As the hand-wringing and woe-is-the-whole-damn-system bemoaning continue in the wake of Gordon Beckham’s fifth-place finish in this year’s Rookie of the Year voting, this seems a fine time to ask a very simple yet very necessary question:
Okay, he could’ve finished higher and okay, most voters didn’t see the same kind of ballplayingness and grindability that helped us forget about Josh Fields and Joe Crede in a hurry. But beyond all the complaining about how he was robbed of something he was never promised and whatever weird sense of entitlement we take in a stranger’s career, what possible reason could any of us, including the man himself, have to get worked up about this?
The answer, as you may suspect, is “none.” Consider:
Gordon Beckham has made $3 million playing baseball before the age of 23. A game, and a child’s game at that. Many people working significantly more intense and important jobs will have no such security and much less to show for their efforts. He will survive.
Geovany Soto, Bobby Crosby, Scott Williamson, Dontrelle Willis, Kerry Wood, Ben Grieve, Marty Cordova, Bob Hamelin, Jerome Walton, Chris Sabo. Ten men, ten Rookie of the Year awards. And look where it got them.
Dustin Pedroia, Albert Pujols, Ichiro Suzuki, Ryan Howard, Carlos Beltran, Nomar Garciaparra, Scott Rolen, Derek Jeter, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell. Ten more men, ten more Rookie of the Year awards. Ask them, in the scheme of things, where that achievement ranks.
Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey, Jr., Manny Ramirez, Frank Thomas, CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay, Jim Thome, Vlad Guerrero, Chase Utley, Mark Teixeira. No Rookies of the Year in there. Not a one. In the long run, this seems not to have hampered their careers.
Quick, name one non-White Sox also-ran in recent Rookie of the Year voting. Because you can’t. And neither can I! Because either you won or you didn’t, and that’s all most people remember. Or should remember, for that matter.
Don’t forget, he had a terrible August and an average September. So we’re really looking at a better candidate for American League Rookie of Just Two Months. But don’t tell Hawk! Because I look forward to hearing this whole episode is all just B.S.
All things considered, who really cares what sportswriters think? Hint: it rhymes with “portswriters.”