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.