Wednesday, May 10, 2006

To Mom. Love, Your Baseball Playing Son

This week on Wild-Card Wednesdays, we pay tribute to the men who paid tribute to the most important women in their lives: no, not the cute blonde in the third row. We're talking about their mothers. As the final WCW before Mother's Day, we proudly salute you, mom.

According to the Associated Press, Major League Baseball gave special permission to players to use baby pink bats on Mother's Day, as part of a weeklong effort to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. As of press time, over 50 players, including Kevin Mench, David Ortiz, Jim Edmonds, Mark Teixeira, Michael Young, Hank Blalock and Derek Jeter had been preparing to use the unique bats.

"My mom is the glue of our family, and I just want to do something to thank her for all that she has done," Mench said before Tuesday night's game against Minnesota. "At the same time, we are raising money for a great cause."

In the spirit of mother's day, here are more quotations from our favorite players, about dear old mom:

On maternal creativity:
"My first sport was eighth grade basketball. And my dad didn't want to buy me the supporter johnny, you know, to do the job. So my mother made me one out of a flour sack. And the tough thing about that is, you put that thing on, you whip it out of your bag in the gym. You know all the guys are looking at it. And you start the game. The guy guarding you knows exactly where you're going since little specks of flour keep dropping out. And then right down the front it says 'Pillsbury's Best.'" - Bob Uecker, 2003 Induction Speech for Hall of Fame

On eternal love for mom:
"It would depend how well she was hitting" - Early Winn, when asked whether he'd throw at his mother
"I would if she were crowding the plate" - Winn again, when asked if he'd do that even on Mother's Day
"If I were playing third base and my mother were rounding third with the run that was going to beat us, I'd trip her. Oh, I'd pick her up and brush her off and say, 'Sorry, Mom,' but nobody beats me." - Leo Durocher

On learning the game from mom:
"My mother used to pitch to me and my father would shag balls. If I hit one up the middle close to my mother, I'd have some extra chores to do. My mother was instrumental in making me a pull hitter." - Eddie Mathews

Moms, expressing confidence with their sons:

"Joey [Albert] is extremely smart. He's great with figures and crossword puzzles. He could spell backwards when he was five. Did you know that my Joey was an Eagle Scout? He took French in high school, finished sixth in a class of two-hundred sixty-six. I brought him up to excel in everything. He wants to be perfect."- Carrie Belle (Albert Belle's mother) in Sports Illustrated

"My boy has a chance to do it. He takes care of himself and nothing comes in front of baseball for Henry. Nothing. On days when he is feeling good, it's just too bad for the pitchers." - Estella Aaron (Hank Aaron's Mother), on whether he would break Babe Ruth's HR record

Finally, we end today with an old favorite poem, published anonymously 120 years ago, but still surprisingly relevant:

Untitled, by Anonymous (1886)

Mother, may I slug the umpire
May I slug him right away?
So he cannot be here, Mother
When the clubs begin to play?

Let me clasp his throat, dear mother,
In a dear delightful grip
With one hand and with the other
Bat him several in the lip.

Let me climb his frame, dear mother,
While the happy people shout;
I'll not kill him, dearest mother
I will only knock him out.

Let me mop the ground up, Mother,
With his person, dearest do;
If the ground can stand it, Mother
I don't see why you can't, too.

Mother may I slug the umpire,
Slug him right between the eyes?
If you let me do it, Mother
You shall have the champion prize

Please note: All quotes other than the AP quote courtesy of

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"I've had a pretty good success facing Stan (Musial) by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third base."
- Carl Erskine