An Ode to Chuck Knoblauch
Allow me to give you a bit of a back story on Chuck Knoblauch. From my childhood perspective. The year was 1992. And I can remember the summers being hot and dry. The sun was out nearly every day and the afternoons consisted of playing scrimmage games of baseball. Since there weren’t a whole lot of neighbor kids to fill a nine man baseball team we had to compromise. And at the end of the day we usually always went home mad at each other. Only because we had to play two on one games. Which sucked because there was always one kid alone on a team. And he never won.
That wasn’t all that those hot summer days consisted of. Every time my parents went out to dinner and my sister and I tagged along I would always race up to my room and scrounge for loose change in my piggy bank to be able to buy a pack of baseball cards. In one summer I managed to collect over 1,000 cards. And I still have all of them today. The most sought after cards, of course, were Jose Canseco, Ken Griffey Jr, Bo Jackson, Lenny Dykstra and Chuck Knoblauch. Just to name a few. And in the nineties, baseball cards were getting fancier and fancier as the years progressed. Especially when they came out with the Leaf collection and Upper Deck started to really throw some gems in the mix.
Sometimes when I would open a pack of cards I would get one or two Jose Cansecos or two or three Bo Jacksons. I would flip out! It was like hitting gold! Hey, I was a young kid and I looked up to these guys. Baseball players were, and still are, my heroes. These guys gut it out every day, every game, and it’s an amazing sport. I wouldn’t want to trade away those doubles either. I held onto them like they were priceless. I can remember setting up a card table and trying to sell some of the cards I didn’t want anymore to make room for all the superstars I loved to collect. I think I may have tried to sell a John Kruk card in there one day because I thought the Phillies were a dirty, nasty team. All my cards of Kruk and Dykstra, they were always chewing tobacco and their uniforms were always filthy. I never liked the Phillies as a kid. But now I love them. They’re like the modern-day New York Yankees from Phillidelphia.
The one team I absolutely loved growing up though were the Minnesota Twins. Tom Kelly was the skipper of that team and Kent Hrbeck, Greg Gagne, Kirby Puckett, Chuck Knoblauch and Jeff Reardon were all of my favorite Twinkies. The sad thing was I never was able to get a Chuck Knoblauch baseball card. Ever. It didn’t matter how many packs of cards I bought, I never ended up with a Knoblauch. It was the most frustrating time as a youngster that I could remember. All my friends had one. Or two. Or three. And I couldn’t get one.
I remember this new brand of cards came out. I wasn’t sure of where to get them but the neighbor kid had a whole stack. And sure enough, there were two different kinds of Chuck Knoblauch cards in his stack. Every day I tried to persuade him to give me one. But nothing worked. I wasn’t really thinking about trading any of my doubles for a Knoblauch card. The idea was to just collect as many superstars as possible.
One miserable summer day my prayers had been answered though. The neighbor kid that had been holding Chuck Knoblauch cards hostage came to my parents’ door and held out both of them. He was offering both of them to me but at a price. He wanted $3.00 a card. I remember scampering upstairs to my piggy bank and counting out as many quarters as I could. And I also had a lone $1 dollar bill crumpled up as well. I unfolded the dollar bill and stared at it intently. I knew what I had to do. I hated giving that dollar bill to the neighbor kid. But I had to have those Chuck Knoblauch baseball cards. At this point I had no other options. So I handed over the money.
The very next day I bought a pack of baseball cards and look what I got…
As I’ve stated before, Chuck Knoblauch was one of my heroes growing up as a kid. And even 20 years later he’s still a player I’ve always idolized. So what’s the significance of all of this now? Chuck Knoblauch follows me on Twitter! Yes, that’s right! You can go to my Twitter account and check! @MLBwayneMLB is my Twitter handle and you’ll find him on the list of people currently following me. Chuck is an awesome guy and he regularly answers tweets sent to him! So feel free to hit him up on Twitter! And what else is cool about Chuck? He has awesome shirts that you can buy! Check it out:
I have a lot to be thankful for in my life. And I have a lot of appreciation for these baseball players to share their lives with their fans on Twitter, Facebook and whatever else is used. I am thankful for these media tools because just about every baseball fan I know is always interested in what these guys do off the field. Its fun to talk with them. Its fun to get to know them and its fun to get to share ideas, talk about other things with them and connect with them on a personal level. I can’t speak for all baseball players or fans but I’m sure some baseball players have fun with it too.
So Chuck. If you’re reading this, I wanted to personally thank you for what you’ve done on and off the field. You’re a hero in my eyes, a superstar and quite the baseball player. People love you and we all appreciate you doing what you’ve done on Twitter. I especially love the shirt I got and every time I wear it I get stopped a few times a day asking if you really follow me. It’s awesome and I can’t describe how awesome it is that you follow me on Twitter. My only regret? Not having Twitter around when I was 12!