Monday, April 03, 2006
Celebrating the Jackie Robinson birthday
Opening Day is of course a glorious day every year, but today it’s a little more special — it’s what I’m calling the Jackie Robinson Birthday.
Last year was my Tom Seaver Birthday, so you can probably figure out how this works.
Why Jackie? He’s a hero, and Mets with that uniform number were Butch Huskey, Mo Vaughn, Ron Taylor, Ron Hodges and Roger McDowell. Fine people, well some of them. But asking people to shower me in Butch Huskey gifts is never a good idea.
Next year’s going be a bit of a challenge. The highest-profile Met with No. 43 was Jim McAndrew, and he shared it with a bunch of pitchers whose mound tenure at Shea was only slightly longer than mine (and I have none).
I’m very OK with this middle age stuff. For one thing, reporters write about a lot of people who don’t get to be 42. We see how fragile life is and hopefully realize that each and every day is a gift to be treasured. I’m blessed.
I’ve been around for all four Mets World Series appearances, got to see both Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden in their primes and was lucky enough to come of age in that magical time known as the ‘80s.
I share a birthday with former Met Rod Gaspar and former Mets coach Gary Pettis as well as Juan Guzman and Wally Moon. Non-baseball celebrants include fellow Long Islanders Eddie Murphy and Alec Baldwin, who went to my high school, although it was several years before me. I did serve on student council with his sister, though.
And I can’t possibly be old when there is someone on the Mets roster who is older — considerably older, I might add — than me. Hooray for Julio Franco!
And, like today, Opening Day sometimes falls on my birthday, which everyone says is appropriate. Opening Day also has provided for some pretty wonderful birthdays, which you can read about here and here if you like.
So like the Mets, I’m pretty optimistic about this year. I'm sure there will be highs and lows. But we can sure it will be an interesting ride.