Licking the Baseball Bug

I am not one to collect stamps. In fact, the only stamps I ever owned that were not used to mail a letter were part of the savings bond campaign I was a part of when I was in the first grade. I typically looked at stamp collecting as a hobby best left to those who had survived the Great Depression. I mean no disrespect by that comment, it is just not a hobby I ever thought of partaking in myself. All of that changed when the United States Postal Service decided to create a series of stamps that depict the likenesses of 20 of the game’s greatest players. All of the greats are there, Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Dizzy Dean, Josh Gibson, Honus Wagner, Satchel Paige, Jimmie Foxx, Tris Speaker, Lefty Grove, Rogers Hornsby, Mickey Cochrane, George Sisler, Christy Mathewson, Eddie Collins and Pie Traynor. The stamps are great. They artistically portray the personality and playing style of each player. I had to wonder though, how did select the players they did for the stamps. Curious, I asked my local mail man. I was told that the postal service looked at the lives and careers of many of Major League baseball’s more colorful personalities and selected these twenty. While I was there, a young boy asked why Sammy Sosa was not included in this list. The postal worker explained that someone had to be dead at least 10 years before they could be depicted on a postage stamp. Attempting to defend the now crushed boy I asked the postal worker, “Have you seen Sammy’s on base percentage? It looks like he is already dead.” It was at that point that I came to the understanding exactly what “going postal” actually meant.

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