Too Many StatuesSomewhere along the line the baseball gods determined that fans need more statues. Of course we need statues to pay tribute to the legends, the players of Ruthian proportions. In New York, the Yankees could have statues made for every era since their inception. Generation after generation could be linked by statues - Ruth to Gehrig to DiMaggio to Mantle, and so on. But lately, it seems like teams are building too many. Too many tributes to people who probably don't deserve the honor.
Now I understand that baseball is recovering from the steroid scandal that rocked the game. Many high profile players were proven not to be playing the game clean. Too many needles and pills. Records weren't simply broken, they were shattered and mocked. Perhaps these statues are being built to praise earlier eras when they game was considered unblemished.
I grew up as a fan of the Chicago Cubs. I kept a watchful eye on the White Sox, too. During my lifetime, neither team has won many titles. In fact, until the White Sox won the World Series in 2005, our city has been without a World Series champion since the White Sox in 1917. The Sox have installed statues of Charles Comiskey, Minnie Minoso, Carlton Fisk, Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox, Billy Pierce and Harold Baines. In 2011, they will dedicate one to Frank Thomas. The Cubs have statues of Harry Caray and Ernie Banks. Yesterday, they dedicated one to Billy Williams. They've even hinted that more are on the way. Don't get me wrong, every single player listed was great, but our city has only won five World Series titles. Ever.
Susan and I were in Milwaukee on August 29 for a game between the Pirates and Brewers. The Brewers have a statue of Henry Aaron commemorating his time with the Milwaukee Braves and his 755 career home runs. Now that's a statue. But just recently, they installed one for the current commissioner and former team owner, Allan H. "Bud" Selig. I've tried to keep an open mind about this. Yes, Bud was instrumental bringing baseball back to Milwaukee following the move of the Braves to Atlanta. The fans were devasated. Bud purchased the ill-fated Seattle Pilots following the 1969 season and moved them to Milwaukee and renamed them the Brewers. I can understand that. Unfortunately, he was named commissioner and continues to preside over the league during the its ugliest period since the "Black Sox" scandal of 1919. He's allowed steroids and performance-enhancing drugs to stain the game. He also allowed the all-time home run record of Henry Aaron to fall, yet Bud worships him. He made a mockery of the All-Star Game by allowing the exhibition game to determine which league earns home field advantage during the playoffs. I think was a poor choice for the Brewers.
I think it's time for baseball to cool their jets and reconsider which former players and executives they decide to immortalize in bronze.