals, some more painful than others.
Jim Edmonds won't be wearing the "birds on the bat" in 2008. The Cardinals Nation mourns the departure of the 4-time All Star and 8-time gold glover. But, he didn't just play awesome defense, he won the Silver Slugger award in 2004, the best batting average at his position.
"Jimmy Baseball" was my favorite player after the Ozzie era. Ozzie had such range at shortstop, just as Jimmy had incredible range in center field.

My favorite of all time is Bob Gibson and I may be overly nostalgic, but Edmonds makes my top 10 and perhaps even my top 5.

He's no lock for the Hall of Fame, but I so enjoyed watching him play, and I'm not alone. In all honestly, however, I would yell at him before every AB knowing they might as well just spot the pitcher an 0-2 count to save everyone the time and aggravation.

Next to only Ken Griffey, Jr., Edmonds had the sweetest left-handed swing in baseball. His dramatic catches and clutch hitting solidified his reputation while with the Angels, but he only added to it as a Cardinal.

In the 2004 NLCS, with the Cardinals down to the disAstros 3 games to 2, Jimmy's "walk off" homer (3:05 of video) in the 12th inning set up a Game 7 in St. Louis against Roger Clemens. That night, at a critical point in the game, Jimmy laid out horizontally, running away from the ball to snag one of the greatest catches I've ever seen (2:50 of video). The Cardinals went to the World Series.

Here's a great tribute video for his 8 years in St. Louis.


It's been said that 70% of the earth is covered by water, and the other 30% is covered by Jim Edmonds, and I believe it.

His courageous play made him a leader on the team, for men don't follow titles; they follow courage. Such a courageous player/leader will be hard to replace.

Thanks for the memories, Jim Edmonds.

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8 Comments:

At 23 January, 2008 13:49, Blogger Timothy said...

you lose me every time you dis the Stros! :(

 
At 23 January, 2008 14:43, Blogger Ray Fowler said...

"Since football season is over" - ha! Good one. Sorry about the Cowboys, but this New England boy will be rooting for the Patriots all the way come Super Bowl Sunday. BTW, I really was hoping we would be playing Dallas.

 
At 23 January, 2008 15:14, Blogger GUNNY said...

Ray,

I would think that the powers that be would have preferred a Dallas vs. New England in the Superbowl, but those Giants were peaking when the Cowboys & Packers were stumbling.


Timothy,

I would have thought you'd feel the same about Edmonds as I do about Berkman, since Berkman always kills the Cardinals!

If it wasn't for those 2 magical plays from Edmonds in 2004, Houston would have easily been in the World Series.

 
At 23 January, 2008 15:54, Blogger Oilcan said...

Braveheart

I would have preferred Edmonds go to the Chicago Cubs and not the Padres. But still, good for the Cubs that Edmonds is out of the division. It was always enjoyable to see him defeat the disAstros.

He is a great player and a good dude too, and is worthy to be the object of Gunny's man crush.

 
At 24 January, 2008 11:14, Blogger AJF said...

Edmonds is great...even if he's been mired in the NL for some time. I'd love to see him in pinstripes.

 
At 24 January, 2008 12:27, Blogger GUNNY said...

There's no denying my "man crush."

You know, Tony, Edmonds is the type of guy the Yankees typically want. And if they want a guy, they get a guy.

I think, however, Jimmy wanted to be back in CA, his original stomping grounds.

From what I've read (and seen via interviews with Jimmy), he was going to be the starting CF for the Cardinals, but his playing time was going to have been cut back dramatically to work in his replacement(s).

He really wanted to finish his career as "an everyday player," so he went where he could do that AND be back home.

He's an icon and well beloved in St. Louis. As they customarily do with former players, the Cardinals fans will blow him away with an ovation when he shows up as a Padre at Busch.

Sheesh, I was even blown away by the fuss they made over Craig Biggio during his last ABs in his last game at Busch ... and he was a lifelong Cardinal killer.

 
At 25 January, 2008 12:57, Blogger Jade said...

I wish Johnny Damon played as hard. At times when I was seated near the outfield, there were catches I thought Damon should have dived for and he didn't. I thought he was rather lazy for what he was getting payed for. I could even have made that dive for free!

 
At 26 January, 2008 14:32, Blogger Rev. said...

Gonna miss Jimmy Edmonds!

 

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