Baseball became America’s pastime almost immediately from the sport’s inception.
The game’s greatness shines for several reasons. The methodical pace of play between pitcher and catcher, as well as batter and fielder, allow for easy conversation among friends.
The baseball season itself begins in the spring, coinciding in time with nature’s yearly rejuvenation, and continues through summer when the weather is dry and the days are long enough to play two.
The creation of the sport is itself a tale of American folklore, and Americans are wary to trudge on the sagas of their history.
It also doesn’t hurt that certain men named Cobb, Ruth, Mays, Gehrig, Mantle, Musial and DiMaggio, along with so many others, brought a heroic presence to the lives of millions, through both the best and worst times of our nation’s history.
From roaring economic excess to crashing stock markets, there was baseball. From World Wars to Pleasantville and back to war again, there was baseball.
From radios to broadband, streetcars to subways, and megaphones to smartphones, there was baseball.
With that sublime inspiration, there also comes a callous reality to the game.
How else can you describe a sport where the very best hitters fail seven out of every ten times they enter the batter’s box? Or where the very best teams leave the park losers at least sixty times during the season?
As great as baseball is, it is a sport surrounded, cloaked and otherwise ensconced in failure.
Failure does bring one thing that success rarely does — a chance for introspection. When it comes to developing one’s self, a little humility and modesty can go a long way towards true growth as a person.
Baseball gives us that proverbial chance to get up, dust ourselves off — no matter the circumstance or score — and try, try again.
However, the game (and life) are not always kind to its members. For a select few in the game's history, their greatness was never fully realized.
Stolen. Self-destructed. Injury. Prejudice. Tragedy.
I give you the Top 25 MLB careers that were cut short...