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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

The Good Old Days of Baseball


By Fred Wallace

In mid February, the San Diego Padres, long the doormats of Major League Baseball, forked out $ 300 million dollars in a 10 year contract for All Star infielder Manny Machado.


In what was labelled as "the biggest free-agent contract in the history of American sports ", Machado made the shift from the LA Dodgers to their divisional rivals in San Diego.


And I think the movement is what struck a chord with me, far more than the money, which I admit is mind numbing.


Machado started his career in Baltimore with the now sad sack Orioles and will join his 3rd Major League team before his 27th birthday, before what generally is considered the prime of man's life.


When I saw the contract and the shifting of residences, I got thinking about the Baltimore Orioles of old.


In my youth, Jim Palmer & Mike Cuellar pitched for Baltimore to catchers Elrod Hendricks and Andy Etchebarren.


Boog Powell played first.


Davey Johnson. then Bobby Grich played second.


Mark Belanger was ALWAYS at shortstop.


And the brilliant Brooks Robinson was at third.


In the outfield; Paul Blair was a rabbit in centerfield, flanked by Don Buford in left & the legendary Frank Robinson in right.


Year after year after year. The Orioles. The Oakland A's. Boston. The Big Red Machine. The together forever Dodger infield. 


It's probably an aspect of aging, but I liked Major League Baseball better when I knew who was playing where in any given season.


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