Or “Radbourne” or “Radburn”, depending on who you are and what history books you read.
As a rule, I am generally distrustful of the internet. Whenever I get an email or a response here from someone I deem “important” (player, member of the actual press), I try and proceed as cautiously as possible, rather than go nuts and assume that this blog might be read by that person. My ego in this space is pretty small. But yesterday morning, I got sort of a curious email, apparently originating from Edward Achorn, the author of the book “59 in 84“, which I have been reading lately. He informed me that our very own Ichiro Suzuki was the recipient of the first annual Hoss Radbourn award. I try not to click on links from dubious sources, but I got brave enough to do it on my phone (who cares if that has a virus, right?) and discovered that it was indeed true. And he was not alone; Achorn has assembled a team he is awarding for “grit and greatness” (which, if you’re a reader of Lookout Landing, should make you snicker at least a little).
Even though I am only a few chapters in to the book (I do most of my reading at night before bedtime, and lately have not been able to hack more than a few pages at a time before passing out), I can safely recommend it. The book gives a marvelous glimpse into what it was like to be a baseball player in the days of coal mines, horse-and-buggy travel, general frontier life, and, horror of horrors, lack of a player’s union. Charles Radbourn was the first person to be captured on film giving the camera the finger, he played baseball in the far rougher early days of the game, and by all accounts was a fairly hard-headed character. He was such a badass that to this day, he maintains a Twitter account, despite being dead for well over 100 years. If that’s not worth your $18 plus shipping, I don’t know what is.
What will Ichiro think of this award? I don’t know. I’m sure he will prove his worth of it by getting another 200 hits in 2011, and being his regular Ichiro self. I just like that Ichiro Suzuki keeps being recognized for the gem he is, and that he’s ours.