Last week, I wrote a series of fairly meaningless words about a largely forgotten group of men who, at one point or another in their lives, had baseball cards made of them. In my original draft, one of these players was Chris Brown, former all-star third baseman of the San Francisco Giants. He’d led the league in being hit by pitches in 1986, and I thought, hey, free Chris Brown joke, sort of. Once I discovered that Brown the Athlete had actually passed away several years ago in an unfortunate incident, I scrapped the joke and replaced him at the last minute with the least record-setting name I could think of, one who happened to be involved in a trade for the very same Chris Brown. That name was Craig Lindsay Lefferts.
It seemed a safe choice: he played the most obscure position in baseball, left-handed reliever, and he wielded (past tense, sadly) a healthy if ubiquitous eighties mustache. He also spent most of his career playing for the Padres and Giants, two west-coast teams with occasional success and similar orange logos. To be perfectly honest, if you’d asked me two weeks ago who Craig Lefferts was, I would have told you he was Tom Niedenfuer.
But as I learned, Craig Lefferts is not the Platonic form of the left-handed reliever I assumed he was. Craig Lefferts is instead the Platonic form of all Craig Leffertses: the perfect example of what it is to be a Craig Lefferts, and the one by which all others are reflected as mere shadows. To generalize him is an injustice; he, like each of us, is so much more.
Given these things, I’d like to share a few Entirely True Facts about the aforementioned:
1. Growing up, Craig Lefferts had asthma, a lazy right eye, and was cut from his high school baseball team. He walked on at the University of Arizona and was cut there, too.
2. Craig Lefferts is the last pitcher to hit a walk-off home run. He did it twenty-five years ago, on April 25, 1986. He did it with a 102-degree fever, on a day he was supposed to have off before Goose Gossage blew a save and sent the game to extra innings. He did it off Greg Minton, Leffertsian in his own right, the man who holds the record for longest modern streak of innings pitched without giving up a home run. He did it while wearing a warmup jacket. (He probably didn’t, but I want to believe.)
3. According to a numerological forecast, Craig Lefferts is more sensitive than usual on September 5th, 2011. He can turn this state of his into a productive day by focusing on relationships in work and personal life. Counseling others presents an opportunity to help, and may even bring admiration by someone. Be warned: Craig must control his tendency to lie today. More troubling is that the same website rates my compatibility level with Craig Lefferts as 25%, reporting that we would have “a relationship that presents frequent challenges and requires much compromise.” It also notes that Craig is “quick with hugs”.
4. Craig Lefferts has exactly eleven seconds of video footage on youtube. This is because eleven seconds are all we need.
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