By Laurence W. Holmes–
(CBS) “He has a superb insolent confidence about himself.”
That isn’t a quote about Nationals star Bryce Harper from his 2015 NL MVP season. It’s what the New York American wrote about Ty Cobb back in 1907. History repeats itself quite a bit, especially in baseball.
This is what Hall of Famer Goose Gossage’s recent comments about the current state of baseball made me think about, as he called Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista a “disgrace” for his displays of emotion. There’s nothing wrong with the game in 2016 (with the exception of pace of play). In fact, the showboating that Gossage derides isn’t really that different from any era in the history of the game. Pick a time period in the game, and “showboats” are easy to find.
— Babe Ruth once called his shot in the 1932 World Series.
— How about the 1934 “Gashouse Gang” in St. Louis? Frankie Frisch used to throw his glove up in the air after a bad call. Dizzy Dean would ask new batters what type of pitch they wanted to miss.
— You mean to tell me that there wasn’t some showboating going on when “The Giants won the pennant!” Watch what happens at third base as Bobby Thomson goes by.
— Just look at the wind-ups of Satchel Paige, Luis Tiant or Fernando Valenzuela.
— Jimmy Piersall (Mr. Old School himself) ran the bases backward after his 100th home run.
— There was Pete Rose diving, not sliding, but diving into third.
— Carlton Fisk tried to wave his homer fair in the 1975 World Series.
— Pretty much anything Rickey Henderson did on the baseball diamond was showboating.
— Ozzie Smith would take the field with a backflip.
— Jim Edmonds took late jumps to make spectacular catches.
— Todd Helton used every bit of 32 seconds to round the bases after a home run.
— And I’m pretty sure Good Ol’ Goose didn’t mind this bat flip and stare when teammate Reggie Jackson helped the 1981 Yankees win the ALDS. Go to about 1:25 to see the flip, stare and smile.
I could go on and on. My point is that there’s nothing wrong with what’s happening in baseball today. Bautista didn’t create the bat flip, even though he may have taken the art form to a new glorious level.
Instead of Gossage wagging his finger and trying to teach us a history lesson, perhaps he should learn some history about the game he professes to love. Because the good ol’ days weren’t all that good.
Laurence Holmes hosts the Laurence Holmes Show on 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @LaurenceWHolmes.