Friday, November 16, 2007

The Kurt Brown Situation

With the fifth pick in the 1985 draft, the Chicago White Sox choose catcher Kurt Brown from Glendora High School in California. Those words are now the sweetest words in the English language. With the sixth pick in the 1985 draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates chose Barry Bonds.

The White Sox were so close in the '85 draft. They chose a catcher who never made it past AAA, instead of an outfielder who broke Hank Aaron's home run record. That one pick may have made the difference between making the Sox a World Series winner and making them a close second that never made the playoffs. The world may never know.

For years, I've heard White Sox fans play the "What If..." game with this. Yes, even me. Barry was an excellent player before steroids and an even better player after them. The thing is, he would've been a lock for the Hall Of Fame even without "performance enhancing" things. He just wouldn't have made it past Hank Aaron. Now it looks like Barry's career is over.

Would Barry be in the mess he is in if the White Sox chose him? I have no idea. Hawk would have probably traded him for a crappy pitcher, like he did with Bobby Bonilla.

Kurt almost made the majors. He came so close, but he was hiding a terrible secret of his own. It wasn't steroids or anything like that. He was blessed with Knoblauch Syndrome. He just plain forgot how to throw the ball. Or at least he thought so. He hid it so well, that nobody noticed until he was with the Oakland A's club and confessed this to manager Tony LaRussa. He was out of baseball in 1992. Kurt went back to school and got a degree. While Kurt was studying, Barry landed in San Francisco and the rest is history.

This makes me feel even better with the White Sox choosing Kurt over Barry. I can respect someone going back to school to educate themselves. I can't respect someone destroying their body for a fleeting moment of glory. If I could, I would give Kurt Brown the home run record. It certainly wouldn't be any more tainted than it already is and it would be in the hands of someone more deserving of our accolades.

Thank you Kurt Brown for being such a class act. You are the example we should teach the children.

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