June 16, 2021

Favorite Players: Tony Oliva (The Athletic)


A parent’s favorite player is a sacred thing. If you’re lucky as a daughter, a son, you grow up hearing about your parent’s favorite player, grow up with a few memories, a few stories and, most of all, a clearer view of your mom, your dad, when they were young and vulnerable and searching for ways to look at the world.

If this sounds overly grand, well, here’s what I believe: If you tell me something about your favorite player, I will instantly know something about you. What? Well, I will probably know where you live or where you grew up. I might gain a sense of what you value. If you tell me your sports hero is Barry Bonds, that tells me something. If you tell me it’s Yuniesky Betancourt, that tells me something else.

My mother’s favorite ballplayer for many years was Babe Ruth. This is simply because, until recent years, he was the only player she could name on command. I have told the story many times before; after I wrote my…

Read “Favorite Players: Tony Oliva” at The Athletic