The Things I Have Seen.
About the Off-Season: The Things I Have Seen
By Tim Kabel
February 7, 2023
In little more than a week, the Yankees will begin spring training. We have all been wondering what will happen with leftfield, shortstop, third base, and the bullpen. We will get those answers soon enough. This is not the first season where the Yankees have gone into spring training with unresolved issues. That is one of the purposes of spring training. It gives the team a chance to determine the best configuration of the roster and the roles of each individual player.
As I wrote this, I realized I have seen this before. As usual that thought led to many others. I began to ponder the things I have seen not only regarding the Yankees but in all sports. I feel like a wrinkled up old man sitting on my stoop, whittling a stick while I reminisce.
I have, in fact, seen a great many things. Here are some of them:
Two of the three perfect games thrown by Yankees' pitchers, David Wells and David Cone. (I also shook hands with Don Larsen at a Yankee Fanfest.)
A no hitter thrown by a man with only one fully developed arm, Jim Abbott.
A man with two artificial legs running in the Olympics, Oscar Pistorius.
The entire career of Cal Ripken, junior, who broke Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played.
Billy Martin managing in the major leagues.
The Yankees being the first Major League team to hire a woman to manage in their organization, Rachel Balkovec.
The entire Major League careers of Ron Guidry, Don Mattingly, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, and Andy Pettitte (among countless others).
Two athletes who played both baseball and football at the highest levels, Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders.
The entire NBA careers of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James.
Phil Rizzuto playing in an Old Timers' Day game and broadcasting the Yankees' game on the same day.
Nolan Ryan's seven career no hitters.
Secretariat winning the Triple Crown. He's not the only Triple Crown winner I've seen but, for my money he was the greatest racehorse ever. What he did in the Belmont was the most amazing thing I ever saw in sports.
Howard Cosell broadcasting football, baseball, boxing, and Battle of the Network Stars.
Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, and Evander Holyfield all fighting for the heavyweight championship.
Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps shattering Olympic swimming records. I'm not old enough to have seen Johnny Weissmuller, other than in Tarzan movies, but he may have been the best of the three.
The Major League records for career hits, home runs, stolen bases, strikeouts (by a pitcher), and saves being set.
The entire NFL careers of Lawrence Taylor, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady.
André the Giant and Hulk Hogan wrestling.
Jim McKay broadcasting. I also saw Wide World of Sports regularly.
Curling and rhythmic gymnastics, and synchronized swimming, (which is now known as artistic swimming), becoming Olympic sports, while baseball was eliminated as one.
Three of the four players who hit 700 or more home runs in the major leagues.
The Olympic performances of Carl Lewis, Mary Lou Retton, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Eric Heiden, the 1980 men's ice hockey team, and Bruce Jenner, when he was Bruce Jenner.
Aaron Judge breaking the New York Yankees' and American League record for most home runs in a season with 62 in 2022.
Those are just some of the amazing and unbelievable things I have seen in sports over my lifetime.
I imagine I will see a great many more. I can only hope so.