We’ll raise the William Gleason Philadelphia Phillies‘ reference in a moment. For now, let’s contrast the 2013 efforts of Domonic Brown and Cole Hamels.
Brown emergence as a presence in the Phillies’ everyday lineup might be the real deal. More than just a one-month streak, this 25-year-old may be coming into his own.
From the 2010 through the 2012 seasons ‘Dom’ hit 12 major league home runs. According to Jim Salisbury of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, Brown hit eight home runs during the final eleven days of May and 12 total in the month. His 15 home runs this season currently leads the National League.
Any anticipated admonishments about how Hamels is a pitcher and Brown is a position player will completely miss the points that are going to be made. Baseball is an amazingly difficult game that is often made to look easy by those who play it well, let alone by those who soar above their exceptional colleagues.
Gleason posted a 24-22 record for the Phillies in 1891. Not bad, right? Consider that he lost nine games before June that season, which is exactly what the 1-9 Hamels has historically done to-date this year. No other Phillies’ pitcher since ‘Kid’ Gleason has dived to that extent since.
The differences between these two pitchers are glaring for sure. The ‘Kid’ played was a right-handed pitcher and a second baseman who played in a very different era.
‘Hollywood’ is a 29-year-old left-hander who won’t start 44 games this season, as Gleason did 122 years ago. That 24-year-old ‘baseballer’ threw 418 innings that season, which followed the 506 frames he mastered in 1890 when he was 38-17. He also infamously managed the Chicago White Sox (‘Black Sox’) for a number of seasons, including 1919.
Some people often foolishly (an opinionated label for sure) downplay what any long-forgotten player did oh so many years ago. Discounting the exploits of any player who was never seen, while citing existing rules, playing conditions, quality of equipment available, or whatever else reveals the persona of those individuals who strongly believe that they ‘know the game’.
No one knows what Gleason was really like way back when. We also don’t know what Browns’ or Hamels’ immediate, or long-term futures will be.
What I know is this: Baseball is a great game that exceptional athletes from every era have played in the top (or major) leagues. I recognize everyone’s efforts on any diamond everywhere throughout history.