Today is the birthday of two Hall of Fame baseball players, Honus Wagner and Eddie Murray. I was originally going to use the entirety of today’s post to write about them, but decided not to do so.
Without question, Wagner is one of the absolute greatest players in baseball history. In one edition of his landmark book, The Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James rated Wagner as the second greatest player ever in terms of peak and career value, behind only Babe Ruth. In a later edition of the same book, Bill’s Win Shares system rated Wagner’s 1908 season as the greatest by any player in the 20th century, greater even than any season by Ruth. Here is more:
“The National League ERA in 1908 was 2.35–the lowest ERA of the dead ball era, the lowest ERA for a league in the 20th century. In modern baseball  the league ERAs are about twice that, about 4.70. So double the numbers: if you had a Gold Glove shortstop, like Wagner, who drove in 218 runs [he had 109 RBI in 1908], what would he be worth?” [Of course, awarding Gold Gloves didn’t begin until 1957, but you get the point.]
The increasing scourge of temporal arrogance causes those afflicted and who have interest in baseball to dismiss the accomplishments of players like Wagner and Babe Ruth. “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” – Shakespeare
Eddie Murray was my favorite player on the Orioles during his entire tenure with the team, 1977-88. He and I have something in common that those who know me can identify immediately.
Ironically, I was working for the Orioles in Murray’s last season with them. He was traded to the Dodgers in December of 1988. Of all of the people who had any input into the trade I was the only one, apparently, who wasn’t in favor of the trade as consummated.
I was wrong in the short run, but right in the long run. The Orioles had an amazing improvement from 1988 to 1989, nearly winning the division after having had the worst record in baseball in 1988. However, the relative lack of offensive production from first base (Murray’s position) led to the ill-conceived and ill-fated trade to acquire Glenn Davis from Houston after the 1990 season, a trade in which the Orioles traded away two players who would have long and productive careers: Steve Finley and Curt Schilling. In addition, the player who was the centerpiece of the package received from the Dodgers in exchange for Murray, Juan Bell, never became a productive major league player, as I had predicted.
This recent piece from Corvette Blogger reports on the assessment of the C8 Corvette by a “YouTuber” named Speed Phenom after he had driven the car 17,000 miles. Without further ado:
“If I were to summarize the way my opinion has changed with this car, this is how I would do it. This car is probably the best all-around sports car you can ever buy, and I mean that looking at every car out there on the market right now. It is the most comfortable. It is the most practical. It looks the best in my opinion, and it’s got acceleration just like a supercar – 0 to 60, sub 3 seconds. And this car still routinely does it even having 17,000 miles put on it. It’s confidence-inspiring and predictable on the racetrack.”
“…I’ve never had one issue with this car: no check engine light, no limp mode, nothing like that. The thing’s been rock solid and for that reason, I think Chevy has knocked it out of the park. I can’t tell where the shortcuts are. You know, manufacturers always take shortcuts here and there. No, it doesn’t feel cheap. It feels like the most properly built vehicle I’ve ever had.”
Of course, that’s the experience of only one person, but this person didn’t baby the car by any means. The C8 is not perfect, no creation of imperfect human beings can be, but the misguided harping by those car snobs who are knee-jerk critics of all American cars should be heavily discounted, if not ignored altogether. From the Corvette Blogger piece, a picture of the vehicle in question:
It’s too bad, in my opinion, that after the C9 there will probably never again be a Corvette powered by an internal combustion engine. Something important will forever be missing from the car.
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