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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, April 16, 2024

20 Questions and America’s pastime

How many people out there enjoy 20 Questions? 




Neither do I, but let's play anyway. To make the game easier and faster'easier because I'm giving away the category (baseball players) and faster because you only get 10 questions to figure it out'I am invoking house rules. I know this will drive apprehension into the hearts of the 20 Questions purists among you, but this exercise does have a point. Anyway, let's start. 




'What team does he play for'? 




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Apparently, some of us suffer from the 'No, I really have never heard of this staple-of-childhood game before' syndrome. The proper medication is commonly a beating of the highest order, but I have neither the resources nor the time to administer such a beating. In other words, yes or no questions only, please. Oh, and that one counted. 




'Does he play in the American League'? Nope, sorry.  




'Okay, how about the National League West then'? Hey, good guess. 




'Does he play in the outfield'? Yes. 




'Is he a left-fielder'? Yep. Five questions left. 




'Is he black'? As a matter of fact, he is. 




'Is he generally, and most often unfairly, considered a malcontent by fans and the media alike'? A suspiciously specific question for sure, but I, being the trusting kind, will chalk it up to good old-fashioned luck. The answer is yes.  




'Is he Barry Bonds'? A-ha! Gotcha. No. 




'Gary Sheffield'? Good guess, but no. And you only have one question left. 




'Are you sure he's not Barry Bonds'? Oh, your lack of faith in the game's integrity has cost you. I guess that means I win, suckers. It was a spirited game, though. Just don't start with the complaints about how I 'made up' the questions. 




Anyway, back to that point I promised earlier. The solution to this rousing game of 20 Questions was none other than The Greatest Leadoff Hitter of All Time'Rickey Henderson.  




In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, sports as a whole have been de-emphasized and put in perspective. What attention people have been paying to the world of paid athletes can be lumped into three categories: the budding NFL season, Michael Jordan's return and the aforementioned Bonds. 




Lost in the shuffle has been Henderson.  




You see, Rickey is on the verge of passing not one, but two milestones: 3,000 career hits and Ty Cobb's all-time record for runs scored with 2,246. This comes after already surpassing Babe Ruth in April for the top spot in all-time walks with 2,137. Think about it. Once he gets those last seven hits, Henderson will be the only player in Major League history to have 3,000 hits and 2,000 walks. 




As if that were not enough, this season marks the 10th anniversary of Rickey's reign at the top of the all-time stolen bases totem pole (1,395), a position once held by Lou Brock. For all of the fanfare Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. are receiving in their final rounds, little is made of Rickey's pursuits in what may very possibly be his last season.  




Here's hoping that one day before the season ends, Rickey belts his 3,000th hit, steals second and third and scores his 2,247th run on a ground-ball out. Maybe then he will finally receive all the attention and accolades befitting The Greatest Leadoff Hitter of All Time.  

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