“I have Seen Many Pathetic Things”

14 May

Cy Young “wrote” in 1912:

“Baseball is not all sunshine.”

Like most players of the era, Young’s occasional syndicated newspaper columns were ghostwritten; most of Young’s were written by Sam Carrick of The Boston Post.

“The game,” he said, “has it’s shadows for every bright spot.”

cy

Cy Young

According to Young:

“I have seen many pathetic things that I have tried to forget. I have seen men injured; I have seen men heart-broken because they failed to make good, and I have seen others almost distracted when age compelled their retirement.”

But, he said, there was something even worse:

“(T)he most pathetic thing I ever have seen in the national game, and I have witnessed it hundreds of times in the years I have been pitching, is the fate of the fellow who has been a happy-go-lucky sort of a chap, without a thought for the future.

“Drawing large salaries and spending them freely, giving right and left to the unfortunate, these poor fellows, when their careers drew to a conclusion, were down and out financially and is many cases physically.”

Young said most had no other skills and had already been “running into debt to gratify some foolish whim or to prove what ‘good fellows’ they were—not thinking how quickly the world forgets all about good fellows.”

He said he could “mention instance after instance,” but chose not to open “old wounds.”

On the bright side, he said, players were changing:

“(B)aseball and baseball players are changing. The men who follow the game nowadays almost all realize that they can stay for a short time at best, and they are not men who are living for the present only.

“The player of the future, I believe, will show the same business ability that a successful merchant, broker or banker must show to keep up with the procession.”

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