|"Jimmy We Loved You" copyright MMSikes|
For my writer friends, this is not just a baseball story. This is a story of doing what you love with focus and with passion. That's the way Edmonds played the game of baseball. He chased down fly balls, leaped over fences, and dove for balls he didn't have to. He was spectacular. He brought excitement to every game he played in. He was "Jimmy Ballgame." Several years ago, to add a little spark to the team, he decided to give a game ball to the team's best player following every game. He was that kind of leader in the club house.
If his fielding wasn't special enough to make Jim Edmonds a great baseball player, his hitting was sensational as well. He was a clutch hitter, and he was only seven home runs away from having 400--a level few players ever reach.
Five or six years ago, the last time Edmonds came to spring training with the Cardinals, I was thrilled to watch him practice and play in exhibition games. He signed an autograph for me on a ticket cover which was the only thing I had with me at that moment. That spring, I took lots of photographs of him and of the team.
Three years ago, he wound up playing a few months with the Chicago Cubs. I was horrified and created the collage, "Jimmy We Loved You, Goodbye," using one of the photographs I took in 2006.
Having Jim Edmonds at spring training one more time was something I really looked forward to. I wanted to see his passionate determination showing up one more time in a Cardinals uniform.
Thinking about his passion, focus, and determination has made me consider what makes a writer and/or an artist special. Those same traits stand out. The most successful creative people I know are focused, determined, and they show passion in their work.
Jimmy, we loved you. Maybe someday we'll see you once again in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform. And maybe you'll be wearing the number 15. It's a number that no other Cardinal should wear.
Please note that on Monday February 21, I am guest blogger on Dames of Dialogue. My post is on travel to spring training in Jupiter, FL. Please visit that day and make a comment.