In a couple of months, he will almost certainly join them.
They are the great-but-not-legendary ballplayers of the late 1990s and early 2000s; a collection of athletically superior men whose achievements and statistics -- while significantly above average -- will serve to land them spring training instructor gigs, endless invitations to speak at Rotary breakfasts and a spot in the hometown newspaper's semi-annual
In other words: Yawn.
Such is life for the retired non-Hall of Famer. You are forever reminded of what you once were, because, well, people never let you forget. All these years later,
Ask most any retired jock what he/she wishes for most, and the two-part answer generally goes like this:
A. One last moment in the sun.
B. For everyone to stop talking about who I used to be.
That's why, when I learned a couple days ago of the Cincinnati Reds acquiring
But why not give a heckuva ballplayer one last moment of glory?
Why not allow a final moment in the sun?
Because we are a simple and forgetful people, it is easy to think of the Reds' newest outfielder merely as he is now -- a 40-year-old hit-or-miss swinger with some pop, little speed and a slightly above-average defensive skill set. Yet back in his heyday, when
While never quite as dynamic as Junior (but who was?) and not a horizontal go-getter of Jones' ilk (but who was?), Edmonds went back on deep shots as well as any outfielder the game has seen. His collection of
Way back in the early-to-mid 1990s, when he came up with the Angels, Edmonds earned the reputation of something of a hotdog; as a guy who made easy catches look hard and hard catches look next to impossible. Word was he dove when he didn't need to. That he was a phony. A fraud. In early 2000,
Shortly after I began reporting the story, Edmonds was shipped to the Cardinals for
With St. Louis, Edmonds was embraced as a player who could take the Cardinals to the next level. A town used to the defensive wizardry of
The past few years have been somewhat unkind to Edmonds, who was traded to San Diego after the 2007 season, released after just 26 games, then signed by the Cubs for the remainder of the year. He sat out all of 2009 to rest a battered body, then returned this year to hit a healthy .286 with eight home runs for Milwaukee. Edmonds has played 47 games in center, 13 in right and three at first base. Though far from what he was once, he is good enough to contribute.
And enjoy a final ride.