To a hero from my younger days

As I believe I’ve mentioned in this space, I grew up as a Red Sox fan. For a wide variety of reasons, I’m no longer a fan of them or of any one team. But favorite players are favorite players, and today is the birthday of perhaps my favorite player ever, Dwight Evans.

I hadn’t thought of Dewey in quite a while, until I saw his name listed in today’s baseball birthdays. And it was fun to think again about the player he was.

Evans had just the kind of skill set that sometimes goes underappreciated. He was a truly great defensive right fielder, but not really dazzling to watch, so even though he won eight Gold Gloves (eight! as a right fielder!) he’s not necessarily remembered the way some of the flashier defenders are. He had power, but not spectacular, 40-homer power. He hit plenty of home runs, and plenty of doubles, and was always a threat. And of course he got on base. Maybe Dewey was the initial source of my obsession with OBP that runs to this day.

In addition to it all, my impression was always of a class guy, a guy who did things the right way, a respectful guy. Of course, what one perceives of a ballplayer when one is 12 is not necessarily how it is, and I’ve never met Evans or dealt with him in any way. But this much is definitely true: he’s on the list of people that I’d be heartbroken to find out weren’t good folks.

I can’t argue that Evans is a Hall of Famer, nor can I really argue that he should have been the 1987 MVP, but in both cases, I do wish he’d gotten a little more attention. It’s sad to me that he’s already off the HOF ballot.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and many thanks to Evans for being one of my favorite players. My signed Dewey rookie card will always be one of my prized possessions.

-M.

4 Comments

I’ve never seen your signed Dewey rookie card.
-ER

I know exactly what you mean. I grew up with Mark Grace as my favorite. It really is a shame that OBP and timely hitting are so often overlooked for the power slugging of the loudmouth “superstars”. It’s not that you can’t find the guys who play hard every day, make the plays they’re supposed to and hit in the clutch. It’s just that they are more interested in playing the game than promoting themeselves. For the money, I’ll take a clutch doubles hitter over a “hit it out or strike out” player any day. Like your blog.

I felt a duty to post when you began your blog by remembering Dwight Evans. I grew up a Red Sox fan and still am to this day. Dwight Evans is my all-time favorite baseball player. I borrowed his batting stance multiple times. He was a great hitter and an underrated right fielder. He symbolized what a great baseball player should be. I recall when he came back to Fenway for the first time after being traded to the Orioles- the standing ovation he received from the Fenway crowd gave me goosebumps. Wherever you are Dewey, thanks for the memories. The kid in me still roots for you. R.

Evans also had a real real good arm (good choice)

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